Which Gluten-free Options Are Good for Psoriatic Disease?by Julie Cerrone Croner Patient Advocate
I hear patients say time and time again, “gluten-free didn’t work for me.”
It’s important to realize that just because you don’t see changes immediately, it doesn’t mean that they’re not occurring. Your body has been living one way for so long, you can’t expect it to heal overnight.
Why go without gluten?
Grains have changed a lot over the years. They’ve been hybridized, genetically modified, and doused with many different pesticides. The structure of the grain is not the same as it was 50 to 100 years ago. Research has shown that wheat can be inflammatory in nature and, as a result, has introduced our body to molecules it’s not necessarily set up to deal with. The consumption of grains can contribute to chronic inflammation for people with autoimmune disease.
Omitting all grains from your diet can be a daunting task. My journey has been a few years in the making. I went gluten-free for a year and then transitioned to all grain-free around 2014. So I no longer ate wheat but also no corn, which is gluten-free but considered a grain (as are oats, for instance). I believe this was an easier transition for me because it eased me into getting used to omitting certain foods and switching in new ingredients.
It took me months before I truly saw a difference with my diet. And that’s not abnormal. You must take this journey one step at a time to help control your inflammation and help your body heal.
Want to take the first step? Then cut out gluten! It may help to reduce chronic inflammation in your gut and hopefully improve your symptoms.
There are several options that you can turn to when you go gluten-free (not specifically grain-free however). Which are good for you and which aren’t? Here are a few options.
Pre-packaged gluten-free foods
Just because the package says “gluten-free” doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Many gluten-free packaged foods are laden with sugar, eggs, canola, soy, additives, corn, rice, and everything else under the sun.
Do not go wild and eat all the “gluten-free” foods. It’s easy to get excited when you see gluten-free buns, cinnamon rolls, pasta, and other delicious foods in the grocery store, but you must be cognizant of what’s in the product.
If you pick up a “gluten-free” pre-packaged product and take a look at the ingredient label, you’ll see that there are still many ingredients that you should avoid. Many companies are playing into the “gluten-free” craze and using it to their advantage. Don’t be fooled!
Did you know that you could be allergic to corn? Symptoms include a runny nose, headaches, hives. If you are allergic and don’t know it, it could be compromising your healing process because corn is commonly used in many gluten-free products. My advice: remove all the corn from your diet. And be on the lookout for it in packaged foods as well! Because corn is cheap so you’ll find it lurking on many ingredient labels — corn oil, corn starch, maize, corn syrup, corn fructose (while it doesn’t impact a corn allergy, it just isn’t healthy), dextrin, and dextrose, fructose, lactic acid, malt, mono- and diglycerides, monosodium glutamate.
The list goes on and on!
Rice can be a good option if you’re omitting gluten from your diet. It gives you the opportunity to still enjoy home cooked dishes, while cutting down on inflammatory foods in your body. There are many different types of rice, but your best bet is to go with a bag of organic short grain brown rice because of reports finding measurable levels of arsenic in rice. Brown rice flour also makes a great baking substitute!
Oats are almost always processed in factories with gluten and wheat. Therefore, you must make sure that your oats explicitly state “gluten-free” on the label. Eat a bowl of steel cut oats for breakfast or use oats to make homemade granola bars. With all grains, you should limit the amount you eat, but oats are a safer option.
Millet is a nutritious, and fairly cheap, grain. Millet bread would be the best gluten-free bread option, but, unfortunately, whenever you buy prepackaged foods, you get many other ingredients that might cause you problems such as eggs, canola, corn, soy, sugar, etc. Your best option is to buy a bag of millet and cook up a pot. Each bowl will be cost-effective, and you will provide your body with nutrients it can use!
If you’re living with psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, or any other autoimmune condition, quinoa is your best choice. It’s a great addition to salads and as a side.
Living gluten- or grain-free
What’s the best way to eat rice, oats, millet, and quinoa? With vegetables! Add celery, spinach, lettuce, and other greens to these foods to help bump up their healing potential.
With everything, some psoriatic disease patients do better with certain foods than others. It’s important that you identify what works best for you. You may find that rice sits well with your system, but oats are off limits. Track your symptoms and listen to your body.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a chronic condition, like psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis, it’s a good idea to keep all grains out of your diet. It may help you fight off pathogens in your body and help set you up for healing. But, if you absolutely cannot cut them out, try to stick to rice, oats, millet, and quinoa in moderation!