Game Changer

I’ve avoided posting here because we had a game changer in our family almost 10 weeks ago.  Guy was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.    It means learning a new way to cook and being extremely vigilant reading ingredients on labels.   Guy’s symptoms were not those generally associated with the disease.  He had neck and upper back pain, and often complained of buzzing like an electrical charge running through him.  For weeks he thought a kidney stone was going to pass.   He would have sudden extreme weakness.  He equated the weakness to feeling like having the flu, but he would feel better the next morning.  Medical professionals told him it was stress. He eventually started to feel like he was having an allergic reaction about 30 minutes after eating.  He started paying attention to what he was eating and doing lots of reasearch.   He was the one who requested the doctor add gluten/wheat to the battery of blood tests.  A normal gluten antibody is 0-3 and his was in the 90s. He followed up with a biopsy of the upper intestine which confirmed he is Celiac.  Left untreated the disease can lead to further health problems including some types of cancer.   Some people don’t have any symptoms at all.

So what exactly is Celiac Disease?  “Celiac Disease (CD) is a lifelong inherited autoimmune condition affecting children and adults. When people with CD eat foods that contain gluten, it creates an immune-mediated toxic reaction that causes damage to the small intestine and does not allow food to be properly absorbed. Even small amounts of gluten in foods can affect those with CD and cause health problems. Damage can occur to the small bowel even when there are no symptoms present.” — Celiac Disease Foundation   It is estimated that 1 in every 133 people has Celiac Disease, but most go undiagnosed.  It is not a disease that can be cured.  However, it is one that can be controlled by eliminating ALL gluten from the diet.  This means anything which includes any form of wheat, rye, barley and triticale must be eliminated for life!

We have found it extremely difficult to eat out.  Many restaurants are starting to offer Gluten Free options, however cross contamination can still be an issue.  For instance Borello Brothers offers a gluten free pizza, but it is made in the same area where there is wheat flour and baked in the same oven.  Guy started having a reaction within 30 minutes after eating there.  This means we are focused on eating at home most of the time where we can control everything.  Which means I should have more to post — right? 

So from here on out I will be talking about gluten free options.  We had been trying to eat vegan for the most part, I don’t promise to continue doing that.  We willcontinue eating as vegetarians.  Guy and the boys have never eaten meat, fish or poultry and I only ate it on very rare occasions before I was 12.  Adding any of that to our diets is just unappetizing. 

Final note:  After almost 10 weeks gluten free Guy is having some good days and still a lot of bad days.  He was visiting the chiropractor at least once a week and hasn’t had bad enough neck pain to visit since his diagnosis.  He will still be visiting occasionally because of an old lower back injury.  Based on research it could take  6 months to 2 years to really feel better.  We are hoping it was caught soon enough that there is no permanent nerve damage.

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2 Comments

  1. Sandra said,

    January 15, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    Excellent presentation of CD which may help someone out there identify the source of their problems.

  2. Gina P. said,

    January 16, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    You are right about eating out being a problem. My daughter went to chef’s school in baking and pastry and eventually wants to have a bakery/restaurant. She said to have a gluten-free day, you would bake the last items with gluten on a Saturday and then clean well. Closed on Sunday and Monday would be gluten free menus, with regular breads being sold out of the freezer only.


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