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Celiac - How I Cope Living With Celiac

Updated on September 25, 2015

Can you tell which one has celiac?

I'm in the middle...having celiac doesn't make you look any different.
I'm in the middle...having celiac doesn't make you look any different. | Source

Celiac: Finding out you have celiac and what it is

I had bowel irregularities all my life. It was normal for me to have three or even four bowel movements a day for as long as I can remember. I knew there were times when I had to go and if I didn't find a bathroom quick I would have a major problem. As I got older it seemed to get worse. On a trip to Alaska I couldn't find a bathroom right away and at 60 had an accident - in my pants! That was the last straw. Time to find out if something was wrong. My internist said it was time to see a gastroenterologist. Okay, whatever you say.

Step one, a colonoscopy. Results, Celiac disease and Crohn's disease. Not the greatest news I'd ever heard. The Dr. said Crohn's often tests positive when it's not so an upper endoscopy would give us definitive answers. Step two, an upper endoscopy. Results, no Crohn's disease but definitely positive for Celiac.

So what's Celiac Disease, I'd never heard of it before? An allergy to gluten. So what's gluten? Believe it or not it is a type of protein that is either in starch or appears with starch. It's also an additive in foods low in protein. When you start looking and paying attention you find it is just about everywhere.

In addition, in a person with Celiac, nutrients are not absorbed into your system because the lining in your intestines is damaged Thus, explaining why I was tired all the time.

Other symptoms of celiac may include one or all of the following:

  • bruising
  • depression
  • hair loss
  • itchy skin
  • nose bleeds
  • mouth ulcers
  • muscle cramps
  • numbness in hands or feet
  • diarrhea or constipation

Biopsy of a small bowel showing celiac disease manifested by blunting of villi
Biopsy of a small bowel showing celiac disease manifested by blunting of villi | Source

Treating Celiac

Some advice from

Pay attention to processed foods that may contain gluten. Wheat flour is a common ingredient in many processed foods. Examples of foods that may contain gluten include:

  • Canned soups
  • Salad dressings
  • Ice cream
  • Candy bars
  • Instant coffee
  • Luncheon meats and processed or canned meats
  • Ketchup and mustard
  • Yogurt
  • Pasta

Beware of tablets, capsules, and vitamin preparations that contain gluten. Wheat starch is commonly employed as a binding agent in tablets and capsules. Gluten also can be found in many vitamin products, and cosmetic products such as lipstick.

How to treat Celiac

So, how do we treat Celiac? Well, the only treatment is a gluten free diet. Sounds easy, until you start researching and finding out where you find gluten! It is of course in anything containing wheat, rye or barley. So, no bread or baked goods, no pasta. Ah, but there's so much more. Bouillon cubes contain gluten and so do potato chips, candy, cold cuts, Communion wafer, french fries, gravy, matzo, self-basting turkeys, soups, soy sauce, vegetables in sauce, and the list goes on. Can you believe Twizzlers contain gluten? Neither could I. Not only does the food list go on, but there's also gluten in some make-up, the adhesive on envelopes, etc.; so check everything!

So, No wheat, rye or barley and it's a good idea to stay away from oats just in case. Great. If you don't, the insides of your intestines will be damaged. Inside of your intestines is a lining that has small, little hair-like growth called villi. These villi stand up straight and catch all the nutrients in your food and distribute it throughout your body. With Celiac, the gluten damages these villi and they lay down on the job. As a result your body doesn't get the nutrients you need. There are many ways people find out they have Celiac, one way is with bowel problems as I had, or another is they become tired or sick and don't know why. A lot of gas is also a sign of Celiac - had that too but thought it was from the food I was eating. Anyway, so now I have Celiac, what next?

In the beginning I spent forever in the grocery store because I had to read every label on everything I bought to check for gluten. There were a few things marked gluten free but most of them tasted like cardboard. I started a notebook listing foods I could eat. I then searched on the Internet to get a list of more gluten free foods that I could eat because if I didn't heal my small intestine I knew I could be in for much bigger health problems down the line. Oh, and to make my life more interesting a follow-up endoscopy indicated I was now lactose intolerant too! So now eliminate milk, eggs, ice cream, etc. Taking Lactaid helped the lactose intolerance but didn't make it go away.

Another interesting twist, even though a food is gluten free in it's natural state, it might not be after it is packaged or cooked in a restaurant. Cross contamination from other foods containing gluten make gluten free foods just as bad for the Celiac. I think that's why french fries are listed as containing gluten. When they are fried in the same oil as foods with bread crumbs for example, the bread crumbs cross contaminate the oil. This just kept getting better and better, soon I would be able to drink water and eat rice!

