May is Celiac Awareness Month. If you are like most people, you may have never even heard of Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance at all. I didn’t know anything about it, either, until 2007. That is when my cousin was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and sent an email to all of his blood relatives to let us know. That email was life changing for me! Because Celiac runs in families, it was especially important for my cousin to let us all know about his diagnois. Since then, several more family members have been diagnosed as Celiac, including my brother, his daughter, and my own daughter. And I would not be surprised if several more people in our family have it as well.
So, what IS Celiac Disease? Basically, it is an autoimmune reaction to eating gluten, which is found in wheat, rye, and barley. Because oats are often grown in the same fields as wheat, they are sometimes included in the list of grains containing gluten. However, you can find certified gluten free oats, that have been grown in dedicated fields. People with celiac disease who eat foods containing gluten experience an immune reaction in their small intestines, causing damage to the inner surface of the small intestine and an inability to absorb certain nutrients.
What are the symptoms of Celiac Disease? There are many symptoms of Celiac Disease. Not all people who have Celiac have the same symptoms. Some people could have chronic diarrhea, others could have chronic constipation. Other symptoms are abdominal pain, bloating, irritability or depression, anemia, stomach upset, joint pain, muscle cramps, skin rash, mouth sores, dental and bone disorders, and tingling in the legs and feet. Click here to read more about Celiac Disease.
What is the treatment for Celiac Disease? While there is currently no cure for Celiac Disease, it can be treated by simply eliminating gluten from your diet. This can prove to be difficult in the beginning, but I can tell you that I started feeling better in less than a week when I started eating gluten free. There are new gluten free products introduced all the time, and lots of them taste really good. While nothing will ever taste like wheat, once you get used to the difference in texture and flavor of gluten free breads and cakes, you won’t feel deprived at all.
Where can I get more information about Celiac Disease and find gluten free recipes? I have written about Celiac Disease many times on my blog Fabgrandma. I also write reviews of gluten free products, and have many gluten free recipes that I have tried posted there. You can email me or fill out me contact form and I will be glad to help you in any way I can if you think you may have Celiac.