Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Celiac Disease Digesting the Root of the Problem

There’s no one symptom that can be used to diagnose Celiac disease. The condition, which simply can be described as a form of gluten intolerance, is a combination of symptoms. In fact, there are many cases where the disease has been misdiagnosed because the symptoms it shares with other digestive and allergy related diseases. Among the symptoms that manifest in children include abdominal pain, diarrhea, not gaining weight, nausea, anemia, mouth sores, lack of appetite, hair loss, bloated abdomen, not growing in height, dermatitis, and behavioral disorders. In adults, it is common to exhibit fatigue, depression, osteoporosis, irritability, and lactose intolerance. The importance in diagnosis celiac disease is getting to the root of the problem to diagnose it properly.

As we all know, celiac disease is a condition where the inner lining of the small intestines gets inflamed due to the contact with gluten. Gluten is a protein that is commonly found in wheat, barley and rye. Once inflammation of the small intestines occurs, the body is unable to absorb the necessary nutrients from the food you eat. So no matter how much you gobble up food, you will still experience malnutrition. And because you’re not receiving the right amounts of nutrients, your body will get weaker and becomes more susceptible to other diseases.

Diagnosing the condition is somewhat troublesome due to the fact that the exact cause of the disease is still unknown. Research and studies, however, have proven that the disease is genetic based. So this means that if someone in your family has it, there’s a chance that you can have it as well.

Tests and diagnosing the disease can be done through laboratory analysis of blood samples. What doctors will be looking for is the high levels of antibodies, more specifically anti-gliadin, anti-endomysium, and anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies, in your blood. It has been found out that people with celiac disease has high levels of these antibodies in their system. These antibodies identify gluten as a threat to the body and try to get rid of it just like the immune system trying to get rid of virus and bacteria.

However, there are times that the levels of these antibodies were found to be normal, and yet patients still exhibit symptoms of celiac disease. Only once gluten is removed from their diet did they only started feeling a lot better. The disease is really a tricky one to diagnose but through observations and laboratory analysis the task is not impossible.

If left undiagnosed, the disease can potentially lead to complications and other more dangerous disease. Some of the risks the people with the disease have to be ready for include lupus, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, microscopic colitis, and autoimmune thyroid disease.

Of course, malnutrition will be a starting point for deficiencies in vitamins A, B-12, De, E, and K which can cause anemia and weight loss. The body will be lacking in calcium as well which greatly affects the bone density. The damage caused by the disease can also result to developing other allergic reactions from foods that don’t even contain gluten, such as lactose.

So it is really important that people who exhibit symptoms of the disease get some medical attention get to the root of the problem. And if the doctors found out that the disease is not celiac, then that’s still good. However, leaving everything as it is will never turn out good.

Celiac Disease and Other Digestive Disorders

Celiac disease is also known as sprue, nontropical sprue or gluten- sensitive enteropathy. Celiac disease occurs to people who cannot tolerate gluten, a protein substance present in barley, wheat and rye. Celiac disease is a digestive disorder. There are also other digestive disorders that are often confused with celiac disease like the irritable bowel syndrome.

Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is often confused with celiac disease. IBS is considered to be the most common disorder. In North America, there is about 20 percent of Americans believed to have some form of IBS. Unfortunately, the treatment for IBS is not the same for celiac disease patients. There are times when celiac disease patients would not receive the appropriate treatment and can take a long time before the correct diagnosis is made.

Patients with IBS should ask their physician to make sure that they don’t have any celiac disease. Medical researches in Britain have found a high rate of celiac disease with patients with IBS. The British study found that the chance of having celiac disease was seven times higher for patients with IBS.

IBS causes however, are not well understood. There are several studies saying that it has something to do with the central nervous system. There are changes in the nerves that control sensation or muscle contractions in the bowel. The bowels of the intestines contract irregularly, meaning that food is pushed too quickly or slowly.

