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Diabetes and Celiac Disease


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I need help for my granddaughter who has celiac disease and type 1 diabetes.   It seems that I have been working so hard on the diabetic eating that the gluten-free side seems impossible and expensive.  Any suggestions?




Dear Susan,

Thanks so much for your question. I can imagine it’s very overwhelming, especially at first, to not only make sure your granddaughter is eating a healthy diabetic diet, but one that is gluten-free as well.

On a more positive note, the diet I recommend to my clients with diabetes is the same one I recommend to those with celiac disease; a healthy, whole foods based diet built around lean proteins (beans and legumes, eggs, low fat dairy, fish, and lean cuts of meat), complex carbohydrates (vegetables, fruit, brown and black rice, quinoa, corn, and certified gluten-free oats if tolerated) and healthy fats (olives and olive oil, nuts and nut butters, seeds, and avocado).

These foods are naturally gluten-free and, except for the certified gluten-free oats, shouldn’t be more expensive than foods for a standard healthy diet.

For times when your granddaughter might want to enjoy a special treat, I recommend keeping an assortment of gluten-free flours on hand, so you can bake your own treats together.  This way you can control the quality and quantity of ingredients (i.e. use whole grain gluten-free flours or use less sugar in the recipe), and keep costs down, as homemade gluten-free treats are usually less expensive than store bought.  Plus, they usually taste better too!

In good health,

EA Stewart, MBA, RD

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