Learning to cook gluten free can be one of the most daunting tasks sufferers of Celiac Disease ever have to do. If your family is like mine, you may have one or two people that have the allergy while the remaining members are not as sensitive. Being from the south everything we eat is either deep-fried or homemade, like: biscuits, breads, cakes, pies or cookies. The worst part is that almost everything in our everyday diet (especially in the south) contains gluten in some form.
The knowledge of where to begin is one that I spent many hours scouring the internet, buying and reading books, going to the library and finally a nutritionist to figure out. Understanding that you are not alone with this disease is important. The statistics on this disease are staggering when we actually look at them. Celiac Disease affects 1 in every 133 Americans. The estimate is that over 3 million people in America suffer from some type of sensitivity to gluten. The number can be much higher because as we all know being diagnosed with Celiac Disease is a long process of tests, doctors and specialist. The estimate is that 97% of Celiac Disease sufferers are undiagnosed. Unfortunately this disease can be misdiagnosed because the symptoms can mirror other stomach and intestinal disorders such as, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome and many others that share the same symptoms. Many sufferers of Chron’s disease also suffer from Celiac Disease and even after surgery for Chron’s don’t find the relief they expected, and still go undiagnosed.
If you suffer from stomach problems and are having a problem getting a diagnosis that helps here are some of the symptoms that may help you get the correct diagnosis and on the way to a healthier, pain free life.
1. Upset stomach. This can include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting.
2. Stomach cramps usually associated with the above symptoms.
3. Some can include rashes such as hives or itchiness on the skin. (Since this is an allergy)
4. Extreme cases of flatulence (gas).
5. Fatigue or energy loss.
8. Weight loss.
Although there are some suffers of this disorder who have no symptoms at all they still suffer from it. The allergy to gluten (again, in most foods we eat daily) creates a block for your body. It keeps your body from absorbing the nutrients in any food if it contains the smallest trace of gluten. The body sees it as an attack and dispels everything, keeping you malnourished and hungry. If any of these symptoms are familiar to you, especially during a meal (upset stomach happens immediately after contact with gluten) speak with your doctor about a possibly suffering from this disorder and request to be sent to an intestinal specialist. Once a correct diagnosis is made we can begin to work on the gluten free diet that will have you feeling better immediately.
That’s the great thing about living gluten free. It is an immediate fix. While there are no medications or cures for Celiac Disease eating a gluten free diet will alleviate all the symptoms you feel. Easy right?
In the days and weeks to come we will explore living a gluten free life with recipes, helpful tips, staples of a gluten free home, and product lists for pre-packaged foods that are gluten free. I hope to make the transition into a gluten free, healthy lifestyle as easy as possible for those of you, like my family who suffer from it.
Best wishes and remember, knowledge is the key to being healthy and living pain free!