The gluten free diet is the one and only treatment for celiac disease. That’s it. The gluten free diet is great – until you start to think about how woefully inadequate it really is.
We cannot just stop eating. It’s not like being an alcoholic or drug addict – where they can simply stop putting whatever makes them ill into their bodies. We have to eat to live. It isn’t a choice.
We never know if the food we get at a restaurant will make us ill. The US Government’s labelling laws for a gluten free label lag far behind other country’s laws. Some countries require an item to have zero, nada, no gluten in order to be considered gluten free. We have the 20ppm rule as the maximum amount of gluten in a product. Luckily, I buy gluten free apples and haven’t gotten sick yet. 😉
It is great because it is the only known “cure” for celiac disease. But the problem is that the gluten free diet is not really “healthier” than a normal gluten containing diet. It is also significantly more expensive if you include many gluten free processed foods. Gluten free processed foods contain significantly more fat and sugar than non-gluten free processed foods.
Also, I’m not sure that the gluten free diet is the panacea we want it to be. Study after study indicates that we get more gluten than one would think. Even those being exceptionally careful are unable to maintain a 100% gluten free diet. More disturbing is that even if we do maintain a gluten free diet, there is no /guarantee our guts will heal.
What can we do? How can we fix this?
We need to raise our collective voices in lobbying Congress and drug companies to put more resources towards celiac disease research. There are drugs for diseases far less common than celiac disease, yet nothing for us. I’m really disappointed. I know there is a ton of research going on and drug companies are starting to develop drugs. I just want it faster!
We need to offer to become a part of clinical studies. Some studies involve gluten ingestion but many do not. BeyondCeliac is collecting information about COVID-19 infections and those with celiac. They are trying to find out if it has more or less of an impact on those with celiac disease. So, consider providing them information to help science move forward.
Patronize gluten free restaurants and bakeries in your area. I know it is hard right now with this Covid-19 infection around and many of us are under stay at home orders. But if you continue to patronize speciality gluten free restaurants and bakeries there is a better chance they survive this pandemic for us moving forward.
May is celiac disease awareness month. Every weekday in May I will post little bite sized pieces of information about celiac disease. Many other celiac organizations will do it as well. Consider posting these little bits of information on your personal page about celiac disease to help raise awareness for the disease.
Also, make sure you go to Aldi to stock up on your gluten free favorites.