Celiac disease is the intolerance of eating gluten. When a person has celiac disease, they have an immune reaction to eating anything containing gluten. Gluten is a type of protein that is found in both rye and barley. Because of the high presence of these foods in the modern diet, it can sometimes feel as if living with celiac disease is impossible. However, with proper attention and care, those with celiac disease can live a fulfilling life filled with enjoyable foods that they love. Both children and adults may have celiac disease. The symptoms tend to display themselves similarly for both young children and older adults. Symptoms may become more severe with higher amounts of gluten. It only takes a very small amount of gluten to trigger symptoms for many.
Although the signs and symptoms of celiac disease may differ from person to person, there are a number of symptoms that raise a red flag for celiac disease. Many people describe the symptoms of celiac disease to be similar to the stomach flu. However, those with celiac disease only experience symptoms after eating gluten. Here are some of the most common symptoms:
In addition to the symptoms listed above, many people with celiac describe a variety of other conditions and symptoms. These may include the following:
Those living with celiac disease must quickly alter their diet to reduce their symptoms. There is currently no medication that allows those with celiac disease to eat gluten without experiencing symptoms. Since gluten is in many different types of foods, it can seem extremely intimidating to go through a significant diet change.
Those with celiac disease should not eat any food containing gluten. This includes obvious foods like bread, pizza or crackers. However, there are many foods that contain gluten that most people do not consider. Licorice, soy sauce and some seasonings even contain gluten. As a result, it's extremely important that those living with celiac disease look at the label to check ingredients prior to eating anything.
There are 2 ways for a person with celiac disease to change their diet. The first is to eat foods that have been purposefully made gluten free with other alternatives. This may include gluten free breads, gluten free pasta, gluten free crackers or other similar foods. Each of these foods are typically made with flour containing gluten. However, there are substitutes for the normal type of flour that do not contain gluten.
Alternatives like rice flour, buckwheat flour or almond flour may all be safely substituted in foods. Whether a person wants to bake or buy something pre-made in the store, gluten-free flours are safe alternatives to typical flour.
Other foods like soy sauce, granola bars, and cereals may be made with gluten free alternatives and are available for purchase from many stores. As the awareness for celiac disease and gluten intolerance grows, the selection at stores grows as well. Many stores now have a dedicated gluten free section.
The second option for those needing to go gluten free is to do so in a more natural way. This means that instead of eating foods that have gluten alternatives, eating foods that are naturally gluten free. A diet that is naturally gluten free may be heavy in foods such as rice, quinoa, fruits and vegetables. Each of these foods are gluten free naturally and are safe for those with celiac disease. Although this type of a diet is more difficult, it also avoids expensive food prices for items containing gluten free substitutes. The best way to go gluten-free is often to combine a naturally gluten-free diet with gluten-free substitutes. This allows a person to get the nutrients they need without breaking the bank.