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What Exactly is Celiac Disease?

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, celiac is an autoimmune disease that affects 1 in 100 people across the globe. When those who have celiac ingest gluten, it leads to damage because their bodies create an immune response that attacks the small intestine. "These attacks lead to damage on the villi, small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body." (Celiac Disease Foundation)

Celiac disease is NOT a gluten sensitivity. People with a non-celiac gluten sensitivity may experience similar symptoms as those with celiac but will not test positive for celiac disease. Their symptoms are typically resolved by removing gluten from the diet. Click here for more info on gluten sensitivities.

How Do You Get Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease runs in families and is hereditary - if you have a first degree relative with it, you have a 1 in 10 chance of developing it. If you do have a first degree relative with celiac, it's important to know that the disease can develop no matter your age, so it's necessary to pay attention to your health, what you're eating, and if you're having any reactions to foods containing gluten.

If celiac disease goes left untreated, it can lead to increased health problems. In fact, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation, about 2.5 million Americans are undiagnosed. 

Symptoms to Look For

 Photo from Celiac Disease Foundation

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, and rye, but can be found in many different foods that you might not expect. Wheat products may be found in sauces, dressings, soup, pasta bread, baked goods, and more. Barley is commonly found in malt, food coloring, soups, beer, and brewer's yeast. Rye is found in rye bread, rye beer, and cereal. These are just a few examples of where gluten can be found. 

Most people don't understand how difficult following a strict gluten-free diet can be because it's not "just don't eat gluten". People with celiac have to pay special attention to food labels, where the product was processed, and if there's possibility for cross-contamination. Going out to eat at a restaurant is similar. You must know ahead of time if they prepare gluten-free food in a separate area and are safe about cross-contamination. It takes a lot of research to ensure that you are keeping yourself safe when you want food outside the comfort of your own home.

National Celiac Disease Awareness Day

Here at LivBar we pride ourselves in having a celiac-friendly product that is produced in a gluten-free facility which avoids any chance of cross contamination. As a company that is familiar with the disease, we believe helping people understand and observe Celiac Disease Awareness Day on September 13th is an important job of ours!

National Celiac Disease Awareness Day started in 2005 on September 13th when the first piece of literature discussing the disease and the diet change that is necessary to treat the disease was published by physician Dr. Samuel Gee. Observing September 13th is pretty simple - share tips, tricks, and resources to help educate so people have a better understanding of the disease and how it needs to be treated. Have a friend with celiac? Offer to cook a completely celiac friendly meal for them and ask about what all needs to be done to ensure its safety.

Resources

Find Me Gluten Free - Restaurant finder with ratings.

Serving Celiacs - Printable resources, classes, guides, podcast, and more!

Gluten Free Buyer's Guide - Great product guide. 

Follow Me Gluten Free - Restaurant database and recipes.

Dining & Social Eating - Great source for what to look for and questions to ask when going out to eat.

Testing & Diagnosis - Steps to getting diagnosis and a treatment plan.

National Institutes of Health for Celiac Disease Awareness - Great science-based information on celiac including diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment. 

LivBar Recipes - All of our recipes are gluten-free! 

 

 

 

 

 

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