Celiac Diet Plan: 5 Day Gluten-Free Menu Plan

Celiac Diet Plan: 5 Day Gluten-Free Menu Plan

Are you looking for a celiac diet plan? As someone with celiac disease, you have to adhere to a life-long gluten-free diet. Eating gluten-free can feel restrictive and overwhelming. However, you can still eat delicious foods while being completely gluten-free! In today’s article, I will share a 5-day celiac menu plan that is both nutritious and delicious. You can use this menu as a great starting point for creating your own celiac diet plan.  Keep reading to learn more and make sure to save this post to reference later! Do you struggle with prediabetes on top of celiac disease? If so- check out this article on how to eat if you’re prediabetic  

What is a Celiac Diet Plan?

Celiac diet plan A celiac diet plan is a meal plan for someone with celiac disease. Patients with celiac disease must avoid gluten, the protein in wheat, barley, and rye.  Creating a diet plan can help patients with celiac stay on track with their health goals and ensure they’re eating the right balance of nutrients.  Without a diet plan, you may be tempted to eat unhealthy foods that could lead to unwanted weight gain and other health concerns.  Further, patients with celiac are at a greater risk for nutrient deficiencies due to digestive tract damage. Because of this, you’ll want to eat a diet primarily of nutrient-dense, whole foods.   

How to Make a Celiac Diet Plan

When creating your celiac diet plan, it’s essential to create a balanced plan highlighting the major food groups. This will help ensure you get the proper nutrients needed to thrive on a gluten-free diet. The primary food groups include carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats. For a complete list of celiac-approved foods, check out this blog! Additionally, you’ll want to remember other dietary restrictions and sensitivities you may have.  For example, people struggling with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) on top of celiac disease may be sensitive to other foods, such as dairy or foods high in FODMAPs.  After creating your meal plan, you can add the ingredients to a grocery list and post the meal plan somewhere you can see it daily, such as on your fridge.  Don’t be afraid to get creative in the kitchen with your menu! Gluten-free eating doesn’t have to be boring. Experiment with different flavors and foods to find what you like. If designing a celiac diet plan feels overwhelming, book an appointment with a registered dietitian (like me!) who can help you create a plan that’s right for you.  

5-Day Gluten-Free Menu

Celiac diet plan Feel free to modify this menu based on your dietary preferences and restrictions. 

Day #1

Breakfast: Egg Bites, Gluten-Free Toast, and Fruit Salad
  • Egg bites made with scrambled egg, spinach, and red pepper with a slice of gluten-free toast.
  • Side of chopped fruit salad.
Lunch: Grilled Chicken Salad
  • Grilled chicken salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, olives, and a homemade olive oil and lemon dressing.
Snack: Veggies and Hummus
  • Cut up vegetables such as carrots and celery with a side of hummus. 
Dinner: Quinoa and Vegetable Stir-Fry
  • Quinoa and vegetable stir-fry with tofu or grilled shrimp.
  • Steamed broccoli on the side.
  Dessert: Strawberry Yogurt Bark In a large pan with parchment paper lined on it, spread out the following mixture of ingredients onto it and place in the freezer:
  • 3 cups whole milk plain Greek yogurt 
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • ½ cup sliced strawberries 
  • Cut into pieces or crack when frozen.

Day #2

Breakfast: Chia Seed Pudding and Fruit
  • Chia seed pudding made with almond milk, topped with sliced strawberries (or other fruit of choice), and coconut flakes or gluten-free granola. 
  • A side of turkey sausage or bacon (ensure it’s gluten-free).
Lunch: Lentil and Vegetable Soup
  • Lentil and vegetable soup (ensure all ingredients are gluten-free).
  • Gluten-free crackers on the side.
Snack: Avocado Rice Cakes
  • Wild rice cakes topped with mashed avocado and red pepper flakes.
Dinner: Grilled Salmon and Veggies
  • Grilled salmon with roasted sweet potatoes and green beans.
Dessert: Leftover Strawberry Bark
  • Leftover strawberry bark. 

Day #3

Breakfast: Mixed Berry Smoothie Bowl
  • Smoothie bowl made with mixed berries, spinach, almond milk, and topped with gluten-free granola and sliced banana.
Lunch: Fish Tacos
  • Grilled white fish with cabbage mix and corn tortillas.
  • Side of brown rice and black beans.
Snack: Homemade Trail Mix
  • Homemade trail mix with nuts and dried fruit. 
Dinner: Cauliflower Pizza 
  • 2 slices of cauliflower pizza. 
  • Side salad with homemade lemon vinegarette. 
Dessert: Stuffed Date Bites
  • Dates stuffed with almond or peanut butter, topped with sea salt and coconut flakes.

Day #4

Breakfast: Avocado Toast
  • Gluten-free toast topped with mashed avocado and poached eggs.
  • A side of fresh fruit salad.
Lunch: Turkey Avocado Wrap 
  • Turkey, avocado, lettuce, and feta cheese wrapped in gluten-free tortillas.
  • Side salad with a gluten-free vinaigrette dressing.
Snack: Peanut Butter Energy Balls In a large bowl, combine the following together, mix, and roll into balls: 
  • 2 cups Rolled oats (must be labeled gluten-free!)
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter or other favorite nut butter 
  • ½ cup honey 
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips 
  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Dinner:  Steak and Potatoes
  • Grilled steak with roasted potatoes and asparagus.
Dessert:  Fruit Sorbet
  • Your favorite fruit sorbet! 

