In recent years however, there has been a lot of light shed on what this disease is and more and more people are discovering they have it. (If you think you might have it but aren’t sure, take a look at this symptom checklist).
If you do have it, here are 10 things you need to know:
1) Celiac disease is a chronic autoimmune disease, that affects about 1% of Americans – that’s 3 million people! That means you’re not alone. Unfortunately this disease is not one you can simply “grow out of” but it’s also not a death sentence. You can still pretty much do everything else you used to – but you do have to change your diet quite a bit.
2) As I mentioned earlier, 83% of Americans with celiac disease are not diagnosed and continue to suffer and have no idea why they can’t get better. To complicate things further, some people don’t have outward symptoms. If you or someone else you know does have outward symptoms, some of these could include bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue, itchy skin rash, discolored teeth or loss of enamel, joint pain, canker sores, delayed growth and so much more. See why it’s hard to diagnose?
3) Celiac disease can develop in infancy or much later in adulthood. If you have it, there is a chance that some of your family members might have it also. In fact, people with a first-degree relative with celiac, have a 1 in 10 chance of developing it themselves.
4) It an affect every organ in your body – it can cause infertility, reduced bone density, neurological disorders, some cancers and other autoimmune diseases.
5) Right now there is no cure or treatment besides a 100% gluten-free diet. Of course, you can always cave and have a “cheat” meal, but you’ll end up paying a price for it (believe me I know – my husband has a gluten intolerance).
6) If one person in the family has it, the whole family does. In other words, the success rate of being gluten free is much higher if the whole family will adhere to the diet as well.
7) Cross contamination can be an issue especially eating at others’ homes. Even well-meaning hosts will make something gluten free in the same bowl they made something with gluten. A little polite education can go a long way here.
8) Don’t settle for tasteless gluten-free products. There are so many products out there now that taste good. You will pay more for them but what is more important than your health? Try our Gluten-Free Apple Spice Cake when you’re craving something sweet.
9) Honestly, grains and gluten are not all that good for you anyway. On the bright side you are now “forced” to eat healthier and will reap the rewards for doing so!
10) There will be some foods you will simply miss eating – that even tasty substitutions can’t make up for. The best thing you can do is to try and keep a positive attitude and focus on what you CAN have instead of what you CAN’T.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by your new diagnosis, we would love to help make your life easier. But more importantly, we’d love to help you enjoy food still! We’ve made personalized meals for dozens of families with celiac disease or those needing a gluten-free diet. Get started with a personalize service!