More and more people are visiting the Farmstead looking for answers to their health-related questions, and our staff is eager to educate about non-GMO products, grass-fed/grass-finished beef, eggs from pasture-raised chickens, and low-pasteurized milk. Most of us don’t think about food making us sick, but sadly more and more people live with food-related allergies. We asked one of the Urban Acres staffers, Barbara Bailey, a few questions on her experience living with a gluten allergy.
Barbara, tell us how you realized that you have a gluten allergy.
I’ve lived my life extremely healthy, eating organic, non-GMO products, since the birth of my son. I’ve always tried to eat small portions to keep my body fit and trim. But while eating small portions, I did feel bloated and sick to my stomach at times. Two years ago I decided to go on a one-month cleanse – I was comfortable with the doctor led program. After the cleanse, the first thing I wanted to eat was the freshly toasted bagel my son was holding in his hands. Eating the bagel, I was savoring the salty taste of fresh smelling bread, but sadly my stomach didn’t agree with my taste buds. Within minutes, I knew something was going wrong. The memories of that first night after the cleanse helped me say no to bread, as I knew it, for the rest of my life.
What is celiac disease?
It is a genetic digestive disease resulting from not being able to tolerate gluten. The gluten is the name of specific types of protein in certain crops, such as wheat, barley, rye. A person’s immune system with this disease destroys the lining of the small intestine, causing poor absorption of nutrients. It is a genetic disease and can manifest itself anytime in a person’s life.
Were you diagnosed with celiac?
The actual diagnosis is done by a blood test. Since I was on a gluten-free diet due to my cleanse, the blood test was inconclusive. The only way the doctor was able to get a proper diagnosis was if I went back to eating products with gluten in them. I refused to make myself feel sick on purpose. Sadly, 1 in 133 Americans have this disease, and they do not even know it.
Can celiac be treated?
The only treatment is to eat a gluten-free diet.
What is a gluten-free diet? And do you miss eating old favorites?
A gluten-free diet is when you eliminate all sources of gluten. Eating out on a gluten-free diet can be a challenge at times, although thankfully there are more and more restaurants that try to cater to people with gluten intolerance. And if all else fails, you can always eat salad sprinkled with freshly squeezed lemon juice and salt. I used to miss bread but after two years of living without it, I am happier baking my own “stomach happy” version. Thankfully my baking skills improved tremendously since following Elana Amsterdam’s blog. Here’s one of my favorite recipes…
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Thanks, Barbara. Check out our past blog posts under Gluten-Free Challenge for more recipes and Dallas restaurant suggestions.