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How to Identify Celiac Disease

by Mariana Lessmann


Have you ever thought that one small amount of food protein could represent a serious threat to your body and life? Who would have considered a small amount of that food protein an enemy that you had to fight and cut off from your life? When we think about an enemy we think about a person, maybe a bad guy trying to hurt us, beat us, or steal from us. When we were little we used to see monsters and ugly creatures as our enemies. We were afraid of them and we wanted to run away every time we saw them. We have grown up and now monsters and creatures no longer frighten us, but other things do. But unfortunately, celiacs have to say hello to their little but real enemy: wheat. I am not celiac, but even writing about it is painful, annoying and unfair. Why would someone have to be paranoid about food? Why would someone experience so many uncomfortable symptoms after eating? Well, if you are one of those people who after eating certain food like bread, pizza, pasta, cookies, pancakes, or something similar your body has reactions, pay attention to what your body is trying to tell you. Eating something and later feeling sick, shouldn’t be a normal thing. So if you have felt sick after ingesting gluten, you should try to identify celiac disease or gluten intolerance because keep in mind that after eating, our bodies should feel good and healthy, not the opposite. Pay attention to the symptoms you experience, and listen to your body because they are a fundamental part in identifying if you are celiac or not.  

1. What is Gluten?  

The first thing you need to do to identify celiac disease is to know what gluten is.  

That word that you have been hearing frequently, comes from the Latin word "glue". It acts as an adhesive that holds food together, and it maintains the food shape, texture, and stabilizes food products for longer shelf life.  

Gluten is a protein found in different types of grains like wheat, rye, barley, and triticale.  

In wheat, gluten is a combination of the gliadins and glutenins proteins, and it’s commonly found in: 

  • Bread 
  • Pizza 
  • Wraps 
  • Pasta 
  • Cereal 
  • Chips 
  • Cookies 
  • Brownies 
  • Flours 
  • Cakes 
  • Baked goods  

In barley, gluten is a combination of proteins called hordeins commonly found in:  

  • Malted beverages and syrups 
  • Canned soups 
  • Food coloring 
  • Brewer’s yeast  

In rye, the gluten proteins are called avenins and are commonly found in:  

  • Bread 
  • Cereals 

Other foods that may contain wheat, rye and/or barley are the ones that are highly processed such as: 

  • Frozen food 
  • Bacon 
  • Cereals 
  • Chips 
  • Granola bars 
  • Beverages with flavors added  

Not all processed foods are unhealthy, but most of them contain high levels of salt, sugar, chemicals, fat, additives and preservatives, and they become unhealthy options for your diet.  

2. What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten causes damage and irritation in the small intestine and stops the body’s ability from properly absorbing the food nutrients.  

When the body recognizes gluten as a foreign invader, the body itself behaves like someone threatened by an enemy, and it ends up attacking the gluten proteins.  

Gluten intolerance is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people in the world, can be developed at any age, and there are many symptoms manifested.  

Being celiac means you can’t eat wheat, rye or barley. It means you can’t eat a chocolate donut made from wheat flour, but it means you can eat a chocolate donut made with brown rice flour.  

Most common symptoms of celiac disease: 

  • Inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract 
  • Gastric distress 
  • Brain fog 
  • Constipation 
  • Bloating 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Gastric reflux 
  • Heartburn  
  • Headache 
  • Irritability 
  • Fatigue 
  • Tiredness 
  • Skin rashes 
  • Depression 

The cause of celiac disease still remains a mystery and there is no cure yet but sticking to a strict gluten-free diet.  

3. What Do I Normally Eat?

Some people say “we are what we eat”, and if that is true, we should be eating what we know is going to make us feel good and healthy.  

Sometimes our bodies try to tell us something through painful symptoms and we ignore them.  

We don’t realize how smart our bodies are. They are capable of sending us messages when there is something wrong going on.  

Last year while I was traveling, I experienced painful symptoms for 6 months. After eating fat food, I would start feeling a very bad pressure in my chest that ended with me throwing up.  

I was traveling by then throughout Latin America and I was convincing myself that the reason I was getting sick was food poisoning.  