IBF effects are more likely to be emotional than physical. Some IBS patients find it hard to lead a normal, happy life while experiencing the digestive disorder. But people with IBS have been found to have a lower chance to develop more serious or life-threatening bowel diseases. Although this is reassuring, this does not mean that serious diseases cannot occur separately.

Another digestive disorder is the inflammatory bowel disease. This is the name of a group of disorders that cause the intestine to become inflamed or red and swollen. The inflammation lasts a long time and usually comes back over and over again.

A germ or by immune system problem may cause the disease. The disease is not contagious however, inflammatory bowel disease, like celiac disease, does seem to be hereditary.

Celiac disease is also misdiagnoses, sometimes, as Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease. It causes ulcers to form in the gastrointestinal tract anywhere from the mouth to the anus. Symptoms may include stomach cramps and pains that comes and goes and blood in the stool. Similar to celiac disease, Crohn’s disease patients also experience diarrhea, sick feeling in the stomach, unexplained weight loss and tiredness.

Crohn’s disease gets treated depending on the status of the gastrointestinal tract. When the disease is mild, medicines may still help. But for sever cases, steroids are generally used. There are times that even surgery may be necessary, but it cannot cure the disease.

There are about 95 million people affected by digestive problems every day. Digestive disorders are one of the primary reasons for physician visits. It is important to get medical attention for digestive disorders since digestive diseases are very complex. They may have subtle symptoms and their causes may be unknown. Identifying or reaching a diagnosis need a thorough and accurate medical history and physical background since some digestive disorders can be hereditary.

If we re what we eat then we should take care of our digestive system. A digestive disorder or digestive disease like celiac disease is impossible to ignore. Undermining celiac disease and other digestive disorders means undermining our total health and would eventually threaten our lives.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Family and Celiac Disease

For protein lovers, Celiac disease is one thing they wouldn’t want to inherit from the family genes. Fortunately, its treatment can also be ensured within the family and in the home.

Celiac disease is a digestive order that can run from one generation to another. The disease causes severe damage to the small intestines as a reaction to gliadin or a gluten protein, and results to inflammation and flattening of the lining of the small intestines.

The person with Celiac disease is unable to absorb gluten, which is a group of protein common in wheat, rye, oats and barley. Hence, the disease imposes a gluten-free diet for those who are affected. This proves to be a difficult task since gluten is the second most consumed ingredient next to sugar, and hence difficult to avoid. Also, it is difficult to monitor since some may not experience any symptoms. But already knowing that the person and his or her family are prone to the disease can provide a head start on how to mitigate the damages.

Indeed, the home is the best place to start addressing Celiac disease. A family approach to knowing the disease and understanding how it affects everyday life will provide the battle gears for coping. This is especially helpful for the children, who would need all the support and guidance they could get.

A family that eats together heals together. This can be a reasonable motto for families afflicted with the history of Celiac disease. Several measures can already be taken if these families consider carefully their eating habits. One step is taking into heart what food to buy, grow, store, prepare or eat at any time of the day. By this, it is not just about ensuring that food is gluten-free but also ensuring that the needed nutrients are sourced from other food groups.

The family can also seek help from dieticians for the information on gluten-free foods. This includes help on how to read labels that may not specify gluten but contains it nonetheless. An example is the hydrolyzed vegetable protein that may be sourced from wheat. Familiarization with these gluten-free foods may be hard at first, but with the aid of a food diary and the collective memory of the family members, it will soon be easy.

Remember also that it is not just about knowing what to avoid, but rather knowing what to eat. For example, fruits are very much encouraged since these reduce other stressors to the digestive system, such as constipation. Further, in planning what meals to prepare and what other food to stock in the kitchen, the family can treat this as an opportunity to monitor and ensure balanced nutrition and sufficient calorie intake.

But what happens when family members, especially the children, need to eat outside of the home?

