This month we are talking all things related to Celiac Disease. What is it? How is it diagnosed? What are the symptoms?
Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the small intestine. Consuming gluten which is found in wheat, rye and barley causes an immune response in the body that attacks the small intestine, preventing the absorption of nutrients.
Celiac disease can develop at any age affecting both adults and children. If your parent, sibling or child has celiac disease you have a 1 in 10 chance of developing it yourself.
Classical Celiac disease is a malabsorption of nutrients that can lead to diarrhea, pale, foul smelling, fatty stools, weight loss, growth failure in children.
Non-Classical Celiac disease consists of mild gastro symptoms such abdominal pain or bloating, iron deficiency, chronic fatigue, chronic migraine, tingling, numbness or pain in the hands and feet, vitamin deficiency, difficulty losing weight, early menopause and infertility.
Silent Celiac disease is when the patient has no complaints or symptoms to report but is still showing in tests that there is damage in the intestine.
There are more than 200 known symptoms related to celiac disease so if you suffer from any of these symptoms contact your doctor. Untreated celiac disease can lead to long term health problems, such as early onset osteoporosis, gallbladder malfunction, lactose intolerance, infertility and miscarriage, liver failure and neurologic symptoms which can include ADHD, lack of muscle coordination, seizures, small intestinal cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, dementia. The older a person is at diagnosis the more likely they are to develop another autoimmune disease according to a 1999 study.
Celiac disease is more common in people who are Caucasian, or have type 1 diabetes, down syndrome, are infertile, have irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea, or have ancestors from Europe.
Celiac can look like other digestive disorders like crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and diverticulitis (infection of the colon) to name a few, which makes it hard to diagnose and lack of training in medical schools and primary care residency programs contributes to the low diagnosis rate. About 80% of the celiac population remains undiagnosed.
Did you know that stress, pregnancy, surgery, physical injury, infection and childbirth are events that can cause symptoms of celiac to appear?
Diagnosis comes in theform of blood work to check the level of antibodies or infection fighting cells and compares it with the gluten in the blood, or a biopsy of the small intestine. The biopsy is done by inserting a tube in the mouth, pass the stomach and into the small intestine to check for damage to the villi. Small instruments are inserted into the tube and a small sample is taken and sent to the lab.
Treatment for celiac disease is a gluten free diet and possibly vitamin supplements. Your doctor may also recommend following up with a dietician.
So, what does a gluten free diet look like? There are many gluten free foods out there, too many to mention them all but I’ll hit the highlights. Quinoa, oats, buckwheat, corn, rice (all types), raw, unprocessed vegetables (processed or prepared vegetables carry the risk of cross contamination), fruit, nuts and seeds, meat, poultry and seafood.
Below are some recipes that we found and prepared here in the clinic. We tested them out on the staff and they got rave reviews! They loved the chicken and quinoa burrito bowl and the chocolate oatmeal no bake cookies. So, if you’re looking for a tasty dish that is good for you AND Gluten Free, try these recipes. You will be glad you did!
Crockpot Chicken and Quinoa Burrito Bowl
- 1 pound chicken thighs, boneless skinless
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes, or tomato puree
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 bell pepper, finely chopped or thinly sliced
- 1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans, or black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1. Gather the ingredients.
2. In a slow cooker, combine chicken, broth, tomatoes, onion, garlic, chili powder, garlic powder, and coriander. Cook the chicken on high for 3 hours.
3. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred it with a fork and knife. Put the chicken back in the slow cooker. Add quinoa, bell pepper, and beans. Cook on low for 2 more hours.
4. Sprinkle grated cheese on top. Continue to cook until the cheese melts.
5. To serve, spoon the chicken and quinoa into individual serving bowls. Each person can top it with plenty of their favorite garnishes.
Easy Gluten-Free Chocolate Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies
- 3 cups rolled oats, or quick-cooking oats, labeled gluten-free
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup peanut butter, optional
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups granulated sugar. or part brown sugar
- 4 ounces (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup evaporated milk, or regular milk
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, chocolate chips, peanut butter (if using), and vanilla; stir to blend the ingredients. Set aside.
2. In a saucepan, combine the sugar with the butter and milk. Place the pan over medium-high heat and stir to melt the sugar and butter. Bring to a full rolling boil and boil the mixture for exactly 1 full minute.
3. Immediately combine the hot butter and sugar mixture with the oatmeal and chocolate chip mixture. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is well blended.
4. Working quickly, drop by spoonfuls or use a cookie scoop to portion onto waxed paper or parchment paper.
5. Allow to cool to room temperature and firm up before serving.
This recipe can be found here https://www.thespruceeats.com/easy-chocolate-oatmeal-no-bake-cookies-3058522
**Disclaimer: Not all recipes on thespruceeats.com website are gluten free so you will want to make sure you type gluten free in the search bar.**
If you are choosing a gluten free diet because you have celiac disease or whether you are choosing it just to feel heathier, become very familiar with gluten free foods, read the labels and also research “hidden gluten”. Gluten hides in some foods that you may not be aware of for instance, soy sauce and teriyaki sauce, corn flakes and crisped rice cereal, salad dressings and marinades, condiments like mustard and ketchup, some coffees and teas, milkshakes and energy bars, and the list goes on. For more information on “hidden gluten” visit this website.
Other names that masquerade as gluten are Triticum vulgare which is Latin for wheat, Hordeum vulgare extract is Latin for barley, Secale cereal is Latin for rye and Avena sativa is Latin for oats.
Acupuncture can also help with the symptoms of celiac disease by freeing up the circulation of Qi and blood by
reducing inflammation. Specific acupuncture points will influence the nervous system and trigger points to release endorphins. There are many acupuncture points that target different symptoms, for example ST36 boosts the immune system, helps digestive disorders such as constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating and nausea and vomiting. CV12 relieves stomach upset, gas bloating, acid reflux and other digestive issues, while ST25 aids in all intestinal issues, ST32 treats acute disorders of the intestines and digestive system.
Please check out the links below for more information on celiac disease.
This blog is not intended to give or replace medical advice. If you suffer from any of these symptoms, please contact your healthcare provider.
As always, be safe and well.