In honor of Celiac Awareness Month this May, we’ve asked health coach, Lacy Young, to clear up some common misconceptions regarding Celiac disease and gluten sensitivities. Here she’s provided insight into the disease, along with useful tips for living a healthy, happy gluten-free life!
The Truth About Gluten:
I work with people all the time who have Celiac disease or are gluten sensitive. For some it’s pure misery (and potentially life threatening) if they consume gluten, for others it can present as an irritation like a tummy ache that goes away in a short period.
Awareness is growing and more options are becoming available but it has also become a bit of cultural phenom leaving some people confused about who should go Gluten Free. About 1 out of 133 people have Celiac disease.
CELIAC DISEASE and GLUTEN SENSITIVITY is 100% treatable through diet and lifestyle.
Here’s the serious part. Consuming gluten for those with Celiac can be very painful, cause illness and even death. Ingesting gluten can damage the small intestine making it nearly impossible to deliver nutrients to the bloodstream. Malnourishment, rapid weight loss and vomiting all lead you right to the ER. My group health coaching partner, Lisa Thiele shares her story about going GF on her blog. At her worst, Lisa was in the hospital with every symptom in the book. It was a VERY scary time for her and her family. Today she and I work together to educate people on the power of healthy eating and living.
Breaking it all down:
What is gluten? And should you avoid it?
Gluten is composite protein found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley. Gluten impedes digestion of protein via abnormal immune reaction. From the Latin word for “glue,” It’s the stuff that makes bread chewy in texture. Think fresh baked French bread (ohh that smell is so good!). Gluten helps baked goods retain their shape and is also super absorbent… again think French bread dipped into oils.
Gluten is not a bad guy—-it’s a nutritional protein that has been around and part of our diet for thousands of years. That said avoiding grains that do contain gluten (wheat, rye and barley) used to be SUPER hard! Happily new products and awareness of Celiac disease and gluten’s effect on the body is making it easier.
You CAN be Gluten sensitive without having Celiac disease. Both sensitivity and Celiac can be triggered by stress (happy or sad) and can present at any time in life.
Some grains that do not have Gluten include:
Amaranth/ corn/ wild rice/ millet/ quinoa (my personal favorite)
Be careful to watch your condiments, sauces and supplements (vitamins)! Soy sauce is a biggie to stay away from. Instead try using Bragg Liquid Aminos. It’s so much better for you than soy sauce anyway! That’s the key really… going Gluten Free does not have to be a life sentence to avoid pleasure in eating the foods that you love. As someone with [serious] Gluten sensitivity, Lisa always teaches that naturally Gluten Free foods taste amazing and are so much better for you!
If you suspect you are gluten sensitive or have Celiac go and get a blood test to confirm BEFORE you start adjusting your diet and buying gluten-free products.
And if you’d like specialized help Lisa and I would love for you to join us for one of our Group HealthCoaching courses!
-Lacy Young, Health Coach