Again, it is important for the family to plan ahead. Children and teens should be part of the whole process of learning about gluten-free food. To engage their interest and to ensure that they like what they eat, children and teens may be entrusted with the responsibility of choosing what gluten-free meals to prepare. In this way, they would be able to prepare for food they can either eat at home or have as packed lunch or snacks. But in cases when they have to buy food outside the home, their knowledge about gluten-free food would enable them to discriminate which meals to buy. For young children with Celiac disease, their parents can also talk to teachers about the food requirements of their children. Or talk to the parents of their childrens friends, in case they visit or sleep over at houses of their friends.

In the end, a realistic talk among family members is the best approach. Each member, especially the children and teens, needs to know the consequences of eating meals with gluten.

A celiac disease urban legend

Now urban legends are urban folklore that were created by stories weaved together and circulated around until most people have accepted them as truths. There are different kinds of urban myths and covers a wide range of subject matter. It’s not impossible to find that even diseases have their own folklore. A celiac disease urban legend revolves around tea bags containing gluten which can trigger the disease.

For those who do not know, celiac disease is a condition where the small intestines get inflamed due to the consumption of food containing gluten. Gluten is a protein commonly found in food made from wheat, barley, and rye. So such foods like bread, pizza, and pasta can contain gluten. The condition can be really bad in the long run. The inflammation that the disease causes in the intestines prevents the body to absorb the nutrients that it needs. So the end results would be malnutrition. Malnutrition itself can then cause more ailments.

I don’t actually know where and when it started, but stories have already circulated that some makers of tea uses tea bags made from gluten. This is obviously bad for tea drinkers that have contracted the celiac disease. Word gone out and people with the disease now started to avoid tea just because of the stories or are selective of the tea brands that they buy.

Reinforcing the stories is the fact that tea manufacturers began labeling their products as using only gluten free tea bags. This of course is a reaction from the stories which probably resulted to tea sales going down. That’s the problem with urban myths, despite how absurd they might sound, people will tend to be wary since they would treat stories coming from credible sources as truth. The effects can sometimes be quite devastating.

Now, there has not been a solid shred of proof that manufacturers indeed used gluten as an ingredient for making their tea bags. Some say that making tea bags with gluten does not make sense at all since gluten can be dissolved with water. Although, there are research which indicates that gluten has poor water solubility properties. But still stories circulated.

Tea in itself does not contain gluten. It contains caffeine and other antioxidants but definitely not gluten. However, the tea brands that are available in the market today are often a blend of other ingredients. The reason for blending different kinds of tea and other stuff is to develop a unique taste. There are times that barley is added to tea blends to enhance taste and to offer something different. But barley contains gluten. Maybe, a tea brand that contains barley was consumed by someone with celiac disease. The symptoms recurred and that person might have generalized that the tea was the cause not analyzing it more closely.

That can be the start of the urban myth of the tea bag. I am not aware of any tea blends, today or in the past, which uses barley or even wheat as part of the ingredients. In the same way, I haven’t read any conclusive study which defunct this urban legend once and for all.

Personally, I would believe the fact that protein based or gluten based tea bags is not a commercial viability. I would choose to believe that this is indeed a celiac disease urban legend. However, for you who chose to be cautious, there are numerous tea brands today that claims to be gluten free. With regards to choices, you won’t be restricted. You can continue enjoying your tea.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How to Make Gluten Free Carrot Zucchini and Apple Muffins

How to Make Gluten Free Carrot Zucchini and Apple Muffins

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

A gluten-free muffin that is tasty and packed with healthy vegetables and fruit.


  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed (you can use a coffee grinder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 shredded carrot (about 5-7 inches in length)
  • 1 shredded zucchini (about 5-7 inches in length)
  • 3 cups cooked rice, pulverized in a food processor
  • 1 cup milk (you can use rice or almond milk)
  • 1/4 cup oil (coconut oil is tasty but not essential)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup dried apple, diced
  • 1/2 cup walnuts


  1. Combine flours, ground flax seed, soda, powder, salt and sugar.
  2. Shred carrot and zucchini. Add to dry mixture.
  3. In a food processor, process cooked rice until it becomes dough-like, about 20 seconds. Add to dry mixture.
  4. Mix wet ingredients. Add to dry mixture. Mix together.
  5. Stir in walnuts and diced dried apple.
  6. Spoon into lined muffin tins to the top.
  7. Bake 375° for 20-25 minutes. Test with a toothpick to ensure completely cooked.


