Medically reviewed on Sept 20, 2023 by Jillian Foglesong Stabile, MD, FAAFP. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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Being diagnosed with celiac disease can have a big impact on your life and lifestyle. When you have celiac, foods that contain gluten can cause your body physical harm. 
The key characteristic of diets designed for people with celiac is that they’re gluten-free.  Certain sources of gluten, like wheat-based breads, are typically easier to eliminate. However, gluten may be “hidden” in other popular foods, like manufactured sauces or restaurant dishes. 
Knowing which foods may contain gluten is a crucial part of creating a diet plan that protects your health. If you want to make a celiac diet plan that suits your physical needs and palate, we’ll cover everything you need to know below.
Gluten-free diets are chiefly prescribed to patients with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.  A gluten-free diet is considered the single most effective treatment for treating celiac for three key reasons :
Celiac disease is a chronic autoimmune disorder that originates in the small intestine. With continued exposure to gluten, the villi of the small intestine can become damaged (villous atrophy). Villi are fine, finger-like structures that take in nutrients from food.
Villous atrophy can cause celiac patients to develop nutrient malabsorption, leading to various problems such as :
Gluten-free diets help to lower the risk of these issues by combatting small intestine damage.  Removing gluten also allows the small intestine time to recover and reverse existing damage. 
Symptoms associated with celiac disease are highly variable. However, there are several that can cause acute discomfort, including :
When celiac people eat a gluten-free diet, they may notice a reduction in digestive discomfort just a few days or weeks after starting. 
Apart from digestive symptoms, following a gluten-free diet can also reduce hidden symptoms of celiac disease. These may include :
With time and consistency, many celiac people find they recover or find relief from celiac arthritis, skin inflammation, and many other extra-intestinal symptoms. 
A variety of long-term health hazards are associated with Celiac disease. Although these vary from patient to patient, they tend to increase in severity the longer CD remains undiagnosed or untreated.
Specifically, adhering to a gluten-free diet can help reduce the risk of complications like :
If you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease, adhering to a gluten-free diet is the best thing you can do for your health.
That said, anyone can try a gluten-free diet. However, if you don’t have gluten sensitivity, you may not notice any benefits. Celiac diet plans may feel inordinately restrictive to people who don’t have the disorder.
By testing for gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, you can decide whether a celiac diet plan is right for you.
Gluten-free diet plans are elimination diets. Their primary purpose is to remove foods that contain gluten, which triggers an autoimmune response in people with celiac.
Three basic principles can help you get started :
Some common sources of “hidden” gluten include:
With that, designing a celiac diet plan begins with knowing which foods not to eat. After that, you can find enjoyable substitutions that won’t damage your body.
The most common source of gluten is found in products containing or made with wheat. You should also remove wheat derivatives from your diet. Some common examples include :
Learn more about a wheat allergy vs. celiac disease to seek proper treatment.
Gluten is also found in non-wheat grains, such as :
Removing the aforementioned ingredients is a solid start for forming a celiac diet plan. While several other grains contain gluten, these are less common.
Gluten and trace gluten can also be found in pre-formulated foods and products, some of which we’ll cover below. As a general rule, it’s important to read food labels carefully when starting a gluten-free diet. This can introduce you to sources of gluten that may not be obvious at first glance.
Starting a celiac-friendly meal plan can be a pleasurable process, letting you discover immune-friendly foods you didn’t know you liked. Many people with celiac find plenty of delicious, nourishing options to fill their plate with. Plus, removing gluten often means bidding goodbye to the painful digestive symptoms that came with it.
As a person with celiac, you can still enjoy many gluten-free grains as a source of carbohydrates. Some delicious ones to try include :
It’s often said that people with celiac disease can’t eat bread or pasta. However, this isn’t necessarily true: people with celiac should not consume bread, pasta, or other grains that contain gluten.
Today, there are many types of bread and pasta made with alternative gluten-free grains. Some popular options include:
Pastries and other baked goods can also be part of the equation on a celiac diet plan. You can try looking for a manufactured gluten-free brand at the supermarket or using gluten-free grains at home to make your favorites.
Most vegetables are safe to enjoy on a gluten-free diet. Just be careful to avoid preparation methods like :
These can introduce gluten to a food that wasn’t there naturally.
Fruits are also fair game on a gluten-free diet. But, like with vegetables, it’s important to watch for preparations like :
Like battering and frying, these methods can cause cross-contamination with gluten if you aren’t preparing them yourself.
Luckily, you can include as much fresh meat, fish, and plant-based proteins into your gluten-free diet as you’d like. Just be on the lookout for potential gluten cross-contamination with :
Many deli meats also contain hidden gluten.  If you’re unsure about certain cuts, be sure to ask a server or butcher whether their products are certified gluten-free.
Many celiac people can enjoy dairy products like cow’s milk and butter safely. However, while most dairy products are gluten-free, some people with celiac can’t eat them comfortably.8 This is because existing small intestine damage can cause lactose intolerance in some people. 
If you’re unsure about whether you can enjoy dairy, consult with your healthcare provider. They can tell you whether you may be lactose-intolerant. They can also tell you if you can eat dairy products once your small intestine has had time to heal.
Finding gluten-free beverages can be a slippery matter if you have celiac. Favorable non-alcoholic beverages include:
Just be sure that coffee beverages made with non-dairy milk are certified gluten-free.
If you drink alcohol, it’s important to know which beverages may contain gluten. These include :
Wine, cider, and distilled liquors are usually okay to enjoy on a gluten-free meal plan.
To complement your list of gluten-free ingredients, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the following Celiac diet plan guidelines. These ensure you create a diet that’s safe, delicious, and easier to stick to:
Although your celiac status may be difficult to adjust to, with an adventurous attitude, it’s possible to find delicious ways to take care of your health. Plus, you can start your new lifestyle habits clear-headed with the Everlywell Celiac Disease Screening Test.
Everlywell offers the convenience of home testing with CLIA-certified, physician-reviewed results. If you require further care or want to know if you may have silent celiac disease, Everlywell can even plug you into a vetted network of telehealth counselors who can guide you in creating a diet plan that works for you.
Find out more by browsing our collection of at-home nutritional health tests today.