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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      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 Celiac.com's FREE weekly eNewsletter   What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease?  Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can 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-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is 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 Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet What if my doctor won't listen to me? An Open Letter to Skeptical Health Care Practitioners Gluten-Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes


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About Caeli

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    Perth, Australia
  1. Eucharist And Communion Bread

    Thanks for the greeting Jersyangel. As you read, my villi have returned to normal, but I have been living in Italy since Spetember 2007 (doing some further studies), and unfortunately, I am not able to prepare my own meals as I live in a College, so I have had many problems of late. But I am am enjoying the "Roman" experience as much as possible (when not writing essays etc) and hopefully when I get back to OZ I will be able to take better care of my diet. Ciao. Caeli
  2. Eucharist And Communion Bread

    I am a Catholic Priest who is also a coeliac. If there is more than one chalice used at Mass, the priest puts a piece of the consecrated bread into only one chalice, not every chalice. Some priests may place a piece in every chalice, but this is not required by liturgical rubrics. The theological issue with the host is that it must be made of wheat. Any other matter is not valid matter (e.g. rice etc). Wheat, by nature contains gluten, hence the church has determined that there must be a minimal amount of gluten in the host to make it valid matter. This minimum amount has been researched as I understand to be tolerable for mst coeliacs, although I cannot say necessarily for all. In which case, my advise would be to receive only from the chalice. I know that some people won't like me saying this, but it needs to be said in "truth", that is to use rice "bread" or non "wheat" matter to make communion wafers makes the matter "invalid", and as much as I might like to believe it is the body of Christ, or believe it in "conscience", the reality of the Church's 2000 years of belief, teaching and tradition is that it is not the Body of Christ. And, without going into the sacramental theology of it, this teaching can never change because Christ determined the "matter (or the material, i.e. bread) at the last supper and the Church is obliged to be faithful to this. Personally, I use a low gluten host. I am just over two years diagnosed and sill have problems - but I think this is other factors. In my last intestinal biopsy about 8 months ago my villi had returned to normal. But I know that my case cannot and does no translate for everybody. I can empathise with everybody and their concerns in this area ad don't want to infame disagreement. What I have said is in strict accordance with the Church's teaching. When people talk about "conscince", it must be an informed conscience, not a conscience that says "I disagree and believe what I want". One needs to understand why the Church teaches what she teaches in this area and why she cannot change her teaching on this matter. The word "conscience" literally means "with knowledge", by which is meant that I make an informed decision knowing all the facts. It not a little "inner voice" as many people think. But if a person wants to believe a circle is square, that is their right, but it doesn't make them right! My apologies if this is not what people want to hear, but it is as the Church teaches, which I am obliged as a priest to do. I suffered as a coeliac for most of my 53 years, only being diagnosed nearly three years ago. My villi had all but disappeaed (total atrophy). I suffered all the symptoms that most of you talk about