Celiac Disease

What You Need to Know So You Don't Accidentally Kill Me

What is Celiac Disease?

According to the Mayo Clinic:

"Celiac disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. If you have celiac disease, eating gluten triggers an immune response in your small intestine. Over time, this reaction produces inflammation that damages the small intestine's lining and prevents absorption of some nutrients (malabsorption)."

Celiac Disease is NOT an allergy!

What is Gluten?

"Gluten is the major protein found in some grains. It is present in all forms of wheat (bulgur, durum, semolina, spelt, farro and more) as well as in barley, rye and triticale (a wheat-rye cross). But gluten can also turn up in unexpected places, like certain brands of chocolate, imitation crab (surimi), deli meats, soy sauce, vitamins and even some kinds of toothpaste. Gluten is different from protein in other grains (such as rice) and in meat (such as steak) in that it is difficult for humans to digest completely." (CNN)

For some reason, a lot of people think potatoes have gluten in them, this is NOT true.

A 100% gluten-free diet is the only existing treatment for Celiac today.

How many people have it?

An estimated 1 in 133 Americans, or about 1% of the population, has celiac disease. It is estimated that 83% of Americans who have celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions.

I was diagnosed at the age of 16.

6-10 years is the average time a person waits to be correctly diagnosed.

What happens if you eat gluten?

The intestinal damage caused by eating gluten can cause weight loss, bloating and sometimes diarrhea. Eventually, your brain, nervous system, bones, liver and other organs can be deprived of vital nourishment. Celiac disease can also lead to a number of other disorders including infertility, reduced bone density, neurological disorders, some cancers, and other autoimmune diseases.

Eating gluten can be so painful that sometimes I have to go to the hospital. The longer I go without eating it the worse the reaction is when I accidentally do.

Celiacs are so sensitive to gluten that even a small amount can make them very sick. Celiacs often fear "cross-contamination."

Celiac Disease and Depression

A "study found that Celiac Disease increased a patient's risk of subsequent depression. Moreover, patients with Celiac Disease were 1.8 times as likely to develop subsequent depression as those without the gastrointestinal disorder. Also, prior depression increased the risk of Celiac Disease at odds ratios of 2.3."

When we eat gluten, we can easily become depressed. Be very wary of cross contamination.

What do you eat?

Gluten free products are becoming more and more popular. Grocery stores are offering gluten free pastas and bread. Domino's offers a gluten free pizza at most of their franchises. I eat a lot of gluten free pasta and potatoes... and bacon... I love bacon.

It is not safe to assume that because something is gluten free, Celiacs will want to eat it. Personally, I hate Lima beans and brussel sprouts even if they are gluten free.