Life hack

How to live with celiac disease

The only treatment for celiac disease is to abstain from eating gluten for life. A gluten-free diet can be very difficult as there are a lot of products with hidden gluten, especially in medicines and supplements. Even trace amounts of gluten such as cutting food using a knife that previously was used to cut bread can be a problem.

The big three no-no’s

The top three things to check for is wheat, barley, and rye. Wheat is often found in bread, baked goods, soups, pasta, cereals, sauces and salad dressings. Wheat is also found in wheat berries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, graham, KAMUT®, khorasan wheat, and einkorn.

Barley is found in malt (including malted barley flour, malted milk and milkshakes, malt extract, malt syrup, malt flavoring, and malt vinegar. It is also found in food coloring, soups, and beer.

Rye is found in rye bread, rye beer and rye cereals.

It is critical to check the labels of processed food products to see if they contain any of these three food items. Even trace amounts of gluten can cause wreckage.

To oats or not to oats

Oats can be a good alternative to mix things up in a gluten-free diet. However, celiac patients may only eat oats that are specifically announced as gluten-free. Sometimes oats are grown next to wheat, barley or rye, and there can be some cross-contamination. If you want to eat oats and stay gluten-free, it is best to discuss it with your physician first.

Gluten-free foods

Luckily there is a host of food products that are naturally gluten free. These include fruits, vegetables, meat and poultry, fish and seafood, dairy, and beans, legumes, and nuts. There are some lesser known grains and starches that are gluten-free. Many supermarkets have caught on to the gluten-free dietary needs and stock these grains. They include rice, cassava, corn, soy, potato, tapioca, sorghum, quinoa, millet, buckwheat groats, arrowroot, amaranth, teff, flax, chia, yucca, gluten-free oats, and nut flours.*

How to read a food product label

The only way to exclude gluten from your diet completely is to read the labels of food products correctly. The number one rule is that wheat-free does not mean gluten-free. The next thing that you can check is the allergen list. However, barley and rye are not considered allergens, so you have to check each ingredient individually for signs of barley, rye, wheat, malt, and brewer’s yeast. If the food product does not have an ingredient list, it is best to move on to the next product. Better safe than sorry!

Gluten-free dining

Dining out can be a difficult experience if you suffer from celiac disease. Go in with a firm grasp on the types of food that you can and cannot eat. Try to download the restaurant menu to see if they have gluten-free options available. If they don’t, move on to another restaurant. Once you’re seated in the restaurant, inform the staff that you cannot eat gluten. Ask questions about the preparation of the food. If the waitrons do not know, let him ask the chef. Here is a list of gluten-free questions that you can ask a waiter regarding food items served in the restaurant.

Gluten-free abroad

Traveling can be a nightmare for celiac patients. Firstly, you might not know the local language and the locals might not know English. Some countries are still struggling to understand vegetarianism, let alone gluten-free diets. The first thing that you have to do before traveling is to find out what gluten-free translates to in the local language. For instance, in Spanish, the word for gluten-free is sin gluten, and in Italy, it is senza gluten. Many countries have gluten-free associations that help travelers to navigate their country gluten-free.

Celiac disease is a dangerous illness with serious repercussions if you don’t follow a strict gluten-free diet. It may seem intimidating at first, but once you are used to it, you’ll find that your gluten-free diet can be quite satisfying.

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How to Live a Healthy Life with Celiac Disease

Health and Wellness

How to Live With Celiac Disease

How to Live With Celiac Disease

You may have heard about celiac disease more often in recent years due to the rise in gluten-free diets and the growing availability of gluten-free products. But what is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that can develop when people with a genetic predisposition to the disease consumes gluten. When someone with celiac disease eats gluten, the body reacts with an immune response that damages the small intestine. Specifically, the immune system attacks the villi, which are small projections that line the intestinal tract. This is detrimental because the villi are responsible for proper nutrient absorption from food. If the villi are damaged, the body cannot properly absorb nutrients from food, which can potentially lead to nutrient deficiencies and malnutrition. People who have been diagnosed with celiac disease should not be confused with people who have been told they are intolerant to gluten or have non-celiac gluten sensitivity.

Once a diagnosis of celiac disease is confirmed, the best treatment for an individual is strict adherence to a gluten-free diet. In order to follow a gluten-free diet, it’s important to understand what gluten is and where it’s found.

What Is Gluten?

Gluten is a sticky, glue-like protein that is found in wheat, barley, and rye. Those grains in their natural state or products that contain those grains (like breads and cereals) have gluten in them. But gluten is also used as a binding agent in many products. For example, many processed BBQ sauces and soy sauces contain gluten. When eating a strict gluten-free diet, it’s particularly important to read labels on any packaged products.

What to Eat

When an individual is first diagnosed with celiac disease, it can feel overwhelming. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is full of gluten-containing items. Fast food, packaged meals, alcohol, etc., are typically loaded with gluten. A typical day on the SAD can include cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and maybe pasta for dinner. Transitioning off a diet like that can seem impossible to a newly diagnosed individual with celiac disease. What is most important when eating a gluten-free diet is sticking to fresh, real food that’s naturally gluten-free:

  • All fruits
  • All vegetables
  • Gluten-free grains like rice, corn, quinoa, millet, and buckwheat
  • Fresh herbs and spices
  • Healthy fats and oils like olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil
  • Dairy (unless there is another contraindication)
  • Small amounts of organic meat

Cooking your own meals is the easiest way to maintain a gluten-free diet.

Eating Out with Celiac Disease

Cross-contamination (where particles of gluten can end up in a gluten-free dish) can happen in restaurants or kitchens that are not gluten-free facilities–for example, restaurants that serve food that contains gluten and cooks those items in the same equipment as gluten-free dishes.

Many restaurants that offer gluten-free options advise those with celiac disease to eat with caution. There are restaurants that have dedicated cookware and only prepare gluten-free items in a controlled environment. Always ask your server if the restaurant can accommodate special dietary needs. Many restaurants are willing to accommodate, but give a disclaimer to “eat at your own risk.”

Gluten-Free Labeling

In recent years, the availability of gluten-free products has increased tremendously. But it’s important to know what the term “gluten-free” means on a food label. The FDA has ruled that packaged foods with less than 20 ppm (parts per million) of gluten can be labeled gluten-free. To put that number in perspective, a food labeled “gluten-free” can still contain 0.002 percent gluten. If you are eating a lot of packaged gluten-free products, you could end up ingesting a lot of gluten. With celiac disease, it’s best to stick to foods that are fresh and naturally gluten-free.

Thriving with Celiac Disease

A celiac disease diagnosis does not mean you have to live in deprivation and restriction. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Many people with undiagnosed celiac disease suffer from symptoms like painful belly bloat, fatigue, constipation, vomiting, and delayed puberty in children. When gluten is removed from your diet, many of these symptoms subside and you are able to regain your health.

What’s important to know when you have celiac disease is that you’re not alone. There are many resources and support groups available. A few of these include:

If you suspect you might have celiac disease, consult your doctor to be properly tested.
*Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only; does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chopra Center’s Mind-Body Medical Group; and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.

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Celiac Disease is something that more than three million Americans have, and if you happen to be one of them, you’ll find a lot of useful advice in this article.

Not many people are aware of this condition, which is one of the main issues if you are a person that has it. The disease itself is not that complicated, but when other people don’t know about it, that’s what makes it a lot more difficult to deal with.

Today we’re talking about Celiac Disease, the symptoms, and a possible solution. If you are interested in learning more, feel free to continue reading until the end.

What is Celiac Disease?

How to Live With Celiac DiseaseImage source:

This is a condition that prevents you from eating any foods that contain gluten. By preventing, we mean that if you do have celiac disease and you consume gluten, you’re going to start experiencing things such as bloatedness, stomach cramping, gas, diarrhea and a bunch of other unpleasant symptoms. But, why does this happen?

