Coeliac Disease and Going Gluten-Free

Being gluten-free has almost become a “fad” these days with many wanting to go gluten free cause it seems to be something that everyone is doing. However, being gluten-free isn’t fun for everyone. For most, going gluten-free is a life changing matter. In this post, I’m going to discuss the real deal when it comes to gluten-free, especially in cases of gluten-intolerances and coeliac (celiac) disease. So what is gluten? Gluten is a protein-carbohydrate mixture that contains an intestinal irritant called gliadin. Basically, gluten is found in wheat and many other grains. Later, I will include a list of products that contain gluten, hidden gluten names, and the foods that do not contain gluten.

As you may recall from my post about allergies, all of those different types of allergies can be applied to gluten, with the most common form being gluten-intolerances. And then, to go beyond allergies is Coeliac disease, which is an autoimmune condition. In autoimmune conditions, the body’s own immune system attacks itself. In the case of coeliac, the immune system attacks the digestive system. Coelic disease is the malabsorption of nutrients and the individual has an abnormal small intestine structure that goes back to normal once all sources of dietary gluten are removed. There are also genetic markers that can be used to test for Coeliac. Gluten is scientifically known to lead to inflammation in the body.

If gluten is a real issue for you, how do you get started on a gluten-free diet? Here are the four things you can do:

1)    Start by eliminating all gluten containing grains, which include: wheat, corn, barley, spelt, kamut, rye, and triticale. The non-gluten grains are brown rice, millet, quinoa, amaranth, teff, buckwheat, and oats. However when it comes to oats, you have to be very careful because oats are highly likely to be contaminated with gluten.

2)    Keep a food journal. A food journal will help you to monitor and track which foods may be problematic and may cause flare up in your symptoms. Keeping track of food you eat may also help to trace any hidden gluten products you may be consuming.

3)    Wait two to four weeks and then start an elimination and rotational diet.

4)    Lastly and probably one of the most important things to keep in mind is to watch out for cross-contamination and any hidden gluten products. For example, here are some of hidden gluten sources:

  • Packaged meats, semolina, malt, hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, dextrin, maltodextrin, artificial colours and flavours, some spices (due to cross contamination), soy sauce, chips and crisps, sauces and gravies

For a full list of hidden gluten sources and gluten-free options, please visit our Gluten-Free section of our resources page.

Having Coeliac is just as serious as any other severe food allergy. Even consuming the tiniest crumb can lead to a flare up of symptoms. The symptoms of coelic disease are not always obvious as they can mimic the symptoms of other autoimmune and digestive conditions. Some of the symptoms include diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, irritability, depression, anemia, upset stomach, joint pain, muscle cramps, skin rash, mouth sores, tingling in the legs and feet (neuropathy), weight loss, weakness and fatigue, foul-smelling or grayish stools that may be fatty or oily, and other poor and weak digestive symptoms. If you have doubts about whether you have coeliac or any other digestive problems, consult with your nutritionist or doctor. Always keep in mind that a healthy digestion is the key and foundation to a healthy life.

Health and happiness,