In honor of Celiac awareness day we wanted to talk to someone who actually has Celiac disease and get their insight on what it is like living with this condition.
How did you find out you had Celiac Disease?
I was going to the doctor for unrelated issues and a blood test showed I was anemic – very low iron levels in my blood, my doctors ran some tests and found out I had Celiac.
What was the testing process like?
The anemia was a symptom and couldn’t diagnose Celiac, so, I had to get a colonoscopy…
Were there any warning signs?
Nope, I had no idea, where other people with Celiac suffer from multiple symptoms like stomach pain, bloating, etc – there are over 200 symptoms of Celiac – and you may have no obvious ones, like me, but still have it.
What is life like without Gluten?
Its awful. Gluten is used in sooo many different foods, as a thickener in soy sauce to bread. Most doctors only recommend a gluten free diet if you have a sensitivity to gluten as its pervasive in our diet and not a bad source of protein. A 3-ounce serving usually contains between 15 and 21 grams of protein, which is roughly equivalent to animal proteins like chicken or beef when you combine it with lysine – an amino acid that makes the gluten protein complete.
What happens to you now if you eaten like you used to?
Not much, I probably damage my intestines, which I don’t feel but causes the anemia.
What do you miss the most?
Bread, beer, cake, cookies, fried food, pasta, sauces, etc – ya, I know its not good for you, but its so delicious. Its interesting, even before I was diagnosed, I was already reducing the amount of gluten in my diet. I rarely ate pizza (and when I did, I would just feel lethargic), I ate half sandwiches, loaded with meat, I almost stopped drinking beer (I’d have one or two and move to something else), etc.
Whats your favorite GF Recipe?
Nothing where they are trying to substitute something else for gluten. The properties of gluten are what makes the air holes in bread, and it brings a unique texture to food that can’t be replicated. So, the best recipes are regular recipes that don’t need wheat flour…
What is a sneaky gluten filled food?
Soy Sauce. First, historically Asian food doesn’t have wheat flour, all those dumplings, lo mein, etc were made with rice flour, not wheat flour. In the US, because of the abundance and price of wheat flour, it has been substituted across the board for rice flour. But Soy Sauce, crazy huh.
Hardest restaurant or genre of food to go to while GF?
Easiest restaurant or genre of food to go to while GF?
Any salad bar
Favorite GF Beer?
None – they all taste terrible and they use high fructose corn syrup as the substitute. Why bother with the calories, the best thing to do is substitute hard cider for beer. With that, I look for the dryer ciders as ones like Angry Orchard are very sweet, like drinking actual cider… The biggest issue here is the calories which range from 150-210 per 12 oz of cider. There are some ciders that are lower, but I haven’t found them at the store as of now.
Most over rated GF thing?
The people who are gluten free because they think its better for you – so annoying, but I guess its helpful to those of us who have an issue because it makes the market bigger which means more products.
Any advice or resources for a newly diagnosed person?
Ya, get used to reading labels and Celiac doesn’t mean 0 gluten, it means that you need to keep you Gluten ingestion to almost 0 – because 0 is impossible. For example, I’ll read the label and when it says “may contain wheat” and wheat is not in the ingredients, I know I’m safe to eat it as that is there for people with severe wheat allergies who could put them in the hospital if they have any exposure to wheat.