Let's Talk About: Coeliac Disease
by Niamh Lonergan | 12th May 2022
This week is Coeliac Awareness Week, focused on raising awareness in Ireland around this very common condition. So we've decided to dedicate this weeks blog to talking about Coeliac Disease and how to live your best gluten free life!
What is Coeliac Disease?
Coeliac Disease is an autoimmune disease which occurs in people who become sensitive to a protein called gluten in their diet.
Coeliac Disease is more serious than just an allergy or intolerance; it causes serious damage to the small intestine when any type of gluten is eaten and can cause problems with the absorption of nutrients from food as well as physical discomforts including bloating, abdominal discomfort, unintentional weight loss and diarrhoea.
Did you know?
You need to have been eating gluten for at least six weeks before testing for coeliac disease! This is because the blood tests look for antibodies that your body produces when you eat gluten.
Treatment for Coeliac Disease
The only treatment for coeliac disease is a strict gluten-free diet. But adherence to a gluten-free diet doesn't come without it's challenges!
For people with Coeliac disease, following a gluten free diet involves much more than just simply eating gluten free food. They have to deal with fear of cross contamination, checking food labels, keeping consistent food habits and painful symptoms upon exposure to gluten.
Have a read of our tips to help you overcome these challenges.
Get to know your labels
1. Does it state that it's gluten free or have the cross grained symbol?
Beware of the above ingredients in such foods as:
- Bouillon cubes, soup or gravy bases
- Sliced or processed meats
- Spices and seasonings
- Salad dressings/sauces. eg. Soy sauce (though tamari made without wheat is gluten-free)
- Condiments (eg. Mustard)
- Icing sugar
2. Are there any gluten containing ingredients?
There are 4 grains people need to remember: Barley, Rye, Oats and Wheat. Oats can be contaminated with gluten but it is possible to get gluten-free oats!
Base your diet on naturally gluten free foods
A gluten free diet should be based around fresh foods like fruit, vegetables, fish, meats, dairy and other naturally gluten free foods.
Gluten free substitutes like gluten free bread and gluten free oats can be a great alternative to gluten containing foods and can add some variety to the diet but shouldn't be consumed over fresh foods.
Focus on other sources of fibre
Gluten containing foods are often a good source of fibre. Therefore if you are eliminating gluten from your diet, ensure to include a variety of other fibre sources from nuts, seeds, beans, pulses, fruits, vegetables and wholegrains.
Be creative with grains
Other gluten-free grains like quinoa, buckwheat, millet and gluten free oats rather than just using rice or gluten-free cereal/bread/pasta.
Vary your diet!
Diversifying your diet will help you to adjust to the diet long-term and not make it feel as restrictive.
How We Can Help
If you have been diagnosed with coeliac disease and are struggling with sustaining a healthy, nutritionally balanced and varied gluten-free diet, check out the range of gluten free meals* available here at Gourmet Fuel. Our meals are designed by expert nutritionists so you can be sure that you are not missing out on important nutrients and that your diet is balanced!
*Please note that while every effort is made to eliminate cross contamination, we do not operate in a fully gluten free environment. Our gluten free range is simply gluten free by way of ingredients and whilst we do take all the necessary precautions we cannot guarantee that cross contamination may occur.