If you’re food-obsessed and a self-professed foodie, it can be a really terrifying and even depressing diagnosis to hear that you are allergic to gluten. After all, carbs are life for many food lovers. And it can feel like gluten is in EVERYTHING, even the dishes you don’t realize. But there is good news for people with celiac disease: you can still be a foodie, and stick to a diet that protects your health. You can be a gluten-free foodie, and it’s easier than you might think. You can have your gluten-free cake and eat it too. (See what we did there?)
September 13th is National Celiac Disease Awareness Day, so let’s dig in to the facts about living that gluten-free life.
Celiac disease is a “serious autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine.” What kind of damage? Well, your small intestine is responsible for aiding in digestion and absorbing nutrients from the foods you eat as they move through your GI tract. If your body’s immune system attacks your small intestine, it causes damage to the villi, which prevent your body from properly absorbing the nutrients you need.
The obvious response is that those who suffer from celiac disease cannot consume any gluten, which is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley (so basically all of the grains and carbs you love). You need to practice a celiac disease diet, but the idea of eating gluten-free can seem overwhelming and totally unsatisfying for a devout foodie.
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