What is Celiac Disease:
Celiac Disease is an antoimmune disorder that causes the body to react against itself, specifically the small intestine upon the consumption of gluten - a protein found in wheat, rye and barley.
The best treatment is a gluten-free diet that avoids processed carbohydrates and added sugars - fortunately, Thunderbird Bars are free of both!
Non-Celiac gluten sensitivity refers to those who don't respond well to gluten, but who don't have the same intestinal damage that comes along with Celiac disease.
Foods for a Celiac Diet (or Gluten Sensitivity!)
The following foods are great gluten-free options for those with Celiac Disease or even a gluten sensitivity:
- Fruits and vegetables! This may seem like a no brainer, but in the words of Michael Pollen, "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants." It can be surprisingly hard to eat fruits and vegetables, especially when at an office or on the road. That's why our bars are plant-based - they are an easy, convenient way to incorporate real food into your diet. That being said, they do not replace fresh veggies!
- Healthy fats: Remember our Avocado Toast April Fool's Joke? Avocados have become an enormously popular way of incorporating healthy fat into one's diet while also feeling like you're eating something decadent and delicious. Other healthy fats can come from raw unrefined oils (think virgin coconut or olive oils) and nuts and seeds (see the next point)!
- Nuts and Seeds: We did a whole blog post on why we love hemp, but that's just one of the amazing seeds you can use to balance your diet. We also love flaxseeds, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds. In fact, we have a whole Nut & Seed line because we love them so much!
- Legumes: Beans, beans, they're good for the heart - am I right, guys? You don't need us to finish that song. But you might need a reminder that beans are full of good proteins and fibers. If you have issues digesting legumes, consider sprouting them. Full disclosure: if you're following the paleo diet, most will direct you away from consuming legumes!
- Gluten Free Flours: There are a number of incredible brands promoting gluten free flour options, like Austin's own Siete Foods. But the internet is a gold mine for recipes exploring alternatives to conventional flour. Here are some of our favorite resources:
Things to Avoid
(And this holds true whether you're Celiac or not!)
- Processed fats like vegetable oils (think canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil).
- Processed carbohydrates/sugars.
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What's the difference between processed carbs and unprocessed carbs?
Unprocessed carbs (aka refined cabs) haven't been broken down to make other foods. Whole grains? Unprocessed. Sugars naturally occurring in fruit? Unprocessed. High fructose Corn Syrup: Processed. White Bread: Processed. A good way to separate the two is to read the ingredients. If there's an ingredient that doesn't sound like food, well... it's probably something processed. Beware of "enriched flour." And if sugar is its own ingredient (corn syrup, brown sugar, agave syrup, fruit juice concentrate...), it might be best to avoid it.
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- Gluten (duh): Wheat, wheat germ, rye, barley, bulgur, couscous, farina, graham flour. Sometimes gluten can be found in surprising places, like soy sauce, french fries, soups, condiments, vodka, seitan, and lots of energy bars (not Thunderbird bars, though!). Once again, make sure to be reading that ingredient label.