When a person with celiac disease eats food with gluten, their small intestine that is responsible for absorbing nutrients is being “attacked” and damaged, while also failing to absorb the necessary nutrients from the food that you’re eating. So, not only that you’re eating your food and not getting anything out of it, but you are causing inflammation in your stomach that will cause you to experience many unpleasant symptoms.

How to know if I have Celiac Disease?

How to Live With Celiac DiseaseImage source:

If your doctor is constantly being unable to find out why your blood is lacking some really important elements, maybe they’re not considering celiac disease as a possible cause of the problem. Do you maybe eat a lot of food and have constantly good appetite but you are somehow magically losing weight? Well, if you have a positive answer to these things, then you’re probably suffering from celiac disease. The best way to test this is by using imaware™ a free test kit that you can use at home and it doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes to get the results.

What is the treatment for this condition?

How to Live With Celiac DiseaseImage source:

If you are suffering from this condition, chances are that you want to put an end to it once and for all. You should know that there is no exact cure for this disease, but there are a lot of things that you can do in order to make the symptoms go away. One of these solutions, which also happens to be the most effective one, is to make sure that you go completely gluten-free with your diet.

This might sound like it’s a bit complicated to do at first, but once you start preparing your meals you’ll understand that your life is much easier without all of the symptoms from the disease. Since more people are becoming aware of this condition, a lot of restaurants and other places are already adding gluten-free foods on their menus, meaning that even eating outside will not be a problem anymore. When you avoid gluten for some time, your intestines will be able to heal and the symptoms will go away. Make sure to get an accurate list of foods that you can and cannot eat from your doctor or nutritionist before beginning your diet.

Jane Anderson is a medical journalist and an expert in celiac disease, gluten sensitivity, and the gluten-free diet.

Robert Burakoff, MD, MPH, is board-certified in gastroentrology. He is the vice chair for ambulatory services for the department of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, where he is also a professor. He was the founding editor and co-editor in chief of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases.

How to Live With Celiac Disease

  • Overview
  • Symptoms
  • Causes
  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment
  • Coping
  • Nutrition

When you’ve just been told you’ve got celiac disease, a serious autoimmune condition, it’s common (and normal) to question the condition’s potential effects on your lifespan. In the vast majority of cases, celiac disease is not fatal in the way we normally think of fatal diseases—it won’t progress and ultimately kill you.

According to the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, without diagnosis and treatment, celiac disease is ultimately fatal in 10-30% of people. However, this is very rare in modern times, because most people do well if they avoid gluten.  

Here’s what we know (and what we don’t know) about your risk of early death if you have celiac disease.

Celiac Disease and Mortality Risk

A large research project that combined data from 17 different clinical studies concluded that people with celiac disease—including those diagnosed through an endoscopy and those diagnosed simply with positive celiac blood tests—were at a higher risk of early death from all causes, especially from non-Hodgkin lymphoma.  

Celiac disease that doesn’t respond to the gluten-free diet can progress to a particularly deadly type of lymphoma, so the finding that celiacs have a much higher-than-normal death rate from lymphoma isn’t surprising. Overall, the risk of dying from any cause was only slightly higher than normal—but it was higher.

Generally speaking, people whose celiac disease is severe enough to put them in the hospital seem to fare worse overall.

A Swedish study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that, among 10,032 people hospitalized for celiac disease, there was a two-fold increased risk of early death compared to the general population.

According to the researcher, those hospitalized for celiac alone had a 1.4-fold increased risk of early death. The risks were highest in those hospitalized with additional diseases, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma, cancer of the small intestine, autoimmune diseases, allergic disorders such as asthma, inflammatory bowel diseases, diabetes, tuberculosis, pneumonia, and nephritis (a type of kidney disorder).

The researchers noted that this increased death risk may be due to reduced absorption of important nutrients, such as Vitamin A and Vitamin E. Still, when evaluating the results of this particular study, keep in mind that these people were much sicker than most people are at the time of diagnosis.

Interestingly, the study also found that babies and toddlers hospitalized with celiac disease before age 2 had a reduced death risk, possibly indicating a beneficial effect of starting the gluten-free diet very early.

Benefits of a Gluten-Free Diet

Not all studies contain bad news. In fact, two contain hints that following a very strict gluten-free diet could significantly reduce your risk of early death.

For example, one study found a lower-than-expected death rate in Finnish patients who had been diagnosed with dermatitis herpetiformis, a gluten-induced skin rash closely associated with celiac disease.   The number of deaths should have totaled 110 over the course of the 39-year study; instead, only 77 people died.

In the study, most of those diagnosed with dermatitis herpetiformis also had villous atrophy (which means they had celiac disease in addition to their dermatitis herpetiformis).

There was one major difference in this study population when compared with other research: Some 97.7 percent of those included adhered strictly to the gluten-free diet, possibly because a super-strict diet is the only way to control the unbearable itching of dermatitis herpetiformis long-term. Other studies have found far lower rates of diet adherence—ranging from 42 percent to 91 percent—in people with celiac disease (but not necessarily dermatitis herpetiformis).

The study didn’t conclude that a strict gluten-free diet lowers death rates in people with celiac and dermatitis herpetiformis—it wasn’t set up to answer that question. However, the authors speculated that a stricter diet may have played a role (and noted that the group’s 97.7 percent diet adherence rate was exceptionally high).

Dietary Adherence and Health

Another study—this one from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine—may indirectly back up the earlier hypothesis.

The Mayo research looked at 381 adults with the biopsy-proven celiac disease and found that those who were extremely careless or who cheated on their gluten-free diets had ongoing intestinal damage.   Those whose small intestines had recovered (as confirmed by testing) had a lower death rate.

Cheating on the diet wasn’t the only factor involved in ongoing damage and a higher death rate. Severe diarrhea and weight loss coupled with more severe intestinal damage at the time of diagnosis also appeared to play a role. In addition, the association between confirmed intestinal recovery and a reduced rate of death was only a weak one, the study reported.

Nonetheless, the researchers noted that ingestion of trace gluten—either through intentional cheating on the diet or gluten cross-contamination in supposedly “gluten-free” foods—could be to blame for ongoing intestinal damage in some people.

A Word From Verywell

Unfortunately, we can’t conclude too much from these studies—there’s a lot more research to be done before we can have firm answers on celiacs’ death risks and how to improve the odds.

The studies do show a higher rate of early death among people with celiac disease, especially among celiacs who were particularly sick at the time of diagnosis. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, autoimmune diseases, and infections such as pneumonia accounted for many of those early deaths.

However, one or two studies hint that sticking to a super-strict gluten-free diet (strict enough to heal your intestinal villi or to abolish your dermatitis herpetiformis) may substantially lower your early death risk. Although the studies are far from definitive, this counts as one more good reason to faithfully follow your diet.

If you are newly diagnosed with Celiac Disease, you are probably feeling overwhelmed. Until now, you may never have noticed how wheat based the American diet is. Wheat is everywhere! It may even be in the glue when you lick an envelope.

Unless you have found a very helpful doctor, you may be on your own to find your way to safe food. You can visit the “Helpful Links” tab on this site. They will direct you to professionally developed sites full of information and research. You must be your own advocate for your health now, so educating yourself is key.

Remember this . there’s only one way to treat Celiac Disease, and that is to NOT eat gluten. Not even a little bit. Not for a treat, not for a snack, not at a potluck, and not at a friend’s house to be “polite.” Staying GF is your only way to good health, and minimizing your risk for intestinal cancers.

How do you do this? One step at a time! You will amaze yourself at how quickly you can learn.

Step One
Make your home GF, or reserve a cupboard for your GF foods. Pack up the wheat, barley, and rye products and give them to your local food shelter. The most common products are: cereals, breads, rolls, muffins, bagels, cookies, cakes, crackers, stuffing, croutons, soy sauce, salad dressings, marinades, and prepared meals (both boxed and frozen.) Glutens are found in ingredients such as wheat, barley, rye, pasta, modified food starch, malt, and caramel flavoring or color. (This is not a complete list)

Step Two
Go shopping! There’s a LOT of food that you can eat, you just have to look at the store shelves a little differently, and you have to read labels. There are GF options for all the foods that you have just given away. Experiment with different brands to find the ones you like. Local stores are now offering GF sections with cereals, breads, cake mixes, and pasta. Online shopping allows you to try a wide variety, and buying by the case can save you money. In their unprocessed forms, all meats, fruits, and vegetables are GF. Many yogurts, dressings, mayonnaise, and butter spread now say “gluten free” on the labels. Ice cream (not the cheap brands) is usually GF. Substitute tamari sauce for soy sauce, it’s made without wheat. Always read the labels!

Step Three
Check your medications, vitamins, and supplements. Many vitamins will say “gluten-free” on the label. If not, you must read the ingredients, or call the company to check. Your pharmacist needs to know that your medications must be gluten-free as well. Inform any health professionals, doctor offices, ER staff, or hospital staff immediately that you must have GF foods. Check your lip balm, lipstick, and lip gloss for gluten. Buy pull tab envelopes so that you don’t have to lick the glue, and buy stamps that are stickers.

Step Four
Become your own advocate by researching gluten-free foods and recipes on the Internet. Visit your library and bookstore for books about Celiac Disease and GF recipes. Once you have armed yourself with information, you will be able to cook and eat all your favorite foods, just using different ingredients.

Step Five
Do you travel frequently? When leaving the safety of your GF home, you must be prepared with food. Buy a smart looking bag that you can use to carry your emergency supply of GF food in, such as fruit, crackers, pretzels, and sandwiches. Take it on the road, and you’ll never go hungry.

Living with celiac disease is all about how you manage your diet and nutrition. These websites are a source of up-to-date information, insight, and tips on how to live well with the condition.

Celiac disease can be a challenging condition to diagnose and then live with. But with the right information, you can manage the autoimmune disorder with ease.

Whether you suspect you have celiac disease and want to read up on the symptoms and risk factors, are curious which foods do and don’t contain the protein gluten, or are interested in helping prevent future complications linked to celiac, these websites have you covered.

Next time you have a question about celiac, use the information they contain in conjunction with your doctor’s advice to make better informed decisions about your health.

1. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)

As part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) website features comprehensive information for a variety of endocrine diseases, including celiac disease. Here you will learn about causes, symptoms, and risk factors, as well as treatment options for this condition that you can discuss with your doctor.

2. UpToDate

UpToDate is an online resource with information on various topics, including celiac disease, which is regularly updated and vetted by medical professionals.

3. Celiac Disease Foundation

The Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF) is a nonprofit that helps fund research, education, and advocacy programs. On its website, you can learn more about celiac disease, how to live gluten free, and other issues that are important to people affected by celiac disease and wheat allergy.

Will There Ever Be a Drug for Celiac Disease?

4. Mayo Clinic

The Mayo Clinic is one of the top ranked hospitals in the United States and is known for its disease research and online resources. To find out more about celiac disease and to find a physician, check out its website.

5. MedlinePlus

Find current and relevant information about celiac disease on MedlinePlus. The site also shares tips on finding an expert, participating in clinical trials, and dealing with celiac disease if you’re a woman, child, or teen. The United States National Library of Medicine provides this online resource.

6. NIH News in Health

This monthly newsletter from the National Institutes of Health has a helpful webpage on the basics of celiac disease. If you’ve just been diagnosed with celiac, its resources are a great place to start your research.

7. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases National Resource Center

Celiac is associated with delayed growth, small stature, and nutrient deficiencies, whether you’re an adult or child. For more information about the association between celiac and osteoporosis, a disease marked by bone loss, visit the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases National Resource Center.

Currently, the only effective treatment for celiac disease is a strict, gluten-free diet for life. Studies have shown that patients who take their diet very seriously not only reduce their risk of long-term health complications, including cancers and bone deterioration, but also tend to be free from stomach and intestinal discomfort.

We know that there are medical benefits to a gluten-free diet for people with celiac disease, but how are patients affected from a social and emotional standpoint? Researchers at the Celiac Disease Center of Columbia University in New York designed a study to find out more about how quality of life is affected when such a strict diet is required.

The study included 50 adults (age 18+) and 30 teenagers (age 13-17) with biopsy-confirmed celiac disease. Based on information received through an interview process, each patient was identified as either “extremely vigilant” or “less vigilant,” based on how strictly and thoroughly the gluten-free diet was followed. Each participant was also given a food label quiz to determine knowledge about gluten-containing ingredients, and was asked a specific question to assess for overall level of energy.

In both teenagers and adults, lower energy was associated with a lower quality of life, but also with greater knowledge. In adults, the “extremely vigilant” followers of the gluten-free diet had a lower quality of life than the “less vigilant;” there were no significant differences in the two groups of teenagers.

Overall, the study found that the majority of participants who follow a gluten-free diet experience social and emotional stress around eating out due to fear of cross-contact, embarrassment about having to ask a lot of questions, and frustration with the gluten-free diet being perceived as trendy. Many participants feel they are less able to be spontaneous because they are worried about food options in unfamiliar situations.

Patients with celiac disease often wonder how strict they have to be on the gluten-free diet. Although celiac disease centers offer advice regarding efforts that should be taken to avoid gluten exposure, “there are still varying degrees of vigilance that patients take, particularly regarding eating outside the home,” stated Dr. Benjamin Lebwohl, study co-author, Celiac Disease Foundation Research Committee member, and Director of Clinical Research of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University. “Our results suggest that being more vigilant comes at a potential cost in terms of quality of life. We should try to find the sweet spot consisting of a safe gluten-free diet that is practical and compatible with a full life.”

This study found that strict adherence to a gluten-free diet can actually lower quality of life for celiac disease patients, when social and emotional factors are considered. It is important that medical providers take this into consideration when encouraging their patients to follow a gluten-free diet. Involving a registered dietitian for education, as well as friends and family for support, are two suggested ways to keep quality of life high while still promoting strict dietary adherence.

Click here to read the full study.

Understanding that the emotional and psychological impact associated with celiac disease can have particular and profound challenges, it is hardly surprising that celiac disease and the need for strict adherence to a gluten-free diet can cause severe stress on families and social relationships, and can contribute to a sense of social alienation and an overall lower quality of life. In the first national effort to systematically address the emotional and psychological issues of young people with celiac disease, the Celiac Disease Foundation and Children’s National Health System joined together in 2016 to expand mental health education around this specific issue and to empower healthcare providers and community-based peer support facilitators to provide counseling. The Resnick Celiac Disease & Gluten-Related Conditions Psychological Health Training Program is a free online program that provides continuing education to primary care and mental health providers about the psychological impacts of celiac disease, empowering healthcare providers to identify and treat both the medical and mental health aspects of the conditions. Learn more about this program here.

To participate in research like this, join iCureCeliac® today.

How to Live With Celiac Disease

Before I get into the Celiac Disease Hacks- let me set the scene.

When I was a child, eating my jam on toast in front of the television on a Saturday morning, I had no idea what I was truly doing. Those crumbs, that beautiful white bread, golden brown and delicious. If I was really good, my mum would save me a dribble of her morning coffee too. She would leave just enough to coat the bottom of my Malted milk biscuit, softening the exterior one centimetre at a time.

Those are memories that I look back at fondly. But who was I to know the real repercussions of those joyous morsels. I know now, looking back, that I was spending every single day poisoning myself. Feeding my body with things that caused me immense pain and could potentially kill me.

Autoimmune Disease- Celiac Disease

That all sounds rather dramatic I know, but unfortunately that was the reality that was sprung upon me, following the diagnosis of an autoimmune disease. My life was spun on its head when I discovered I would have to completely alter my lifestyle and be more conscious of what I put in my body. I was reminded that if I didn’t, I would likely develop certain kinds of cancer, end up with a stoma and be much more susceptible to other autoimmune diseases and health conditions. For instance MS, Lupus and Osteoporosis. In other words, if I valued my health I would have to change things and fast.

Of course I did change things. Beyond the biopsies and blood tests. Cutting out all food that contains gluten from my diet was the main thing I needed to do in order to save my health.

If you didn’t know, Celiac Disease is when people have an adverse Immune response to eating Gluten (and sometimes other things as well). The person’s body sees the gluten as something dangerous and this basically results in the body harming itself, shredding the small intestine in order to combat the Gluten. Often resulting in flattening of intestinal cells, malnutrition and numerous other complications.

Although it may seem like it right now, this post is not a pity party for people with Celiac Disease. Yes, it can be a hard adjustment to make, and even when eating Gluten-Free, Coeliacs are still likely to come up against health issues in the future. However if you suspect you may have Celiac Disease or if you have it and are unsure where to start. I want this post to be helpful for you. I want to run down some of the best things I’ve learnt since my diagnosis. Things I wish I’d known sooner, and tips and tricks I live by. Here are my Celiac Disease Hacks, on how to live Gluten free and navigate the nasties of this Autoimmune Disease.

Living with Celiac Disease; Celiac Disease Hacks

Gluten-free food can be extortionate. I suppose there is money to be made from people with generally life changing diseases, where there is demand and necessity, there is money to make.

Saying this, I try and keep costs down to a minimum with these simple hacks.

Go shopping after 6pm. Whatever your favourite supermarket is, try going in the evening. This is when all of the gluten free bread and sweet products will be significantly reduced. This is how I often buy my bread and rolls. Instead of paying £3 for a loaf of bread, I pay 82p or something like that. Though it may seem silly, this is a simple way to ensure your health isn’t coming along with a hefty price tag.

Following on from that tip, the downside of food reductions, is often how this means the product is very close to it’s use by date. Unless you have a family of Coeliacs, it’s impractical to expect to eat a loaf of bread or four GF Blueberry Muffins in the space of 12 hours. This is why my freezer is my best friend. I freeze my loaves of bread and then defrost them under my grill, a couple slices at a time, as, and when I need them. This ensures my 82p bread stays fresh and lasts longer.

Meaning my late night dashes to the supermarket are not in vain.

You’re never too old for a Lunch Box

Another of my hacks is to be a child everyday. By this, I mean you should take a packed lunch with you wherever you go, especially if your day involves going out for a meal or going to an unfamiliar location. It is so difficult to be sure if restaurants can cater to your dietary needs, this is why you should always have a backup of gluten free snacks and non-perishables. This decreases risk of cross contamination and puts the control of your health back into your hands.

Too many times, I have been out for a meal and all I could have was a glass or two of wine. Not always a bad thing but I could have probably done with some gluten-free grub to line my stomach.


This may be obvious, but ensure to read labels for everything and anything. You would be surprised how many unsuspecting food items, are secretly smuggling gluten. The good thing about the UK is they HAVE to announce allergens and ingredients on packaging. There will always be a disclaimer, if there is risk of Gluten or other allergen exposure.

Worth checking religiously.

Invest in your Health

Though I could lecture you all day, I will leave you with one final tip.

A good way to have access to gluten free databases and Coeliac news and information, is through Coeliac UK. They are a charity that have an app that can help you navigate this gluten filled world. Scan a barcode and instantly know if a food is safe or not. Coeliac UK offer access to their services for as little as £2 a month, which is so worth it. Especially as you also receive a variety of money saving vouchers when you sign up. If you are really struggling for money though, it may be worth getting in touch with the charity.

Coeliac UK will often give access to those struggling to afford their new gluten-free lifestyle. I have just found it to be a super useful resource personally.

Although I could probably continue infinitely with my Celiac Disease Hacks, for now I think I will call it a day. I hope you can take these few tips and implement them to make your life easier. If you don’t have Celiac Disease, I hope you may come away from this post a little bit more educated on the subject.

Why not try out some of my Gluten Free Recipes? Add these to your Celiac Disease Hack list!

Or how about this Gluten Free Recipe, that I curated for a guest post?

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease (also known as celiac sprue or gluten-sensitive enteropathy) is a digestive and multisystem disorder. Multisystem means that it may affect several organs. Celiac disease is a complex immune-mediated disorder, one in which the immune system causes damage to the small bowel when affected people eat gluten (a protein in some grains such as wheat, barley, and rye).

What is the difference between celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS)?

Celiac disease causes damage to the small intestine. There are specific markers in the blood that help confirm the diagnosis. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity causes symptoms that may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, headaches, diarrhea, joint pain, fatigue, and “brain fog.” These might be slight or severe. However, NCGS does not injure the intestine; there are no specific markers in the blood; and the diagnosis requires improvement of symptoms after following a diet without gluten.

What are the causes of celiac disease?

Normally, the body’s immune system is designed to protect it from foreign invaders. When people with celiac disease eat foods that contain gluten, their immune systems attack the lining of the intestine. This causes inflammation (swelling) in the intestines and damages the villi, the hair-like structures on the lining of the small intestine. Nutrients from food are absorbed by the villi. If the villi are damaged, the person cannot absorb nutrients and ends up malnourished, no matter how much he or she eats.

What are the symptoms of celiac disease?

Symptoms of celiac disease vary among sufferers and include:

  • No symptoms at all (like some family members of celiac patients).
  • Digestive problems (abdominal bloating, pain, gas, constipation, diarrhea, pale stools and weight loss).
  • A severe blistering skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis and sores in the mouth (called aphthous ulcers).
  • Unexplained anemia (low blood count) or hepatitis (inflammation of the liver).
  • Musculoskeletal problems (muscle cramps, joint and bone pain) and defects in dental enamel.
  • Growth problems and failure to thrive (in children). This is because they cannot absorb the nutrients.
  • Tingling sensation in the legs (caused by nerve damage and low calcium).
  • Depression.

What other health problems can accompany celiac disease?

Celiac disease can leave the patient vulnerable to other health problems, including:

  • Malnutrition.
  • Osteoporosis, a disease that weakens bones and leads to fractures. This occurs because the person has trouble absorbing enough calcium and vitamin D.
  • Infertility.
  • Cancer of the intestine (very rare).

People who have celiac disease may have other autoimmune diseases, including:

  • Thyroid disease or liver disease.
  • Type 1 diabetes.
  • Lupus.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Sjogren’s syndrome (a disorder that causes insufficient moisture production by the glands).
  • Autoimmune liver disorders.

Some people have “non-classic celiac disease,” such as when the only symptom is anemia. Non-classic celiac disease is becoming the most common form of celiac disease. Others might have “asymptomatic celiac disease,” which is one without any symptoms at all.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/10/2020.


  • National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Celiac Disease. Accessed 1/9/2020.
  • National Institutes of Health Osteoporosis and Related Bone Diseases – National Resource Center. What People With Celiac Disease Need to Know About Osteoporosis. Accessed 1/9/2020.
  • Celiac Support Association. What is Celiac Disease? Accessed 1/9/2020.
  • American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Wheat Allergy. Accessed 1/9/2020.
  • Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center. Celiac Disease. Accessed 1/9/2020.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that makes digesting gluten virtually impossible. Here’s how one young woman lives well with celiac disease.

How to Live With Celiac Disease

Breana Orland, a 21-year-old Los Angeles native, lives in a house plagued with digestive issues. Her sister was recently diagnosed with a mild form of celiac disease — she gets heartburn if she eats a piece of bread, or even has a bite of doughnut. Likewise, her dad gets an upset stomach if he eats too much gluten.

Celiac disease is not a food allergy. It is a digestive disorder that causes intolerance of gluten — a protein found in rye, barley, and wheat products. And it has a definite genetic component, as Orland’s family shows.

Orland knew something was up with her digestive system a few of years ago, when, at age 19, she returned from a trip to Israel. About a week after coming back, she suddenly started feeling sick and vomiting after nearly every meal. “Something just wasn’t right,” recalls Orland. She began associating her bouts of vomiting with eating foods that contained a lot of flour, but it still wasn’t exactly clear what the problem was. Orland went to see a gastroenterologist, but the doctor thought she had picked up a parasite while traveling.

Samples of Orland’s blood were sent nationwide for various experts to examine. For two weeks, she could barely eat because the vomiting became so severe. Finally, after a blood test for celiac disease came back inconclusive, doctors took a biopsy, or sample, of her small intestine. The biopsy revealed that she had celiac disease.

I Can’t Eat What?

A gluten-free diet is the only treatment for celiac disease. “At first I was really, really scared — you’re telling me I can’t eat what?” says Orland. It seemed like there was nothing left that she could eat. It’s more than just wheat, barley and rye. “It’s everything down to the preservatives in your turkey. Everything has something in it that I can’t have,” she says. Gluten is found in preservatives, seasonings, drinks, packaged lunch meat, and more.

It’s not a cheap disease to have. “My [special, gluten-free] loaf of bread is nine dollars,” explains Orland.

Fortunately, she was able to develop a support system of those around her. Her mom went with her to doctor’s appointments and bought her special food that wouldn’t cause a violent reaction. But even some of her family members didn’t understand what it felt like to be bloated, gassy, and throwing up from a reaction to gluten.

So she and her mother went to the Celiac Disease Foundation, which Orland praises for providing her with great educational materials and a list of restaurant recommendations with food that is both gluten-free and tasty. Orland volunteers at the Celiac Disease Foundation to help others who are trying to navigate life with celiac disease.

Nothing is simple about living with celiac disease. At school, Orland shared an apartment with her three best friends, one of whom is Italian and loves to cook pounds of pasta. Not only did Orland have to avoid the pasta, she also had to separate all of her pots and pans to prevent cross-contamination. If even a bit of gluten-containing residue from a pot or a crumb from the toaster contaminated her food, Orland would get sick.

But that wasn’t the worst of it: One of the toughest things about living with celiac disease was, and still is, eating out at restaurants, says Orland.

“People never understood,” Orland notes. Friends would stop by and say “let’s go to dinner,” but it’s not always so simple.

They ate at Chili’s — a lot — because they have a separate menu with gluten-free food and are careful to avoid cross-contamination. But the same menu can get a little boring. So armed with her list from the Celiac Disease Foundation, Orland checked out other restaurants with gluten-free menu items. And after a little more legwork, she found a local sushi restaurant at school. The sushi chef made special, gluten-free sushi rolls in rice paper instead of seaweed for her.

Moving Forward

Orland graduated from college early and will be heading to graduate school for speech pathology in the fall. Although her body is still healing, she has been able to keep her celiac disease symptoms under control as long as she carefully follows a gluten-free diet.

For those who have just been diagnosed with celiac disease, Orland says that while celiac disease is no picnic, it does become manageable. It’s tough to admit to yourself that certain foods are simply off-limits, she says. “I still have cravings all the time for things I can’t eat any more.” But that doesn’t mean she eats them. She becomes so violently ill after eating even a small amount of gluten that she knows it isn’t worth it to indulge in a craving for a slice of pepperoni pizza.

“You’re not dying, and you can deal with this — it’s just different,” she says. Being part of the family at the Celiac Disease Foundation and joining a support group at school have been a huge encouragement to help her live well with celiac disease.

The Celiac Disease Foundation (CDF) was featured in a recent article in Media Planet’s USA Today’s Digestive Health campaign, distributed within the December issue of USA Today.

This campaign focuses on the future of personal health. CDF’s article, “How to Maintain a Gluten-Free Diet With Celiac Disease,” discusses the transition to a gluten-free diet and how to find healthy and satisfying gluten-free options.

Please find the original article here.

How to Maintain a Gluten-Free Diet With Celiac Disease

PREVENTION & TREATMENT Living with celiac disease and its diet necessities has become easier with more gluten-free food and beverage options available.

Although celiac disease was once thought to be a rare disease that only affected children, we now understand that it is a common and serious genetic, autoimmune disease that can develop at any age, affecting one percent of the world’s population. When people with celiac disease eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and triticale), a harmful immune reaction occurs in the small intestine, damaging the villi, which are fingerlike projections that aid in absorbing nutrients. This immune reaction is the cause of more than 200 known symptoms that can occur in every organ in the body.

Although celiac disease can be diagnosed through a blood test and intestinal biopsy, it is estimated that only one in five Americans with the disease are diagnosed. Non-celiac gluten sensitivity is a related disorder, but there is no diagnostic test for it. People with non-celiac gluten sensitivity do not have celiac disease or a wheat allergy, but like people with celiac disease, they have improvement of symptoms when following a strict, gluten-free diet. While there are more than 20 companies investigating treatments for celiac disease, a strict, gluten-free diet for life is currently the only treatment. For many, the diet allows the villi to heal and lessens most symptoms.

Transitioning to a gluten-free diet
For celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitive patients, transitioning to the gluten-free diet may seem overwhelming and challenging at first, but it is a medical necessity. Untreated celiac disease can lead to additional serious health complications, including other autoimmune disorders, osteoporosis, infertility and miscarriage, and even cancer. Gluten is most commonly found in breads, pastas, baked goods, crackers and cereal, but it can also be hidden in foods like gravies, soups, dressings, soy sauce and much more. Patients quickly understand that there is a wide variety of foods that are naturally gluten-free, and when you go gluten-free, it is important to focus on what you can eat rather than what is now off limits. Thanks to the popularity of the gluten-free diet in the U.S., there are also a growing number of delicious gluten-free substitutes for nearly all traditional breads, pastas and baked goods.

Finding gluten-free meal options
If you are sticking to a gluten-free diet, you can enjoy eggs, breakfast meats, fruit and yogurt in the mornings. If you prefer cereal for breakfast, you can find cereals labeled “gluten-free” in most grocery stores. Gluten-free waffles and pancakes are also widely available, or you can make your own using a gluten-free baking mix. Gluten-free bread, bagels or tortillas can be used to make sandwiches for lunch, or you can choose to eat salad without the croutons or other wheat-based toppings.

Transitioning to the gluten-free diet may seem overwhelming and challenging at first, but it is a medical necessity.

There are also plenty of delicious gluten-free snack options, like gluten-free pretzels, popcorn and crackers to satisfy your cravings. Naturally gluten-free and cost-effective dinner options might include: meats, poultry, fish, tofu, veggies, beans, rice, potatoes and corn. Fruit is also naturally gluten-free, as are most dairy products, nuts and seeds.

It is important that people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity maintain a strict gluten-free diet as even trace amounts of gluten can trigger severe and prolonged reactions. Fortunately, gluten-free food and beverage options are becoming more diverse, more delicious and less expensive.


How to Maintain a Gluten-Free Diet With Celiac Disease, As Featured in USA Today

Many kids have sensitivities to certain foods, and the majority are not severe. Celiac disease, however, is a serious condition caused by a permanent intolerance for gluten–a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley.

Pediatric Celiac Disease

If your child has celiac disease, consuming gluten will cause damage to finger-like projections, called villi, in the lining of your child’s small intestines.

Celiac disease is a life-long condition, but it is manageable through permanent modifications to the diet. Simply put, anyone with celiac disease must adhere to a gluten free diet. While this may seem daunting at first–especially for kids–you’ll find that many nutritious, tasty foods fit into this diet (including fruits and vegetables, eggs, meat, poultry–and even soft drinks and ice cream!) For more information and ideas, see our Gluten-Free Diet Guide.

Quick Facts on Celiac Disease:

  • Approximately 40,000 Americans have been diagnosed with celiac disease.
  • Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease, meaning it causes a person’s immune system to attack the body.
  • Symptoms of celiac disease can appear at any age after gluten is introduced into the diet.
  • Patients with celiac disease must follow a lifelong gluten free diet

Children are at higher risk for celiac disease if they have:

  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Autoimmune thyroid disease
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis
  • Down syndrome
  • Turner syndrome
  • Williams syndrome
  • A relative with celiac disease

Pediatric Celiac Disease and COVID-19

Celiac disease is not considered to be an immunocompromised state in children, and in itself is not known to be a risk factor for severe disease. Like everyone, children with celiac disease should exercise careful infection control practices, including washing hands with soap and water frequently and for at least 20 seconds, and avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth.

Patients with other medical conditions should refer to their provider for further disease specific guidance and to information provided by local health authorities. COVID-19 Resources.

How to Live With Celiac Disease

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How to Live With Celiac Disease

A woman hand picks up a Gluten Free loaf of bread. (iStock)

If you’re suffering through stomach pains and digestive problems every day, you are not alone. Thousands of people live with digestive problems in the United States, and few feel comfortable enough to tell their doctors. Despite the discomfort, you should seek help in diagnosing the underlying cause. You could be suffering from celiac disease.

Celiac disease is an immune system’s reaction to gluten, a protein often found in wheat and bread. Because a celiac patient’s immune system reacts to any gluten in the small intestine, the reaction damages the intestine over time.

As the intestine becomes more and more damaged, the body can no longer absorb nutrients properly, leading to malabsorption and malnutrition. Many times, people diagnosed with celiac disease have anemia, vitamin deficiencies, fatigue, and weight loss.

Although researchers are still looking into potential causes, a new study is giving fresh insight into the disease. The study found that the usually harmless reovirus can trigger an immune response to gluten.

Normally, the reovirus presents as an upper respiratory or gastrointestinal infection, but doctors do not associate it with severe disease. In this study, however, researchers found that celiac patients had high levels of reovirus antibodies in their blood.

Once infected, researchers believe that the virus leads to a more severe immune response later on. In the future, researchers hope that those at-risk for celiac disease will be able to use a vaccine to ward it off.

Diagnosing Celiac Disease

Diagnosing celiac disease can prove tricky. The symptoms include bloating, general stomach pain, diarrhea or constipation, fatigue, and anemia. However, many of the symptoms characterize irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, or a simple gluten intolerance as well.

To diagnose celiac disease, your doctor will need to look at your family and medical history first. He may need to conduct a short physical exam, looking for distension, irregular sounds, and stomach pain. If the doctor suspects celiac disease, he will usually order a series of blood tests that search for certain antibodies.

Even still, the most accurate way of confirming a positive blood test will be through an intestinal biopsy called an endoscopy. Through the biopsy, the doctor can see if you have any damage to the intestinal wall and confirm celiac disease once and for all.

Lifestyle Changes

Currently, doctors do not have any medication or special treatment that can combat celiac disease. Instead, you simply have to make lifestyle changes. You must heal the damage in your small intestine by avoiding gluten at all costs.

At first, you may feel overwhelmed with the change. You will have to learn which foods to avoid and what hidden ingredients to watch for in certain foods.

No matter what you do, however, you have to stay away from gluten. Since gluten is a protein, you can easily contaminate a food item with it. While friends and family may enjoy cooking for you, you should watch how they prepare the food carefully and explain your needs to them thoroughly.

Celiac disease is not a self-imposed diet fad. It is an autoimmune disorder. The smallest hint of gluten will cause another immune reaction that will undo the healing of your small intestine.

Fortunately, many food companies are producing gluten-free products that can ease the transition for you and your food-loving friends. You can still enjoy the gluten-free versions of your favorite dishes too, including pasta and bread.

If you’re experiencing stomach pain and discomfort on a regular basis, look into your symptoms further. Your doctor can rule out some potential causes and pinpoint the root problem. If the doctor diagnoses you with celiac disease, you can start the healing process right away and enjoy freedom from any crippling stomach pain.

Many people in my life are familiar with the fact that I live with celiac disease. It’s an autoimmune disease that affects around three million Americans, in which consuming gluten damages the lining of the small intestines. Celiac can often go years undiagnosed because of its wide range of symptoms, ranging from headaches to digestive issues to fatigue. The only treatment to manage celiac is to adhere to a gluten-free diet.

Food is an everyday, multiple times a day part of our lives. It’s more than a physical necessity, it’s a social experience; it’s how friends and family spend time together, it’s how coworkers break up the work day, it’s how you get to know a new place. Whether I plan on discussing having celiac or not, it’s rather inevitable when everyone at the table goes for the bread and butter before the meal, or friends suggests going to a beer garden and you hesitate at the idea. When people realize I am strictly gluten-free, they are more often than not completely understanding. In fact, they tend to be curious about the disease and interested to learn more, especially since the word gluten has spiked in usage recently.

The conversation generally ends with the conclusion that living gluten-free isn’t so bad. What’s the big deal, life without croissants or mozzarella sticks or Chinese food (yes, soy sauce is a sneaky gluten-full food!)? With a quick hand motion as if waving the issue away, celiac is deemed inconvenient, but not life-ending. And I agree, from the list of diseases to have, celiac is in many cases the lesser evil.

What people may not realize is I actually live with two diseases. After being diagnosed with the first, a second one made its debut in my life. It’s the ever-elusive, swept under the rug, misunderstood disease called

Depression presents itself differently from person to person, but for me, it’s this area of my brain that remains dimly lit when the rest of my mind is docked up with bright eco-friendly LEDs. It arrives uninvited and overstays its visit. It’s this feeling that makes a logical person feel frustrated, because it defies all sense of logic. It can overpower the reasoning that proves that everything should be fine, and you’re grateful for numerous aspects of your life. But yet you feel a heaviness weighing you down, and a fresh set of tears at the ready when your mom asks at the end of a phone call, “but how are you doing, really?”

Celiac disease affects the lining of the small intestines, a place commonly referred to as our second brain. It’s where our body produces many neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, through the absorption of the amino acid, tryptophan. But studies have shown that even with the adherence to a gluten-free diet, patients with celiac struggle to absorb nutrients at a normal capacity. In essence, the weakness of my small intestines is affecting the chemical balance in my brain.

How to Live With Celiac Disease

For the past three and a half years of managing this lifestyle, one question I’ve never gotten after revealing I am diagnosed with celiac disease is: Why?

To the select few I have opened up to about my second disease, almost immediately some will ask that one-worded, loaded question.

The real “why” to ask is why we treat these two diseases as so vastly different? It seems foolish to ever ask why someone has celiac disease. No one pulls into the Stop & Shop of illnesses, and decides which ones they would like to live with and then explains their consumer behavior to those who inquire about it. I could not imagine having someone reveal they have been diagnosed with cancer, and asking them why they have it. Few would ever choose to go through this battle. It’s in their cards, it’s in their genetic makeup.

Asking “why” shifts the focus from accepting the disease and treating it to implying a sense of fault to the one who is struggling. Yes, there are certain factors that put one at risk for diseases. With celiac, a member of your family may have it. Symptoms often reveal themselves after a major life event or source of stress, in my case, when I moved out for college. And with depression, the same goes if you have a family history. And the same goes for life events acting as a trigger, revealing a chemical imbalance that needs to be treated. But asking “why” misses the point.

The real “why” should aim to change the way we react to physical versus mental illnesses. Opening up to someone about your struggle with any illness is difficult, and the best way to respond is with compassion and understanding. No one chooses to have this struggle in their life, and instead are seeking out ways to best cope with and treat their disease.
Instead of asking “why,” we should be really asking “how.” How can I help you get better? How can I become more aware of the illnesses my friends and family may be dealing with? How can I be proactive about my own health and take care of myself and others?

For me, saying no to croissants and mozzarella sticks or drinking water at a beer garden is the easy part. But that just scratches the surface. The harder, more challenging, more socially tainted part is that dimly lit room in my brain.

Mental illness is still a subject that society has yet to fully understand, and strip taboo from. But immense progress has been made, and awareness continues to grow. Celebrities are becoming activists, and research is improving our understanding of these diseases and their treatments. In my case, I tried to predominantly focus on “self-help” tips to improve my mental state. After stopping medication, I felt confident I had my health in my own hands. I would exercise regularly, get enough sleep, eat plenty of protein and vegetables, read motivational books and maintain a lively social circle. These are all important things to do, and we should continue to do them. But for some people, including myself, it is not enough.