The truth was that I ignored that important message that my body was sending to me. It was telling me “I’m not processing fat food the right way, so stop eating fat food now”.  

There is a funny quote from Orson Welles that says “Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch” and it expresses clearly a reality. Be worried about what you will eat for your next meal. Will it be something healthy? Will it be fat food?  

Don’t ignore the importance of the food you eat every day at every meal.  

If you want to identify celiac disease, you must analyze what you eat daily.  

When over a year ago my body was reacting to fat food, I discovered what was hurting my health by writing down every single food I ate during the days I felt sick. After analyzing my meals I found out that fat food was causing me the problem.  

So based on what you eat during the day, you can identify celiac disease.  

By analyzing what you eat you will be able to determine what causes you discomfort in your body.  

Ask yourself how you feel after eating the following food: 

  • Eggs: All eggs that have no preservatives added. 
  • Fruits: All fresh and frozen fruits (apple, apricot, bananas, blueberries, peach, raspberries, watermelon), and 100% natural fruit juices. 
  • Grains: Amaranth, yucca, buckwheat, chia, quinoa, chestnut, millet, corn, polenta, plain rice in all forms (white, brown, wild), cassava, tapioca, beans, and flaxseed. 
  • Meat: All fresh meats (beef, bison, chicken, duck, ham, lamb, pork, turkey) with no preservatives added, and not processed. 
  • Nuts and Seeds: Natural and non-flavored nuts and seeds that are not processed like peanut, cashew, almond, hazelnut, macadamia nut, pecan, pistachio, sesame seeds, chestnut, and walnuts.
  • Potatoes: All natural potatoes (and sweet potatoes) baked, boiled or mashed. 
  • Seafood: Fresh and raw fish, and seafood (clam, crab, lobster, octopus, oyster, salmon, sardine, shrimp, snapper, swordfish, tilapia, tuna) with no preservatives or additives added. 
  • Vegetables and Legumes: All fresh and natural vegetables and legumes (artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprout, cauliflower, cabbage, carrot, celery, cucumber, eggplant, green bean, lettuce, mushroom, onions, parsley, peas, radish, spinach). 

You feel good after eating those foods? Great! Those are the naturally gluten-free food that we should all incorporate into our diets and shouldn’t bother our stomachs.  

Now, how do you feel after eating the following food?: 

  • Bread 
  • Butter and Oils 
  • Cereals 
  • Cheese 
  • Chocolate 
  • Desserts 
  • Flours 
  • Home Baking 
  • Pasta and Noodles 
  • Snacks  
  • Chips 
  • Sauces  
  • Seasonings 
  • Processed Food  

If you experience some discomforts after eating those food products, you may be experiencing a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.  

Keep in mind that gluten sensitivity is a condition that causes a person to react (in a less severe way then celiacs), after ingesting gluten, and leads to intestinal symptoms.  

Once gluten is removed or excluded from that person’s diet, the symptoms improve or disappear. All celiacs have a gluten intolerance, but not all people with gluten sensitivity are celiac.  

4. What Symptoms Do I Experience After Eating?  

If after eating bread, butter, oils, cereals, cheese, chocolate, desserts, flours, home baking, pasta, noodles, snacks, chips, sauces, and seasonings you experience some of the following symptoms, there is a big probability that you have celiac disease: 

  • Inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract 
  • Gastric distress 
  • Brain fog 
  • Constipation 
  • Bloating 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Gastric reflux 
  • Heartburn  
  • Headache 
  • Irritability 
  • Fatigue 
  • Tiredness 
  • Skin rashes 
  • Depression 
  • Mood swings 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Vomiting 
  • Gas 
  • Anemia 
  • Decreased appetite  

5. Read

There are many ways for celiacs to be well-informed about everything that has to do with celiac disease, gluten-free diets, how to stay healthy, and how to cook safe gluten-free meals and avoid cross-contamination. Find the right websites, the best books, the wisest people, and the most delicious recipes that can adequate to your gluten-free lifestyle. Stop listening to random people telling you what to do or eat if you are celiac, stop eating fake gluten-free food, and start taking care of your body and health. Don’t assume something is gluten-free because you heard that from another person, or because it has a label that states it is free from gluten. Start by reading the right blogs for you, avoid cross-contamination, incorporate the essential products into your kitchen, identify the hidden gluten forms in products that not necessarily are food, try the safest gluten-free brands and you will see an improvement in your health if you have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease. Always read, research, double check, and then eat.  

