In case you were not aware of the fact, May is Celiac Awareness Month.
Celiac Disease affects approximately three million Americans, many of whom are suffering without knowing the cause of their malaise.
You keep hearing about people needing their food to be “gluten-free”, but why? Gluten is a protein in wheat, rye, barley and many oats (particularly those grown in the US). It is in many foods that wouldn’t seem at first blush to contain gluten, and is a filler in many medicines.
Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease whereby one’s body is attacked when gluten is consumed. Symptoms can be digestive…or extend to the rest of the body. It can also compromise the body in a way that invites other diseases to take hold, such as other autoimmune diseases, neurological disorders and cancers. It tends to run in families. It can be present but dormant, and be kicked into gear by such events as severe stress, physical injury, another disease such as Lyme’s, infection, pregnancy or childbirth or surgey.
Avoidance of gluten cannot be sporadic or intermittent or half-way; if one has Celiac Disease, one must cut it out 1000 percent of the way. Even a speck of gluten can wreak significant damage on the system of a person with Celiac Disease, and traces of gluten can remain in one’s system for nine full months.
Get tested! Find out if you should be avoiding gluten. It’s a pain in the neck to go gluten-free and requires vigilance, but it becomes a way of life and gets easier as one gets used to it. And as friends of mine have assured me, the benefits far outweigh the drag of it.