Day #5

Breakfast: Gluten-Free Pancakes
  • Gluten-free pancakes made with almond flour (or you can use a pre-packaged mix), topped with maple syrup and fresh fruit.
  • A side of scrambled eggs.
Lunch: Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad
  • Spinach and goat cheese salad with walnuts, dried cranberries, and a balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Grilled chicken or turkey breast on top. 
Snack: Tropical Green Smoothie
  • Frozen mango, kale, chia seeds, ½ banana, blended with almond milk. 
  • Optional: add vanilla protein powder of choice (double-check that it’s gluten-free).
Dinner: Chicken or Vegetable Curry
  • Chicken or vegetable curry with coconut milk, served with gluten-free brown rice.
  • Steamed green beans on the side.
Dessert: Leftover Energy Balls
  • Leftover energy balls from yesterday!

Celiac Diet Plan: The Takeaway

I hope you can use this celiac diet plan as a guide for how to eat healthy with celiac disease.  Remember to incorporate a wide variety of whole foods to ensure you aren’t deficient in essential nutrients. Your diet doesn’t need to limit you!  If eating with celiac disease feels complex, I’m here to help! You don’t have to go through this alone.  Working with a registered dietitian to create a personalized menu and lifestyle plan can help you manage your condition and feel the best you’ve ever felt.  Schedule an appointment today to learn more about my nutrition counseling services. They may be 100% covered by your insurance company! Why wait when good health is right at your fingertips? Book a call today!
How Should I Eat If I Am Prediabetic?

How Should I Eat If I Am Prediabetic?

Are you wondering how should I eat if I am prediabetic?

If you have prediabetes, you may be curious about how your diet can help manage your blood sugar levels. 

Without a doubt, prediabetes rates are on the rise, and your diet and lifestyle habits have a direct correlation with the condition. 

Whether you have recently been diagnosed or want to understand more about maintaining optimal blood-glucose levels, these dietary recommendations can lead you in the right direction!

Can you reverse prediabetes with diet and exercise? Find out in my full blog post on the topic!


What is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a health condition where your blood sugar levels are higher than usual but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. 

Prediabetes is the stage before type 2 diabetes. Because of this, there is an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. 

To be diagnosed with prediabetes, you have either:

  • Fasting blood glucose level ranging somewhere between 100-125 mg/dL
  • A glucose level of 140 to 199 mg/dL measured 2 hours after a 75-g oral glucose load
  • Glycated hemoglobin level (HbA1C) of 5.7% to 6.4% or 6.0% to 6.4%

Prediabetes is a warning sign that individuals should start implementing healthier lifestyles, dietary choices, and activity levels to prevent any further progression of type 2 diabetes. 

That being said, diet and physical activity are first-line treatments for prediabetes!  


Understanding Prediabetes

More specifically, prediabetes is “impaired glucose metabolism,” meaning the body has difficulty regulating glucose (blood sugar) levels to stay in the normal blood sugar range (below 100 mg/dL). 

Next, prediabetes occurs because of insulin resistance and dysfunction of specific cells in your pancreas since these components are responsible for blood sugar regulation. 

So, what does this mean? Let’s break it down. 

  • Insulin Resistance: Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that is responsible for the adequate regulation of blood glucose by absorbing glucose from the bloodstream. In prediabetes, cells in the body become less responsive to the effects of insulin, so large concentrations of glucose continue to stay in the bloodstream. Even more, insulin resistance leads to type 2 diabetes.  
  • Pancreatic Beta Cells: The pancreas contains cells called “pancreatic beta cells.” These cells are responsible for producing insulin. For example, if these beta cells do not function properly, there could be low insulin levels and heightened blood glucose levels. 

Further, the combination of insulin resistance and beta cell issues can lead to prediabetes. 

You may be wondering, what can lead to insulin resistance? 


  1. Genetics: Insulin resistance can be genetic, making someone more susceptible to prediabetes from birth, even with healthy lifestyle habits. 
  2. Physical Inactivity: Physical activity supports insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism. A lack of physical activity is a significant risk factor for insulin resistance. 
  3. Dietary Choices: Next, diets contributing to inflammation and obesity are risk factors for prediabetes. Food choices high in refined carbohydrates, sugars, saturated fats, high-fat meats, and processed foods can lead to insulin resistance. Further, the diet is a lifestyle intervention that plays a crucial role in prediabetes.
  4. Aging: Over time, insulin resistance naturally begins to occur. Other factors like diet and exercise status can progress this natural occurrence.  
  5. Obesity: Obesity is a major risk factor for prediabetes, as excess fat correlates with insulin resistance. Fat, also called adipose tissue, releases adipokines, which can corrupt insulin’s glucose regulation. 


How Should I Eat If I Am Prediabetic?

How should I eat if I am prediabetic

First off, healthy diet choices are crucial for managing prediabetes and reducing the risk of progressing to type 2 diabetes. 

