baked bread

Gluten-Free, That’s for Me!

Who knew that learning about gluten-free would have started as a chance mishap and a trip to the emergency room?  In fact, it came about as an unexpected diagnosis of gluten-intolerance and celiac disease.  Until that time, I had never even heard of a such a condition.

When my daughter was 6 years old she broke her ankle while playing kickball.  That’s not so unusual, right? Children often hurt themselves while playing sports. What began as a childhood injury turned into years of breaks and trips to the orthopedist and physical therapists.

In the past 8 years my daughter has had 8 bone breaks.  I’ve been told by the doctors that her bone density is fine and that she just is an active girl. Active yes, but not to the point of participating in highly competitive sports or initiating daring maneuvers.

Something just didn’t seem to be right. The puzzle pieces began to come together when my husband and I participated in a conference put on by the <strong>National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. After reading literature we discovered that frequent bone fractures could indeed by a symptom of gluten-intolerance. This was like a giant light bulb going on for us because we already knew our daughter had a wheat sensitivity. (This we found out through allergy testing at Woodlands Healing and Research Center in Quakertown, PA.

Another symptom which stood out for us was oral lesions.  Our daughter has what doctors call a “map tongue” from the time she was a baby. They couldn’t give us any concrete information on the condition but put if off by saying it was a phenomenon they occasionally came upon. 

Finding out this information about celiac disease and gluten intolerance was like an epiphany moment for us.  Unknowingly for years we had been feeding our daughter food items which were actually harmful to her.  Now, armed with information on the gluten-free (GF) lifestyle, we could become proactive in helping our daughter, as well as others, have more choices when it comes to GF living.

So you ask, what is celiac disease, anyway?

It is an inherited autoimmune disease that damages the small intestines, interferes with absorption of food, and then triggers other seemingly unrelated health conditions. Celiac affects about one in every 133 Americans, most of whom are misdiagnosed because their symptoms mirror other conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, anemia, psychological stress, and diarrhea. If left untreated Celiac can lead to infertility, osteoporosis, lymphoma, depression, and neurological disorders. It is more common than Alzheimer’s, Type I diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. 

To put it mildly, Celiac is not something to dismiss. Today there are more effective ways to detect its presence yet still about 97% of those affected are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. That’s scary especially when untreated, gluten intolerance will further damage the small intestines and possibly lead to celiac-related conditions such as an increase in the incidence of malignant disease.

The good news is you can do something about it. The natural remedy is to avoid gluten completely.  This will not only cause you to feel better fast, it will also help you to reverse damage done while consuming gluten-filled foods. In fact, after about 5 years living a gluten-free lifestyle, the mortality rate of those with Celiac normalizes.

Is that power or what? You have direct access to the solution you need. Naturally Healthy Lifestyles comes alongside you to coach you every step on your journey. We provide GF strategies and recipes to assist you in making the needed changes. In addition, we have a list of restaurants which include GF options and we provide GF products to use in your daily food preparation.

It may seem overwhelming at first but through education and support you’ll see you’re not alone. What may have seemed like an insurmountable challenge is indeed manageable, even delicious, with a great selection of food items. Your friends and family will ask you to make those favorite GF recipes again and again. Soon you too will be saying, ”Gluten-free is for me!”