Adjusting your diet because of celiac disease can be challenging. Most people in the United States who suspect they might have food allergies or digestive issues, or even suspect celiac disease itself, tend to wait up to 4 years before ever getting an official diagnosis, so the toleration for discomfort is pretty common. Unfortunately, with celiac disease, it's not a good idea to wait to address it.
Celiac disease is an immune system disorder that causes the lining of the small intestine to become inflamed and irritated when exposed to gluten proteins. That inflammation can affect nutrient absorption and lead to additional health problems including autoimmune disorders, osteoporosis, or, in some cases, even cancer.
If, after eating foods like wheat or other grains like barley, you suspect an issue with your stomach, bowels, or digestion, it's important to talk with a doctor.
How to manage celiac disease
Maintaining a gluten-free diet can eliminate the inflammation associated with celiac disease. A gluten-free diet is the only safe and proven way to manage your symptoms.
When not continually irritated, the lining of your intestine can begin to heal, and your body can return to normal levels of nutrient absorption.
Unfortunately, modifying your diet isn't always easy, and some bread and pastries may always be off-limits, but several alternative grains can be substituted for a gluten-free diet.
Some gluten-free grains and alternative flours for a celiac disease diet are:
Often, "ancient" forms of wheat are thought to be celiac-friendly, but most still contain gluten, so you'll have to keep a watchful eye.
When you are making the switch to a celiac disease friendly diet, it can be a good idea to talk to a medical professional who knows your symptoms and sensitivities.
Tips for eating out
Unfortunately, gluten seems to be hiding in foods you wouldn't have suspected. Here are a few primary steps to help keep yourself from accidentally ingesting gluten when you don't intend to.
Generally, you can freely eat these food categories when you have celiac disease:
- Beans, legumes, and nuts
- Poultry and eggs
- Fish and seafood
More foods are also being labeled "gluten-free" as different dietary restrictions such as celiac disease, lactose intolerance, or other food allergies become more common.
Two additional places gluten can show up, in addition to the typical bread and grains, are in salad dressings and sauces. You may need to ask restaurant staff about their menu when eating out, just to be safe. If you aren't sure, it is better to simply order a different item you know to be safe.
When to talk to a doctor about celiac disease
You should continue to seek medical advice even after a diagnosis of celiac disease. Your doctor can help you take control of your diet and successfully manage your symptoms.
Call 704-372-7974 to schedule a TeleHealth appointment with Carolina Digestive today.