The treatment for celiac disease is both simple and challenging: eat no gluten. This disorder of the small intestine officially affects about 1% of Canadians, but the numbers are likely much higher because many people suffer without a diagnosis, assuming it is “just digestion issues.”
The small intestine becomes inflamed and is unable to properly absorb the nutrients we need from the food we eat. The gluten protein found in wheat and barley and rye is the culprit in this disorder.
The antidote is both simple and challenging. Eat no gluten. This is not a food allergy, it is a disease, and the treatment is as essential for health as medicine or surgery.
Watching everything you eat may seem intimidating or bothersome at the outset, but the transformation to feeling good will make it all worth while.
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To achieve this transition it is key to educate yourself, read food labels, discover the ways gluten slips into many packaged products. Don’t be afraid to ask questions in the grocery story to make sure there are no cross-contamination issues.
More and more products and medicines are identified as “gluten free.” But if you are not sure, don’t eat it. Prepare for eating out by checking the menu on-line, or calling the restaurant in advance.
See you health care provider at least annually to ensure you are on top of your condition, because it is permanent, and your wellbeing is really in your hands. Include your family and friends in your adjustment to this new way of eating. Let them participate in your lifestyle change to good health.
The Canada Revenue Agency allows people with celiac disease to claim the incremental costs of gluten-free products on their income tax return.