Celiac and Gluten Intolerance

Some people suffer from a disease called celiac disease, which impedes the digestion of gluten.

Individuals with celiac disease must eat foods that don’t contain gluten in order to prevent illness.

Gluten is a protein commonly found in rye, wheat, and barley.

Therefore, it is found in most types of cereals and in many types of bread, cookies and baked goods.

However, just because you discover you are not tolerating wheat does not necessarily mean that you have celiac disease.

Celiac is classified as an auto-immune disorder. To simplify, that means the body attacks itself. In this case when a person with celiac or severe gluten intolerance eats a product containing gluten the body attacks the small intestine destroying it and the villi that line the interior of the small intestine. The small intestine is where food is processed and it pulls out all the nutrients we need to build bones, tissue and to function on. So you can see how this could cause a person to become malnutritioned or potentially generate other diseases over a long period of time .

The gluten intolerance causes a great deal of physical pain in the intestinal tract as well as swelling as the body tries to protect the organs and fills the area with water surrounding the cells.

A large percentage of the population have difficlties with gluten, it is very hard to digest. Some are wheat or gluten intolerant and statistics show about 15% are celiac.

This helps to explain why high protein diets appear to work so well for a percentage of the population. With no carbs or wheat being eaten a lot of water weight is lost as the reactivity drops away.

Foods from the grain family that don’t contain gluten include wild rice, corn, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa, teff, oats, soybeans, and sunflower seeds. Care must be taken when eating grains that do not contain gluten, particularly oats and teff, as they are commonly grown near foods with gluten or processed in the same bins.

Locating gluten free foods is quite a task at first. But if you simply approach it as a new adventure you can turn it into a fun exercise. Once established you will be fine.

You will need to source out gluten free breads. Rice bread is very popular. For me this took a bit of doing. Then I discovered a cafe in my neighbourhood entirely devoted to a gluten free population. They serve organic coffees and produce gluten free and dairy free baked goods and breads for the whole neighbourhood. They are sold out daily. This just tells you how many people are having problems with gluten.

Most health food stores have noodles made from rice or other wheat free alternatives. Paul Newman has a line of commercial salad dressings that are organic and gluten free. Gluten free packaged products will state this on the box or bottle.

You can also find gluten free cookbooks and/or buy a bread machine and bake some of your own breads. With the bread machines today all you have to do is throw in your ingredients which takes about 5 minutes and turn it on the machine will do all the stirring, rising and baking. When you get home you will find yummy warm bread.

Try cutting out products with gluten for one week to 10 days and see if your energy goes up, your depression lifts and you swelling starts to subside. If so you may want to visit your doctor and pursue this further.

People who have gluten intolerance(celiac) often become dairy intolerant as well because the villi in the large intestine have been destroyed. So you may want to delete the dairy for awhile and see if that helps things along.

Apparently you can often eat dairy again after a long period of being gluten free and the intestine has re-healed itself. That is the good news.

I am not a medical professional. But I have had to live with and deal with this issue for myself. So I can only tell you what works and to test for yourself.

There are medical tests to determine celiac, one is a blood test and the other extremely invasive where they take a biopsy of the intestine. Try to make do with a blood test.

Also there is an over the counter product available to do your own test which they say is 95% accurate. It is available by mail order in Canada. You would have to check availability in other countries.

I mention this because once you go to the doctor the celiac ( if it is) will be on your record as a pre-existing condition. This would then affect any changes you may want to later make to your health plan depending on what country you live in.

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