Tips and tricks to avoid gluten
What is celiac disease?
Celiac disease, or gluten intolerance, is a hereditary autoimmune disease that damages the intestinal walls and interferes with the absorption of certain nutrients (iron, calcium and folic acid). An estimated 76,000 Quebecers are affected by the disease. Even more surprisingly, based on some studies, 9 out of 10 sufferers don’t even know it!
Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, a new diet must be adopted—for life! But people soon get used to it and many tasty products are readily available. However, people with the disease sometimes have to bring their own gluten-free pasta to dinner parties or make separate meals at home.
Since gluten-free foods are often a little more expensive than regular foods, you can save by choosing whole products that are less processed. For example, Sunday pancakes can be replaced by buckwheat pancakes, while quinoa, millet or sorghum are wonderful substitutes for couscous or pasta. In the end, the whole family will benefit, since these foods are extremely nutritional and will give your taste buds a chance to make some tantalizing new discoveries!
Who is at risk?
This disease affects people of all ages, but the risk is higher among people with a family history of celiac disease and people with autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes or thyroiditis.
What are the symptoms?
Generally, persistent intestinal problems and certain skin lesions can be indicators of celiac disease. However, it must not be confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a less serious condition.
PNevertheless, people with IBS can also enjoy some of the benefits of eliminating wheat from their diet. Unlike celiac disease, IBS is not due to an allergy to gluten, but rather to greater sensitivity to other substances contained in wheat. Without cutting out all sources of wheat and gluten, it is good practice to reduce bakery products, pasta dishes and other highly processed foods.
Source: Fondation québécoise de la maladie cœliaque http://www.fqmc.org/ - Among other things, you’ll find information on foods you can eat and ones to avoid.
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