6. Stay Gluten-Free and Check How You Feel 

If you have been eating bread, butter, oils, cereals, cheese, chocolate, desserts, flours, home baking, pasta, noodles, snacks, chips, sauces, seasonings, and processed food and you feel sick, you should eliminate those foods that cause you painful symptoms.  

But if you took action by removing from your diet all foods that contain gluten, you have incorporated naturally gluten-free food and you have been feeling better, then that can be a clear sign that you have identified celiac disease.  

If you feel sick after eating food products that contain wheat, rye and/or barley, just stay in a gluten-free diet to see if your body starts feeling better.  

Remember, the following naturally gluten-free food should make you feel no symptoms after eating: 

  • Eggs: All eggs that have no preservatives added. 
  • Fruits: All fresh and frozen fruits (apple, apricot, bananas, blueberries, peach, raspberries, watermelon), and 100% natural fruit juices. 
  • Grains: Amaranth, yucca, buckwheat, chia, quinoa, chestnut, millet, corn, polenta, plain rice in all forms (white, brown, wild), cassava, tapioca, beans, and flaxseed. 
  • Meat: All fresh meats (beef, bison, chicken, duck, ham, lamb, pork, turkey) with no preservatives added, and not processed. 
  • Nuts and Seeds: Natural and non-flavored nuts and seeds that are not processed like peanut, cashew, almond, hazelnut, macadamia nut, pecan, pistachio, sesame seeds, chestnut, and walnuts.
  • Potatoes: All natural potatoes (and sweet potatoes) baked, boiled or mashed. 
  • Seafood: Fresh and raw fish, and seafood (clam, crab, lobster, octopus, oyster, salmon, sardine, shrimp, snapper, swordfish, tilapia, tuna) with no preservatives or additives added. 
  • Vegetables and Legumes: All fresh and natural vegetables and legumes (artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, brussel sprout, cauliflower, cabbage, carrot, celery, cucumber, eggplant, green bean, lettuce, mushroom, onions, parsley, peas, radish, spinach). 

By the way, eating gluten-free does not mean you should go vegetarian, or that you have to cut off your life tasty meals.  

You can still do that. You can still eat deliciously and stay healthy. You just need to find the tasty meals that will make your diet less boring.  

7. Go to The Doctor

If you think you may have celiac disease, you should consult with your doctor. And if you think you are sensitive to gluten, you should follow a strict gluten-free diet to see if the symptoms improve. In either case, something beneficial for your health is to stick to a gluten-free diet. Exclude from your diet any meals that contain wheat, rye and/or barley, and see if you keep experiencing the same symptoms.  

Celiacs’ Peace of Mind  

If you want to identify celiac disease start by being familiar first with what gluten means, what food products contain wheat, rye and/or barley, what does celiac disease is and what symptoms brings with it, analyze what you eat each day you feel sick (this way you will find out what ingredients from your diet are bothering you). Don’t listen to people who think are experts and tell you what you should do or eat on a gluten-free diet. Just read and be well-informed. Find the best blogs that can make a positive impact in your health and life, and find the safest products for your diet. And of course, visit the Doctor for your peace of mind.  

by Mariana Lessmann






LET'S MEET


We are Mariana Lessmann and Matt Ackerson.

Mariana graduated from Communications & Journalism in Caracas, Venezuela, and has over 10 years of experience as a writer. She has worked on Digital Marketing, and for over 10 prestigious Cable Television Channels aired in Latin America. Matt graduated from Cornell University in New York. He started his own company in 2010, and has been running it by himself since then. Matt is an expert in Marketing, Sales, and creating 6-Figure Funnels for online businesses.

Over the past year we decided to start a company together and created "Vookies", that later expanded and became "Be Breader". We have been helping celiacs around the world to optimize and improve their health by incorporating safe and delicious meals into their daily menus.

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