Celiac Disease

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The double dynamo! Wow isn’t one autoimmune disease enough, how did we get so lucky?

Celiac disease and type 1 diabetes together present a rather unique set of challenges. Really, with the special carbohydrate counting diet and now watching every crumb?! This is like a joke gone extremely bad even for a well put together family with an amazing sense of humor. But here we go and we are not alone.

Wheat FieldEveryone’s diet has room for some housekeeping so we took this opportunity to eliminate any sources of the evil crumbs. Truly the worst culprits are processed foods and they are loaded full of wheat in America. Not that you can’t substitute all of your processed goodies with the gluten free variety, because now you can.

I am personally convinced that our processed foods have only increased the numbers of celiac disease we see today.

This new diagnosis was a huge eye opening event for me because I love to bake and cook. I take pride in cooking healthful meals and treats from scratch. When I went to the health food store years ago it seemed like our only option was to eat from boxes, I was so sad! Imagine the challenge of incorporating type 1 diabetes and now adding in the other limitations of celiac disease. Convincing a 5 year old to eat cardboard bread was a process after the fluffy, sticky, soft gluten laden bread she’d been eating for years.

It is known that approximately 1 in 10 people who have type 1 diabetes also have celiac disease.  Both celiac disease and type 1 diabetes are autoimmune diseases and therefore are connected.

Volunteering at a camp for kids with type 1 diabetes, I find the numbers to be higher per cabin in that population. There were 8 campers per cabin and there were 2-3 kids with celiac in each cabin. Living gluten free is very en vogue and many families choose to eliminate gluten in kids with type 1 even without a celiac disease diagnosis. Why do this? I hear from other families that they feel blood glucose control is tighter without the gluten. Because it is such a trendy diet the choices have exploded, yippee! Tasty bread is very easy to find now (even though the pieces are half the size of their glutinous counterparts and twice as expensive).

See She Sugar’s nutritious Gluten Free Bread Recipe and She Sugar’s Gluten Free English Muffin Recipe.

Celiac Disease is not an allergy to gluten

Learn about the new genetically modified variety of wheat we eat in America today, dwarf wheat.  Dwarf wheat is associated with an increase in obesity, diabetes and celiac disease due to its inflammatory effects.  In this health blog you will have all the current news, great gluten free recipes and ideas on how to manage both of these diseases together successfully. Celiac disease is not a wheat or gluten allergy or intolerance; it is an autoimmune disease like type 1 diabetes. See the Celiac Disease Foundation website for details on this disease.

Is there a Celiac disease test?
The answer is yes!  There is a panel of blood work (see She Sugars article) that is drawn and if the results are positive you will have a visit with a Gastroenterologist. The gold standard for diagnosis is positive labs and a positive endoscopy with intestinal biopsy.

Celiac disease is a full body attack against gluten which is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, oats and triticale.

Symptoms of celiac disease can vary wildly between people, in fact some people are actually symptomless. The list of foods to avoid is quite lengthy and there are many resources to explore in regards to the celiac disease diet, thank goodness!  There are so many smart people out there and they continue to make recipes to replace our long lost favorites.  The good news is that celiac disease can be treated through dietary changes.  This is a bonus in some respect, because it is one of the only diseases that you can treat without taking medicine!

See the Celiac Disease Foundation’s website here for signs and symptoms of celiac disease.

See this great article on JDRF’s website speaking to celiac disease and type 1 disease together.

Now if this diet for a child doesn’t turn you into a complete crazy type A lunatic when you are eating out or have house visitors, you are an amazing human being.  Thank goodness our house guests and relatives are patient and understanding. The butter dish, toaster oven and counter top full of gluten crumbs are so hard for me.

Cleaning up the kitchen after a flour massacre is like trying to bleach your floor of the aftermath from a toilet overflow (I never thought I would think that about wheat).

My daughter writes “NO DOUBLE DIPPING” on the peanut butter jars which is hilarious but necessary with celiac disease. Which brings me back to where I started, having a good sense of humor. Now take some gluten free flour throw it in the air and breathe in all of its non-gluten goodness and thank God you can just wipe it up with the sponge on your sink and walk away smiling!  Oh yes, and that the varieties out there actually don’t make your brownies taste like beans anymore!

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