This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc. Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease SymptomsWhat testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease ScreeningInterpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test ResultsCan I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful?The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-FreeIs celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic TestingIs there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and DisordersIs there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients)Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients)Gluten-Free Alcoholic BeveragesDistilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free?Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free DietFree recipes: Gluten-Free RecipesWhere can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.For Additional Information: Subscribe to: Journal of Gluten Sensitivity
While I usually find gluten-free substitutes harder to work with and not quite as tasty, there are some exceptions to this. This Thanksgiving I talked my mom into making her potato kugel with gluten free flour and it came out better than usual. We've done the recipe a second time and it still came out better-- so it wasn't a fluke. I also made two Tyrolean Cakes for a party for a friend. One was not gluten free (original recipe for his birthday) and one was Gluten free so I could enjoy it. Everyone at the party preferred the gluten free version. I guess with alot of trail and error and some suggestions from friends we can do this. I have been managing to supply one or more gluten-free dishes at alot of holiday events, whatever is needed to cover my own tastes and needs.
I am lucky to have a family that is supportive, so this Christmas we are trying out a rice stuffing even though the bread stuffing has been a family favorite for years. (We tried gluten free bread for the stuffing last year and that was a dismal failure). There are so many dishes at most of the family meals I can usually still find myself overeating. But cross-contamination is an issue that needs to be watched for.
If you talk with people ahead of time, sometimes they can plan a few items gluten-free or at least be ready for you to bring your own food/utensils. No need to have to make a big deal of it when everyone is ready to sit down, if people are prepared in advance. (And it might help to remind them you DON"T want to make a big deal of it.....)
Alot of people have no idea about cross contamination. I've been eating gluten-free for several years and only recently have been watching for stuff like butter knives, toasters and toaster ovens, etc. I unfortunately don't have symptoms that I can spot easily if I have been glutened-- so you have to know your own body. And educate your family and friends.
Thanks again for the tips provided above. Below is the final text for what we distributed. It was formated to fit one side of a 8.5 X 11 sheet of paper. (I couldn't figure out any way to attach a pdf, but if there is a way I can do that).
About the Gluten-Free Life:
Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat, barley, rye and some other grains. Some people must eat Gluten-Free because they have Celiac’s disease. Some others have an allergy to wheat specifically, and it is just easier to cut out all gluten. And some more have a condition called “non-celiac’s gluten intolerance” which is only recently being accepted by the medical community.
For Celiac’s disease alone-- 1 of 133 people in the US have celiac, and over 90% don't know it. About 30% of the population has at least one of the genes for celiac disease, and could develop the active disease at any time in their life. You probably know several people with celiac disease and some may not be aware they have it. Diagnosis in the USA takes on average about 9 years.
Symptoms include GI distress, inflammation, joint pain, and fatigue. Also, if you know someone with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, thyroid disease, arthritis, or any other autoimmune condition, suggest they get tested for celiac disease, and/or try a gluten-free diet. You may save their life!
How to be a good “Gluten-Free” friend!
Do--- know that a gluten free diet isn't a fad or a weight loss tool - it's a necessary medical treatment.
Don't-- offer us "just one bite" of that treat or tell us "you can cheat this time". Sorry, we really, really can't.
Do-- invite us to do things: we still want to hang even if we can't have a beer with you (most beer has gluten).
Don't-- offer us home baked goodies--- even if the treat was cooked without gluten, if it was made in a kitchen that has flour in it, it truly isn't safe for us.
Do-- look for certified Gluten-Free packaged treats for your Gluten-Free friend and maybe keep one or two stocked.
Don’t--- tell us worrying about cross-contamination is "going overboard". Seriously, if you touch our food after eating a sandwich, we WILL get sick. If we pick the croutons off of our salad, we WILL get sick. If we just eat the pie filling and skip the crust, we WILL get sick. If our partner kisses us without brushing their teeth after eating pizza, we WILL get sick.
Do-- plan on dining somewhere that has a Gluten-Free menu when you eat out so your friend does not feel out of place.
Don’t—reuse plate or swap utensils at a salad bar or buffet.
Do-- stop trying to feed us! The world will not end if we bring our own dinner!
Don’t-- think it's the end of the world to be gluten free. There is still lots of food we can eat.
Do--- know that I cannot "reverse" my gluten intolerance by eating small amounts of it
Don't-- tell us that that you wouldn't be able to handle our situation because you "would just DIE without breads and cakes" - we get it, you like bread. So did we once. It turns out to be a lot less tempting when it makes you sick.
Do—know that even though it is called a disease, we are not sick (once we have recovered from gluten damage). We will only be sick if we eat gluten. And it is not contagious.
With thanks to members of the www.celiac.com forum community who suggested many of these statements.
National Digestive Disease Information Clearing House: http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/celiac/
Some of the students on the campus I work at have started a wonderful "Gluten-Free campus" awareness group. They are having a fair in a couple weeks to increase campus awareness. I thought it would be useful to have a small flyer available to pass out on "How can I help my Gluten-Free Friend" with some do's and don'ts we gluten-free people wish our families and friends knew.
Don't: Offer us "just one bite" of that really yummy treat or tell us "you can cheat this time". Sorry, we really can't.
Do: Continue to invite us to do things: we still want to hang even if we can't have a beer with you.
Don't: offer us home baked goodies--- even if the treat was cooked without gluten, if it was made in a kitchen that has flour in it, it isn't safe for us.
Please suggest some other things that we could put on this flyer. What do you want to tell your friends and family??