and still do! If I could change things in regards Holy Communion, I would, but I know it is impossible theologically. So even if I wanted or the Pope wanted, it is something that cannot be changed. In the meantime, if it is not possible to recieve the consecrated host, then receiving from the Chalice is the other option, which I do when I forget to bring along my "low gluten bread". Again theologically, Catholics believe Christ is fully present in both the consecrated brad and wine. It was this belif that permitted and continues to permit the Church to distrbute communion under one or the other species (bread or wine) and not have to distribute under both. In writing this, all I want to do is to be as clear as possible in defining what the Church teaches. Unfortunately, there are many things in life that are hard or seem unfair. But, when I suffer fro my coeliac condition, - yes I sometimes complain, but in my faith, I try to join these sufferings to those of Christ, and I look around me and see so many people suffering far worse problems than me, and I count myself lucky.
  3. I was diagnosed by blood test 16 months ago after complaining to doctors and being told I had IBS for the past 20 years. My opinion is that most doctors don't have clue about caeliac disease and when they don't have an explanation for intestinal problems they reach for the ubiquitous IBS, which personally I think doesn't exist - it should be titled DDK (Doctor doesn't know) or DNI(Doctor Needs Inservice). Anyhow, enough doctor bashing, I am sure most do try their best! In regard to the biopsy, here in Australia you can't join the Caeliac society unless you are biopsy confirmed. I had a biopsy of my intestinal villi and was confirmed caelia with near total atrophy of my villi. I still don't fee the best after 1t months but there have been some improvements. My problem is I don't have complete control over m diet as I live in a comunity and we have our main meal prepared. Anyhow, I digress. I didn't feel a thing with my biopsy. In fact, the slight dose of anaesthetic was very pleasant and relaxing. No side effects or complications. Th funny thing is that having come too after the biopsy the nurse fed my gluten ladened sandwiches!! So typical!! I think hospitals lgally are required to let you know of all he nasty possibilities about biopsies, but in the main I think they are pretty safe. I have had one from the mouth end and a couple from heother end over the years. I think the worse part is fasting and if you have an endoscopy having to be near a toilet while you are flushed through the day before!
  4. Thank you all for the feedback and ideas. Very much apprecited Caeli
  5. I have been diagnoed now for 16 months and have noticed that when I go to bed or sit in a chair the muscles in my legs often twitch. It doesn't make my legs move rather it is like having someting crawling under my skin. I can sit and watch the muscles in my legs twitch. It is like a little bubble or thing moving in my legs. Is this fmiliar to anybody? Whilst I have tried my best to be gluten free I have had great difficulty being so becaus I live in an institution where my main meal each day is cooked for me and despie my best eforts to instruct the cook of my needs I canno expect them to fully understand all the intricacies involved in buying gluten free food. So I think I am probably glutened regularly. Anyhow, my question is about the twitiching. Anybody elase have this?
  6. Does anybody know if corned beef is gluten free?
  7. The thought crossed my mind recently as to the effectiveness of drugs in the treatment of other medical problems in coeliacs. The thought is that given coeliac disease atrophies the villi, that part of the small intestines that absorbs nutrients (in other words, the villi cannot work effectively in absorbing food etc), is it logical to conclude that drugs prescribed for various medical conditions would not be absorbed as well as they ought to be. Has anybody any ideas, preferaly expert on this question? Has any research been done on this?
  8. Communion Wafers

