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So what did I do?
Took a deep breath, and kept things simple.
First off, I went through all my kitchen cupboards to find out what was naturally gluten free, and what was off limits.
Second I emptied a cupboard to put in MY food that I could eat.
Made space in the fridge and employed an indelible pen to write on the margarine and any food that was put in there so only I would be using it.
Went through the Argos Catalogue, bought 2 chopping boards, and a bag of assorted freezer clips total £8!
I also got hold of Lakelands Toasterbags £6.95 (this was a lot cheaper and made more sense than a separate toaster, with 4 adults in the house and an 8ft square kitchen!!)
A full bottle of Fairy!! Its amazing just what a bowl of hot soapy water can achieve, and for small things a roll of kitchen foil.
What is the difference?
After several conversations with different people it became clear that there was a necessity to define three things:
Coeliac Disease is the Second of these three. Lets start though with the definition of an Allergy.
When you have an allergy it is because your body overreacts to otherwsie harmless stimuli, causing uncomfortable and sometimes harmful symptoms.
When you have an autoimmune disease (as I do, Coeliac Disease) your body essentially attacks itself, causing damage to your digestive system, respiratory system, or muscles for example.
An immunodeficiency disorder is when your body stops protecting you from foreign stimuli like viruses, toxins, bacteria and tumors.
So the difference between gluten sensitivity (allergy) and Coeliac disease (autoimmune) is this:
With Coeliac Disease gluten triggers an autoimmune response that causes serious harm to the digestive system. People who have Coeliac Disease MUST cut all gluten products from their diet (hence ‘strict’ gluten free diet), if they don’t it can cause irreparable damage to the digestive system. If you have problems when eating bread, cakes or crackers it doesn’t mean you are Coeliac. You may have gluten sensitivity which means that your body produces histamines whenever it detects gluten in your system (allergy).
‘A little bit won’t hurt’ statement as, you can see here, could not be more dangerous as it WILL cause damage, and make the Coeliac ill.
That is not to say that gluten sensitivity can cope, as they are more likely to be prone to anaphylactic shock. Which needs an Epipen and immediate medical attention i.e 999 emergency.
The current NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) guidelines (UK only) on the diagnosis of IBS, is before your Doctor confirms a diagnosis of IBS you should be screened for Coeliac Disease first. This consists of a blood test, if positive then you will need confirmation, if negative then IBS can be considered (www.coeliac.org.uk/health)
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, and not qualified as such. If anything in this series you feel is impacting your life then please see your GP.
IMPORTANT. Do not go Gluten Free, even on the advice of your doctor before you have had your blood test and endoscopy as this can affect the results. www.coeliac.org.uk have more information on this.