The idea of a gluten-free diet isn’t just a diet “trend.” For people who have Celiac Disease, it’s a must. Since September 13th is National Celiac Disease Awareness Day, we want to take this day to shed more light on the disease and how you can support those in your life who have it.
A Disease with an Ancient History Recently Diagnosed
While the gluten-free diet for weight loss is still considered a relatively new idea, the diagnosis for Celiac Disease was made back in AD 100. However, it wasn’t until 1952 that scientists were able to link the disease to gluten.
A Diagnosis with a Long Wait Time
According to Beyond Celiac, it’s estimated that 83% of Americans who have Celiac Disease are either misdiagnosed or live undiagnosed. It can take anywhere from 6-10 years before receiving a proper diagnosis. Remaining undiagnosed may lead to other conditions, such as infertility, neurological disorders, or other autoimmune diseases. Anyone of any age can have Celiac Disease.
The disease is difficult to diagnose because it affects everyone differently, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation. Some people may even have no symptoms and still test positive for it. The symptoms can be different for kids than adults.
In children, there can be many symptoms. Here are some of the more common ones:
- Stomach bloating/pain
- Pale, foul-smelling, fatty stool
- Weight loss
- Irritability or behavioral issues
- Delayed growth/puberty
- Failure to thrive
Adults are less likely to have digestive issues. The most common symptoms are:
- Liver/biliary tract disorders
- Tingling, numbness, or pain in hands and feet
- Missed periods
- Canker sores inside the mouth
How to Identify if you Have Celiac Disease
Eventually, if the disease goes undiagnosed, it could damage the small intestine. The Mayo Clinic says two blood tests can help diagnose it: Serology testing, which looks for antibodies in your blood, and Genetic testing. If you think you might have Celiac Disease, or have questions about it, contact your healthcare provider.
There is no cure for Celiac Disease. The only treatment is to avoid foods containing gluten.
Gluten is the name of proteins found in rye, wheat, triticale, and barley, says the Celiac Disease Foundation. Several pantry staples are considered wheat, including semolina, spelt, and farro, to name a few.
Recipes without Gluten
If you or someone in your family has been diagnosed with Celiac Disease by your healthcare provider, there are numerous cookbooks out there that can help guide you through the diet. If you have a friend, coworker, or relative with the disease and you want to have some gluten-free recipes on hand for them, here are a few to try out:
- Almond Butter Apple Granola
- Salted Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies
- Vietnamese Vermicelli with Chili Sauce and Pork
- Goat’s Cheese Gnudi with Mushrooms and Kale Pesto
- Chicken Parmesan and Zoodle Skillet
- Sheet Pan Chickpea Chicken
The critical thing to remember is to read the ingredients. If you see rye, wheat, or barley at all, consider finding another item to grab at the store. When in doubt, skip grains altogether (no bread or pasta). You can still find some excellent and filling meals and snacks without the grains!