Coeliac disease, also known as celiac or celiac disease, is much more than just an allergy to gluten – it can be a life threatening condition if not properly treated. In this article we’ll discuss the symptoms of coeliac disease, the recommended diet and a few helpful tools to make transitioning to a gluten-free diet easier. By the end of this article you’ll have a better idea of what coeliac disease is and how it can be treated.
Coeliac Disease Symptoms
While there is no definitive list of symptoms, most patients complain of one or more of the following in varying degrees of severity:
- Stomach upset
- Stomach cramps or pain
- Inability to concentrate or foggy headedness
Other symptoms that point to an inability to properly absorb nutrients, like anemia for example, can also point to coeliac disease. If you suffer from any of the above symptoms, or notice something that occurs every time you consume gluten, you should check with your doctor for celiac disease diagnosis.
Coeliac Disease Diet
The first step in treatment is usually to start a strict gluten free diet. Gluten is found in several grains including wheat, barley and rye. Many patients notice that by eliminating gluten from their diet they see a substantial decrease in symptoms – though it can take weeks or months.
To get started on your path to a gluten free diet, it’s a good idea to get off to the right start. First, make yourself a plan so you don’t get overwhelmed. Make a list of 2-3 breakfasts, 3-4 lunches and 5-10 dinners that you enjoy that do not include any kind of bread, pasta or other gluten containing substance. Then, list 5 meals that you love that do include gluten. Make a point of finding a recipe for each of those 5 sometime this week and then cooking at least 2 of them. Slowly expand your repertoire of gluten free recipes rather than trying to do too much all at once.
A good binder or recipe box is a must and it’s also a good idea to invest in at least a couple of gluten free cookbooks. Start with a gluten free cookbook that has basic recipes and then expand into specialty cookbooks depending on your food preferences.
Also check into local coeliac disease groups or investigate the Coeliac Society, an organization with great resources.
If you’re concerned that you may have coeliac disease, see your doctor promptly. If you do start a gluten free diet, remember to make a plan and take it one step at a time. There are lots of online resources available to help you, including lots of great recipes. With a few modifications to your diet you’ll be feeling better in no time.