The first time I came across someone with Celiac disease was in college on a night out to a restaurant. I never heard of the disease and I rarely ever heard about gluten-free food. So as we were ordering food, hearing someone say they couldn’t eat most things on the menu was surprising to me, even a little annoying, because I couldn’t understand why it was such a big deal. However, when I learned how painful and demoralizing it can be to have Celiac disease, it really made me rethink how important it is to for the victims to have food that is good for them to eat.
Many people in the world have Celiac Disease, and it can be a real struggle to live with it for a long time and not know you have the disease. This is possible because some of the more painful symptoms are not always present in everyone with the disease, but are still risking their health. Some of the symptoms people deal with are malnutrition, anemia, fatigue/chronic fatigue, “brain fog”, abdominal pain, acid reflux, constipation, diarrhea, infertility and miscarriage.
When it comes to foods those with Celiac disease must avoid are foods with wheat, rye and barley. Unfortunately, there is no cure for the disease currently, so emphasis on diet change is important to keep out of harm’s way. Celiac disease doesn’t allow Gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley) to process and considers them a threat to the body. As a result, the body has an immune response to gluten and hurts itself.
The immune attack hurts the villi, which are finger-like objects that help with nutrient processing through the body, so nutrients don’t process well enough. Likewise, left untreated, Celiac disease will lead into other deficiencies or neurological conditions. So it definitely is important to ask your doctor about a diagnosis since the symptoms for Celiac disease may not be immediately obvious to the general population. In fact, there is an estimated 2.5 million Americans who are undiagnosed and at-risk for long-term health complications. That is definitely a lot of people especially when compared to the 3.6 million people currently living in Connecticut, for comparison.
Celiac Awareness Month
With the rising awareness of Celiac disease, the entire month of May is considered Celiac Awareness Month. These efforts will cumulatively inform Americans of getting a diagnosis and increase the need for gluten-free products. Especially, important is the need for healthy, gluten-free products. Although gluten-free and healthy are culturally considered interchangeable, there are too many gluten-free products that would still be considered unhealthy if they weren’t gluten-free. So there is also a need for healthier gluten-free products, especially considering Celiacs have nutrient deficiency already.
Gluten-Free Mixes from Watson
Info about Watson’s gluten-free pre-mixes are here.
What are your stories with Celiac disease? Please comment below.