  • Golden raisins in place of apple might prove a nice variation.
  • You could try grated apple but the texture will prove very different from that using dried apple.

Things You'll Need

  • Mixing bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • Grater
  • Food processor
  • Muffin tins (lined or greased)
  • Toothpick for testing

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Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Make Gluten Free Carrot Zucchini and Apple Muffins. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

How to Be Gluten Free

How to Be Gluten Free

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Gluten is a protein found in wheat and also in a number of other cereals including oats, rye and barley. If you have coeliac (celiac) disease you need to avoid foods made from these cereals, including most types of bread, pasta, pizza, pastry and cakes.
Wheat ingredients are used in many foods, such as some sausages and burgers, over the counter ready-to-eat meals and many sauces. Foods in batter or breadcrumbs are not suitable for people with celiac disease either. If you have coeliac disease, always check the ingredients on the foods you buy. You will also need to avoid some alcoholic drinks made from barley, such as beer and lager and some medications containing starch.
Gluten-free products do not contain gluten, but they may still contain other proteins found in wheat (albumins, globulins and starch granule proteins). These products are not considered suitable for those who are intolerant or allergic to wheat. It is important to understand that products labelled "wheat free" are not the same as those labelled "gluten free" - ie, they may contain gluten in the form of oats, rye, barley, etc.


  1. Be sure it is gluten free. Some foods labelled as 'gluten free' will contain small amounts of gluten. This is because some of these contain a special starch that has been treated to reduce the amount of gluten in it and it's impossible to remove the gluten entirely.
  2. Understand what is gluten free. Currently there isn't a legal definition of what 'gluten free' means, but there is an international standard for 'gluten free' products produced from cereals containing gluten. This is the Codex Alimentarius, and it permits products to be called 'gluten free' if there are less than 200 parts per million of gluten in the finished product. This means that if the food was divided equally into a million parts, no more than 200 of these would be made up of gluten. Many manufacturers follow this standard for products labelled 'gluten free'.
    • A new standard has been proposed for 'gluten free' products made from foods that do not naturally contain gluten. This would allow a product to be called 'gluten free' if there were less than 20 parts per million of gluten in the finished product. It isn't always possible to make products absolutely free of gluten, because tiny amounts of food containing gluten could get into these products when they are being made or transported. However, 20 parts per million is a very low level.
    • Of course, some foods are naturally free from gluten, including potatoes, maize and rice. These are good sources of starchy carbohydrates for those who need to adhere to a gluten-free diet. Fruit, vegetables, unprocessed meat and fish don't contain gluten, but some processed meats such as sausages and burgers are made with cereals that contain gluten.
  3. Read the packaging. Since November 2005 food labelling rules require pre-packed foods sold in EU, to show clearly on the label if they (or one of their ingredients) contain any cereal containing gluten – this applies even if the cereal has been specially treated to remove gluten. These new rules should make it easier for you to choose foods that are suitable for you. Bear in mind that there could still be foods on the shelves that were produced before this date.


