Support groups can be a crucial resource for the newly diagnosed as well as the seasoned Celiac & non-celiab gluten-sensitive community. By attending local support group meetings and seminars you will gain important information on the latest in medical research, dietitian recommendations, useful tips for living a healthy gluten-free lifestyle,and so much more. Support Group meetings are a wonderful venue where you can chat with others on a similar Celiac journey. Take a significant other, a friend, or go solo. You can even consider volunteering!
There are multiple National Celiac Organizations that can be a source of support groups. Here are some that are great:
-The American Celiac Disease Alliance
-Celiac Disease Foundation
-Celiac Sprue Association
-National Foundation for Celiac Awareness
Remember: you are never alone. There are support groups everywhere and anywhere!
Gluten intolerance or sensitivity generally takes one of two forms: one with characteristics more similar to celiac disease and the other with characteristics more similar to a food allergy.
Given the varying degrees of severity and symptoms of gluten sensitivity, researchers believe the prevalence of non-celiac gluten sensitivity to be much higher than that of celiac disease. It is estimated 6% of the U.S. population, or as many as 18 million people, suffers from gluten sensitivity.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
This group reacts with some of the same symptoms as people with celiac disease (gastrointestinal pain or bloating, diarrhea, fatigue) but gluten-sensitive individuals typically test negative for celiac disease in diagnostic blood tests and show no signs of the damage to the small intestine that defines celiac disease. Because of the lack of clarity around symptoms, no accurate or conclusive test for gluten intolerance has been found.
As such, it is generally advised that people who may suffer from gluten sensitivity speak with a dietitian and follow a gluten-free diet to relieve symptoms. If following a gluten-free diet does not alleviate symptoms, it is advised patients speak with their doctors, as they may be suffering from something other than gluten intolerance. There are various outlets of Internet sources that one can seek out for gluten intolerance. Various websites and even phone applications have made it easier for those who are Gluten-Free! Keep an eye out for new websites for celiacs or even just googling a product will go a long way!
Some foods are naturally free of gluten. Here is a handy checklist of examples for your next trip to the supermarket:
- Milk, not flavored with ingredients that contain gluten, such as malt
- 100% fruit or vegetable juices
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Beans, in their natural, unprocessed form
- Seeds, such as flax
- Tree nuts, such as almonds
- Fresh fish (cod, salmon)
- Fresh shellfish (clams, oysters)
- Fresh poultry (unbreaded)
- Fresh meats
- Water, including bottled, distilled, spring
Check out The Food and Drug Administration or The Mayo Clinic for an extensive list.