What is Celiac Disease?
It is a condition that is a result of your body not receiving gluten in a beneficial way when you eat it. There are certain genes that increase the probability of having Celiac disease. You should also be careful if a family member has it.
When the gluten is in your body, it causes an abnormal immune reaction that produces antibodies that affect the body.
This will, in turn, affect other areas of your body, especially the small intestine. Your small intestine will not be able to take in the nutrients that can be gotten from food.
It will increase the chances of:
- Bone diseases
- Intestinal cancer
You should see a doctor if you are bloating, losing a lot of weight, you feel tired and weak, or there’s a change in your bowel movement. These are some signs of Celiac Disease.
The symptoms don’t seem abnormal, so it is usually not easy to diagnose.
The best and only available treatment is staying away from any food that has gluten.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is the name given to a protein that you can find in so many foods such as oats, wheat, barley, triticale, and rye.
Gluten is a protein that is one of the major classes of food that make up a balanced diet, but some people have gluten-disorders. This means they can’t eat anything that has gluten, because it is harmful to their body system.
There are three medical problems that are caused by the gluten found in a person’s meal or daily diet.
- Celiac Disease
- Gluten Sensitivity
- Gluten Intolerance
The three conditions mentioned above are the terms used to properly identify and define the way some people react to gluten. These conditions can sometimes be very severe and challenging.
You need to be sure that you react to gluten. If you don’t react to gluten, then you don’t need to stay away from it.
What is Celiac Sensitivity?
If you feel uncomfortable or show some of the signs of gluten reaction, you should see a doctor; but if the result for Celiac disease is negative, it’s possible it might be gluten sensitivity or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, as it is usually called.
There are some symptoms or signs of non-celiac gluten sensitivity after eating gluten. Some of them are:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
Although Gluten Sensitivity also involves an immune reaction to gluten, the difference is that it doesn’t produce antibodies that trigger intestinal damage like Celiac Disease.
What is Celiac Intolerance?
Gluten intolerance is also another Gluten disorder. Just like Gluten sensitivity, an individual can also show signs such as:
- Abdominal discomfort
People who have Gluten Intolerance symptoms, sometimes, also have Celiac disease.
Diagnosing Gluten Intolerance, Gluten Sensitivity or Gluten Disease
You must be sure that you genuinely react to Gluten, and you should consult a doctor.
This is because you might be reacting to something else, and staying gluten-free might not be a step in the right direction.
When you are sure that you react to gluten, then you must eliminate gluten completely from your diet. It doesn’t matter if you feel normal after eating gluten foods; it will still have a harmful effect on the body.
It might seem very odd, strange, scary, and stressful when you realize that you have to stay away from gluten because you have a gluten disorder like celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, or gluten intolerance.
You might be worried or concerned about how to stay gluten-free for the rest of your life. Trust me; it’s usually like this at the beginning.
To make things easier for you, I’ve come up with a daily guide to help you begin this phase, because it can be very strenuous when you start, but this will make things easier for you.
The next step is to have a list of all types of food that contain gluten, so you stay away from it. You need to know the name of each food and the components of each food you are taking in.
I’ve put together a list of the foods that you shouldn’t buy, so you can take it along with you when you go shopping. You can keep the list on your phone, so you always carry it anywhere you go, in case you’re hungry, and you need to get something to eat.
How to create a Gluten-Free Diet: Ensuring Gluten-Free foods at home
The first step to guaranteeing a gluten free diet is to begin by checking your refrigerator and kitchen for foods that contain gluten.
Please note that by plain, I mean it doesn’t contain any additives.
- Fresh fruits
- Fresh beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, and seafood
- Fresh eggs
- Fresh, plain milk, butter, margarine, cream
- Plain beans
- Plain corn
- Plain white rice, brown rice, wild rice
- Plain nuts and seeds
- Sugar, honey, molasses
- Spices and herbs
Quite a few foods have gluten in them, and some don’t have a trace of gluten, so it’s advisable to check any food you buy.
How do I know the processed foods that contain gluten?
It is possible to have processed foods that have gluten in them, and it won’t be properly spelled out.
You should avoid foods that have cereal, kamut, oats, barley, triticate, rye, spelt, flour, and semolina. Are you surprised? Let me tell you why you need to avoid them.
Remember that gluten is gotten from the Latin word ‘glue’. It is used while mixing dough, because it swells and creates fine strands that are joined together. This is what makes the dough stretch and rise.
So, you can trash all your gluten food, leave them till you have guests, or keep them for your other family members; make sure you separate it. The idea is for you to not eat it.
There are laws that state that ingredients should be properly spelled out, but some still have gluten in them. You should check for any food that clearly states “Gluten free”.
What about eating out?
As safe as it is to eat at home, you can also eat out with your friends, or eat when you get to their houses; all you need to do is call to make an order of gluten free food. Ensure all your friends know you live gluten-free and make sure they are aware of the effects it has on you.
It’s possible that people don’t know what gluten disorder is, so be sure to express yourself in clear terms as someone who is allergic to wheat, rye, barley, flour, and the other gluten foods.
If you’re travelling or camping, take your gluten-free foods or snacks with you. This will prevent extreme hunger that can make you eat anything. Apples, raisins, nuts, and rice cakes are examples of portable travel foods.
Ensure that you know where you are going to hang out with your friends and know the meals they serve. If they have a website, check their gluten-free diet, so you can make your choice from it.
Don’t go to bakeries, pizza places, or anywhere confectionaries are made. There’s a huge possibility there will be gluten flour in the air you breathe.
If you are in the hospital or a school where meals are prepared for you, ensure that you speak with the chef or manager in charge of the meals.
Speak to the manager about the foods they have that are gluten-free before you dine in a restaurant. Ensure that you visit before or after dining hours, so the manager or chef has time to attend to your questions.
Ask specific questions like:
- Is the meat marinated in soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, or Worcestershire sauce?
- Is the chicken dusted with flour before pan-frying?
- Is the oil used for French fries also used for frying onion rings (or other breaded foods)?
- Are there croutons or bacon bits on the salad?
- Do you use wheat flour to make the gravy (or thicken the soup)?
With these points in your hand, you should begin a life that is gluten-free and also stress-free.