Guest Post: Getting proper nutrients on a gluten free diet

The following guest post is by Loreen Wales, RD of Revive Wellness:

If you’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease, you already know that you must cut wheat out of your diet. But
did you know that this can put you at risk of a having low levels of iron, B vitamins, vitamin D, calcium and folate?

All wheat flour (also known as "white flour", "enriched flour" or "enriched white flour") sold in Canada must be enriched with the addition of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid and iron. The addition of vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, magnesium and calcium is optional. However, mandatory fortification is not in place for non-wheat based flours.

Experts estimate 28-38% of our daily folic acid and iron come from fortified grains. By not eating these products, you increase your risk for being deficient in these nutrients. The solution is to pay attention to a few nutrients when planning your menu, and make sure you follow a balanced diet.

Iron: Heme iron which is easier for your body to absorb can be found naturally in meat, fish, seafood and poultry. Non-heme iron can be found in swiss chard, spinach, legumes, tofu, quinoa and molasses. To enhance the absorption of non-heme iron, add in some red pepper or some orange segments to your spinach salad. The high content of vitamin C will help increase the absorption.

B vitamins: The best sources of natural B vitamins include: meat, fish, chicken, dairy, eggs, legumes (beans and lentils), nuts, bananas (vitamin B6) and green leafy vegetables (Riboflavin-vitamin B2).

Vitamin D: can be found naturally in eggs and organ meats. Milk in Canada is also fortified with vitamin D. The best source of vitamin D comes 100% naturally from the sun. At the latitude we live, we are exposed to the proper UVB sunrays between March/April to October. When we are exposed to UVB sunrays outside without sun screen on we can synthesize vitamin D but during the winter months we need to rely on our diet and a supplement to meet our daily needs.

Folic acid: can be found in green leafy vegetables, nuts and bananas.

Calcium: dairy products or fortified soy, rice or almond milk are key sources of calcium.  Another great source of calcium is from canned salmon or sardines with bones. So next time you open up a can of salmon mash the bones up instead of throwing them away, you won’t even know they are there!

Fibre: Psyllium husks are a great source of soluble fibre which can help with lowering your bad (LDL) cholesterol, make you feel full longer, help regulate your blood sugar level as well as keep your bowels moving regularly. You can buy the husks in their raw form at the grocery store, often in the bulk section. I add it to homemade muffins, smoothies or sprinkle it on my yogurt or cereal. You will also find it in Metamucil®.

Here is an example of what a balanced diet can look like for someone with celiac disease.

◦ Gluten free (GF) muffin, peanut butter, yogurt, banana
◦ GF cold cereal sprinkled with psyllium husks, blueberries, almonds, milk
◦ GF crackers, hummus, raw vegetables, apple
◦ GF pasta with bolognaise sauce, salad
◦ Garden salad, Chili, cornbread, glass of milk, strawberries
◦ Spinach salad, Stir-fry beef, pork, chicken or tofu with vegetables, GF soy sauce, quinoa and toasted sesame seeds, glass of milk

I always tell anyone diagnosed with a disease that your greatest resource is a knowledgeable team of health care professionals. Seek out dietitians, doctors, nurses and other health care professionals with experience in dealing with celiac disease.

Together they can help support you in living healthy the celiac way. Please contact Revive Wellness Inc. if you need help planning your gluten-free diet or any other concern related to the disease.

Gluten Free Edmonton - A Celiac guide and resource for gluten free information in Edmonton, Alberta


  1. Mix different meals. It's up to you to come up with the right variant.

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