May: Celiac Disease Awareness Month

“What do you mean I can’t eat bread, for the rest of my life? Are you sure?” That was my reaction three years ago when I was diagnosed with celiac disease. By then, I was willing to try anything to feel better again. I was feeling tired all the time, my stomach hurt constantly, I was losing weight, I just wanted to feel normal again. I did not know what was happening to me. These symptoms are shared by many other diseases and it used to take doctors a while to diagnose celiac disease, especially in adults. Children are diagnosed with celiac disease much faster. Some other symptoms of this illness are: anemia, bloating, delay growth, depression, diarrhea, fatigue. Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and prevents the absorption of nutrients from food. In other words, your body is not getting nourished from any food you eat if the food you are consuming contains gluten. What is gluten? Gluten is a protein that can be found in wheat, barley and rye. The only solution to the problem is stop eating food that contains gluten, forever. There is no medications, no surgeries. Easy, you think. Not so. Almost everything you eat on a daily basis contains gluten. Things like bread, pasta, cookies, donuts, cakes, salad dressings, soups all contain gluten. Because doctors are becoming more aware of the disease, people suffering from it are diagnosed sooner. Doctors can find out if a patient is suffering from celiac with a blood test or a biopsy of the lining of the small intestine. Starting a gluten free diet can feel almost impossible at first but, with a little creativity anyone can make and enjoy delicious gluten free meals. These days there are more and better selection of gluten free items at our grocery stores and more restaurants are offering gluten free alternative entrees in their menus. So get ready to start a new and better life. Come by the library and check out our new display on Celiac Disease Awareness Month. You can find out more about celiac disease and also many cookbooks with delicious gluten free recipes.   Also take some time to check out these links:

http://celiac.org/

http://www.celiaccentral.org/

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