Here are some general dietary guidelines important for those with prediabetes:


Increase Intake of nutrient-dense foods like:

  • Non-Starchy Vegetables
    • Leafy greens 
    • Broccoli 
    • Cauliflower 
    • Brussels sprouts 
    • Bell peppers 
    • Cucumbers 
    • Tomatoes 
  • Whole Grains 
    • Quinoa 
    • Brown rice
    • Oats 
    • Barley 
  • Lean Protein Sources
    • Chicken, Turkey 
    • Fish 
    • Lean cuts of beef or pork 
    • Tofu and tempeh 
    • Legumes (lentils, chickpeas, and black beans)
  • Healthy Fats 
    • Avocados 
    • Nuts & seeds 
    • Fish 
  • Fruit 
  • Dairy or dairy alternatives 
    • Skim or low-fat milk 
    • Soy milk 
    • Almond milk 
  • Water: continue to stay well-hydrated with non-sugar drinks like water, infused water, or herbal teas. 
  • Increase high-fiber foods 
    • Lentils
    • Chia seeds
    • Flax seeds
    • Whole fruits and vegetables 


Foods to limit with prediabetes:

  • Refined carbohydrates 
    • White bread
    • White rice 
    • Cereals 
    • Pastries 
  • Sugary foods and beverages 
    • Soda 
    • Candy 
  • Processed and pre-packaged foods 
  • High-fat meats: high-fat meats are generally high in added sugars, refined carbohydrates, sodium, and saturated fats.  
    • Packaged snack foods 
    • Fast-food meals 
    • Instant noodles or pre-packaged noodles 
    • Sugary beverages 
  • Excessive alcohol intake 

Furthermore, keeping track of what works best for you is essential, too! 


How Do I Prevent Blood Sugar Spikes?

Here are a few dietary tips that may help monitor glucose spikes:

Dietitian Tip #1: 

Skipping meals may cause unstable blood-glucose levels. 

Stay on a semi-structured eating pattern to support regular eating habits for blood sugar control. This schedule can be personal and unique to you. Additionally, keeping a food journal can allow you to create the best meal schedule for you!

Dietitian Tip #2: 

Portion control can aid in regulating blood sugar levels by being mindful of how much food you eat during meals or snacking. 

If you want to control portions, it is crucial to be mindful of hunger cues, have balanced portion sizes, and decrease overeating. 

Even further, overeating can cause immense glucose spikes, leading to even greater insulin sensitivity or more complicated health concerns. 

Avoiding distractions while eating can help you to stay more mindful of feelings of fullness or satiety. 


Professional Support for Managing Prediabetes

How should I eat if I'm prediabetic

Having personalized care from a healthcare professional can make a massive difference in blood-glucose management! 

Primary care physicians and registered dietitians help those with prediabetes find the best plan in prediabetes care. 

In addition, meal plans, lifestyle modification goals like diet and exercise habits, and medications are some examples of how healthcare professionals can support those with prediabetes. 

Have more questions about prediabetes, prevention, and access to nutrition support?  

Head over to my services page to learn more about my 1:1 premium nutrition services with an expert diabetes dietitian to make prediabetes management less stressful!

Lastly, your visit may be 100% covered by your insurance. That’s right- you can see me for little to no payment on your part. Find out more here!


How Should I Eat If I Am Prediabetic: Takeaways

Overall, lifestyle modifications, including keeping a healthy diet, having regular exercise, and appropriate weight management techniques as needed, are crucial for preventing and managing insulin resistance. 

I hope this article answers your question about how should I eat if I am prediabetic. 

For someone with prediabetes, whole grains, non-starchy vegetables, whole fruits,  healthy fats, lean proteins, fish, and legumes are great dietary choices for blood-sugar maintenance and care. 

Remember, food is medicine! Working with a healthcare professional such as a registered dietitian near you can ensure optimal strategies are being implemented for unique and personal care. 

All in all, prediabetes is absolutely manageable with support and personal dedication to healthier lifestyle habits. 

Can Celiac Disease Cause Weight Gain + Gluten-Free Recipes Inside!

Can Celiac Disease Cause Weight Gain + Gluten-Free Recipes Inside!

Can Celiac Disease cause weight gain? Let’s find out. 

Celiac disease is a gastrointestinal (GI) disease with rising rates of diagnosis. If you have Celiac, you may feel overwhelmed and confused with your diet and how to make sure you’re supporting your body correctly. 

The only natural and effective treatment for Celiac is to be on a strict exclusion of gluten for life or a gluten-free diet (GFD). 

Even though a GFD is a super effective and safe treatment, it often poses lots of challenges in day-to-day life and can contribute to mental and physical health concerns. 

Not to mention that depending on the age of diagnosis and other medical conditions, patients with Celiac can suffer from GI symptoms, nutrient deficiencies, and unwanted weight gain. 

In today’s article, I will discuss the question, Can celiac disease cause weight gain? Keep reading for a registered dietitian’s perspective on this topic.


What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune condition where the consumption of gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, is the main trigger.

If someone with Celiac consumes gluten, their immune system attacks the lining of the small intestine, which can lead to severe inflammation and damage. 

What damage can happen? 

Since the stomach finds gluten a “foreign invader”, the body’s immune system will begin producing antibodies to fight this invader. 

In the process of fighting the gluten, other healthy bodily cells in the small intestine called “villi” are affected. 

The villi are responsible for adequate nutrient absorption; thus, malabsorption of essential nutrients can be a concern for Celiac patients. 


How is Celiac Disease Diagnosed?

Though Celiac rates are rising, there are still many individuals with Celiac Disease who are undiagnosed. 

Celiac can affect individuals in different ways and at different points in their life. Some begin to have symptoms as children, while others only as adults. 

Symptoms vary from individual to individual, but some common symptoms of Celiac include: 

  • Constant chronic diarrhea or constipation 
  • Weight loss 
  • Gas 
  • Unexplained low blood count (anemia) and feelings of fatigue due to this
  • Infertility 
  • Early osteoporosis of fractures
  • Stomach pain or bloating consistently 
  • Painful, itchy skin rash 
  • Muscle cramps, bone pain

Celiac Disease is not the easiest to diagnose since many of the common symptoms can be symptoms for other diseases like Crohn’s, IBS, or intestinal infections. 

