This Week It’s Coeliac UK Awareness Week, So Here’s A Little Bit About What Coeliac Disease Is, How You Can Recognise It, And Some Helpful Hints And Tips For Going Gluten-Free.
What Is Coeliac Disease?
• Coeliac disease is an autoimmune condition caused when the body cannot process gluten.
• Around 1 in 100 people suffer with the disease – many of these cases are going unnoticed.
• Coeliac disease causes the body to attack the small intestine when gluten is ingested. This can lead to many short-term symptoms such as bloating, diarrhoea, tiredness (to name just a few).
• Continuing to eat gluten damages the villi and can cause long-term issues. Villi are the small finger like strands that line the small intestine and absorb our nutrients. Once damaged they are unable to properly absorb nutrients.
• Coeliac disease has no cure. The only treatment for the disease is to follow a strict gluten-free diet.
• The above outlines the severity of coeliac disease, and why it is so important to raise awareness, get sufferers diagnosed and to make sure these people are offered support as they learn to live gluten-free.
Do You Think You Could Be Suffering With Coeliac Disease?
Symptoms of coeliac disease can often be mistaken for other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome. If you have any suspicions that it could be coeliac disease we advise visiting a doctor for a test.
Coeliac disease is a lifelong autoimmune disease, and symptoms will only subside when gluten is completely cut from your diet.
Think you have coeliac disease? Why not visit Coeliac UK’s helpful self survey page and take the test.
Going gluten-free can feel like a daunting challenge. While you might feel like you’ll miss out on things you love, there’s an incredible selection of gluten-free products available and it’s expanding every day. Here’s our guide to doing it right.
• Follow Bloggers & Social Media Groups
A good way to keep track of new products arriving at shops & markets near you is to follow gluten-free food bloggers, and to join groups on social media – that way you can read reviews, see what gems people have found of their supermarket shelves, and share products & review yourself.
• Get To Know What’s Naturally Gluten-Free
There’s plenty of naturally gluten free foods, and a surprisingly good selection of grains that are naturally gluten-free and taste great. For more info check our last blog on gluten-free grains. Check labels in order to make sure these foods haven’t been prepped in a facility that also handles gluten. Our supermarket hacks blog post here for has loads more info on shopping when you’ve got coeliac disease.
• Have A Zero Tolerance Policy On Cross Contamination
The best way to avoid cross contamination is to keep everything separate. If you’re sharing then it’s a good idea to use a separate toaster, cooking utensils, pots & pans, cutlery, plates & prep area. We’d also suggest keeping all your gluten-free goodies in a separate cupboard well away from any items that contain gluten. Think about the little things – if you eat butter make sure you have your own tub, label food so people know it’s yours & keep any opened packets in airtight containers.
• Don’t Be Afraid To Eat Out And Travel
Eating out & travelling needn’t be a burden with coeliac disease. Look out for restaurants and cafes that have been accredited by Coeliac UK? You can find lots on their website. Remember, any eatery worth their salt will cater for coeliacs, just be sure to tell them about your dietary requirements when you order.
Are you still worried about potential cross contamination? Ask how and where the food is prepped, all good establishments will be able to put your mind at ease.
There’s no need to stress about travelling. Check out Coeliac Sanctuary who have fantastic travel cards in multiple languages. It’s a great idea to learn to say you have coeliac disease in your holiday destinations native language before you travel too. Research is key – learn what foods to avoid and which foods are your friend. Supermarkets will supply gluten free foods, so self-catering is a safe bet if your nervous about eating out. And, as a final backup, remember to pack some food in your suitcase for when you’re out and about. For more on gluten free travel check out our blog post here!
Coeliac UK work hard to help people with early diagnosis, raising awareness, research into the disease and offer ongoing support. Visit their website today for more help, advise and information.
Thank you for reading this blog about Coeliac UK Awareness Week! Remember to check out our online shop for plenty of gluten-free baking mixes, and keep an eye on our page for new blog posts! We also have a Facebook, Instagram & Twitter account where we post hints, tips and recipe inspiration.