How to Live with Celiac Disease?
For obvious reasons, you would never fill your car up with the wrong type of gas. After a few miles, your car begins to slow down, sputter, and finally roll to a stop. The result of this mistake is a hefty repair bill and a few days without your automobile. It is certainly a great idea to read the information on the gas pumps prior to filling up.
Individuals with gluten sensitivity and celiac disease experience this type of situation daily. Eating the wrong foods and drinking the wrong beverages can be equally devastating. A few tips are given below to help people with gluten sensitive conditions make better decisions and improve their quality of life.
A Little about Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is classified as an inherited autoimmune disorder. These are especially troublesome disorders due to the fact that they are difficult to diagnose and are seen in one out of 100 individuals worldwide. In fact, it takes on average 6 to 10 years before someone with celiac disease is diagnosed. Celiac disease is characterized by a person’s inability to tolerate gluten, a naturally occurring protein found in a lot of foods. Gluten is called a “binding protein”. These proteins, usually found in wheat flour, is what makes our baked goods, breads, and pastas become soft and chewy.
When a person with gluten insensitivity or celiac disease consumes gluten, an immune response occurs causing the small intestine to stop functioning properly. Vital nutrients from food are no longer absorbed causing a variety of symptoms including fatigue, rash, anemia, muscle cramps, along with pain in the bones and joints. These individuals suffer from a multitude of digestive complaints as well. A strong mental health relationship between the disease and its sufferers also exists. It is a lifelong battle. If that wasn’t enough there is also a large negative economic impact for individuals with a gluten insensitive condition.
Currently, the only acceptable treatment for celiac disease is a 100% gluten-free diet. In other words, no more bad fuel consumption!
Important Tips for Coping with Celiac Disease
Get the Proper Diagnosis
Diagnosing these conditions can be tricky so it is important to find a fitting healthcare provider familiar with the disease. An internal medicine physician with experience in autoimmune diseases should be the first choice. When celiac disease is suspected a fairly simple and straightforward blood test will determine the presence of the disease in 98% of cases.
Build Your Team
Surround yourself with talent that will make your life easier. Once you have found a competent doctor, it is a good idea to find a dietitian. This is especially important in the early disease recognition stage. A dietitian will lay out the fundamentals of what a gluten free diet should look like on an individual basis. In addition you may require professionals to assist with physical fitness or any mental health issue. Gluten insensitive individuals have a higher frequency of systemic illness making the team approach best.
One of the advantages of living in this day and age is the fact that we have access to so much information. Take the time to learn about the condition and acquaint yourself with resources relating to gluten-free living. A couple of websites that offer educational and nutritional support are the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, and the Celiac Disease Foundation. These sites are chock-full of information for individuals and families to better deal with the day-to-day situations that occur.
No More Gluten
As said earlier, the only acceptable treatment for celiac disease is to eliminate dietary gluten. That’s not as easy as it sounds because most commonly enjoyed foods contain gluten. Bread, pasta, desserts, sauces, pancakes, cereals, and anything fried with a crunchy coating are off the menu. Food and beverages made with barley and rye also contain high amounts of gluten, and should be avoided. Beer then, becomes a no-no.
Gluten insensitivity can also make eating out a nightmare. When ordering at a restaurant it is a good idea to ask to see food packaging, should there be no doubt about gluten content with respect to your order. Most restaurants will be happy to accommodate you with this request.
Knowing that the only treatment is complete gluten avoidance, begin focusing on food preparation and cooking for the gluten free diet.
Get Good in the Kitchen
With the aid of the Internet, it is easy to find gluten-free recipes, cookbooks, spices, specialty gluten-free foods, as well as advice for the gluten-free cook. For the cooking cautious, scour the Internet for cooking videos which feature gluten-free cooking themes. This type of cooking is all about the ingredients and technique, as well as getting the taste just right for each person. This takes time and a lot of trial and error. Within weeks, however, gluten free cooking will become second nature with good tasting menu plans, a snap.
Supermarkets often have sections devoted to gluten-free foods. If your supermarket offers little in terms of gluten-free items, ask the store manager to begin carrying items at your request. When a store manager knows that his items will sell, they may be better suited to stocking their shelves more to your liking.
The major book retailers offer international gluten free cookbooks, gluten-free cooking on budget cookbooks, and even a gluten free Bible. With all this information, there is no excuse for not having tasty and reliable meals each and every day.
Develop a Support Group
There’s no need for reinventing the wheel with respect to connecting with others that share a gluten-free lifestyle. Social networking and web forums are places in which like-minded people can get together. This is important to share ideas, helpful hints, recipes, and to share experiences that affect daily living. It is important to let your friends know of your eating requirements to avoid awkwardness in a restaurant or dinner event.
Stress Reduction and Physical Fitness
Because celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder, careful measures need to be taken to keep your body in tiptop condition. People with these types of conditions experience more adverse symptoms during times of increased stress. Sticking to a physical fitness program will help anyone to better deal with the stresses of everyday life. Walking or low impact exercise is acceptable; however, individuals with better cardiovascular conditioning have been shown to deal with stress more appropriately. Translation-don’t skip the treadmill.
Pay Attention to Your Body
Because celiac disease is a nutrient robbing condition, other body systems are affected. Do not wait to see your physician should a new problem arise. Normally, a cold or flu will pass in a few days. On many occasions, new problems are directly related to the malabsorption syndrome. It is best to have a high sense of awareness when it comes to any problem.
Celiac disease and its relationship to gluten have been well documented and described in the literature. Due to the wealth of information available, gluten sensitive individuals can access recipes, nutritional ideas, lifestyle guidelines, and even support groups to improve their quality of life. By keeping physically fit and surrounding yourself with a proper team of healthcare professionals, the celiac patient improves their chances of living a normal lifestyle. Surrounding oneself with others experiencing the same day to day issues can also go a long way to keep mental stability.
Finally, because food is one of the biggest enjoyments in life, it is recommended that you find the proper foods and food preparation techniques to continue to enjoy one of life’s simple pleasures, taste!
We all want our cars running perfectly year-round. We all want our cars kept out of the expensive repair shop. People living with gluten insensitivity, by following some simple guidelines, can easily accomplish both. Good luck!