- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Celiac Disease - Gluten Free Products
The gluten-free diet is the treatment for Celiac disease. Celiac disease (also called sprue) is an inherited, autoimmune disease in where the lining in the small intestine is damaged as the villi of the intestines are destroyed by eating gluten and other similar proteins. The damage interferes with absorption of nutrients from food.
People who have Celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is found mainly in foods and also in everyday products such as medicines, vitamins, and lip balms. Gluten is the protein part of wheat, rye, barley, and other grains.
In addition to the malabsorption of nutrients, there is an abnormal reaction to gluten. This disease is genetic and sometimes the disease is triggered for the first time following surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, viral infection or severe emotional stress.
The disease is diagnosed through some blood tests but these tests can also indicate other autoimmune diseases. A biopsy of the small intestine the only sure way to confirm the diagnosis.
Villi in Small Intestine
Location of Small Intestines
Elizabeth Hasselbecks Gluten-Free Diet
Gluten Free Pizza
Gluten Free Cookies
Celiac Disease Symptoms
The symptoms of Celiac disease are:
- abdominal bloating and pain
- chronic diarrhea
- pale, foul-smelling, or fatty stool
- weight loss
- irritability is another common sign in children
Adults are less likely to have digestive symptoms and may instead have one or more of the following:
- unexplained iron-deficiency anemia
- bone or joint pain
- bone loss or osteoporosis
- depression or anxiety
- tingling numbness in the hands and feet
- missed menstrual periods
- infertility or recurrent miscarriage
- canker sores inside the mouth
- an itchy skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis
Researchers are studying the reasons the symptoms are so varied from one individual to another and really don’t have the answers yet. Celiac disease affects people throughout the world with more than 2,000,000 people affected in the US, or roughly about 1 in 133 people, but 97% don’t know they have the disease.
Gluten Free Cookbooks and Foods
Foods to Avoid
Specific foods to avoid if you have Celiac disease are:
- · Barley
- · Bulgur
- · Durham
- · Farina
- · Graham flour
- · Kamut
- · Matzo meal
- · Rye
- · Semolina
- · Spelt (a form of wheat)
- · Triticale
- · Wheat
These are some other foods to avoid unless they are marked “gluten free” and are made with corn, rice, soy or other gluten free grain.
- Cakes and pies
- Imitation meats or seafood
- Processed luncheon meats
- Salad dressings
- Sauces (including soy sauce)
- Self-basting poultry
Gluten Free Chips
Gluten Free Products
Now that we have covered all the foods to avoid there are many foods you can eat, and there are more gluten free products on the shelves in the supermarket all the time. There are gluten free breads available.
This is a list of items allowed in the diet besides meats, vegetables, fruits, rice and most dairy products:
- Gluten-free flours (rice, soy, corn, potato, bean)
- Hominy grits
- Pure corn tortillas
If you follow the gluten free diet you will feel much better, have more energy, have fewer symptoms and complications. People with celiac disease must eat a strictly gluten-free diet and must remain on the diet for the remainder of their lives. There are severe cases where adhering to the diet is not enough and your physician will prescribe medication to suppress your immune system.
One of the risks while on the diet is not getting enough iron, calcium, fiber, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and folate. You might find a vitamin supplement that is gluten free to make sure you are getting adequate nutrition. Not sticking to the diet will cause you to experience abdominal pain and diarrhea. Even eating trace amounts of gluten is damaging your intestines.
This disease is usually controlled by staying on a healthy, gluten free diet. It is possible to have a healthy and tasty gluten free meal. Get a couple of good cook books and you will find many things you can easily make that taste good, plus take a good look in your grocery store for all the new items on the shelves.
There are also a lot of Celiac disease support groups, which is a wonderful help as no one understands what you are experiencing better than someone else with the disease. It is also a good place to exchange ideas and recipes. Having a support group can make life much easier.
© 2010 Pamela Oglesby