A blood test is available for Celiac to see if particular antibodies are present in the blood. These antibodies would be present if the individual consumes gluten and the immune system elicits antibodies to respond to the invader. 

For most children and adults, the best test to take as step one is the Tissue Transglutaminase IgA antibody (tTG-IgA) Test

All Celiac testing requires the individual to eat gluten for some time before the test for there to be antibodies present from the autoimmune response. 

Other testing options include but are not limited to:

  • IgA Endomysial antibody (EMA): This test is the most specific test for Celiac, but it is not as sensitive as the tTG-IgA test. 
  • Total Serum IgA: A false negative tTG-IgA or a false EMA test is possible if you are someone with an IgA deficiency, and this is the test that is utilized for this situation. 
  • Deamidates gliadin peptide (DGP IgA and IgG): This screening type is to test further for Celiac in individuals with IgA deficiency (this affects 2-3% of patients with Celiac or those who test negative falsely for tTg or EMA). 
  • Video capsule endoscopy (VCE): This method is used more primarily with complications linked with Celiac. 
  • Intestinal fatty acid binding protein (I-FABP): If there is any damage in the small intestine, this binding protein could indicate unintentional gluten intake.
  • Genetic Testing: Celiac disease is highly genetic, thus genetic testing can be done to indicate whether specific genes are present which are associated with Celiac. 


What are the Symptoms of Celiac Disease?

Common symptoms to be on the look out for: 

  • Constant chronic diarrhea or constipation 
  • Weight loss or gain 
  • Gas 
  • Unexplained low blood count (anemia) and feelings of fatigue due to this
  • Infertility 
  • Early osteoporosis of fractures
  • Stomach pain or bloating consistently 
  • Painful, itchy skin rash 
  • Muscle cramps, bone pain


Can Celiac Disease Cause Weight Gain?

Weight gain is a common symptom of untreated Celiac due to severe malabsorption in your small intestine. 

Your immune system starts to attack your intestinal villi. These are the guys are responsible for nutrient absorption. Once they get damaged, there is a lack of absorption of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. 

But can Celiac disease cause weight gain?

At the beginning of a diagnosis, weight loss can actually occur because the small intestine needs to heal from the damage.

However, when the small intestine is finally more healed, weight normalization or weight gain may occur. 

If your weight gain continues, other health concerns like heart disease or high blood pressure could be a concern. 

Another reason for weight gain is that people often turn to “gluten-free junk foods” instead of fresh and non-processed gluten-free options. 

Processed gluten-free foods can still be high in sugar, fat, and calories. With the increased awareness of Celiac, more healthy options are becoming readily available to the public. Which is amazing!

Speaking with a registered dietitian regarding any weight gain concerns could help determine further treatment strategies. 

For healthful gluten-free snacks and meal examples that can help with increased weight gain, keep reading!


Diet + Lifestyle With Celiac

Can celiac disease cause weight gain

Living with Celiac Disease can present lots of challenges like having to give up tasty foods, reducing the risk of potential cross-contamination, uncovering hidden sources of gluten, and having frustrating social dining experiences. 

Giving up gluten is HARD- trust me, I understand. Having to give up foods like bread, cake, beer, cereals, fries, and pasta is no easy feat. But, having a fulfilling life with tasty gluten-free foods is very possible with Celiac, I can assure you!  

So, what are gluten-free fresh food options that are a part of a healthy diet and can support weight loss?

  • Fruits and vegetables 
  • Beans, seeds, legumes, and nuts in their unprocessed forms
  • Eggs
  • Lean and unprocessed meats, fish, and poultry 
  • Most low-fat dairy products 
  • Grains like amaranth, buckwheat, flax, gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean), quinoa, and rice. 

The best combination for a GFD is naturally gluten-free foods and certified processed gluten-free products. 

It is important to note that when you are buying processed foods, you need to make sure to read the labels to see if they include gluten-free on the label, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Association (FDA). 

What foods to avoid (unless any of these are ever labeled gluten-free via the FDA): 

  • Foods with wheat, barley, and rye
  • Beer, ale, porter
  • Breads
  • Bulgar wheat 
  • Cakes and pies 
  • Candies 
  • Cereals 
  • cookies /crackers 
  • Pastas
  • French fries
  • Croutons
  • Salad dressings 
  • Soups and soup mixes
  • Hot dogs and other unprocessed meats 
  • Some prescription and over-the-counter medications may use wheat or gluten, so discussing with your doctor and pharmacist about your gluten-free needs is recommended. 


Not eating gluten is necessary to treat Celiac in addition to avoiding cross-contamination at home and in restaurants. 

To ensure cross-contamination does not occur, store your gluten-free products in a different area from products and foods containing gluten and clean surfaces very often. 

For example, you can purchase a separate toaster for cooking gluten-free bread or perhaps utilize the oven instead. 

If you are worried about cross-contamination at a restaurant, mention to your waitress about your condition so that extra precautions can be taken into consideration in the kitchen. 


Healthy Meal and Snack Ideas for Celiacs

Are you worried you won’t be able to enjoy tasty food again as a Celiac? 

Don’t worry, here are some fantastic ideas to add to your routine to relieve the sweet or savory tooth!

Snack Ideas:

Peanut Butter Energy Balls (you can alter this recipe to fit different flavors!)

In a large bowl, combine the following together, mix, and roll into balls: 

  • 2 cups Rolled oats (must be labeled gluten-free!)
  • 1 cup natural peanut butter or other favorite nut butter 
  • ½ cup honey 
  • ¼ cup mini chocolate chips 
  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut 

Strawberry Greek Yogurt Bark

In a large pan with parchment paper lined on it, spread out the following mixture of ingredients onto it and place in the freezer:

  • 3 cups whole milk plain Greek yogurt 
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  • ½ cup sliced strawberries 

Cut into pieces or crack when frozen. 


