Even with the gluten-free diet fad that’s been sweeping the nation, not everyone who goes gluten free has Celiac. Celiac is a serious autoimmune disease that affects the body’s ability to absorb certain nutrients, which can ultimately lead to malnutrition.
Several common symptoms of Celiac Disease affect your gut and digestive tract, such as bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhea. And like many other autoimmune diseases, anxiety, headaches, fatigue and joint pain are also common.
The downside is that there’s no pharmaceutical or therapeutic cure for Celiac Disease – only a strictly gluten-free diet can prevent further damage and symptoms.
The upside is that living gluten free is easier than you might think. And it doesn’t require buying the often overpriced items at the grocery store that are labeled “gluten free.” Sticking to whole foods and cooking whenever possible is the clearest path to being successfully gluten free. Processed foods often have hidden gluten in their lengthy list of ingredients. However, rice, corn, potatoes, cauliflower, lentils, beans, and other whole grains are excellent substitutes for pasta and bread that aren’t just free from gluten, they’re much healthier overall. Looking up low-carb or Paleo recipes is another way to get ideas on what you can eat.
BeyondCeliac.org has a robust resource for folks with Celiac or those who think they might have it. In the Living with Celiac section, you can find all sorts of resources for how to manage kids with the disease, how to go gluten free, and several other helpful bits of info. You can also learn what the organization is doing to increase awareness, raise funds, and push for additional medical research to eventually find a cure.
Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned you might have Celiac. And in the meantime, have a look at some gluten-free recipes to help ease your symptoms.