May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month! You may be asking yourself, what even is celiac? Celiac disease, or gluten-sensitive enteropathy, is an inherited condition triggered by the consumption of gluten. This causes damage to the inner lining of the small bowel, which reduces the person’s ability to absorb nutrients such as iron, calcium, Vitamin D, protein, and other food compounds.
Jamie DeRoose, one of our registered dietitians, explains that “a gluten-free diet should be started only when the diagnosis of celiac disease has been made by a small bowel biopsy. A trial of the gluten-free diet before the blood tests and the biopsy allows the villous damage to improve which may make the interpretation of the tests inconclusive and further delay the diagnosis of celiac disease.” Patients may also respond clinically to dietary changes for reasons other than celiac disease.
Currently, the only treatment for diagnosed celiac disease is to continually maintain a strict gluten-free diet.
If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, you may have a lot of questions about what to eat. It is recommended to meet with a registered dietitian to help you learn about gluten-free eating. Or, if you think that you might be celiac, contact your family doctor to arrange a test or visit our registered dietitians at EWPCN.
In the meantime, visit the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) to take a celiac self-test, find gluten-free recipes, view events, access resources and support, discover research and information, and much more.