Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Gluten Free on Amazon

A piece of my life that seems to somehow control the rest of my life is a "disease" I have called Celiac-Sprue Disease. Normally it's just called Celiac Disease. It's an intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat (in any form), rye, and barley. Oats have been questionable in the US because we rotate crops, so wheat could be mixed in with oats. There are technical explanations about each of these grains having a separate form of gluten, but I'm not a scientific kind of girl, so I can't explain it to you. I know that in a person with celiac disease, the villi in your intestines are destroyed. Villi are little hairlike projections (like little fingers) that help move your food & help absorb nutrients. Ah, nutrients, now we are getting to something I DO understand. Nutrients=food, and FOOD I understand! When you have celiac disease and are consuming gluten (oh, doesn't that sound smarter than "eating bread & goldfish crackers"!), your villi are destroyed and go "flat." In a picture of your intestines (it isn't gross, I promise!), rather than hair or fingerlike projections, there is just a flat surface. Honestly, I'm not sure how any food is absorbed when you are in that state.

Celiac disease USUALLY causes symptoms like being underweight, anemia, severe gastric problems, and a host of other things. It can also be a silent disease with no obvious symptoms, can be in someone who is overweight, and no other "comorbid" diseases. When I was diagnosed, I was not seeing the doctor for any CD symptoms. I was seeing her because the allergist told me that reflux might be causing asthma problems. This GI doctor went straight for an endoscopy to see what was going on with this reflux. Then she woke me up after the procedure with a question, "Is anyone in your family gluten intolerant?" I rolled my eyes & said, "Oh, no." But, that wasn't the answer to the question; it was just my instant understanding of what she was going to say. See, I was familiar with gluten intolerance. Bethany was tested for food sensitivities at one point and all the gluten grains were listed as moderately "reactive." She was on a gluten-free diet for quite some time. But, the doctor assured me that she was only sensitive because of her autism. He was sure she could not have celiac disease. I highly suspect she does, but no doctor has been willing to do an endoscopy on her. I am not convinced that blood tests are proof positive, and want a scope of her intestines. Anyway, I knew what gluten intolerance was, and thus began my journey with Celiac Disease.

Another day I'll share more about Celiac Disease and "comorbid" and "associated" illnesses. For today, I wanted to share with my gluten free friends that has GLUTEN FREE FOOD! They sell it in multi-packs, so it's like going to Sam's or Costco for GF food! I've just added a link in my link's list. If it doesn't work, just go to Amazon & search for Gluten Free. I earned a gift card to Amazon from Pampered Chef last year & used it to stock up on some yummy GF foods I'd never tried. There is a Dark Bread mix that tastes almost like Swedish Rye Bread. It is shear torture to tell a Swedish girl she can't have rye bread, but this has helped ease the pain. (hee-hee). Fair warning: I think everything listed on Amazon will cause weight gain! But they are OH, so yummy. Happy healthy shopping!

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