Gluten Free Diet
Celiac disease (also known as celiac sprue, gluten intolerant enteropathy,
or gluten sensitive enteropathy) is a condition in which there is
a chronic reaction to substances known as glutens, found in some cereal
grains. This reaction causes destruction of the villi in the small
intestine, this results in the poor absorption of nutrients. The disease
occurs in people who are genetically predisposed, i.e. they have a
history of gluten intolerance in the family, usually after a trigger
- such as shock, viral infection or prolonged stress. It can begin
at any time from when grains are first ingested to later on in life.
|Please note: Celiac sprue is a serious
disease which can be life threatening if not diagnosed. It is
very important that you see your doctor and get a professional
diagnosis if you suspect you might be gluten intolerant.
Celiac disease can be difficult to spot in some individuals as it
is possible to show no outward signs of disease. There is quite a
wide range of symptoms, which include: wind, bloating, diarrhoea.
This is in addition to a wide variety of symptoms arising from poor
absorption such as weight loss, chronic fatigue, weakness, bone problems.
There may also be signs of a skin disease called dermatitis herpetiformis,
in which severe rashes appear (often on the head, elbows, knees and
buttocks). Reactions to ingestion of gluten can be immediate, or delayed
for weeks or even months. There is no set pattern and celiacs may
have all or none of the above symptoms.
Your doctor can do blood tests and/or biopsies to see if you are likely
to be gluten intolerant or not. Some of these tests are done while
you are still eating gluten.
Maybe, or you could be sensitive to the wheat or the yeast. There
are people who can eat rye but not wheat - they are not gluten sensitive
as rye contains gluten. Sensitivities can occur when too much of one
particular food is eaten - wheat (especially poor quality refined
wheat) is commonly over emphasised in the modern diet. If you suspect
that you are wheat sensitive rather than gluten intolerant, try experimenting
with eating a wider variety of grains, in their unrefined form. Excessive
intake of refined foods and milk products can "clog up" the intestines
causing poor absorption of nutrients. This is not gluten intolerance.
See your doctor if you are unsure. Additionally, having a food sensitivity
test might help to clarify which foods are causing the problem.
Some researchers are convinced that gluten intolerance, whether or
not it results in full-blown celiac disease, can impact mental functioning
in some individuals and cause or aggravate autism, Asperger's syndrome,
attention deficit disorder (ADD), and schizophrenia. Some of the damage
may be healed or partially repaired after time on a gluten-free diet
(for example, problems with infertility may be reversed).
Celiacs should avoid all foods that contain wheat, rye, barley, oats
and some other less well-known grains. There are no other cures except
for this avoidance, although it might be wise to visit a nutritionist
or naturopath to rebuild the body nutritionally. Durum wheat, bulgar
wheat, triticale and semolina are types of wheat and should be avoided.
Spelt and kamut are ancient types of wheat and should be avoided.
There are many products derived from wheat, which may also cause problems
such as wheat starch, hydrolysed wheat proteins. For this reason,
it is wise to steer clear of pre-packaged foods that might contain
these items. Also check that any medication you might be taking does
not contain substance harmful to you.
Unfortunately there are some suspect grains, which may cause problems.
These include: amaranth, buckwheat (or kasha), millet and quinoa.
There is still debate as to whether or not these foods are safe for
celiacs. Technically they should cause no problems, (buckwheat for
example is more closely related to rhubarb than wheat) but some celiacs
say that they do aggravate symptoms (this is perhaps due to cross
contamination in the growing, milling or processing stages).
Rice and corn are safe for celiacs. The following can be milled into
flour: chickpeas (garbanzos), lentils, peas and soya. Alternatively,
we stock gluten free flours and gluten free breads, biscuits and cakes.
Many celiacs invest in a breadmaker and regularly bake their own bread.
You can also experiment with making your own pasta, although we sell
rice and corn pastas. There are many gluten free recipe books available
to give you inspiration and guidance.
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