    Well here I am (caeli), the initiator of this friendly discussion! There is nothing new in what I have read - I've heard it all before and expect I will for at least the rest of my life. I thank those whow have shared their experience, advice and best wishes. I thank those who have shared their frustrations and anger with the Church. Believe it or not, I too have some anger when it comes to some of the bungling of the institutional Church. But I attribute the bungling to the human side not to God. Hope reigns eternal! Anyhow, once again, thanks for the laughs and reminding me that nothing ever changes! All of us have our hurts which we need to vent them occasionally. The challenge is to listen with a third ear to hear what we are really saying. Unfortunately, like being a coeliac, there are not always simple answers to be found. I've always found a good sense of humour important in my job! Keep smiling Kind regards to all!
  9. Communion Wafers

    Dear debmidge, I forgot to answer the second part of your question. To be honest, I don't know how long I have been a Coeliac. I suspect most if not all my life. However, in 1986, I had a "breakdown". At the time I displayed lots of digestive problems, which were put down to stress, anxiety and IBS. Since then, I have been plagued with IBS problems. It was only because I was contemplating going overseas to study that I thought I would change my doctor and have a physical check-up. I decided to go to a medical doctor who worked at a Natural Health Clinic which takes a holistic approach to medicine. My thought was that if they didn't find any physical symptoms I could look to some alternative medicines. I have little or no time for doctors that play at being psychologists or psychiatrists and dispense anti-anxiety and anti-depressants. If you have to take these drugs, then you should first of all have to see a psychologist and or psychiatrists. I think General Praactitioners shouldn't be able to dispense these drugs as they are not qualified enough to do so (in my humble opinion). As a priest, I trained for seven years, and I consider myself a "Generla Practioner" when it comes to priesly wor. I have studied counselling and some psychology, but I would never pretend to be an expert in these fields. If I discern somebody needs psychological or psychiatric help in my ministry, then I senf them to the experts. Medical General Practioners should do the same. Perhaps also, if some GP's ercognised their limitations in regard to Gastroentology, they might refer people like me and many other celiac disease sfferers to GE specialists who might diagnode their complaints sooner and inflict less suffering on celiac disease patients. I wonder how many hundreds of thousands of people are suffering out there simply because of misguided faith in GP's or the arrogance of some GP's who wont refer patients on to experts. Sorry for the ranting, but I feel deeply about this as I consider that I along with many other celiac disease sufferers have been considered a hypochondriac these past many years. I had almost come to believe it myself!? At last now, I can say there is a real physical ailment. Perhaps my mind kicks in and exaggerates the symptoms, but now I can say to myself, yes these pains are not just in the mind and I can say to my mind, this is the cause, there is nothing to fear, you have perhaps inadvertantly taken glute - things will clear up and all will be fine again. As a recently DX's celiac disease I am yet to feel any real iprovement, but I live in hope. I think In have ad symptoms for many years. As a young child, I ermember feeling nauseous at movies and acually having to get up and go outside because I thought I was going to be sick. As a teenageer and young man, I found it difficult to put on weight. My mother used to give me a mineral/vitamin tonic as a teenager. In my mid-twenties I tried to take some pills to put weight on. When I had the breakdown, I was experiecing a lot of bowel problems. In fact, my first panic attack was preceded by feelings of nausea and wanting to go to the toilet. When I saw a GP and he said I was suffering anxiety (the consultation lasted about 5 minutes!), he put me on Ativan. I took these merily for about three weeks before I realised what they were - a type of vallium, at which time, foolishly perhaps, I stoppped taken them. In that short time I had become addicted to them and went through what I desceribe "cold turkey" symptoms, cramping in the stomach, nausea, sweating, tremors. I was curled up in ed in a fetal position, terrified to be seen or tio be in public. I dreaded the thought of clebratinf Mass, fearlful that I would embarrass myself by being sick whilst performing my duties - fortunately this never happened, although I often felt very nauseous and broke out in sweats. I became agraphobic for some time after my breakdown but gradually worked at overcoming this to the poitn where I could resume my ministry, but it took a huge effort and a lot of "silent" suffering. Over the yaers I kept putting my abdominal discomfort down to anxiety and depression, but now I would say that each fed off each other, and I hope that perhaps the anxiety and depression will decrease as I am able to pinpoint the cause of my pains. Before my diagnosis I had become aware of changes in my bowel, particularly the presence of mucous. I was also becoming very fatigued but I was doing very little work or exercise. I noticed cramping in my legs and unexplained twitching in some of my muscles, including the eyes, legs and arms. I woudl also brusie easily and had rashes, but didn't take notice of these too much as they had come and gone over the years, and thought they were more to do with heat or the like. I would also suffered regular headaches but again I would put these down to anxiety or stess. I also noticed that in the mornings, I tended to be even more tired than when I went to sleep. I would often be depressed i the morning, but as the day went on I owuld improve. I started to wonder about the depression, as it wouldn't last for days, but more like a few hours. If I started to feel nauseous, I tended to withdraw form social activity and I would withdraw into myself and focus on the feeling, which I think magified them. At times, I thought I was going crazy. Over theyears, I have spent many hundreds of hours going to psychologists and psychiatrists, but never could we find anything that seemed to be the "key" to what I was going through. Idon't pretend that I will now have the answer to all my problems having been DX's as a celiac disease sufferer. However, I do hope that the near future will bring me some renewed health and energy. I feel I have something to contribute to my Chruch and faith but have felt frustrated and impeded over the past twenty years. Perhaps this might be a new dawn for me. I hope so, but in all things, I need to be realistic about all this and believe that in all this God has been at work. In fact, I can count my sffering and misdiagosis as a blessing, as a sharing in the sufferings of Christ, for it only when one endures the pain that others endfure that real empathy can be generated, and the energy receivded to fight for a brighter future. Perhaps this is what the resurrection of Christ is all about - New life - lets hope! Sorry for the sermon - nature of the beats I suppose.
  10. Communion Wafers

