Saturday, 23 May 2015

Celiac Disease Awareness Month: Faces

Check out this page from Gluten Dude showing hundreds of people who have Celiac and what it means to them.

(Hint! Names are in alphabetical order, Recognize anyone?)

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Celiac Disease Awareness Month: Makeup

Have you ever read the ingredients on your makeup?

I do, every single time I buy some. There are a few makeup companies that only produce gluten-free makeup, and those are really the ones I trust anymore.

It may not seem like a big deal, but my skin reacts to even trace amounts of gluten, and any gluten in lip products can be downright dangerous. So I buy gluten-free lip balm, foundation, lipstick, mascara, everything. It's just safer that way.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Celiac Disease Awareness Month: Vitamins

Did you know that most celiacs, even once diagnosed and on a gluten-free diet, suffer from a vitamin B-12 deficiency?

Pre-diagnosis, most celiacs will have multiple vitamin deficiencies, because their villi have stopped absorbing vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Celiac Disease Awareness Month: CollegeHumour

I saw this video from College Humour the other day, and at first instinct, I winced. And then I scrolled past, thinking, "Nope, I'm not opening that can of worms. I don't need to be angry today."

But then my hubby watched it, and told me I need to see it. Although I trust him, I was still a little ready to be offended. Popular internet videos, memes, blogs and pictures about gluten-free usually just rile me up and make me hate people. And yet, this video was different.

Take a gander and watch it!

Youtube link here if that's not working!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Celiac Disease Awareness Month: BBQ

I was recently invited to a barbeque, and I said, "Well, I'd love to come, but I can't eat barbeque."

In response, my friend said, "Right, you wouldn't know what's on the meat."

Well, that too, I guess. I meant everything, but yeah, sure.

If you're wondering why that is, let's walk through a regular BBQ. The kind of summer evening meal I grew up with.

Somebody is manning the BBQ. They have hamburgers (sometimes contains bread crums) and hot dogs (often contain wheat gluten in one form or another) cooking on the bottom, with a bunch of buns toasting on the top rack.

Hold up. As soon as those bread products touch the BBQ rack, I can't eat anything that comes off of it. So unless you've recently scrubbed the rack and saved a spot for my GF bun, I can't toast my bread.

Well, that's alright. It doesn't have to be toasted. What about the meat?

Well, if the meat does not contain gluten to begin with, and the rack it's cooking on has been cleaned, it is theoretically safe. Unless the buns are being toasted above it. Crumbs like to fall and get on everything.

Okay, so I've been to a barbeque where the chef set aside my meat and bun, making sure the rack was clean, the meat was safe, and there was no chance of crumbs. So now I have a hamburger! Yay!

Then everybody lines up, gets a bun and burger, and then files past a table filled with condiments, veggies, chips and sides.

If the condiments come out of a squeeze bottle and I'm fairly certain the tip is clean and hasn't been rammed into some careless person's bun, then I can douse my burger in ketchup and mustard. Any condiments served in a dish are just not okay, though (such relish and mayonnaise). The toppings are a gamble. If I think they were prepared without contamination and I'm the first person through the line, then my burger gets a little lettuce and pickle. Typically, I go without.

Now, here's the big one. As everyone goes through the line, they handle their burger and bun. They touch the bread, and then they reach into the big ol' chip bowl and dish out a handful of chips. They they're touching the raw veggies...

So if I'm the first person through the line, and the chips are a gluten-free brand, I grab some chips and veggies (although I skip the veggie dip). Then there's coleslaw, potato salad, macaroni salad. I usually just skip all of those, unless I have time to stand there and read the ingredients, and I'm confident no one has contaminated them.

Basically, if I have a BBQ with close friends or family, and the people preparing the food are conscious of my needs and go out of their way, I can eat several things. But if I just show up at a big BBQ, I'm not even eating the chips. Maybe I'll have a can of pop.

With this being May long weekend and summer officially being underway, I'm sure you can imagine how this has me in a fit of nerves. Erg, BBQ season.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Celiac Disease Awareness Month: Why Not Get Diagnosed?

Although I can't fathom a reason someone wouldn't want to know if they have Celiac Disease, there are valid reasons. To expand on yesterday's post, here is the follow-up article, 4 Reasons Not to Puruse a Diagnosis.

It covers the following four reasons:

1. Getting diagnosed can be a pricey — and frustrating! — process.
2. If you've already gone gluten-free, you'll need to undergo a gluten challenge to be tested.
3. An "official" diagnosis could make your insurance costs go up.
4. You don't need a diagnosis to eat gluten-free.   

Mind you, if you want to see your doctor about getting tested, don't let anything stop you!

Friday, 15 May 2015

Celiac Disease Awareness Month: Why Get Diagnosed?

If you haven't already figured it out, I am pro-diagnosis and pro-testing. Whenever I can, I tell people to get tested and/or diagnosed. If you are sitting on the fence, or don't think you should get tested, here is a lovely article with four reasons you should pursue a diagnosis.

It expands on the four reasons below, and goes over them in detail.

1. You'll know what you have, and understand your risks for other, related conditions.
2. If you're diagnosed, you may be able to persuade family members to be tested.
3. A diagnosis may help you obtain accommodations at school or at work.
4. When there's a drug approved for celiac disease, you can be among the first in line for treatment.  

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Celiac Disease Awareness Month: Wait Time

Despite the fact that Celiac Disease is a genetic condition, doctors believe that it is "kicked into gear" at some point in your life. Studies show that a stressful situation may bring it on, although there is a number of people who have active Celiac Disease from birth.

So basically, I spent my whole life living with Celiac Disease, and sometime in my mid-late teens, it kicked into gear. From that point on, my immune system started attacking my intestines when it encountered gluten, even though I was healthy before then.

It is estimated that most people wait 6-10 years between Celiac Disease acting up, and it being diagnosed.

This is another reason that so many people may be undiagnosed.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Celiac Disease Awareness Month: Misdiagnosed - Symptoms

A large number of people may have Celiac Disease and not even know. Another reason for this is the large and varied list of symptoms.

At the beginning of the month, I posted a fun little infographic about symptoms, but I didn't talk about it very much.

Because there are so many different possible symptoms, Celiac Disease often looks a little different in everybody. Some people present with typical symptoms: bloating, gas, stomach pains, constipation, diarrhea, weight loss. And some people present with rather atypical symptoms: headaches, mouth sores, joint pain, infertility, or hair loss. And there's another group of people who don't present with any symptoms at all! Imagine finding out you have a disease like this without ever experiencing a symptom!

Celiac Central has a lovely web page about all of this, and they even have a checklist for you if you've wondered if you may have Celiac disease.