Each year, May is Celiac Awareness month. One out of every 133 Americans has celiac disease (about three million), yet 95% of those with the disease remain undiagnosed, according to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder triggered by consuming a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye. It causes the body to attack the small intestine and can cause serious damage if left untreated. Treatment for celiac disease is usually simply abiding to a strict, gluten-free diet. It sounds easier than is, sometimes avoiding gluten in your diet can be a challenge.
Long term effects of untreated celiac disease is the susceptibility to other autoimmune disorders such as Type 1 diabetes or multiple sclerosis. Lactose intolerance and even certain neurological disorders can be a direct result of celiac diseas if dietary changes aren’t made.
Symptoms of Celiac disease
There are many symptoms of celiac disease besides just intestinal discomfort (which may not even be immediately present in adult sufferers). Other symptoms of celiac disease can be vague or due to other health complications. Make sure you speak to your physician about the symptoms you’re experiencing before self-diagnosing. Sometimes adult sufferers do not experience the stomach upset or diarrhea in the way a child with celiac disease may.
How to Eat Gluten Free
There are plenty of naturally gluten-free foods that provide the nutrients you need to stay healthy. Build a gluten-free diet around fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds and beans and cook from scratch as much as possible.
Cross-contamination is an issue when preparing gluten-free food. Gluten can be lurking in unsuspecting items. Read labels when it comes to broths, seasoning mixes, sauces and marinades.
Most gluten-free breads and cereal are low in fiber. Choose naturally gluten-free fiber-filled grains like brown rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, teff and sorghum.
Gluten Free Recipe Ideas
Pizza night by making a cauliflower crust pizza
Instead of bread or wraps, use romaine or kale leaves. Add your favorite sandwich ingredients such as turkey, tomatoes, and avocado and roll up! Or get creative and grill some portabella mushrooms for burgers or hollow out a cucumber for custom sandwiches