Welcome back to my blog. Today I want to go more in depth about the Autoimmune disease myself and many others around the world live with everyday.
So What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac Disease is a genetic autoimmune disorder of the small intestines. IT IS NOT AN ALLERGY!
A person with Celiac Disease cannot digest gluten (we will discuss gluten in a bit). Gluten damages the microvilli of their small intestines. Microvilli are small hairlike structures that help with absorption of nutrients into the body. Damaging the small intestine can lead to many negative effects. I like to blame my lack of height on not going gluten free sooner, although probably not the real reason.
Some common symptoms of Celiac Disease include constipation, brain fog, diarrhea, pain, skin irritation/rashes and vomiting just to name a few. People with Celiac Disease are also at higher risks for other diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis as well as many others.
Unfortunately there is no cure for Celiac Disease. The only treatment option is to follow a gluten free diet.
So What is Gluten Exactly?
Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, rye and occasionally oats due to cross contamination. Unfortunately for us with Celiac gluten is pretty much everywhere. If you have ever eaten anything gluten free you can understand why, the gluten actually helps keep things together similar to a glue.
So What is Cross Contamination?
For someone with an allergy or food restrictions of any kind, cross contamination can be one of the scariest and most dangerous things.
Cross contamination is when a dish or food item is exposed to a food item that is not supposed to be in that dish. This can be through unwashed utensils or wooden utensils, not changing gloves, or putting the food item in the dish and fishing it out, toasters, etc. I’ve been in a two toaster household for a very long time now, and probably forever unless I find myself a gluten free boyfriend…Wouldn’t that make life easy.
After being gluten free for so long the only time I really encounter gluten is from cross contamination. This is very frustrating to me because I do not always want to cook for myself, I want the convenience of going out to eat, just like everyone else. And I am sure all others with food allergies and sensitivities feel the same way. I am accountable for my own health, but I think restaurants and restaurant owners should be held accountable for training their staff well enough to know that when someone says they cannot have something that they do not have to be afraid that they may accidentally ingest it.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you are having symptoms and you think you may have Celiac there are currently a few tests that can be done to confirm a Celiac Diagnosis. The first thing a doctor will more than likely order will be a blood test. This blood test has to be done while having gluten regularly in the diet, so do not eliminate it before getting the test. If the results suggest that you may have Celiac a biopsy of the small intestine would be the next step to confirm diagnosis. Again the only treatment is a strict gluten free diet. But to be honest in 2018 it is not as bad as it once was and there are plenty of resources out in the world of the interweb to help you. Example, bloggers like me, oh and Pinterest, Pinterest has lots of good recipes.
So What Can You Eat?
This is probably one of the first questions any Celiac will be asked after disclosing their diagnosis to a new person. When people hear you can’t have gluten they think of how you can’t have cake, pizza, and pasta. Well guess what, we Celiacs have those too, although they may taste a bit different than what someone who eats gluten may be used to.
Anyways, someone with Celiac still has plenty of options. Plants are great to eat, and good for you too! Most meats are safe you just may have to check processed meats, such as lunch meat, to make sure all the preservatives are gluten free. Rice and other non-wheat grains such as quinoa are all safe for consumption. Lastly some of the most common non-wheat flours include rice flour and nut flours, specifically almond flour.
Well that’s all for now friends.
Feel free to comment or message me if you want more information. Also my Celiac friends if I missed anything please comment so my readers can learn as much as possible.
Another good resource is the Celiac Disease Foundation website. https://celiac.org/. Here you can learn all about Celiac and current research going on regarding Celiac.