Celiac Disease Treatment

Presently, the only known and recommended celiac disease treatment is a gluten free diet*.

If you've been diagnosed with celiac, you can never eat gluten. This means you won't be able to cheat at all like you might do with some other special diets.

For many celiacs, even a little cross-contamination can trigger a reaction.

Sometimes after you eat gluten you might not even experience the effects until a week later, so it might be confusing as you might now associate the symptoms with that cupcake you snuck in last week at your child's birthday.

A lot of celiac sufferers are also extremely vigilant when it comes to cross contamination, and I've known people who won't even dine out at restaurants or parties.

Why Can't I cheat?

Remember that the digestive system of a celiac has damaged villi. Once you go on a gluten free diet, the GI tract starts to heal. The trigger for the body to attack itself is no longer there.

The problem is that if you eat even a little gluten, it causes the trigger that says, attack! attack! and you're back to where you started.

So it's imperative to be careful even with little possibilities of contamination. Are you using toasters after your husband has toasted his wheat bread in it?

What about butter knives, or even sharing pantry space? You will need to recruit your family into really helping you with this.

From what I've seen, most family members are very understanding because they know how miserable you can be when you get glutened.

If they're anything like my family, they'd probably rather deal with the inconvenience of helping with your gluten free lifestyle than with your sick self.


I was thinking about this last night when I went to my local Whole Foods store to get some corn grits. It occured to me that the bin with high gluten flour was right next to the one for buckwheat flour. In fact the wheat bins and non-gluten bins were all right next to one another.

It made me kind of sad, because Whole Foods is one of those places that actually has entire isles dedicated to gluten free stuff. I can use flour with a little contamination - I'm gluten intolerant - but most celiacs cannot.

The good news is that you don't have to purchase the gluten free flour from the bins. You can always buy the one that comes pre-packaged.


So perhaps in future years somebody will create a little magic pill for celiac disease treatment that we can just swallow and heal our celiac gut. Frankly I don't know if that's necessarily a good or bad thing.

I am with the health gurus that advocate a dietary approach to treating diseases. I'm not very much in favor of popping pills even when there's a reasonable alternative. And since as a celiac this is the only choice, it may indeed be a blessing in disguise.

More Than Just The Gluten Free Diet

A point of caution here is that, even though it's clear that the celiac disease treatment is eliminating gluten from your food, it's important to realize that celiac sufferers are also prone to suffering other conditions associated with celiac disease.

Dr Peter H R Greene suggests that getting checked for such things as Iron, B12 and folic acid defiency is very important.

My thinking is that if you're a vegetarian or vegan, you'll already be prone to having low levels of these important vitamins and minerals anyway, so it behooves us to take extra care.


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Sources:

*American Journal of GastroEnterology (articles)


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