The Quick and Dirty on Gluten Sensitivities & Celiac Disease

by Nicole Hempeck on March 24, 2021

Recently,  a lot of close friends have made the decision to change their kids diets over to gluten-free for a variety for reasons. At first, I wondered if it was simply a fad they were jumping on because obviously, I had not been properly educated. It just seemed like a lot of fuss over wheat and initially I didn’t quite understand it.

Then I started reading and I realized that there really is cause for concern when it comes to those who have gluten sensitivities and in the extreme cases celiac disease, which essentially is an allergic-type reaction to gluten. Those who have celiac disease often go undiagnosed for years and suffer with a range of serious and sometimes debilitating symptoms that can be easily mistaken for a different problem.

Additionally, children with a range of needs are now benefiting from having gluten removed from their diets, so it’s definitely a trend on the rise and one that is worth some additional attention.

So below, I’ve compiled a bit of information for those of you who are, like me, living in the unknown about gluten.

The Quick and Dirty on Gluten Sensitivities & Celiac Disease

What is Gluten?

A protein found in wheat, barley and rye.

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder. According to Gluten Free Living:

When someone with celiac disease consumes gluten, their immune system reacts by destroying the part of the small intestine that absorbs vital nutrients. This malabsorption can lead to serious illness.

What are the symptoms of Celiac Disease?

According to Gluten Free Living:

Symptoms of celiac disease can include bloating, gas, diarrhea, weight loss or gain, constant fatigue or weakness, headaches, infertility, depression that does not respond to medication, abdominal pain, bone pain and anemia. For children, symptoms include failure to thrive, short stature, distended abdomen, dental enamel defects, and unusual behavior changes.

What are the symptoms of a person with a Gluten sensitivity?

These symptoms can be similar to that of someone with Celiac but less severe, and while they will not test positive for Celiac disease, when on the Gluten Free diet, their overall health improves.

What you need to avoid:

Reading labels will become the norm if you are a person with a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease. You will need to avoid the following:

  • Wheat
  • Rye & Barley - Barley can be listed as barley, barley malt, or malt.
  • Oats - While oats apparently do not contain the gluten protein which is harmful, they are often contaminated with wheat, so caution should be exercised.
Depending on the severity of your sensitivity or allergy, you may also want to pay attention to advisory labels where certain products are processed on the same equipment as wheat products.

An Important Note:

This should not be taken as medical advice. If you suspect you have a gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, it is recommended that before you try the gluten free diet, you make an appointment with your physician - a misdiagnosis can lead to other complications if you cut gluten out of your diet before being properly diagnosed.

Resources for Gluten Free Living:

Gluten Free Living - Magazine and website provides resources and basic information about all things Gluten Free Living. This is a great place to start if you are interested in expanding on the information above.

Gluten Free Girl and the Chef - Recipes complete with pictures and Resources

Are you dealing with a Gluten sensitivity or Celiac Disease? What are some resources you can recommend to readers?

Photo: Flickr

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  • Sonia’s Goodie Bags

    Try Trader Joes to find easily labeled Gluten free foods! My son has a friend with a gluten allergy and it’s made feeding him much easier….

  • busy kids=happy mom

    As a mom who suffers from food allergies and having one son who does too, I don’t take any of things lightly. I commend any parent who makes drastic changes to their eating habits for the sake of their child!

  • Lisa @ Two Bears Farm

    I just made some gluten free granola bars the other week. We really couldn’t tell the difference.

  • Adventures In Babywearing

    I feel so much better when I go off gluten. It’s hard to stick to (and as far as I know, I am not allergic, but just do better when off!)


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