Did you know that May is Celiac Awareness Month?! Unless you or someone close to you suffers from the disease, you probably had no idea – and may not even know what Celiac Disease really is. So, let me break it down.
You’re most likely aware of gluten-intolerance and/or gluten sensitivities. You know, the million + 1 products that cater to “the gluten-sensitive” which now litter store shelves and are advertised absolutely everywhere you go! These sensitivities [to gluten] are in fact real, although marketers have run with the idea and set out to make the most money possible with the current phenom!
But back to it: when you have a gluten-intolerance it means your body negatively reacts to wheat and the different variants of it that contain gluten, including barley and rye. However, if you have Celiac Disease, this is basically a super amped up version of these sensitivities. When people with Celiac Disease eat foods containing gluten (or even foods that have been briefly contaminated with it), their immune system responds by damaging the villi of the small intestine, which in turn makes the body unable to absorb nutrients into the bloodstream, and over time leads to malnourishment. Basically, it causes your body to attack itself (aka, an autoimmune disease).
Not only will these occasions cause short-term discomfort and irritable bowel symptoms, but it can also lead to other serious health consequences including such things as depression, anxiety, other autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, thyroid disease, intestinal damage, and even certain cancers. And you thought your IBS was bad?!
However, even with all the budding information about Celiac Disease these days, getting a proper diagnosis can be tough! In fact, it can take an average of 6-10 years to get properly diagnosed! It’s also estimated that 83% of the people with Celiac Disease in the United States are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed altogether, making the whole process even more frustrating!
But are you surprised?! I know, first hand, people who believe that gluten sensitivities are [more often than not] just a made-up fad and that it can’t possibly be so wide-spread! Especially in the older generation, gluten was never even talked about and “everyone survived just fine.”
But it is a thing! The way farmers grow and process wheat has drastically changed over the past handful of decades, so it only makes sense that our bodies have changed the way we process it too! Compared to 50 years ago, wheat now grows faster, taller, and thicker – so shouldn’t this at least tell you something! Don’t you think this super wheat must play a role in how it is broken down and processed in our bodies?!
With all that said, yes, I do believe many companies have tried to take advantage of consumers on the whole “gluten-free” idea and now make products just to increase their bank accounts. Many of these said products are actually worse for consumers than the originals and are filled with so many fillers and artificial ingredients that they can hardly be considered food at all. As a side note: if a label has more than 10 ingredients listed, it is probably best to steer clear of it, in my honest opinion.
On the flip side, however, there are also a lot of brands that make it their mission to create better-for-you versions of your typical gluten-laden foods, really taking into account all of the various health and nutrition aspects of the ingredients they choose to use. Now, more than ever, companies are trying to go “back to the basics” and are stripping away a lot of these ingredients so labels are easier to read and products are better for you!
This brings me to my purpose: I am here to help you decipher between the products that claim to be healthy and those which actually are – whether you are gluten-intolerant, or not! And this month, in particular, I want to help raise awareness about Celiac Disease so those who suffer can be assured that there are better options out there and you don’t have to just “mask” or “deal” with the disease – you can live a truly fulfilled life!
[Want to learn more about Celiac Disease? HERE is the link to The Beyond Celiac Organization. And if you want to learn more about Celiac Awareness Month and the history of Celiac Disease, then click HERE.]
And since you know how I’m all about saving, here are some great Coupon Codes for easy meal ideas, outfits, and yes, even chocolate! Oh, and all the food items are gluten-free (or at least have gluten-free options), so this goes along with my whole #CeliacAwareness theme as well!
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