Many companies, such as Lays, will provide you with a list of the foods they produce that are gluten free. For example, there is gluten in the Doritos that come in the red bag, but not the Doritos that come in the blue bag (Ranch Style.) Don't ask my why, but that's the way it is. Boarshead cold cuts are also gluten free! So, little by little I could see light at the end of the tunnel.

Celiac Disease Video

Some Great Gluten Free Foods

Frozen Foods
Feel Good Foods - frozen egg rolls
Amy's Rice Mac and Cheese
Rice Krispies
Local bakeries
Ian's Chicken Nuggets

Be careful what you eat!


A Survival Guide by Elizabeth Hasselback

Living gluten free - Things you CAN eat

It has been three years since I was diagnosed with Celiac. I have the diet thing down pretty good now. I no longer need my notebook but I have to say more and more foods are labeled gluten free and more good new foods come out daily! There is now a gluten free Bisquick. Hurray. I can eat pancakes that taste like pancakes, and pizza dough too. Thank you Bisquick. Betty Crocker now makes some gluten free mixes that are delicious; brownie mix, chocolate chip cookie mix, and yellow cake mix. I almost cried when I found the brownie mix, real brownies, what a treat. All three mixes are great, thank you Betty Crocker. Oh and Smart Balance makes a milk with no lactose. Real milk with the lactose removed, no more soy milk. Bread, obviously, is an issue but now there's Udi's. White bread that actually tastes like white bread and muffins too. The lemon muffins are to die for! The better news is Hanaford's now carries Udi's so it's easier to get. Hanaford's has also come out with their own line of gluten free foods but I haven't tried them yet. Good to know they're there!

Trader Joe's has some good gluten free foods at reasonable prices. I forgot to mention most gluten free products are much more expensive than their gluten free counterparts. Trader Joes' gluten free frozen pancakes and frozen waffles are a true treat! They also have some Grrreat gluten free chocolate chip cookies. Oh, and I can't leave out Whole Foods' pies. They have a pecan pie that any pecan pie lover would drool over.

Do you miss chocolate chip cookies? Miss them no more! There's a marvelous company called Tate's that makes the best gluten free chocolate chip cookies ever. Be careful though, it's hard not to eat the entire bag.

Little by little it gets easier to be a Celiac and find food that you can not only eat, but enjoy! So, I am living with Celiac. My intestines have healed and by being careful I continue to be gluten free, healthy and happier. I hope, if you have Celiac that you found this hub a little helpful in your new life journey.

Copyright Tillsontitan 2011 - All Rights Reserved


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    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      Most certainly poetryman. The starch protein that is gluten isn't found in fruits and vegetables. Thanks for stopping by.

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      It's good to see there are foods out there you can handle. Can a person with a celiac problem become a vegetarian or a vegan or a raw foods person?

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Glad I could help Jandee. More and more is being learned about celiac and more and more gluten free foods are becoming available.

    • jandee profile image

      jandee 4 years ago from Liverpool.U.K

      A friend of the family has this and he cooks wonderful food,you have helped me understand his problem so thank you..

      best from jandee

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      So sorry to hear that you have problems too moonlake. Celiac is a disease that deprives you of the foods you love ;) Adapting has made it a bit easier. Thanks for the vote.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      So sorry to hear you have Celiac I know it's not easy to live with, I have an aunt that has it. I have had the opposite problem and mainly because of the meds I have to take, my problem can get so painful. After many test and not finding anything really wrong, thank goodness. They have put me on more meds but they are helping. Voted up on your hub.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Definitely welcome Vinaya...thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Ever since my parents began complaining about diseases, I have taken much interest in different kinds of illness. Thanks for sharing your first hand experience of Celiac.


    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      I've heard from so many people that aren't diagnosed with Celiac that the gluten free diet has helped other digestive issues. Hope your wife finds the answer to her problems.

    • profile image

      Ghost32 6 years ago

      Voted Up and Other Buttons.

      My wife may well have this exact problem. We've been working to "fix" her GI situation with some success, but when I think about it, the better "repairs" have involved foods that have either been gluten-free or at least fairly low in gluten.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 6 years ago from New York

      Thanks again. I guess writing about what you know helps especially when you make it personal.

    • KFlippin profile image

      KFlippin 6 years ago from Amazon

      That strong voice of yours coming through in this hub as well. You've presented important information in a relaxed and interesting style that keeps the reader rapidly reading, that is an accomplishment.