    Dear Debmidge, I guess my spelling of Coeliac gives me away as either English or Australian. I am am Australian, Western Australian to be more precise. I currently live in Perth, the capital city of Western Australia. For the past twelve months I have been relieving as the Catholicn Chaplain of Curtin University. Most of the young people I have been working with are from overseas countries around the Indian Ocean Basin (Africa and Asia). As I said in other postings, I hope to do some further study this year with a view to teaching in a seminary. I have lived and worked in a seminary for eleven years (1992 - 2003), and would like to go back into that work in the future. I have been a priest for 27 years. Apart from my prirstly studies, I have also completed an honours degree in Arts, majoring in Cultural Anthropology and Australian Pre-historical Archaeology, although it is ten years ago since I studied and worked in these areas. Thanks for your interest. Regards "Caeli" Dear Celiachap, Thanks for the compliment - I've always thought it would be fun to belong to the VIS (Vatican Intelligence Service) ( hope "VIS" isn't an oxymoroan??! - just kidding) By the way, I thinnk the Jesuiats position has been taken over by Opus Dei - The jesuits haven't been too popular with recent popes! At least this is what the Da Vinci code would purport. I like your sense of humour! Regards Caeli
  11. Communion Wafers

    Reply to Patti and celiac3270. celiac3270 - you are very observant about the word "caeli". On my email address I use the words caeli cola, which roughly translates to "heavenly dweller". I liked thje idea of playing with the words "coca cola"? I hope I'm not being presumptuos As I have only very recently been diagnosed, I think celiac3270 is right in saying that if this condition was known to have existed when I was ordained, I could not have been ordained, which makes me feel a little deflated. However, the fact is that I have been a priest for 27 years and the existence of celiac disease at the time of my ordination was not known (if it did exist at that time). In hind-sight, I suspect I have been suffering from the effects of celiac disease for at least 20 years if not longer. I guess this is another of my questions. Is one born a coeliac, that is, is it genetic? Technically, I believe that if I am not able to receive the host at communion (be it the ordinary or low gluten), I am no longer able to clebrate Mass on my own. I have to concelebrate with another priest and I cannot be the principal celebrant. It is for this reason I am keen to find out if I can tolerate the small amount of gluten in a low gluten wafer. This I think will be a matter of medical observation. I must be off now - I am rosterde for the 7.30am Mass here tomorrow morning - Feast of the Epiphany - three wise men eh! - lets hope wisdom reigns eventually in this question!
  12. Communion Wafers

    I guess I don't want to get into a debate about all this before I know all the facts, scriptural, historical, theological and scientific. The question of gluten free wheaten bread/hosts/wafers (if such is possible) needs to be looked at in terms of what constitutes wheat. The Church looks at these things in terms of Thomistic/Aristotelian philosophy in regard to issues of the essence - nature - accidents of bread/wheat. I feel sure that the Church will never consider rice or similar alternatives, as this would go against the scriptural origins of the matter used for the sacrament of the Eucharist. The answer to this problem I think is to consider and determine what scientifically constitutes "wheaten flour", and what can be removed or needs to be present for it to be still considered "wheaten flour". That is, if we remove all discernable gluten from wheaten flour, is it still "wheaten flour"? Is it even possible to do this? I think a scientist needs to come in here! Also, what is removed when wheat is processed into wheaten flour? Is it just the husks, and might one argue that the husks are an essential part of "wheaten flour"? Which begs the question, is the highly processed wheaten flour we use today equivalent to the wheaten flour Christ would have used? Thanks for your responses.
  13. Communion Wafers

