July 27, 2012 I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and immediately switched to a Gluten-Free diet.
So what is Gluten?
It’s the stuff found in wheat that is activated or extracted when the plant is processed. And it is in MANY items other than bread, pasta, and “multi-grain” cereals. It is in ice cream, soy sauce, most SEASONING packets, not individual spices.
What is a Gluten-Free diet?
A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes foods containing gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat (including kamut and spelt), barley, rye, malts and triticale. It is used as a food additive in the form of a flavoring, stabilizing or thickening agent, often as “dextrin”. A gluten-free diet is the only medically accepted treatment for celiac disease and wheat allergy. (wiki)
And now, what is Celiac Disease?
The disease occurs when the body’s natural defense system reacts to gluten by attacking the lining of the small intestine. Without a healthy intestinal lining, the body cannot absorb the nutrients it needs. Nutrient deficiencies can result and may lead to conditions such as anemia and osteoporosis. Other serious health problems may include diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and intestinal cancers.
Some people don’t get immediate symptoms, but when they do, they are typically gastrointestinal-related, such as abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea. And some people do not have any symptoms at allbut still may have intestinal damage and risk for long-term complications. It is important for individuals with celiac disease, who may vary in their sensitivity to gluten, to discuss their dietary needs with their health care professional.
Thanks to changing food labelling regulations, finding foods that work with my body is getting easier. But even without the help from the FDA (Not the USDA….they do not have the same labelling regulations so beware with meat and dairy!), I know that the cleaner and closer I eat to the source, the less chances of getting a gluten contamination.
So how did all this start and how did I know it was gluten?
It’s definitely a work in progress. I had to learn to cook favorite recipes with new ingredients and at times, I really miss some “old” foods I enjoyed like take-out pizza and seasonal cupcakes. But I clearly remember the last few days of a 10 month battle with digestive issues. I actually consider myself fortunate in that my body CLEARLY lets me know that I’ve been contaminated and I have always been able to figure out the source and cross it (usually a restaurant food) off my list. Depending on the severity of the gluten, my symptoms may last for just a couple of hours the next morning or they may be so bad, it would require me to take a sick day from work. I think I can live without pizza and cupcakes and be satisfied with gluten-free versions 😉