As many of you know, I am gluten intolerant and possibly have celiac disease. I can not eat gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, and rye (and any derivitives of these things, i.e. flour and malt) or I get sick. Some of you might remember, I was constantly going to doctors and specialists when I was young for IBS symptoms and body aches. I was misdiagnosed with everything possible until we just finally gave up on doctors. After living with Gabby for a year and knowing her well for 3 more, I was yet again feeling sick and wondering why when it hit me that I could have a gluten intolerance. I figured this out about 2 years ago and have felt so much better as a result of going off gluten. My sister, Paige, also has a gluten intolerance/celiac disease and most likely other immediate family members do too.
The main reason I've been wanting to post this is because this is hereditary and there are a lot of relatives who read this blog. On both my mom's and my dad's sides of the family there are a lot of stomach aches, joint pain, and other conditions that are unexplained. All of which look suspiciously like a gluten intolerance to me. Especially when considering the statistics...
Prevalence of Celiac Disease in the United States (Edited to Add: I actually believe these numbers are all much higher. The U.S. is way behind other countries in diagnosing and studying gluten intolerance.):
- In average healthy people: 1 in 133
- In people with related symptoms: 1 in 56
- In people with first-degree relatives (parent, child, sibling) who are celiac: 1 in 22
- In people with second-degree relatives (aunt, uncle, cousin) who are celiac: 1 in 39
- In the landmark prevalence study on celiac disease, investigators determined that 60% of children and 41% of adults diagnosed during the study were asymptomatic (without any symptoms).
- Celiac disease affects 1% of healthy, average Americans. That means at least 3 million people in our country are living with celiac disease—97% of them are undiagnosed.
Here are some of the most common symptoms:
- Bloating or Gas
- Itchy Skin Rash
- Delayed Growth
- Poor Weight Gain
- Mouth sores (i.e. canker sores)
- Thin Bones
- Joint Pain
- Discolored Teeth/weak teeth
- Foggy brain (a general feeling of being "out of it")
A gluten intolerance may be the root cause of:
- Asthma/Bronchitis-Like Symptoms
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Crohn Disease
- Colon Cancer
- Skin Rash
- Joint Pains, i.e., Back Pain, Neck Pain, Knee Pain
- Fogginess of Thought
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Memory Problems
- Alzheimer-Like Symptoms
- Migraine Headaches
- Liver Disease
- Chronic Fatigue
- Peripheral Neuropathy
- Thinning Hair and/or Premature Graying of Hair
Gabby has been living a gluten-free lifestyle for over 20 years along with many people in her family. In my book, she's an expert on gluten-free. A lot of the sites out there on living gluten-free have a bunch of gourmet recipes and talk about buying tons of gluten-free products. That just doesn't fit into my schedule or my budget. Gabby is practical and frugal, which is why her blog is so great!
Plus, you can ask any question you want and she has (or will find) the answer. Someone recently commented on her blog that they can't eat gluten, baking soda, or baking powder. So Gabby decided to figure out how that person could make brownies without those ingredients. Genius! She really is a great resource to have. I'm lucky I've had her helping me these past 2 years.
So, I guess the purpose of this blog was 2-fold. 1- To make everyone aware of gluten intolerance (especially relatives who are much more likely to have it) and 2- To make everyone aware of Gabby's awesome blog, so they can either use it themselves or tell those they know who are gluten intolerant about it.
The blog is http://www.glutenfreegallery.com/
If you have any questions or comments for me, please ask. I love talking about it!