    I guess I need to make a confession, namely, thai I "caeli" am a Catholic Priest who only very recently (nearly four weeks) was diagnosed coeliac. So for me, as somebody who is daily celebrating Mass, this is an issue I need to resolve for my peculiar situation. The option of receiving communion from the chalice alone would probably be the option I would take if I was lay person. The church teaches a doctrine called "concommitance", which essentially says that Christ is truly and completely present in his divinity and humanity in both the species of the bread and of the wine. Therefore, to receive communion only under the form of the bread or of the wine without the other is to receive Christ completely. The diffiulty for a priest is that as the principal celebrant of the Mass, he is required to receive communion under both forms, that is under teh form of bread and of wine. Hence the reason that I have been using small low gluten hosts since being diagnosed. The Church permits the use of low gluten wheaten hosts (apparently 0.01%), but does not allow the use of any other grain (eg. rice, barley etc) as this would be invalid matter and therefore, despite what any priest might want to think or say, it is impossible for a priest to consecrate (turn into the body and blood of Christ) a non-wheaten bread. It would be like him taking a piece of chocolate or the like and believing just because he uses the words of consecration the chocolate piece will become the body of Christ. Catholic doctrine teaches that for a sacrament to be valid the priest must use the proper matter (eg. wheaten bread) and say the prescribed words (eg. This is my my Body). Essentially I have no problem with this. I guess my question comming at it from a philosophical perspective (which is essentially the Churches approach), is gluten of the essence of wheat? In other words, if I remove the gluten from wheat, is it still wheat? A bit deep I know, but this is the question that needs to be asked and researched if ever we are going to resolve this question. I guess we could also ask, is it ever possible to remove all the gluten from wheat. I thnk probably not, but I am not a scientist. But if there is always a minute percentage of gluten in wheat, at what minuscule percentage does wheat cease to be wheat. Or to put the question another way, how much gluten is required for wheat to be defined as wheat? And upon what scientific fact did the Churc discern that 0.01% presence of gluten in wheat makes the substance wheat? Like many of you, I guess I ask the theological question: If the Eucharist is the "bread of life" given to us by Christ, why would an all knowing, all loving God choose a substance that he knew to be dangerous to a proportion of the human race, and rather than improve their quality of earthly life would make it miserable? I guess another qustion might be, that jsut as the Church accepts variations in the words used for the consecration of bread and wine (between the various Eastern and Western Churches) why can't it be more understanding in terms of gluten content. There is also the issue of the Eastern Churches using levened bread and the western church using unleavened bread. Finally, here is another thing that you might find bizarre, but prior to being diagnosed coeliac a few weeks ago, I was intending to go to Rome to do further study in theology, specifically liturgy. I think I have found a subject I could use as the subject of any research thesis I might write! For the past twelve months I have been studying Italian with the view of doing further study. My plan was to go to Italy in February to do a further few months study of Italian and then enrol in a Pontifical University in October to commence a licentiate in Liturgy. Given my very recent diagnosis, I plan to delay my departure until April to see if discern improvement in my health, as one of the things that was worrying me about going overseas to study was the question in my mind of why I wasn't feling all that well adn the fear if I went away I might get sick. So, that is my confession and my questions. I guess I will continue with the low gluten bread and see what eventuates! Thanks to you all for your contribution and suggestions. Perhaps God might be using me to make sense of all of this for the Church? Dare I beieve it?
  14. Thanks - perhaps I am not absorbing sufficient magnesium because of the malabsorption caused by coeliac disease. As I improve it will be interesting to observe if the "restless ;eg syndrome" subsides. Thanks for your response. It is great to hear and learn from the experience of fellow sufferers and/or sympathisers/understanders.
  15. Communion Wafers

    My naswer is that I don't know if I can! I guess my question is how much or little gluten can a coeliac ingest before there is an adverse reaction? Is it totally zero. It is not as if somebody is having a large slice of bread when they receive communion. If somebody was to have a minute piece of bread (like one does when one might receive less than 0.5cm piece of consecrated unleavened bread) will this be enough to "set off" the process of villi destruction or might one only expect a minute, perhaps physically and medically an indiscernable (undetectable) if any reaction? I guess I would like to ask a medical professional to answer this question. I am visiting a gastroenterologist on Monday so I might ask him. I am afraid though that the answer will be "I don't know" and perhaps I'll just have to keep receiving communion and be on a otherwise gluten-free diet and see whether there is some recovery in my villi when I have my next endoscopy biobsy of my small intestines.