First thing’s first, Celiac disease is NOT an allergy; it’s a disease.
So, when your waitress asks if it’s a preference or an allergy, your response should be neither.
Celiac disease (also known as Sprue) is an autoimmune disease that leads to damage of the lining of the small intestine.
This damage occurs when consuming gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats. When gluten is ingested, the body triggers an immune response that attacks the small intestine. (From my experience talking with other people, everyone’s symptoms to that response can vary.) This leads to damage to the villi that line the small intestine. The damage to the small intestine leads to the inability to properly absorb nutrients into the body. Untreated, Celiac can lead to other autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, anemia, osteoporosis, infertility, neurologic disorders and intestinal cancer. If properly treated, people diagnosed with Celiac disease can lead a happy and healthy life.
The only treatment for Celiac disease is a strict gluten free lifestyle.
1 in 133 people worldwide have been diagnosed with Celiac disease
and 83% of Americans who have Celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions. Celiac is an inherited disease, which makes sense since my mom and I both have it.
It occurs in 1 in 10 people who have a 1st degree relative (parent, child, sibling) with the disease.
Foods that contain gluten:
Wheat including einkorn, emmer, spelt, kamut, wheat starch, wheat bran, wheat germ, cracked wheat,hydrolyzed wheat protein, barley, rye, brewer’s yeast, dextrin, malt, modified food starch, oats, starch, bromated flour, durum flour, enriched flour, self- rising flour, semolina, white flour, farina, graham flour, phosphated flour, ale, beer, malt, malt beverages, malt extract, malt vinegar, millet, and triticale.
Sorry to say, but this list is only the beginning. Some of these items can be gluten free such as oats and malt but it must be marked on the label.
Food additives that can contain Gluten:
MSG, Modified food starch, textured vegetable protein, hydrolyzed plant protein, extenders and binders, maltodextrin (wheat or corn based), dextrin, maltose, non-dairy creamer, seasonings, smoked flavors, artificial colors, artificial flavors, soy sauce, canned soups, cheese spreads and other processed cheese foods, dip mixes, gravies, dry roasted nuts and honey roasted nuts
Non edible item that may contain gluten:
Stamps and envelopes, toothpaste, lipsticks, medications and vitamins, lotions, playdough, makeup, communion hosts
Don’t get extremely overwhelmed by these lists, you most definitely don’t have to remember every little thing because trust me, I don’t. You will get used to your favorite products and products you know you can have and then these lists won’t mean much.
Start with only using products that are marked GF and refer to my products page for lists of safe products!
When in doubt….do without
Wheat free doesn’t always mean gluten free
Everything that goes into your mouth or on your tongue needs to be GF
Read labels!! You can always call phone number on products
Label food as yours in the refrigerator (butter, cream cheese, spreads etc.)
Don’t be afraid to ask questions when out to eat, they aren’t the ones who get sick!