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What is celiac disease?

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. Just a mom who prefers to put the power back in my hands through knowledge. For all the real medical mumbo jumbo, check out the links at the bottom of this page.

So, what is celiac disease? Here’s how I explain it to Nora.

Let’s start with what it is NOT.

Celiac disease is NOT: A food allergy. Contagious. Curable. A life-sentence to eat boring, gritty food.

Celiac disease IS: An autoimmune disease. Permanent, but reversible with a strict gluten-free diet (more on this gluten stuff later). An opportunity to heal and find new foods you love!

For people with celiac disease, it works something like this. You eat a delicious bowl of fettucine alfredo. That pasta is loaded with gluten, a protein found in many of your favorite foods. It tastes really good going down, but inside, your immune system sees that gluten as the enemy trying to storm the castle, so it tries to destroy it, but in the process causes serious damage to your small intestine.

For some with celiac, you might have bad stomach pains or diarrhea after eating a plate full of glutinous enemies. Others have very minor symptoms, or no symptoms at all, such as Nora. But the damage is still occurring and if left untreated can cause a host of serious complications.

But there’s good news – I swear! Unlike most diseases, it’s completely reversible through diet alone. No horrible medicines that make you ill and have their own slew of dangers. Just food. And it’s good food! Well, some of it at least. And I’ll share all of our favorites.

Medical resources

For more information on celiac disease symptoms, testing, and treatment the following sites are all valuable sources of information.

Children’s Hospital Boston, Celiac Center

Celiac Disease Foundation

PubMed Health

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