As many as 1 in 100 people have coeliac disease, however only 10-15% of those people are diagnosed. Is it because we are too embarrassed to discuss the symptoms or simply that we are unaware of the condition? Well here is my bid to raise awareness. Diet has such a phenomenal impact on treating and preventing diseases, and here is one of many it can stop in its tracks.
So what is coeliac disease?
Coeliac disease is categorised as an autoimmune disease, but in simpler terms is a condition in which gluten triggers an immune reaction when gluten is ingested. Gluten is found in wheat, barley and rye, which can be found in many food products, such as bread, cereals, pasta, flour, cakes, biscuits, pizza bases and many more.
Ingestion of gluten in this condition causes irritation of the gut, which can produce mild to severe symptoms ranging from stomach bloating, cramping and diarrhoea, and as a result of this, weight loss, nutrient deficiencies, and as a result of these osteoporosis, infertility, hair loss, and joint pain. There are other symptoms which can occur, however these are the most common.
Eliminating gluten from your diet can improve and get rid of symptoms, and allow your gut to heal. The speed at which you will notice improvement varies from person to person but usually people will notice improvement within the first few days. The gluten free diet should remain a balanced healthy diet, containing protein sources such as meat, fish, pulses, beans and eggs, fruits and vegetables and a carbohydrate source such as potatoes and other gluten free sources.
Coeliac disease can often be mistaken for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or gluten sensitivity, if you are concerned you may have coeliac disease, continue eating gluten as you can tolerate, and seek advice from your GP, or further information from ‘Coeliac UK’ website.
Coeliac UK is a wonderful charity and resource for those who suffer from this condition or know someone that does. It contains advice, useful tips on eating out, explaining to family and loved ones, recipes and free samples from companies that supply gluten free foods, and advice on how get these on the prescription.
And time for a recipe!
Lemon sole on a bed of sautéed veggies
Lemon sole can be bought very cheap, and this is a simple recipe, quick to make and enjoy!
Lemon sole – filleted
One lemon, quartered
Two cloves garlic
1 red onion
Mixed dried herbs
4 large tomatoes
1. Dice the onions and garlic, and pop in a frying pan, and cook over a low heat until soft. Whilst this softens, chop your courgettes and peppers, and add to the pan, leave to cook for about ten minutes, then add the tomatoes, chopped into cubes, with the dried herbs. