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Did Your Doctor Prescribe a Gluten Free Diet?

( Have you been feeling ill?  Having unexplained stomach problems?  Many people in the United States, especially but not limited to, those of  European ancestry  are living with Celiac Disease.  Celiac disease is an inherited, autoimmune disease in which the lining of the small intestine is damaged from eating gluten and other proteins found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats.  Many conditions  such as:  anemia, lupus, dermatitis, lactose intolerance,  miscarriage or unexplained infertility, many neurological conditions ,  thyroid disease, and certain types of intestinal cancer have been commonly associated with Celiac Disease.

Symptoms range from person to person, and although early diagnosis is key to a successful treatment, these range of symptoms often delayed diagnosis. Gastrointestinal symptoms may include: bowel irregularities (diarrhea, constipation, and/or floating stools), nausea or vomiting, bloating, gas, indigestion, possible change in appetite,  lactose intolerance and sometimes weight loss.  Other symptoms may be Anemia, bone or joint pain, depression, fatigue, growth delay in children, hair loss, irritability (or other behavioral changes), seizures, muscle cramps as well as several others.

Diagnosis is made by first checking several blood test results to see if any of the results are consistent with Celiac Disease. The next step would be an endoscopy with enteroscopy , particularly of the lower sections of the intestine. If diagnosed with Celiac Disease the good news is if caught early enough and permanent damage did not occur the prognosis is good.

Treatment would  require living  the rest of your life gluten free.  Gluten is found in a lot of the American Diet so you may want to consult with a nutritionist and always read labels.  There are several complications for delayed prognosis which may include: Autoimmune disorders, Certain types of intestinal cancer, Fractures,  Osteoporosis, Infertility and Miscarriage.  If you have symptoms that the doctor just can not seem to diagnose and you have more than one of the risk factors or symptoms above see a physician immediately and ask them to rule  Celiac’s Disease out.

So the doctor prescribed a Gluten free diet. What’s next?
Learning to eat gluten free can be difficult considering most American diets consist of a large portion bread, wheat and other grains. There are specialty stores that carry gluten free items including bread, flour, pastas and more. Regular supermarkets also carry a small selection of gluten free items, but you may find that the price is quite a bit higher.

A tiny loaf of bread $6? Of course, your new diet will include not only dietary challenges but also financial obstacles for many. Specialty stores like Sprouts (formerly Henry’s), Trader Joe’s and Fresh n’ Easy will usually carry more gluten free products. The price at these specialty stores for the most part, will be less than that of your regular supermarket. Occasionally you can seek out deals at 99 cents only stores, including items like breads, flour, cake mixes and more, all for the 99 cents per item price.

Eating out is among the biggest challenge for those intolerant to gluten or those with Celiac’s Disease. Most places, although they may carry a gluten free menu may also have cross contamination from the other foods they make. When ordering from the gluten free menu make sure it is guaranteed not to be cross contaminated. The amount of gluten in cross contamination usually will not affect those who have only an intolerance but is not recommended for those with Celiac’s Disease. Restaurants like The Cheesecake Factory, Old Spaghetti Factory, Dominos Pizza, Pizza Guys, Chili’s Grill and Bar, Chevy’s Fresh Mex, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse and Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant.

Changing to a gluten free diet is a challenge of course, there is no doubting the challenge many face with the adjustment. Being that it is a necessity for many, options and versatility is key for making things just a little bit easier.





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