  • What can you eat?
    • Cereals and grains: rice, maize, quinoa, tapioca, sago, buckwheat, and sorghum
    • Meat, fish and eggs: all are basically fine - just check any coatings, sauces and spices you add, and check wafer-thin meats too (sometimes wheat flour is added to make them ‘peel apart’). If eating fish in a restaurant, check with the chef - sometimes, fish is fried with flour to stop it from sticking to the pan.
    • Dairy products: milk and most cream, cheese and yoghurt - check any added ingredients, and check ready-grated cheese (sometimes wheat flour is added to stop the slivers of cheese sticking together). Sometimes, after diagnosis, coeliacs are dairy-intolerant because their guts have been damaged so much from ingesting gluten - this can take up to 2 years to rectify itself, but it's important to keep eating dairy foods during this time, even just a little cheese every day, to stop oneself from becoming permanently dairy-intolerant.
    • Flours: rice, corn, potato, maize, gram, soya, chickpea, sorghum, tapioca and chestnut flours are all OK - but check the laBbel for possible contamination
    • Fruit: all fruits are naturally gluten free - check ready-made pie fillings, though, as these can be thickened with flour
    • Vegetables: all vegetables are naturally gluten free - check any coatings, sauces and spices
    • Fats: you can eat butter, margarine, oils, but avoid suet and check low-fat spreads
    • Breakfast cereal: tricky one - check carefully, and avoid any containing wheat, oats, barley rye, or malt extract. No Rice Krispies!! - these contain barley malt extract. Gluten-free muesli is good, but boil thoroughly first, as it's made from crushed rice. Add fruit for flavour!
    • Bread, crackers and crispbreads: avoid all the conventional ones, and eat only those labelled as gluten free, or those you’ve made yourself and know to be gluten free. Toast or microwave bread products before eating, to refresh them - they'll taste MUCH better
    • Cakes, pastries, cookies and biscuits: avoid all the conventional ones, and eat only those labelled as gluten free, or those you’ve made yourself and know to be gluten free
    • Pizza and pasta: avoid all the conventional ones, and eat only those labelled as gluten free, or those you’ve made yourself and know to be gluten free
    • Soup and sauces: check every time, in case wheat flour has been used to thicken a soup or a sauce
    • Pies, quiches, flans and tarts: avoid all the conventional ones, and eat only those labelled as gluten free, or those you’ve made yourself and know to be gluten free
    • Puddings and desserts: check every time - meringue, jelly and most icecreams and sorbets will be fine, but unless specifically labelled gluten free, cheesecakes, pies etc will not be good for you
    • Snacks: nuts, raisins and seeds are all naturally gluten free, but check any added coatings and check all packets of crisps (chips) and other savoury snacks - we’ve been caught out by these before, especially when the recipe is changed. Check every label, due to contamination issues.
    • Sweets (candy): check every time - chocolate is usually OK to eat, but not if it covers a biscuit! All sorts of unexpected sweets contain wheat and licorice
    • Alcohol: wine, spirits, liqueurs, most whiskeys and cider - avoid real ale, beer, lager and stout (unless specifically labelled as gluten free)
    • Soft drinks: coffee, tea, juices, cocoa, fizzy drinks and most squashes - but check that they don’t contain barley or ‘cloud’, and don’t drink from vending machines
    • Spices and seasonings: pure salt, pepper, herbs, vinegar - check spices and mustard powder for added flour.
    • Spreads and preserves: jam, marmalade, honey, Marmite (UK only - check in other countries), nut butters
    • Pickles and dressings: check every time
    • Cooking ingredients: yeast, bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar - check baking powder for added flour
  • Glutenfree drinks:
    • water - whether tap, mineral or flavoured should be fine. There’s no gluten in pure water, and we should all be drinking more of this
    • pure fruit juice - no gluten in this - just flavour and vitamins
  • Be careful about smoothies - these are usually just fruit juice and yoghurt, but do sometimes have other ingredients, so just check*
    • milk is gluten free. If you’re lactose intolerant, or avoiding dairy for other reasons, try soya milk or rice milk (check label for contamination). You may be able to handle goat’s milk. Don't worry if you suddenly turn intolerant to soya - it's just because of the gut damage, and should clear up eventually.
    • probiotic drinks are a new trend. Check them, but they should be fine if you can handle dairy products
    • plain tea is gluten free, as should be any milk or sugar that you add, but be wary of drinks from vending machines, as there may be cross-contact
    • herbal or fruit teas and infusions should all be gluten free
    • plain coffee is gluten free (and so are milk and and sugar) but be careful of flavourings and other additions (e.g. some chocolate toppings to go on cappuccinos, lattes, etc). Again, be careful about using vending machines
    • coffee substitutes, such as chicory blends or decaffeinated drinks may contain gluten.
    • pure instant chicory is gluten free
    • drinks: pure cocoa powder is gluten free, but check drinking chocolate because this can contain wheat
    • most fizzy drinks are gluten free, but be alert to ‘cloud’ - this can be wheat-based
    • most fruit squashes are gluten free, but don’t drink the ‘fruit and barley’ squashes.
    • avoid malted drinks (because of the barley malt)
    • cider, sherry, port and liqueurs are gluten free. Some fortified wines and sherry may contain caramel colour, which may be derived from wheat starch, but doesn’t contain detectable gluten, and is considered to be gluten free
    • wine should be gluten free, whether still, fizzy, sweet or dry, but we have had reports that some Australian wines are treated with hydrolysed wheat gluten as part of the fining process. Again, the level of gluten is not detectable in the final product, and it is considered to be gluten free
    • spirits are gluten free as long as no gluten product is added after distillation. Be careful of cocktails, which may have a gluten-containing product in them


