Follow a 100 percent gluten-free diet for best results.
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If you've recently started a gluten-free diet and you're wondering if it's doing any good, try tracking your symptoms and be patient. If you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, the protein gluten was causing adverse effects in your body. Sometimes you'll notice improvements in your health within a few weeks of starting a gluten-free diet, but sometimes it takes six to 18 months for the intestines to totally heal, according to The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center.1.
Follow a strict gluten-free diet. This can take a bit of discipline at first, but it's the only treatment for celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. Eating even a few crumbs of gluten may cause inflammation in your intestines and side effects in sensitive people.2.
Write down any symptoms or side effects you experience daily in your notebook. Examples include diarrhea, bloating, gas, headaches and pain. Also include details about your energy level, mood, weight, hunger and subtle aspects of your day-to-day health.3.
Review your health journal and note any changes or improvements. For example, you may find that you only get diarrhea a couple of times a week now, when two weeks ago you had it daily. This is a clear improvement in your condition. Perhaps you've noticed you feel more energetic in the morning or get frustrated less easily. These can also be indications that your diet changes are helping.4.
Continue tracking your health symptoms daily and reviewing your journal at least once a week. If you don't see any improvements or changes after a month of following a strict gluten-free diet, schedule an appointment with your health care provider to discuss the situation.
- A strict gluten-free diet involves avoiding all wheat, rye, barley, triticale and any ingredients derived from them. It may take you some time to learn which foods are safe to eat. During this adjustment period, if you're still eating a small amount of gluten, you may experience side effects. Note in your journal if you ate gluten or think you may have. This helps you correlate side effects with gluten intake.
- It's possible gluten caused you to experience nutrient deficiencies. Strive to eat a well-balanced gluten-free diet including plenty of whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, beans and gluten-free whole grains, to ensure you're getting an adequate amount of vitamins and minerals.