Celiac Disease Causes Changes in Lifestyle

by Laura Weaver

Celiac Disease Causes Changes in Lifestyle

by Laura Weaver

Celiac Disease, which I have, is a chronic digestive disorder where the

body no longer produces the enzyme needed to break down glutens in foods. Reasons for this vary, but it is believed stress is the culprit. When glutens are ingested, the inability to digest them causes the finger-like projections in the small intestine to break off, ultimately causing an absorption problem with all foods eaten until these Celia grow back, usually in about three to four days.

Not only is Celiac Disease uncomfortable and unpleasant, but a sudden outbreak causes symptoms which are uncontrollable, often resulting in dangerous complications. Symptoms last for days, making the patient weak, dehydrated, and disoriented. Muscle cramps develop in the extremities and heart palpitations may occur. The body rejects all food and water, holding nothing. I.V. fluids are often required to replenish those which are lost. As symptoms start to subside after several days, easily digested foods can slowly be reintroduced. It can take more than a week to be able to

eat a normal gluten-free diet again.

In order to live with this chronic illness, the patient needs to alter his/her food choices and lifestyle forever. Eliminating all glutens from the diet is vital to staying healthy. Reading labels on all processed foods is extremely important. Recognizing the food terms on these labels is instrumental in staying healthy. Learning terms like "modified food starch" and

"hydrolyzed protein" are ingredients that contain wheat and avoiding foods with these terms on the ingredient list is crucial to stay within the gluten-free diet.

Food preparation is also very important in adhering to the gluten-free regimen. Separate utensils must be used specifically for cooking gluten-free items. In our house, white utensils are used for gluten-free; black for other foods. Personal foods should be labeled with the Celiac patient's name and used only by that person. Following these suggestions prevents cross-contamination with "unsafe" foods. Remember, you aren't being picky, you're staying healthy.

Fresh fruits, vegetables, rice, potatoes, and even chocolate are "safe" gluten-free foods. Strangely enough, low-fat items contain glutens when the fattening version does not. Of course breads are no-no's, but there are

rice breads available. There are also other gluten-free items available, including rice or corn pastas. Finding these gluten-free items can be a problem. Of course, most health food stores have some gluten-free products, as well as some groceries. Ordering directly from the company is possible, but shipping is extremely expensive because gluten-free foods have no preservatives, so overnight or refrigerated/frozen transportation is the best way to deliver.

Eating out is a luxury we often forgo because of the risk involved. It is difficult to control what actually happens behind the closed doors of the kitchen. Eating with friends at our numerous Pot Luck diners, however, is another matter. We cherish our time with our friends and it always seems to involve eating. In order to stay healthy, I have to be diligent in preparing and taking my own personal foods to such functions. I have learned to be first in line in serving myself so no other foods are accidentally dropped into what I can eat or so that no other utensils are used in my "safe" food. Luckily our friends understand and accept this situation. In fact, when it's time for us to eat, they simply say "Laura, let's get started". What a

relief it is to have our friends be so understanding and supportive!

The author recommends the gift of a
thoughtful fruit basket for your loved ones who have Celiac Disease.

Article Source: Celiac Disease Causes Changes in Lifestyle

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