Easy gluten-free meal options:

  1. Stuffed Peppers (saw delish for inspiration)

What you need: 

  • ½ cup uncooked white or brown rice 
  • 2 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped 
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste 
  • 1lb ground beef (can use other meats for this recipe as well)
  • 1.5 tsp dried oregano 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 bell peppers (remove the tips and cores 
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese (or desired cheese)
  • Chopped parsley 

How to: 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and in a small saucepan, prepare rice according to the instructions.
  • In a large saucepan, heat up olive oil and add in the onion. Cook the onion until soft. Add the garlic with tomato paste and stir. Immediately add the beef and stir with a wooden spoon. 
  • Stir in the cooked rice and tomatoes with the spices. Stir occasionally for 5-1- minutes. 
  • On a baking pan, line the bell peppers on a baking pan and fill with the beef mix. Top the peppers with desired cheese. 
  • Cover the dish with foil and bake the peppers for 35 minutes. 
  • Top with parsley for extra flavor and color!

Cauliflower Pizza

What you need :

  • 1 large head of cauliflower (chopped and steamed)
  • 1 egg 
  • 2 cups shredded cheese 
  • ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese 
  • ½ cup marinara 
  • 2 cloves garlic 
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes chopped into halves 
  • Fresh basil and balsamic glaze 

How to:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees 
  • To make the cauliflower crust, combine steam cauliflower in a food processor. Drain the water from this and add the drained cauliflower to the bowl 
  • Smash the cauliflower in the bowl, and add your egg, mozzarella cheese, parmesan, salt and pepper 
  • Using a  9×13 inch pan, spray cooking oil and shape the cauliflower mixture into a large circle
  • Place the crust in the oven on 425 degrees and bake for 20 minutes 
  • Take the pizza out and spread the marinara around the crust
  • Add more mozzarella, garlic, tomatoes, and parmesan, and bake for ten more minutes
  • Take the pizza out, add basil, and then drizzle the balsamic glaze for even more taste!
  • Enjoy 


The Takeaways

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune condition where gluten is the primary trigger, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. 

I know this may seem a bit overwhelming- living with Celiac has challenges due to not being able to eat gluten. 

But, with a diet and lifestyle plan in place that works best for you, Celiac is manageable!

Be sure to try some gluten-free snacks and meals I mentioned above to understand how tasty gluten-free food can be.

Working with a Dietitian can make this transition to a gluten-free diet smooth and less stressful. 

If you want more information on managing celiac disease, head over to my services page to learn more about my 1:1 premium nutrition services. I can help you take charge of your health and prevent unwanted weight gain with Celiac disease. 


Why Weight Loss with Diabetes: Ask the RD

Why Weight Loss with Diabetes: Ask the RD

Are you wondering why weight loss with diabetes?

Diabetes rates are rapidly increasing throughout the United States, with an astounding increase to approximately 37.3 million, or 11.3% of the U.S. population, diagnosed nationwide. 

It is likely that you or someone you know is dealing with diabetes. The condition can be overwhelming and frustrating, leading to unwanted symptoms such as weight gain. 

With the right diet and lifestyle habits, you can promote sustainable weight loss and keep your diabetes under control. 

In today’s article, I will be discussing the risk factors for diabetes, the different types of diabetes, and what habits you can implement to lose weight effectively. Keep reading to learn more!

If you haven’t already, make sure to check out my blog on how to reverse prediabetes with diet and exercise!


Why is Diabetes on the Rise?

There are many factors which contribute to the rise in diabetes rates. Some include but are not limited to:

  • Lifestyle Changes: Dietary and fitness habits have altered due to increases in sedentary lifestyle and remote jobs.
  • Aging Population: Diabetes largely affects older adults, and with a current large population of aging adults, the rates inevitably increase. 
  • Genetics: Genetic mutations that alter insulin affectability can be a factor in the diagnosis.  
  • Environmental Factors: Though not many people know this, factors such as chemicals, pollutants, and even developmental infrastructure  (access to nutritional food options and local produce) can affect rates for diabetes. 
  • Improvements in Screening and Diagnosis: Medical advances allow screening and diagnosis to be more effective, and thus, more people will be accurately assessed for diabetes.
  • Access to Healthcare: Lack of access to healthcare can lead to late diagnoses. 
  • Lack of Education: Lack of nutrition education and emphasis on the importance of physical movement for at least 30 minutes a day can increase rates of diabetes.

More in particular, diabetes rates are on the rise in correlation with an increase in the number of people who are overweight. This correlation strongly suggests that weight loss is an important step in healing and improving insulin resistance! 


What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic (or long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body is able to turn food into energy.  

Diabetes is characterized by heightened levels of blood glucose (sugar) in the body. There are elevated levels of insulin in the body when our pancreas does two things. It either does not produce enough insulin (a hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar) or cannot utilize the insulin effectively. 

Without enough insulin or insulin responsiveness in the body, glucose (blood sugar) from food is not shuttled into our muscle, fat, and liver cells. 

Blood glucose, instead, will just build up and heighten blood glucose levels, which is not beneficial to our health and longevity. 

There are two types of Diabetes:

Type I Diabetes: Type I, or Juvenile Diabetes, is an autoimmune disease. Essentially, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the insulin-producing beta cells, leaving the body with no insulin. Without insulin, blood glucose is not adequately regulated. 

