More and more people are being diagnosed with Celiac Disease these days. For many, the diagnosis comes as a complete relief, since now they have a known reason for the episodes of abdominal pain and illness that they have lived with for years. Celiac Disease can be effectively treated and the intestines can heal again if a person with Celiac Disease refrains from eating products containing gluten.
What is gluten? Gluten is a protein substance that remains when starch is removed from the grains of cereals. Some people simply cannot digest gluten and it causes havoc within their intestines. When a person with Celiac Disease eats gluten they may experience extreme cramping, bloating, diarrhea or constipation and intestinal gas. In terms of mood and emotions they may feel irritated or spaced out and occasionally “out- of- it.”
Fortunately, when the individual with Celiac Disease avoids gluten, the healing may begin. It will take some time for all the gluten to pass out of the system and for the internal healing to be complete. However, when individuals stop eating gluten, they often begin to feel better right away. That is the good news.
The tricky part is that gluten is hidden in a wide variety of foods. Therefore, complete avoidance of gluten is not a very simple endeavor. For one thing, food that is made with wheat or wheat flour must be avoided. Also, however, foods that contain gluten as a mere ingredient must be avoided likewise. This includes most packaged foods and many fast foods. For instance, when french fries are sold at fast food establishments, they are often dusted with flour. These would not be allowable for someone on a gluten free diet due to a potential flare up of Celiac Disease symptoms.
It is best by far for people with Celiac Disease to eat fresh produce. Many cheeses are allowed, except for the blue cheese family, due to possible mold contamination. Rice and rice based flour are perfectly fine. Many condiments must be avoided, as they contain gluten in the form of mono sodium glutamate (MSG.)
It is possible for people with Celiac Disease to live without the painful effects of the disease provided that they eliminate gluten from their daily diet. Celiac Disease does present a challenge but it also offers an opportunity to begin eating better. Spend some time in a local health food store or farmer’s market and begin to explore all the excellent gluten product substitutions that are available today. Believe it or not, with no more symptoms and a more interesting and diverse diet, life without gluten can be much better than before.