So…what is Celiac Disease?
Whether you’re planning a meal for a guest with CD, or you yourself have recently been diagnosed and are just looking to find a bit of information without becoming overwhelmed, I’ve gathered up the basics right here for you!
Let me start off by saying that CD, or any food allergies/intolerances/sensitivities altogether are nothing to be scared of or intimidated by. In fact, my discovery of having CD myself TRANSFORMED my life; for the better! It led to a change in everything I knew about food. I changed my major, my school and found my outlook on life becoming more positive the more excited I became about sharing my “food findings” with others! Find motivation and empowerment in your own intolerances or be inspired to help others in dealing with theirs.
According to the National Foundation of Celiac Awareness, Celiac Disease is “an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food”. Uhhh intestinal…what?
In more understandable terms, they go on to describe that “the body is attacking itself every time a person with celiac consumes gluten”. Gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye is EVERYWHERE! It’s in your soy sauce, your cupcakes and yes, sometimes in your VEGGIE chips (read those labels!)!!
Common symptoms of Celiac Disease according to the NFCA:
Did you catch that? Nothing at all. Some people do not have any symptoms! That does not mean that you are unaffected, you are just not able to see what internal damage is happening the longer you consume gluten. Celiaccentral.org has a handy checklist you can complete to see if you potentially could be diagnosed: http://www.celiaccentral.org/disease-symptoms-checklist/
Have you heard of the new ‘magic pill’ that can cure CD?! Neither have I. That’s because the only (current) treatment of CD is to adopt a lifelong gluten-free diet; the best part about having CD in my opinion. You now have free license to become as creative as you possibly can in the kitchen!
So now you’re thinking ‘Great, I’ll never eat again and there’s no one to sympathize with me!’ – WRONG! Anyone is at risk of developing CD or any food intolerances/allergies. Various forms of Social Media, support groups, forums and blogs have sprouted everywhere to share recipes, tell great stories and provide a strong network of people all with a common denominator of food.
If you would like more information and detail, one of my favorite resources is www.celiaccentral.org. There you can find facts & figures, success stories, information on current research and trends and laws and programs being proposed and implemented regarding CD.
Now that you know the basics, you’re ready to host that guest, cook your own first gluten-free meal or send your child to school with a delicious and simple meal! I’ll be including some of my favorite recipes in future posts (including my next one), but meanwhile, browse the endless amounts of recipes on the web and give one a go! Let me know how it turns out and share your thoughts/stories and more in the comments below.
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