For people who have celiac disease, gluten creates an immune system reaction that causes damage to the villi of the small intestine. When this reaction happens the body cannot absorb nutrients properly, which can lead to a host of symptoms ranging from headaches, diarrhea, acid reflux, lactose intolerance, and abdominal pain and bloating to more significant signs of malnourishment manifested as weight loss, anemia, assorted autoimmune disorders, depression, joint pain and other malignancies.
Damage can be done to the small bowel when there are no symptoms.
According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (celiaccentral.org), 1 out of 133 people have celiac disease and nearly 3 million Americans are affected. Unfortunately 95% are undiagnosed.
While there is no cure for celiac disease, it can be treated by following a gluten-free diet. Most people’s health is restored once they completely eliminate gluten from their diet.
Certain grains are allowed on a gluten-free diet and certain grains must be avoided.
Grains allowed*: Corn, rice, soy, potato, tapioca, beans, garfava, sorghum, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, teff, amaranth, arrowroot, montina, flax and nut flours.
Grains not allowed*: Wheat (Einkorn, Durum, Faro, Graham, Kamut, Semolina, Spelt), rye, Barley and Triticale
Foods/products that may contain gluten*:
Beers, ales, lager
Breading & coating mixes
Brown rice syrup
Drugs & over the counter medications
Flour & cereals
Processed luncheon meats
Vitamins & mineral supplements
*Courtesy of Living Without Magazine.
I do not have celiac disease but am gluten intolerant therefore I follow a gluten-free diet. Some of my favorite products are: Bell & Evans’s gluten free chicken tenders, Lydia’s breads, Arico cookies, Mary’s gone crackers and Organicville dressings.
• Wheat free is not the same thing as gluten free.
• Don’t start a gluten-free diet before getting tested for the antibodies to gluten because it will affect your test results.
• Antibody tests are followed up by an endoscopy and biopsy.
• When in doubt about an ingredient, leave it out.
• When dining out always inform your server about gluten allergy before ordering.