According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, as many as 1 in every 100 people worldwide suffers from celiac disease. Are you one of them? Read on to learn the nutrition basics for thriving with celiac disease, and develop a plan for going gluten free!
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is a chronic autoimmune condition in which your body reacts poorly to the presence of gluten. Gluten is a general term for certain proteins found in wheat, rye, barley and other closely related grains. It helps give bread its chewiness and affects the texture of other baked goods. In genetically predisposed individuals, the consumption of this substance will cause the body to start attacking the lining of the small intestine. This reaction causes the villi (small, finger-like objects in the lining of your digestive track) to flatten, which prevents proper absorption from taking place. As you can imagine, this can cause serious health issues over time!
Signs and Symptoms
Celiac disease can manifest itself in many ways. As you might guess, most of the symptoms include general G.I. distress. For example: altered bowel habits, abdominal discomfort, gassiness, bloating, constipation, heartburn, etc. There are rare instances where an individual has almost no symptoms at all.
If a healthcare provider suspects that you may have celiac disease, he or she will likely order a Tissue Transglutaminase Antibodies, also known as tTG-IgA, test. This test is about 98% accurate in positively identifying celiac disease, but in practice is really just used as a screening test. The “gold standard” of diagnosis involves taking a biopsy of the small intestine and examining it for the flattening of the villi or other signs of intestinal damage.
Unfortunately, there is no “cure” for celiac disease. The best treatment is lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet. That means avoiding anything that contains wheat, barley, rye, malt, spelt, etc. Even for someone who has been managing his or her celiac disease for years, avoiding gluten is often no easy task! Individuals with celiac disease are more likely to have nutrient deficiencies, particularly in iron, calcium and vitamin D. This is where InsideTracker can help. We assist you in tracking these important nutrients and many others. Not only do we identify any deficiencies you may have, we also offer personalized nutrition and meal planning recommendations tailored to your specific needs.
Eating Gluten Free
Dining with celiac disease is not as restrictive as you might think. Your new gluten-free diet can be just as delicious (and nutritious) as your old diet. Yes, you have to give up wheat -- but the rest of the food groups are still yours for the savoring! Fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, fish, legumes... even grains aren't out of the question. There are plenty of tasty recipes that use rice, quinoa and even corn as a wheat substitute. Organizations like the Celiac Disease Foundation have already created these recipes to get you started. Here's one of our favorites:
Steak with Yams and Zucchini
- 1 pound yams
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- Kosher salt
- 2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely grated
- freshly ground pepper
- 2 medium zucchini, cut diagonally into 1″ slices
- 1 1/2 pounds beef tri-tip, cut lengthwise into 4 steaks
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped
Pre-heat grill to medium high. Place yams on baking sheet; drizzle with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper; bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until soft.
While yams are cooking, mix olive oil, rosemary, thyme, lemon zest, and 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper in small bowl. In separate bowl, toss zucchini with 1 tablespoon of herb mixture. Rub steak with 1 tablespoon of remaining herb mixture.
Grill steak, turning once, about 10 minutes for medium rare (thermometer inserted into the center of steak should register 130° – 135°). Transfer to plate; let rest. Grill zucchini, turning once, until well-marked and crisp-tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer to plate; sprinkle with lemon juice. Serve with yams and zucchini.
How InsideTracker Can Help
One of the most difficult things about a celiac diagnosis is learning to adjust to your new lifestyle. InsideTracker can help make your transition as smooth as possible. Our customizable meal plans take the guesswork out of your new diet with gluten free nutrition. We can also help ensure your nutritional needs are being met by monitoring up to 30 biomarkers of optimal health.
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