Gluten is the “glue” that makes dough sticky and, due to its carbon dioxide content, enables bread to rise.

It is found in wheat, rye, barley and oats and, accordingly, all products made from them. For people intolerant to gluten, foods to avoid may include beer, wheat bran, durum, farina, graham flour, semolina, oat bran, malt, malt syrup, malt extract, and malt vinegar.

Many are unaware that gluten is also a hidden ingredient in a number of vitamins and pills, prepared mixes and popular store-bought sauces such as soya and salad dressings.


What is celiac disease?

Normally, your small intestine is lined with tiny, hair-like projections called villi. Resembling the deep pile of a plush carpet on a microscopic scale, villi work to absorb vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from the food you eat.

When a person with celiac disease eats foods containing gluten, an immune reaction occurs in the small intestine, resulting in damage to the villi.

Without villi, the inner surface of the small intestine becomes less like a plush carpet and more like a tile floor, and your body is unable to absorb nutrients necessary for health and growth. Instead, nutrients such as fat, protein, vitamins and minerals are eliminated with your stool.

Eventually, decreased absorption of nutrients (malabsorption) can cause vitamin deficiencies that deprive your brain, peripheral nervous system, bones, liver and other organs of vital nourishment, which can lead to other illnesses.


The cause of the disease remains unknown, BUT evidence suggests it runs in families.

While the condition appears to have first been identified around 200 BC, it has remained mostly misunderstood until recent times.


Signs and symptoms

Holding it Together

There are no typical signs and symptoms of celiac disease!

Traditional symptoms may include:

  • intermittent diarrhea,
  • abdominal pain
  • bloating.

Sometimes people with celiac disease may have no gastrointestinal symptoms at all.

Symptoms can also mimic those of other conditions, such as:

  • irritable bowel syndrome,
  • gastric ulcers,
  • Crohn’s disease,
  • parasite infections,
  • anemia,
  • skin disorders
  • nervous condition.

less obvious ways, including;

  • irritability or depression
  • anemia,
  • stomach upset,
  • joint pain,
  • muscle cramps,
  • skin rash,
  • mouth sores,
  • dental and bone disorders (such as osteoporosis),
  • tingling in the legs and feet (neuropathy).

Some indications of malabsorption that may result from celiac disease include:

·           Weight loss

  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps, gas and bloating
  • General weakness
  • Foul-smelling or grayish stools that may be fatty or oily
  • Stunted growth (in children)
  • Osteoporosis


Until recently, celiac disease was thought to be relatively uncommon. Studies have shown, however, that 1 out of ever 133 people in North America likely have celiac disease.


Is there a cure for celiac disease?

Not yet. Fortunately, it can be controlled easily and effectively. The key is a gluten-free diet.


Is there anything in the grain family that a person with celiac disease CAN eat?

Quite a lot, actually! Rice, corn, soya, arrowroot, potato flour, cornstarch, tapioca, rice bran, cornmeal, bean flours and buckwheat are all gluten-free.


But ONE slice of toast won’t kill you!  Will it?



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