Age of Onset: Usually, children, adolescents, and younger adults are diagnosed with Type I. Type I can be diagnosed at any age, however. 

Insulin Dependency: People with Type I Diabetes need lifelong insulin therapy in order to regulate blood sugar levels. They would use insulin pumps or insulin injections for regulation. 

Type II Diabetes:  Type II Diabetes is insulin resistance, as the pancreas produces insulin, but the body does not recognize that it is there and thus is not being used effectively to regulate blood sugar levels. 

Age of Onset: Typically, those diagnosed with Type II Diabetes are adults, but more children are being diagnosed with Type II due to rates of obesity continuously rising. 

Insulin Dependence: Some individuals will require oral medication or insulin injections, but since Type II Diabetes can be reversed, treatment is different from Type I. Next, in Type II, lifestyle modifications such as increased exercise and or dietary changes are highly beneficial. They are of utmost importance in further escalation of the condition. 


What is the Connection Between Weight Loss and Diabetes

Why weight loss with diabetes

Exercise is usually recommended to live a healthy lifestyle for any individual. However, those diagnosed with Prediabetes or Type II diabetes can benefit significantly from lifestyle modifications. Modifications may include adequate exercise, healthy weight loss, and changes in dietary choices.

Additionally, weight loss is a common treatment plan for those diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. This is especially true if they are overweight or considered obese according to BMI standards. 

In fact, weight loss via lifestyle modifications is the first-line therapy for Type II diabetes! 


So… Why Weight Loss with Diabetes?

You may be wondering why weight loss with diabetes? 

Here are some reasons why weight loss is beneficial to managing, preventing onset, or reversing Type II Diabetes: 

  • Helps Manage Blood Sugar Levels: Getting active makes your body more sensitive to insulin, which can help someone diagnosed with Type II diabetes regulate blood sugar levels. Remember, the goal in reversing Type II is to allow your body to be more insulin sensitive, or in other words, be able to recognize insulin is present and thus utilize it effectively!
  • Lowers Risk of Other Health Complications or Diagnosis: Weight loss can reduce one’s risk of having correlating conditions with Type II diabetes, such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney complications. Excess body weight is associated with a heightened risk of cardiometabolic complications. Further, this may lead to or escalate Type II diabetes. 
  • Improved Energy Levels: Individuals consistently exercising and eating more nutrient-dense foods tend to have improved levels of energy, which will continue to be a motivating factor in regular exercise or frequent movement. 
  • Reduction of Excess Fat: If there is an increase in circulating blood sugar, the sugar is stored as fat. Excess fat builds in the liver due to a sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise, and or dietary inadequacy. If this happens, the body lacks sensitivity to insulin. Then, this can lead to rises in blood glucose levels! Studies, therefore, have consistently shown excess fat in the liver and pancreas are huge factors in the onset of Type II diabetes.


Weight Fluctuations and Diabetes

Some individuals with diabetes struggle with consistent weight fluctuations. 

The most common treatment for diabetes beyond lifestyle modifications is insulin modifications or injections. These, unfortunately, often cause weight fluctuations. 

Even further, individuals taking insulin may gain weight. In a population where weight loss is beneficial, this cycle can be very frustrating. 

The good news is there are ways to manage weight fluctuations while on insulin!

  1. Stay physically active! Movement is going to be beneficial to your health by aiding the effectiveness of your insulin hormones to regulate your blood sugar levels. You can always adjust workout regimens or types of movement depending on what feels good to YOU. 
  2. Don’t skip meals. If you skip meals, your blood sugar will drop significantly and then significantly rise the next meal you ingest. Stay on a consistent dietary routine to allow your body to adjust to blood sugar levels. 
  3. Talk with your provider (PCP or Dietitian) about medications. Do not increase or reduce your insulin in order to stop weight loss or weight gain. Take insulin as directed, but feel free to discuss possible changes in medications with your providers. 

A lot of information, I know. However, the most important thing to keep in mind is that weight loss is not a magical cure for diabetes, and health improvements from it may take time to surface. 

Additionally, FAD Diets (a dietary plan that supposedly gives immediate positive results) are not long-term solutions for weight loss since most fad diets are not maintainable. 

Think about long-term, maintainable lifestyle changes you can make that work well for your routine and allow you to manage your diabetes and overall health. 


5 Tips to Support Sustainable Weight Loss

Why weight loss with diabetes

Every individual is different in terms of what routines or lifestyle modifications can work best for them. 

Below are a few ideas on how you can begin making a sustainable weight loss regimen:

  1. Meal prep nutritious foods in advance. Having to cook every meal one at a time on a daily basis can be difficult to maintain throughout the week. By meal-prepping in advance, eating healthy can be easier! Find nutrient-dense, low glycemic index foods to integrate into your weekly dietary routine. Then, prepare snacks and meals with these foods before the week begins. 
  2. Increase your daily steps. If you have a break in the day, getting outside for a quick walk can help increase activity levels as well as give a mental refresh. 
  3. Manage stress levels, as stress is associated with weight gain. Stress causes our bodies to produce and elicit a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol, when released, urges our body to replenish energy stores by eating more! Thus, stress can cause weight gain. Some ways to manage stress and decrease vulnerability to weight gain include journaling, Yoga, meditation, going on walks, painting or drawing, having a self-care night, getting together with friends, etc. 
  4. Prioritize high-volume, low-calorie foods. Fruits and vegetables are great examples of foods to integrate more of! Examples include cucumbers, watermelon, greens, and whole-grain items like quinoa and brown rice. 
  5. Try keeping a food journal. By keeping track of the foods you eat throughout the day, you can have greater control over changing habits that contribute to weight gain. Further, being in a calorie deficit is an important part of weight loss. Tracking calories will make weight loss an easier goal to meet. 


