Friday, May 19, 2017

Raising Awareness for Celiac Disease with A Southern Celiac!

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  

In addition to being Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Awareness month, May is also Celiac Disease Awareness month! I invited Brittany from A Southern Celiac to tell us all a little more about it and help dispel some of the myths about Celiac's. Brittany also has Ehlers Danlos so we thought the partnership was perfect for us both. Please welcome her to Sunshine and Spoons!

May is Celiac Awareness Month, so Hannah has kindly allowed me to guest post on her blog! I'm Brittany, the Celiac behind A Southern Celiac. I was first diagnosed with celiac disease in 2012 at the age of 19 after having stomach issues since I was 18 months old! Stories like mine aren't uncommon, which is why I'm so passionate about spreading awareness for Celiac Disease.


Don't worry though, I'm not here to bore you with my diagnosis story. I've written that out before, and honestly, it was even tedious for me to re-read! Nope, today I'm here to share some surprising facts about Celiac Disease.  I'm assuming you know the basics. Celiac is an autoimmune disorder affecting the small intestine. When a celiac eats even small amounts of gluten, their body gets confused and attacks the small intestine. The only treatment is a strict gluten free diet. That seems pretty straightforward– but there's more to Celiac than it seems.
1. Getting a diagnosis is harder than it sounds!
Gluten free is all the rage these days, so getting a celiac diagnosis shouldn't be hard....right? Um, not exactly. The truth is, it's estimated that 83% of people with celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. It takes people with celiac disease an average of 6 to 10 years to receive a proper diagnosis. That's why Awareness is so important!

2. We're not actually allergic to gluten.
Have you ever heard someone talk about a gluten allergy? That's not actually a thing. Although gluten intolerance and wheat allergy are real diagnoses, neither those nor celiac are a true allergy to gluten. Still, I'm not the only celiac who has used allergy as shorthand to get a relative or restaurant worker not to poison me!

Like Brittany's mug? You can get your own at the Sunshine and Spoons Shop!

3. Some of us gain weight when we go gluten-free.

Since so many celebrities go gluten free to lose weight, we celiacs should be fit! The refutation to this myth is actually pretty complex, but it's still a myth. Basically: you totally can lose weight while gluten free....if you go gluten free by cutting out processed foods. Gluten free processed foods actually contain more sugar and fat than their gluteny counterparts. I gained about twenty pounds after going gluten free, not because of processed foods, but because my intestine healed. Previously I would eat nearly 5000 calories a day– yikes!– and not absorb much of it. Eating as much food as I was used to didn't fly once my intestine started healing and I was actually absorbing what I was eating!

4. Our diet isn't as sad as people think.
I admit, I have a list of foods I'll eat if they ever cure Celiac. On the top of the list? A sandwich that's literally macaroni and cheese, bacon, sriracha, and ranch....stuffed between two slices of pizza. Still, weird junk food combos aside, eating gluten free is easier than it sounds. There are more gluten free options on shelves, and they taste way better than the frozen waffle that made me cry in 2012. Plus, there are lots of things that are naturally gluten free! My favorite meal is barbacoa tacos on corn tortillas, which is a pretty normal meal for a non-Celiac, too.

Like Brittany's mug? You can get your own at the Sunshine and Spoons Shop!

5. We all make mistakes with our diet.
There's this weird culture in the Celiac community, where people are afraid to admit they made a mistake in their diet. It's not just something I've noticed. I've had plenty of friends and followers confess that sometimes they mess up, but they're afraid to tell anyone! The truth is, a strict medically necessary gluten free diet is key for celiacs. But you're going to trust the wrong person or the wrong restaurant. You're going to forget to check the ingredients on something because it's been safe for years– but now it's not. When this happens, don't beat yourself up. Just take care of yourself, and do better the next time. (And drink peppermint tea to help those stomach symptoms. Just make sure it's gluten free.)

Raising awareness for Celiac Disease with @asouthernceliac!

Thanks again to Hannah for letting me spread a little awareness for Celiac Disease! For more Celiac related posts and a little bit of everything else, find me at my blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Thank you, Brittany!  I appreciate you taking the time to help educate people about Celiac Disease!

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