  • Several types of "alternative" grains often found in breads and other products from health food stores are actually varieties or hybrids of wheat plants. These include teff, spelt, bulgur, couscous, durum, semolina, kamut, and triticale.
  • In order to survive as glutenfree, you have to:
    • Be brave - and optimistic. It will be difficult, but you will feel better as your intestine heals. Don't worry if this appears to take a long time - in the most severe of cases, the gut is fully better within 2 years.
    • Clear out some cupboard space, dedicated for your gluten free products. Ideally, a whole cupboard should be mde gluten-free; if this is impracticable, then use the highest shelf or shelves in a cupboard, in order to minimise contamination.
    • Join the local support organisation, even if you’re not a natural joiner. Here in the Turkey, go to my website: , for advice, tips and other helpful material. It's in Turkish, but if you click on Celiac Tutkiye you can get information in English or send me an email. Use an Internet Search Engine to find your local organisation.
    • Read every label.
    • Learn as much as you can - even if you end up knowing more than the local doctor does:))
    • Find other people in the same situation. It is a great source of support.
    • Don’t ever be persuaded by people saying “just one [cream cake, doughnut, slice of quiche] won’t hurt”. It will, even if you can’t feel any difference. It will be eating away at your small intestine, and set your recovery back. Don’t do it.
    • Do be prepared to explain it often, and sometimes over and over again. No - it's not a fad, yes - it's a medical requirement, no - it will not go away.
    • Be prepared to be pushy - you will have to ask what is in dishes, and double-check if necessary. From now on, there'll be no secret ingredients in your aunt's delicious dishes! But do be polite. You don’t want someone just to pick the croutons out of your portion of soup and give you the same bowl again! ..Or never again to invite you to dinner!
    • Read every label again. Sometimes manufacturers change the recipes of your trusted favourites, so don’t assume it will be OK.
    • Do avoid cross-contamination. Some people set up dedicated ‘areas’ for gluten free preparation - with dedicated chopping boards, knives, pans etc. Even if you don’t go this far, do think about a dedicated toaster (or buy lots of foil for the grillpan), your own breadbin and even your own pots of butter, jam etc. It only takes someone to dip a knife with gluten crumbs into the butter for you to spend the night in the bathroom...or the month.
    • Do look forward to festivities and celebrations. Plan ahead - what will you eat?
    • Consider travelling and days out - an emergency travel pack of gluten free snacks - eg popcorn - can be invaluable, especially if it is a gluten free child you are travelling with!
    • Don’t forget drinks - these can contain gluten too, whether they are alcoholic or soft drinks. Be careful.
    • Praise your significant other/parents/siblings/friends etc for getting your meal right, when it happens, but do make a fuss when you're contaminated - otherwise, it'll become a regular occurence, and they won't learn.
    • Don't give up - remember your favourite chocolate cake? Well, it's even nicer if you modify the recipe..add more chocolate..then have your cake and eat it (without any painful repercussions)!
    • At the end of the year - celebrate! (With something gluten free, obviously).

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Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Be Gluten Free. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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