Why Weight Loss With Diabetes: The Takeaways

All in all, this information may feel a little overwhelming to you, but focusing on the key points made can hopefully help pull it all together!

Diabetes is a chronic (or long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body is able to turn food into energy. 

There are two types of diabetes: Type I and Type II Diabetes. 

  • Type I is an autoimmune disease typically resulting from genetic or environmental factors and diagnosed at a younger age. 
  • Type II Diabetes is typically a result of inadequate exercise and lifestyle routines or dietary patterns and is usually diagnosed in adults. Remember, the goal in reversing Type II is to allow your body to be more insulin-sensitive. In other words, be able to recognize insulin is present and thus utilize it effectively. Further, every person is different in terms of what routines are sustainable for healthy weight loss. Some tips for maintainable weight loss include:
  • Meal prep nutritious foods in advance. 
  • Increase your daily steps. 
  • Manage stress levels, as stress is associated with weight gain. 
  • Prioritize high-volume, low-calorie foods.
  • Try keeping a food journal. 

Overall, you know your body best, and by speaking with your care providers, you can create an individualized approach for a healthier life. 

If you want more information on how to manage diabetes or prevent the onset of Type II diabetes, head over to my services page to learn about my 1:1 premium nutrition counseling services! There is no better time to invest in you and your health. 

What Foods Trigger IBS: Ask the Dietitian

What Foods Trigger IBS: Ask the Dietitian

Have you been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or feel like you may have IBS? If so, you may be curious about what foods trigger IBS.

Understanding how diet affects IBS symptoms can help you regulate your abdominal discomfort and your overall health! 

Trust me, I know that IBS can be an extremely frustrating and overwhelming condition. The symptoms can start to greatly impact your quality of life and time with friends and family.

In today’s article, I will be diving into the basics of IBS, including symptoms and diagnosis criteria. Then, I will share my best tips for treating and managing IBS as a specialized dietitian. 

Are you dealing with prediabetes or high blood sugar on top of gut health issues? If so, then make sure to check out my latest blog on how to reverse prediabetes with diet and exercise!

What is IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS, is a chronic functional gastrointestinal disorder that causes altered bowel states and abdominal discomfort or pain. 

IBS affects approximately 20% of the general population, with women being twice as likely to report symptoms. 

There are four different subtypes of IBS, depending on your symptoms: 

  • IBS with constipation (IBS-C)
  • IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D)
  • IBS with a combination of constipation and diarrhea
  • Unclassified IBS

While IBS can significantly affect the quality of one’s life, the causes are still widely unknown. However, a large amount of research supports the connection between diet, mental health, lifestyle, and environmental factors with IBS. 

As you can see, there’s absolutely hope for you and your management of the condition! 

What are the Symptoms of IBS?

This is a tricky question because everyone has different experiences and discomforts with IBS. Symptoms of IBS can vary per individual, so efficient care is a very personalized approach!

Common symptoms of IBS can include but aren’t limited to:

  • Abdominal pain & cramping
  • Bloating 
  • Gas
  • Altered GI function 
    • Constipation 
    • Diarrhea 
    • Both constipation and diarrhea 
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea 
  • An urgent need to defecate 

How is IBS Diagnosed?

There is no test to give a definitive diagnosis for IBS. 

However, doctors will review symptoms and past medical history and complete a physical exam to ensure you don’t have Celiac disease or Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), which both have similar symptoms. 

If your tests come back negative for Celiac Disease or IBD, you will then likely be assessed for IBS criteria to determine a diagnosis. 

  1. Rome Criteria
    1. Belly pain and discomfort at least once a week within the last three months 
    2. The pain and discomfort follow with defecation, a change in frequency of defecation, and/or a change in stool consistency. 
  2. Type of IBS
    1. IBS-C (constipation)
    2. IBS-D (diarrhea)
    3. Both constipation and diarrhea IBS
    4. Unclassified IBS

You may need to continue to receive additional testing and bloodwork before coming to a definitive diagnosis. 

What Role Does the Gut-Brain Connection Play In IBS?

What foods trigger IBS

In order to understand IBS and truly get to the root of the problem, understanding key physiology features is very helpful. 

One key component of IBS is the connection between your gut and brain, called the gut-brain axis. 

Your autonomic nervous system (ANS) is responsible for involuntary processes like heart rate, blood pressure, respiration (breathing), digestion, bodily fluid production, and more. The ANS has three subgroups: parasympathetic nervous system, sympathetic nervous system, and enteric nervous system.

I want to focus on the enteric nervous system (ENS) since it plays such a vital role in digestion and intestinal function. The ENS contains a whole network of neurons that line the entire GI tract, extending all the way up to the esophagus and down to the anus. 

Did you know the ENS is known as the “Second Brain” or the “Brain of the Gut”?

IBS is classified as a gut-brain interaction disorder because messages constantly go to and from the brain.

If any miscommunications are potentially due to anxiety or stress, your IBS symptoms can begin or worsen! 

Now that you’re more of an expert on the symptoms and causes of IBS, let’s talk about how we can treat IBS and have a healthy and happy gut. 

Treatment of IBS

What foods trigger IBS

Dietary changes are commonly made in order to reduce symptoms of IBS. 

Since food triggers vary from person to person with IBS, identifying personal food triggers can be a series of trial and error. 

