Sunday, August 26, 2007

Avoiding Celiac Disease Symptoms when Eating Out - Part 1

Yes, there comes the inevitable time when you have no choice but to eat out. You are on vacation perhaps, or out to a club dinner, and you have no choice in choosing where to go, and so you must play along. But times like that can be alot easier on everyone involved if you know ahead of time what to expect and what options you may have.

First, the type of restaurant you are eating at makes a huge difference in your chances of getting something edible. Fast food is completely out. There is no way you are going to find something at a fast food restaurant without having celiac disease symptoms. On the other hand, if the restaurant is a high-class establishment, the way out may be as simple as asking "May I see your gluten-free menu please?"; in which case you can order with ease. If you remember, lactose intolerance is another of the celiac disease symptoms, in which case you would need to ask which items also contain dairy (if it is not clear on the menu) and avoid those also.

If the restaurant does not happen to have a gluten-free menu or suggested items, don't lose hope yet. Many times the chef can still accommodate by creating a 'custom' dish just for you, and would be delighted to do it, since it offers a chance for creativity and a break from the monotony of preparing the same dishes over and over again. In my next article, I will cover avoiding celiac disease symptoms when eating out at middle-class restaurants and buffets.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Tips on Dealing with Celiac Disease Symptoms

The next step in battling celiac disease is to know how to eat. "Cut out all wheat and gluten" is easy enough to say, but can be very difficult to live out, depending on many factors. Your job, who you live with, and even where you live can greatly affect the ease or difficulty you will have in eating gluten-free. Eating gluten-free to eliminate celiac disease symptoms could mean no longer or very seldom eating out, making most of your meals at home, and being strict about how others use the kitchen.

You may find hiring someone to cook for you a good option. If you decide to go this route, be sure to find someone who specializes in gluten-free cooking. When cooking for someone with celiac disease symptoms, kosher-like standards must be adopted in relation to cleanliness and ingredients. Since flour is the main area that needs to be substituted, I will focus on that.

Your local natural foods market should have many certified gluten-free flours and baking mixes. Some flours to look for include rice, bean, tapioca, potato, and teff , all certified gluten-free. Let me mention something about why to choose certified gluten-free. Many companies will mill different grains on the same machinery without sanitizing. So just because the grain itself is gluten-free, cross-contamination in milling is extremely common and thus it may not be free of gluten. Certified gluten-free on the package assures you that the flour is 100% pure, milled on dedicated equipment never used for any other grains.

If you cook at home with others who also cook but do not have celiac disease symptoms, even though you may keep the highest standards of cleanliness and keeping everything separate from gluten-flours and items that were used for non-gluten-free food preparation or serving, keep this story in mind. Someone told me a story of how her sister, who is not gluten-free, forgot and used the same measuring cup in the sugar bin, after measuring out some flour for a cake she was making. 3 weeks later, unknowing that this was done, she used the sugar in a drink, and started reacting to the gluten! Even that minute amount of gluten that was left in the sugar from the measuring cup being used in the flour 3 weeks ago still affected her and her celiac disease symptoms returned.

I thought that story was a good example of how vigilant one must be when dealing with cross-contamination in the kitchen. The best bet is to have a separate, gluten-free only kitchen, but of course that can be extremely expensive. Keeping all utensils separate and educating everyone who uses the kitchen on gluten-free cooking can help make your journey to feeling better and healthier easier on you, and everyone concerned.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Celiac Disease Symptoms - What Are They?

Celiac disease can be confusing and hard to understand for alot of people. Before I go into what the symptoms are, let me explain exactly what celiac disease is.
Celiac disease is basically gluten intolerance. More specifically, it is when the body is unable to tolerate the protein in wheat, called giladin, and the giladin begins to damage the lining of the intestine. The solution for those with celiac disease symptoms is to cut out all, ALL wheat from their diet. I will discuss this in a later article.

Some of the more common celiac disease symptoms include:
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Excessive flatulence
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
In more extreme cases, malnutrition may set in, since the lining of the intestine is so damaged it cannot digest most of the food eaten. In these cases, celiac disease symptoms could include:
  • Anemia
  • Easy bruising (due to lack of vitamin K)
  • Nerve damage
  • Muscle weakness
There are many ways to combat celiac disease and it's symptoms, if caught before it is too late.
A number of products are available to help those with celiac disease with the battle back to health. The best defense is to educate yourself, be willing to make big changes in diet, take action, and you will soon be on the way to feeling better and healthier! ^_^