You can read PART ONE here.
In 2022, I had a relapse of Celiac intestinal permeability due to cross contamination.
It took me a while to figure out that getting takeaway gluten-free pizza was a huge risk. I used to get gluten-free pizza once every few months, but in 2022/2023, I had gluten-free pizza takeaway every single Friday for months! Every now and then I would feel sick within 30 minutes but I didn’t think it could be from the pizza. I thought that since it was a gluten-free base and the pizza man said he was careful and it must be in my head and so I doubted myself and said that it was me just being a hypochondriac.
Unfortunately, my doctor confirmed that it was not all in my head. I had lost weight without even trying to, I developed depression and anxiety for which I was diagnosed by a psychologist and I had severe nutritional deficiencies : Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Ferritin. I had anemia, fatigue, restless legs at night and awful joint pain that felt like it was deep in my bones.
The doctor put me on 6 months supplements of iron, Vitamin B12 and D. It’s been a year since I stopped eating takeaway Gluten-free pizza and I feel a lot better now. I have to realize that with Celiac Disease, Cross contamination is a real thing and you need to extra vigilant and careful. Celiac’s should not order pizza from restaurants (or anyone that has a pizza oven) that share a pizza oven with gluten pizza’s.
Coaching for Celiac Disease
I have gone on to coach women with Celiac disease and it is my hope that more women will reach out to get coaching and support. I wanted to provide the service I never had. I had to learn everything I know myself. Not even my doctor knew about Celiac Disease. I didn’t know a single person with a gluten intolerance in all those years I thought I had a gluten intolerance, never mind anyone with Celiac Disease.
What I hope will happen…
- My hope that more people will learn to accept Celiac Disease as a real serious autoimmune condition that involves so much more than just not eating gluten. It affects our social life, traveling, and eating out.
- Restaurants are not trained and do not know that for a Celiac, even using the same counter or knife that touched gluten is enough to set off an autoimmune attack.
- My hope is that regulations are put into place for the hospitality industry and that proper training is required for all kitchen staff, including chef’s and wait persons.
- My hope is that stricter regulations are put into place with the labeling, manufacturing, packaging, producing of food. I would like to see “may contain” done away with. Either it does or it doesn’t. Why must we live our lives not knowing if what we eat is a risk or not?
- I also hope that with my story, that if you have not been diagnosed via endoscopy with biopsy like I was, that you are not alone. It certainly does not mean you cannot have Celiac. In my country and back when this happened to me, I don’t think many medical practitioners knew much about Celiac Disease.
Important facts about Celiac Disease:
- Celiac Disease is a hereditary Genetic condition. You need to be carrying one or both of the HLA DQ2 or HLA DQ8 markers. This does not mean you have Celiac Disease, it means you are at a risk to develop it. The Genes are activated by eating gluten. Once activated, they cannot ever be deactivated and you will have to monitor this condition by carefully avoiding gluten lifelong. To learn more about the genetics, you can take my masterclass. It will give you a run down of what activated the genes, how the genes work, who is most at risk, who should be tested, how to tested and other very interesting facts about them.(I am a genetic practitioner).
- It is estimated that 30% of the population carry the genetics but only 3% of those who carry the genes will develop it. This equates to 1 out of 3 with the genes.
- Celiac Disease is not the same as gluten intolerance/sensitivity which is a digestive disorder in which you struggle to digest the protein gluten. Those with Non-celiac gluten sensitivity do not develop intestinal permeability as a result of eating gluten.
- Celiac Disease is an autoimmune condition that involves the body’s own immune system attacking itself when gluten is consumed.
- It is important if you are having symptoms to find out (while still eating gluten) if you have a gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease. Knowing which condition you have can make all the difference because Celiac Disease is a lifelong strict avoidance of gluten that you have to prepared to adhere to, otherwise it can cause serious damage. It also helps to know because this will mean the difference between you (and others)taking it seriously and being able to adhere to it. Personally, if I knew I did not have Celiac Disease, I would still eat gluten now and then, but because I have the genetics and have experienced intestinal permeability and lots of damage (some long lasting) I will NEVER touch gluten willingly ever again. It can help you be more determined.
- In some countries, an official diagnosis also is important when it comes to health insurance, employment and claiming tax back on gluten-free food (non of which apply in South Africa).
- Celiac disease can develop at any age and any stage in your life
- Symptoms are different for everybody and do not have to include gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting. Medical research is showing this to be the case more and more.
- You can have asymptomatic Celiac too.
- Celiac disease is a higher risk amongst immediate family members and more so in the female line. For example mothers and daughters, mothers and sisters and sisters.
- Family members should be genetically tested if possible and monitored life long for symptoms.
- Celiac disease, unlike gluten intolerance (or non-celiac gluten sensitivity) causes intestinal permeability. This is when the immune system attacks itself, resulting in the villi hair of your intestinal wall being broken down. When this happens, you cannot properly absorb nutrients and so you will start to suffer with nutritional deficiencies and health complications as well as cognitive decline. If you do not go off gluten, the damage can result in many complications and damage to other systems and organs in the body: pancreas, thyroid, endocrine, liver, kidneys, skin, mental health etc.
- Cross contamination is a real thing and a Celiac ALWAYS has to be careful and should never take chances. It requires abstaining from gluten 100% life long.
- Celiac Disease can only be diagnosed while still eating gluten. A blood test is done and an endoscopy with biopsy may be done. This is NOT always offered or needed for an official diagnosis as medical research studies are showing and as per the new guidelines set by various organizations around the world. Many countries are moving away from a biopsy diagnosis.
- The ttg-IgA blood test is 98% accurate in someone with Celiac Disease.
- Learn about cross contamination (free masterclass)
- Learn how to fix your gut after going off gluten
- Learn why you develop food sensitivities and how to overcome it
- Learn more about the genetics for Celiac Disease
- Learn about the stress triggers for Celiac disease
- If you are newly diagnosed or struggling with Celiac Disease, then take my celiac course
I would love to hear your thoughts and your story. Please feel free to share it.
If you need help with genetic testing for Celiac, I can assist you. Please contact me.