31 Gluten-Free Tips for Celiac Disease Awareness Month May 2013

content The tummy doc is proud to bring you a gluten-free tip for each day of Celiac Disease Awareness Month

May 1st

Celiac disease is one of the most common chronic medical conditions in the world

May 2nd

Celiac disease is also known as celiac sprue and gluten enteropathy

May 3rd

New medical research suggests that 1 in every 133 Americans have celiac disease

May 4th

Some people think that celiac disease is more common today because doctors are more aware of the condition.  Others speculate that genetic modification of grains has led to this drastic increase

May 5th

Celiac disease can affect any age group, from infants to the elderly

May 6th

Celiac disease is not an allergy, but rather an autoimmune disease

May 7th

In celiac disease, the body’s immune system is revved up by certain proteins commonly found in grains.    This overactive immune system can damage many parts of the body, in particular the small intestine

May 8thth

Although often known as a “wheat gluten” disease, the real culprits are certain types of proteins that make up gluten called prolamines.  In wheat, the bad prolamine is gliadin, in barley it is hordein, and in rye, it is secalin.

May 9th

In celiac disease, the barrier of the small intestine becomes “leaky” and lets more substances, like proteins, enter into the body

May 10th

The common symptoms of celiac disease are caused by the small intestine not being able to digest food properly, a condition called malabsorption

May 11th

Malabsorption can lead to nutritional deficiencies such as iron, calcium, Vitamin D, and vitamin B12

May 12th

Malabsorption can lead to foul smelling gas and diarrhea.  This happens because the bacteria in your colon ferment the undigested food that passes through your small intestine


May 13th

Other common symptoms of celiac disease are abdominal pain and fatigue

May 14th

The symptoms of celiac disease are often mistaken as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

May 15th

Children with celiac disease may present with poor growth, abdominal pain, and constipation

May 16th

Sometimes, celiac disease has no symptoms

May 17th

Celiac disease is diagnosed by the following criteria:

  1. +Having a positive blood test, usually the anti-tissue transglutaminase antibody (anti-TTG)
  2. +Having either a biopsy of the small intestine that shows damage to villi, the carpet-like lining cells that digest and absorb food; or having a skin biopsy that shows dermatitis herpetiformis, a very itchy skin condition that commonly affects the elbows, knees, buttocks, and back

May 18th

Some people with celiac disease have low levels of IgA.  IgA is a “flavor” of antibody that protects your digestive system and lungs from infection

May 19th

Some people with celiac disease have evidence of liver cell damage

May 20th

People with celiac disease have a higher risk of canker sores and poor dentition

May 21st

People with celiac disease have a higher risk of having weak bones

May 22nd

People with celiac disease are more likely to have other chronic pain syndromes, such as migraine headaches

May 23rd

The only treatment for celiac disease currently is to follow a strict gluten-free diet

iStock_000014769178SmallMay 24th

Researchers are working on several new therapies for celiac disease.  One is a medicine that you take with meals to break down gluten before it reaches your small intestine

May 25th

Other possible therapies include grains that are genetically modified to remove the genes that make gliadin, or medicines that block zonulin, a substance in your body that makes the gut “leaky”

May 26th

On a gluten-free diet, all symptoms, as well as bloodwork and biopsies, should go back to normal

May 27th

Some people have what is called non-celiac gluten sensitivity.  In this condition, people feel better on a gluten-free diet, but do not have the positive bloodwork and biopsies found in celiac disease


May 28th

Gluten is literally a food glue.  In baking, the gluten strands give the dough strength so that it doesn’t break when air pockets form.  This lets you bake bread that is light as air.  It also adds chewiness to pastas.

May 29th

Xantham gum and guar gum are natural sugars that can replace gluten as a food glue and help you create delicious gluten-free meals

May 30th

If you have celiac disease, you should avoid all wheat products (wheat, bulgur, spelt,durum, farina, graham flour, kamut, semolina), rye, triticale, and barley.  A product is considered gluten-free if it contains less than 20 parts per million of gluten, although more strict criteria define it as less than 10 or even 5 parts per million.

May 31st

Some gluten-free grains and starches include rice, soy, corn, buckwheat, sorghum, tapioca, amaranth, flax, millet, quinoa, teff, arrowroot, and cassava.  Some oats are gluten-free, be careful with this one

There are literally thousands of great gluten-free resources out there, here are just a few…











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Many brands offer great gluten-free products.  Here are a few…

  • +Udi’s gluten-free baked goods
  • +King Arthur gluten-free brownie mix
  • +Glutino gluten-free pastas and products
  • +tummydrops gluten-free lozenges for tummy upsets
  • +Annie’s Rice Pastas
  • +Bob’s Red Mill gluten-Free Flours
  • +Did anyone say beer?  Many are available, the first sorghum based beer released in mass quantities is Bard’s.  Omission beers are malt based, but have had the gluten-removed.  They have less than 20 parts per million gluten, but are not labeled gluten-free as of yet.

Many restaurant chains offer gluten-free dining.  Here are just a few…

  • +Outback Steakhouse
  • +Red Robin
  • +Chipolte
  • +Chick-fil-A
  • +Bonefish Grill
  • +Red Brick Pizza
  • +PF Changs
  • +Pizzeria Uno


To a Productive Celiac Disease Awareness Month,


Dustin James MD

The Tummy Doc

Board-Certified Gastroenterologist

Author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Digestive Health




Reading, sharing, or other utilization of this article does not establish a doctor patient relationship with the article’s author.  As always, be sure to consult with your physician regarding your health related issues before initiating or changing any medicines. 

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