Restoring your mental balance may take a combination of efforts, and there is no weakness in having medication play a role in your treatment.
My parents always told me to never shy away from asking for help. This advice came long before my diagnoses, with its origins in a seemingly simple situation. When we would go grocery shopping, I hesitated to ask an employee where an item was. The aisles were labeled, so I was bound to find that bottle of vanilla extract eventually. My parents failed to understand this thought process as minutes would pass by. Why waste your time? What have you got to lose from asking, what’s stopping you?

Their advice to their shy child at a grocery store later applied to professional situations, personal ones and everything in between. They were never afraid to ask, because those who ask and learn are the ones who come out ahead.

Do not be afraid to ask for help. You are not in this alone, and in fact, reaching out is the best thing you can do. Your family and friends are there to lend an ear. Physicians and trained professionals are there to assist you in treatment. Yes, I am aware of the wait time for appointments and the difficulties in insurance. I know what it’s like to be put on hold, to have your messages unanswered, to lose track of who you called when.

Someone will answer, someone will guide you, and that heavy load in you will start to lighten. The tunnel can seem a bit long at times, but it is absolutely imperative to remember there is always a bright, LED light shining at the end.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

How to Live With Celiac Disease

Life Insurance With Celiac Disease

Can people with celiac disease get life insurance? YES! Keeping your Celiac Disease in complete control through diet and physician guidance gives you a higher chance of a Preferred Rating Class! Let’s take a look…

Complete Control

you are diagnosed by your physician. Diet is in check. Have an occasional flare up. You could qualify for a Preferred Rating.

Mild Control

you are diagnosed by your physician. Diet is not in balance, and you suffer from symptoms more often than the occasional flare up. You could qualify for Standard.


you are diagnosed by your physician. You are not following a strict Celiac Disease Diet plan. Your symptoms are quite frequent — possible qualifying for a Standard to Table 4 Rating Class.


you may have been diagnosed by your physician recently. Your symptoms are constant. You are suffering from other complications related to your Celiac Disease. You could be a Postpone or possible Decline for traditional life insurance.

At this point, you have two options:

Gain control of your Celiac Disease and reapply or look into a guaranteed acceptance policy.

Does Celiac Disease Affect Life Insurance

Both slightly differ in their characteristics and present different symptoms and treatments than that of celiac disease.

You could get a preferred rate with your life insurance application as mentioned above.

Again, keep your Celiac Disease symptoms under control and managed.

When left untreated Celiac Disease can lead to other health issues such as Type 1 Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Osteoporosis, Lactose intolerance, Pancreatic Insufficiency.

Be proactive, get a life insurance policy today before you have any serious complications arise in your health.

Putting a policy in place today keeps your rates low.

Life insurance protects your family today for any unseen tomorrows!

Affordable Life Insurance With Celiac Disease

Now is the time to get affordable life insurance with a diagnosis with Celiac Disease.

Unlike conditions such as Crohn’s Disease, IBS, or another type of gastrointestinal disease Celiac disease is not as severe as long as you manage your lifestyle and diet.

What Is Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. One of many gastrointestinal disorders that attacks the small intestine.

It is gluten intolerance. Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye, and barley too.

When the small intestine gets damaged, your body does not absorb nutrients properly.

In fact, there are over two million Americans who are undiagnosed properly.

If left untreated long term, people diagnosed with celiac disease will have a weakened immune system.

Inf the first place, when you present digestive disorder symptoms to your doctor, he/she will do a blood test.

Furthermore, once the autoimmune disorder diagnosis is confirmed, you will most likely be put on a strict gluten-free diet.

Now, a gluten-free diet is a start to eliminate your symptoms.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Celiac Disease

What are the long term effects of Celiac Disease?

  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Gas
  • Weight loss
  • Exhaustion
  • Anemia
  • Depression
  • Constipation

I have Celiac Disease What Foods Do I Avoid

Is there a specific Celiac Disease Diet? Nothing specific. Avoid all gluten.

There are tons of delicious recipes online you can follow. Read food labels. Stay focused!

Of course, all the fun foods are not healthy for us in general. But when you have Celiac Disease, you experience all of the above symptoms.

Some foods to avoid are:

  • Bread
  • Cakes
  • Pasta
  • Cookies

As a matter of fact, any foods that contain gluten protein. Reading labels is time-consuming. However, it is key to keeping a healthy diet.

Is celiac disease a serious condition? In fact, Yes!

What is the life expectancy of a person with celiac disease? If your Celiac Disease is left untreated, it is life-threatening.

Furthermore, you will experience other health issues, like the ones we mentioned above.

In addition to that, you will also experience weight loss, depression, malnutrition, and exhaustion.

I Have Celiac Disease What Foods Should I Eat

Can you live a normal life with celiac disease? Introducing a gluten-free diet is trial and error. Moreover, keep a Celiac Disease log.

Above all, keep away from processed foods as much as possible.

Some foods to keep in your diet arsenal are:

  • Poultry
  • Seafood
  • Eggs
  • Fruit
  • Grains such as quinoa, rice, millet
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Healthy Fats
  • Herbs and spices

Life with Celiac Disease

Is Celiac Disease Curable? NO! There are no medications to cure this disease.

In reality, a gluten-free diet is the only way to heal any further damage to your small intestine and keep Celiac symptoms to a minimum.

For more information about Celiac Disease, CLICK HERE.


To get the best life insurance quotes for Celiac Disease, give us a call today! Be proactive.

How to Live With Celiac Disease

How to Live With Celiac Disease

In this Article

Sometimes we eat something that doesn’t agree with our stomachs. It can cause pain, aches, and unwanted trips to the bathroom. You assume you have a food intolerance, or perhaps something in the food was slightly spoiled. What you are experiencing might be more than a simple intolerance; you may actually be suffering from celiac disease.

Celiac Disease

If you have celiac disease, once the body senses the presence of gluten proteins, it will build a negative reaction. These proteins can be found in many common foods, mostly from wheat, rye, and barley. Celiac disease is your body going to war with itself, rather than with foreign substances. The war is against gluten. After consuming gluten containing foods, you may get very sick. It will interfere with the function of your small intestine by causing inflammation. If the inflammation in the small intestine is not treated, it can lead to chronic fatigue, anemia, infertility, cancer and more.

Anyone at any age can develop celiac disease. Some may have a sensitivity to gluten but cannot be diagnosed with celiac disease.  Overall, three million Americans are affected by celiac disease and 60% are undiagnosed. If you are one of the 30% of people that carry the HLA-DQ2 or DQ8 genes, you’re more likely to have celiac disease in the future, but you might not have it currently. If you do not carry them, you will never develop the disease.

People with celiac disease are instructed to refrain from consuming any gluten. They can get help from a dietician or nutritionist. В


There is no clear cause of celiac disease but there are some instances where it could develop. Sometimes surgery, pregnancy, high stress, or infection В could increase the risk.


Those who have celiac disease often develop symptoms like diarrhea, anemia (lowered red blood cell count), gas, bloating, stomach cramps, fatigue, itchy skin, heartburn, or joint pain.

How to Live With Celiac Disease

A Day in the Life Of a Patient Suffering From Celiac Disease

Imagine living each day worried about what you will eat. Worried that you might accidentally consume gluten. Scared to go to a restaurant with friends for fear of getting sick. This is how people with celiac disease live day-to-day.

Andy De Santis, also known as Andy the RD, is a registered dietician who practices in Toronto, Ontario, CA. His focus is on weight loss, diet, and nutrition goals.  Andy had an engaging interview with one of his patients, Ashley, who suffers from celiac disease. Ashley described her extreme weight loss at the age of 17 as totally unexplainable since she wasn’t changing her diet in any way. She would begin to feel tired at school, despite getting enough sleep. She would often complain of frequent nausea, along with random skin rashes and breakouts. Her doctor assumed she had IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), a common misdiagnosis for celiac disease. After falling ill on a family vacation, she forced her doctor to send her to an allergy specialist where she was finally diagnosed with celiac disease.

