gluten-free: understanding celiac disease


We spoke to registered dietitian, health and wellness coach, and mom Debbie Jongkind about living with celiac disease. Here’s what she had to say about adapting to gluten-free life:

What is it?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to attack itself if gluten is ingested. This causes an inability to absorb the nutrients needed to stay healthy. There is no cure, but the disorder can be managed by changing a diet.

Who gets it?

In the healthy population, the risk of having celiac disease ranges from 1 in every 100 people to 1 in 133. If you are a first-degree relative, your chances of getting the disease increases to 1 in 18.

What are the symptoms in children?

When children are diagnosed really young, they look like the malnourished children you see in poor countries – they are really skinny and their stomachs are very bloated. It shows up like that in young children because their intestines are really small.

What to look out for:

Gluten is in a lot of products you wouldn’t necessarily associate it with, like soy sauce and marinade. It can be in lunchmeat and even play dough.

What are the symptoms in adults?

Adults can have a range of symptoms from gastrointestinal issues, to neurological problems, reproductive difficulties and osteoporosis. In adults, 50 percent of all the newly diagnosed do not have classic symptoms because they can be so easily be overlooked.

How should I change?

It’s really expensive to be on an entirely gluten-free diet – just a loaf of bread can cost up to $8. We did not make our whole family go gluten-free. Instead, to prevent cross-contamination, we have separate toasters and jars for food.

On a brighter note:

I try to empower all the folks I work with because you have to be able to live your life. Resources for celiac patients have exploded in the last five years.

flourless pizza crust substitute

wabi allergies

cook time: 20 minutes

makes: 1 pizza crust

What’s Needed:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/8 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp Splenda sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp dry, grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 oz fat-free cream cheese

Directions: Beat the egg whites and cream of tartar with mixer until stiff. In a seperate bowl, beat egg yolks, Splenda, salt, garlic powder and cream cheese until smooth. Gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites (be careful not to deflate the whites). Spray cooking spray in medium-sized pizza pan. Spread the mixture into pan. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake at 300F for 20 minutes. Remove from oven.

Add desired toppings and bake for an additional 7-10 minutes or until done.