Why the name ‘Coeliac by Design’?
I thought long and hard what to call my blog. I really wanted to choose something that would explain that coeliac disease is predisposed, can materialise at any time and basically, its ‘just the way you are made’. Heading home after a little run, ‘Coeliac by Design’ popped into my head – I felt it said it all! I’m hoping the name alone helps raise much needed awareness of this dramatically undiagnosed autoimmune condition and encourages people to get tested!
Why another gluten free blog?
There are some fabulous gluten free blogs around, but coeliac disease unfortunately still remains very underdiagnosed. It’s estimated that 1 in 100 are affected with the condition, but only 30% have been medically diagnosed. This percentage needs to rise to prevent people needlessly becoming poorly. And then beyond diagnosis I want to share with you an amazing array of foods you can still tuck into! If my blog, along with others can raise awareness, and help you in any way, I would be delighted!
Will your recipes just be gluten free?
Yes. However most of them will be adaptable to fit into other dietary categories too. Please just give me a shout should you want any help with adjustment to any recipes.
Why is it so important to get a medical diagnosis?
If you are coeliac you need to be on a strict gluten free diet for life, to safeguard you against more serious health complications. Once diagnosed you should be referred to a dietician and receive yearly health checks. Ideally, they would be carried out at a coeliac clinic, but sometimes this will be done via your GP. If you don’t automatically get called for an annual check, you must ask for one. From my annual check this year it was picked up my vitamin D was low, and I have been popped on vitamin D tablets. You should also be referred for a bone density scan when you are first diagnosed. https://www.coeliac.org.uk/coeliac-disease/getting-diagnosed/importance-of-medical-diagnosis/
Can coeliac run in the family?
Yes. Like many other medical conditions other family members could be affected too. Therefore, it’s really important if you are diagnosed with the condition that your family are also tested. Currently Coeliac UK advise that parents, brothers and sisters (adult and child) of a diagnosed coeliac are tested. This test should be repeated over time too, as coeliac could develop at any point. In addition, I have also spoken to lots of Grandparents, aunties, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews within the same family that also have the condition. So, this is definitely worth considering too.
In Australia if you have been diagnosed with coeliac, there is a printable letter available on the Australian Coeliac Society website that your relatives can take to their GP explaining the situation, and requesting they are also tested. I think this is a brilliant idea and have mentioned it to Coeliac UK to see if it’s something we could do in the UK.
I’ve been told I have IBS and to follow a gluten free diet. Should I be tested for coeliac before removing gluten from my diet?
Yes, definitely. As IBS symptons can be so similar, coeliac disease must be ruled out first. Just the other year Coeliac UK ran a huge campaign about this for their Awareness week, as unfortunately many people are slipping the net by being advised to adjust their diet, and remove gluten before they have been tested for coeliac. You could be that 1 in a 100 and not know! Without a medical diagnosis you may not be as diet compliant, resulting in other mores serious health problems at a later date. In addition, you will not receive the medical monitoring a coeliac requires, such as bone density scans etc. Currently, an accurate test result for coeliac, can only be confirmed whilst gluten is present within your diet 6 weeks prior to testing. This information should also apply before following a FOD map diet too, as this also restricts gluten in your diet and could result in a false/negative test result for coeliac. Speak to your GP and request to be tested.
Why is it important not to remove gluten until all my tests have been completed?
As the only treatment for coeliac disease is a life-long gluten free diet, removing gluten before you have had all your tests done could start the healing process. And therefore, your test results could come back inconclusive. The last thing you want is a negative test result when in fact you are coeliac. Check out the link below from Coeliac UK – I feel this is one of the most important things they address on their website.
Once diagnosed with coeliac or dermatitis herpetiformis is it OK to occasionally eat gluten?
No. I have spoken to so many people diagnosed with coeliac who believe that as they have ‘felt’ no ill effect when they had eaten gluten containing food, thought it would be OK to continue doing so. I promise you, it isn’t!! If you think, prior to being diagnosed you may not have suffered any symptoms? However, your endoscopy/biopsy would have confirmed damage to your villi within your small intestine. To allow your villi to heal your diet must be gluten free, as unfortunately a piece of bread the size of a marble is enough to cause damage. So, whether you are symptomatic or not, it’s just as important once diagnosed not to eat gluten. Be kind to yourself!
For further FAQ regarding coeliac please have a look at this page on Coeliac UK website…its really helpful.
It’s important that you chat to your GP/Specialist about any health concerns you may have.
As you know, I’m not medically trained, but have gained knowledge over the years from being coeliac, living gluten free and working for Juvela gluten free foods.