Not everyone is a dietician or is educated about gluten itself. Those who assume they may have a gluten problem will spend time testing themselves with trial and error. There are a list of challenges for people living with celiac disease. The most common are cross contamination, unpleasant stomach aches and cramps, avoiding any food containing gluten. Another challenge is having to explain that celiac is not a food allergy or a personal preference, it is a full auto-immune disease that disrupts the smooth flow in the small intestine. Sometimes, people who suffer from the disease will mistakenly consume it without knowing some foods contain gluten, which would of course cause them physical discomfort. Ashley suggests that restaurants should disclose allergens in the food rather than the calorie count. People living with celiac disease want to be as cautious as possible, while still enjoying their life.

People with celiac disease will often describe the condition both mental and physical. Patients with celiac disease will likely experience depressive episodes over it. Enjoying a night out can turn into a flurry of questions from people around you, with friends often wondering why you can’t eat certain meals. It can be troublesome always having to explain to others what’s happening inside your body.

Living with celiac disease can be quite the hardship. It changes the way you eat, the choices you make, and you will unfortunately experience uncomfortable and painful days. Celiac disease is not something to take lightly because too much damage to the small intestine is hard to undo. The main point to remember is that you are not alone. Having the right support around you, helping you with the proper diet and cheering you on can be mentally beneficial!

Don’t live your life constantly thinking that something is wrong, or that your body has a simple sensitivity to food; it could be more than a simple tummy ache.

Testing for celiac disease

There aren’t many blood tests available that can accurately determine if you have celiac disease. The tests offer little insight as to whether a patient may have it. The blood test may come back negative but there is a chance that your family doctor has a suspicion that you have celiac disease.

Our at home test kit for celiac disease

Luckily, in 2019, imawareв„ў introduced the celiac disease test. It is a useful and accurate at home testing kit that helps patients to check if they have celiac disease. The celiac test we have developed uses enhanced biomarker screening. The patient will use the kit in the comfort of their own home, prick a finger for blood, and send the kit back for results testing. In a matter of 7 days, patients will have access to their results directly on their laptop of smartphone. Patented imawareв„ў technologies create reports for patients that provide high levels of accuracy, reducing the number of unnecessary patient visits to their doctor

The imawareв„ў patented technology was designed to create simple and easy -to-understand online reports for patients. The goal is to reduce the number of undiagnosed celiac patients.

The Mighty and the Celiac Disease Foundation, decided to take an opportunity to spread some awareness about the often misunderstood condition. We asked readers affected by celiac disease what they wished others could understand about the condition. This is what they had to say.

1. “Just because you look fine on the outside doesn’t mean that you are on the inside.” — Lois Abbott

How to Live With Celiac Disease

2. “W e can still eat food. Not everything contains gluten. Just the nice food.” — Clare Walsh

3. “W e are not choosing this for fun. It is serious and a medical necessity for us. We did not jump on the bandwagon for a new diet.” — Ali Spina

4. “I wish people wouldn’t take it personally when you can’t eat their food. Even if they try to make something gluten-free, it’s likely contaminated by their cooking utensils, oven, grill or spices. I certainly appreciate it, but I always tell people not to go to the effort because I cannot eat it.” — Tara Pollman

5. “It’s more than a tummy ache when I ingest gluten.” — Sherry Heimer Cory

How to Live With Celiac Disease

6. “It’s not the same thing as a food allergy. It’s an autoimmune disease that affects every part of the body.” — Angela Stickman

7. “As hard as it is for adults with celiac to be around non-celiac people at a party or family event, it’s even harder for kids. My daughter is having to grow up feeling like she is missing out. Even family members don’t understand that when you eat fancy dessert in front of her and offer her some packaged gluten-free item in its place, it still makes her feel bad.” — Sara Laferriere DeBeck

8. “Flare-ups are unpredictable and can happen at any time.” — Mary Ellen Poll Sarbaugh

9. “We want to eat cake, trust us, but we can’t.” — Angela M. Burres

How to Live With Celiac Disease

10. “The financial impact can be a huge burden. Having no choice but to purchase food that is sometimes triple the cost of its non gluten-free counterpart isn’t always easy. You pay the price and get less food for your money.” — Wendy Rose

11. “I’m not trying to be a flake. Sometimes I might have to cancel because my stomach hurts. It’s not like I planned on getting sick for 10 days straigh t…” — Marsha Covert

12. “I’m not crazy.” — Tonya Renee

How to Live With Celiac Disease

13. “It can cause other illnesses.” — Missy Shank

14. “While I really don’t miss the things that made me sick and while I’ll never ask for special treatment, it would be pretty awesome if people tried a little bit every once in a while to include foods I can eat at special events. When it does h appen I’m over-the-moon grateful for it.” — Karen Griffith

15. “ No, my daughter won’t ‘grow out of it.’” — Jennifer Wright

16. “Y ou don’t have to have symptoms to have it.” — Sharalyn Anderson

How to Live With Celiac Disease

17. “I actually gained weight after adopting a gluten-free diet… There is plenty of junk food that is also gluten-free.” — Yogi Samantha Bellerson

18. “ I go through a lot of toilet paper.” — Spencer Lee Robertson

19. “There is no pill that I can take to make it go away.” — Lisa Touzet

20. “Yes, that little teaspoon of flour you used to thicken the stew will make me sick. And no, I can’t just pick out the croutons.” — Alicia Bertolero

21. “We are not just picky eaters.” — Annamaria Duggan

How to Live With Celiac Disease

22. “G iving me gluten is the same as giving someone food poisoning. It is just as bad for me if not worse, because the effects are longer. W hile a mild case of food poisoning lasts a couple of days, for me it is a week or two.” — Hardlybored

23. “Gluten intolerance, or celiac, isn’t a fad diet.” — Annabella Couto

How to Live With Celiac Disease

24. “Gluten-free food isn’t as bad as you think.” — Madeleine Wolfe

25. “Before you tell me who will be cooking our food, I need to know where the bathrooms are. And where the bathroom spray is.” — Henny Kornbluh-Kupferstein

26. “Having to explain celiac and the seriousness of the disease to family and friends is challenging. When someone is talking about it, please try to be understanding.” — Yaya Ramirez

How to Live With Celiac Disease

What do you wish others could understand about celiac disease? Let us know in the comments below.

Is it possible to follow a gluten-free diet and have a good quality of life? How do people with celiac disease live?

The gluten-free diet, followed strictly for one’s whole life, is the only possible way to live with celiac disease. The elimination of gluten calms the symptoms and allows the recovery of a correct state of health.

How much does celiac disease influence one’s quality of life? Let’s find out together what patients think according to their personal experience, and what medical experts said.

Gluten-free diet: benefits and difficulties in the every day life!

Dr. Luca Elli is the head of the Center for the Prevention and Diagnosis of Coeliac Disease. He stated that people following this type of diet improve the quality of their health.

However, in some patients, the disease activates a mechanisms of “hyper-vigilance“, which leads to chronic anxiety and fatigue. People with celiac disease should learn what foods and what drinks to avoid and how to live in a new food world.

How to Live With Celiac DiseasePhoto source:, professional conducted a study on young people suffering from this disease. The research evaluated the link between the strictness of the diet, how strictly patients followed it and the impact on the quality of their life. The results showed that just the latter was compromised. Young people explained that it is difficult to do normal things like having dinner at a restaurant, travelling or eating at a friend’s house.

This becomes a source of anxiety and fear: outside their homes, it can be difficult to control possible health risks. The doctor said: “The psychological aspect can not be underestimated. It is essential to promote strategies of food education to maximize as much as possible the quality of life of adolescents and young adults with celiac disorder or gluten-related disease”.