How to identify your triggers:

  1. Keep a food journal! Write down what you eat during each meal, with a note on how you felt after. This can allow you to find common denominators and eliminate your triggers! 
  2. Be aware of common triggers so you are better prepared to make connections through your food journal. Remember that depending on which subtype of IBS you have been diagnosed with, different foods will trigger you. 

What Foods Trigger IBS?

Next, I will be discussing what foods trigger IBS. 

It is always best to work with an IBS dietitian before completing any type of elimination protocol on your own!

Common Triggers for IBS-C (constipation-predominant)

  • Breads and cereals made with refined grains 
  • Processed foods like cookies and cakes 
  • Coffee, alcohol, carbonated drinks 
  • Dairy products 

If you have IBS-C, you should instead focus on INCREASING

  • Fiber: Fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, and whole grains can help reduce gas and bloating and increase bowel motility.
  • Water: Drink plenty of water! If your body recognizes it is dehydrated, it will try to retain as much water as possible, and thus, your stool will have a much harder consistency. 
  • Prune Juice: Trust me when I say that prune juice is your best friend during constipation! Prune juice is high in sorbitol and fiber, making it a natural laxative.

Common Triggers for IBS-D (diarrhea predominant)

  • Too much fiber can cause diarrhea. There is fiber in the external skin of fruits like apples, prunes, kiwis, etc. Monitor how much your body can handle fiber since this is very individualized!
  • Coffee, alcohol, carbonated drinks, any caffeinated drinks 
  • Fried and fatty foods 
  • Dairy products, especially for lactose-intolerant folks 
  • Foods with wheat, especially for people who are gluten-sensitive 

If you have IBS-D, you should instead focus on :

  • Eat a moderate amount of fiber. Soluble fiber is better for IBS-D symptoms. Soluble fiber options include oats, peas, beans, citrus fruits, etc. 
  • Try to drink water an hour before and an hour after your meals instead of during your meals. 
  • Stick to lean proteins like chicken or eggs
  • Noodles, rice, and potatoes are a great option for neutral and diarrhea-safe foods!

Common IBS treatment options or strategies for most IBS patients include:

  • Reduce Cruciferous Vegetables: Cruciferous vegetables include cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, and collard greens. Cruciferous vegetables are high in sulfur and thus can increase IBS symptoms by increasing gas, bloating, and diarrhea. 
  • Try reducing very spicy foods. Some people are spice-sensitive and may have flare-ups as a result. 
  • Try to eat slower and more mindfully. Give your body the opportunity to digest at an adequate pace.
  • Get more exercise to reduce stress, improve bowel function, and reduce bloating. 
  • Increase Omega-3 Fats: Omega-3s are great for brain health, which, as you now know, correlates with the gut! Foods rich in Omega-3s include fish, seafood, flaxseed, chia seed, and walnuts.
  • Quality stress management – Have you ever had a “gut-wrenching” experience? Had “butterflies” in your stomach? Felt nauseous from a situation? These emotionally driven physical feelings are due to the brain’s direct effect on the stomach and intestines. It is also scientifically proven that the gut and brain connection is a two-way street, meaning a stressed gut can send signals to the brain and vice versa. Since the GI system and the brain are so intimately connected, stress-induced stimulation can cause symptom flare-ups in IBS!

Stress-management techniques like the ones listed below help maintain a healthy relationship between the gut and brain. 

  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Yoga 
  • Adequate sleep 
  • Therapy 
  • Guided imagery exercises
  • Do something fun as often as possible – read, hang out with friends, paint, color, shop, etc. 


Should You Follow a Low-FODMAP Diet?

A low-FODMAP diet is another treatment option that is available for IBS patients. 

“FODMAP” stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyphenols. Some people are highly sensitive to high-FODMAP foods. 

These short-chained carbohydrates don’t absorb well in the intestine and thus could potentially cause bloating and abdominal pain. 

High-FODMAP Foods Include:

  • Canned fruit 
  • Fruits such as apples, apricots, pears, plums, cherries, mangoes, watermelon
  • Large consumption of fruit juices at one time 
  • Wheat and rye products 
  • Dairy products 
  • Honey and foods high in high-fructose corn syrup 
  • Cruciferous vegetables, artichokes, asparagus, beans, garlic, mushrooms, onion, snow peas 


What Foods Trigger IBS: The Takeaways

What foods trigger IBS

I know this can be a lot to take in, as IBS is a very personalized diagnosis. Just know that the more you understand yourself and your triggers, the more you can regulate the discomfort. 

Here you go for those wanting a summary of the key points we discussed!

There are four different subtypes of IBS, depending on your symptoms: 

  • IBS with constipation (IBS-C)
  • IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D)
  • IBS with a combination of constipation and diarrhea
  • Unclassified IBS

Many individuals with IBS link their symptoms to dietary factors, making diet the central area of concern for symptom reduction. Identifying your food triggers is the first step. Next, eliminating triggers will alleviate the pain or discomfort. 

How to identify your triggers:

  1. Keep a food journal! 
  2. Be aware of common triggers so you are better prepared to make connections through your food journal.

Some dietitian-approved treatment options or strategies for most IBS patients include:

  • Reduce Cruciferous Vegetables
  • Try reducing very spicy foods
  • Eat slower 
  • Get more exercise 
  • Try following a low FODMAP diet 
  • Increase Omega-3 Fats
  • Quality stress-management

Looking for additional guidance and support with nutrition and IBS? Head over to my services page to learn more about my 1:1 premium nutrition counseling services. There is no better time to take charge of your IBS than now! 

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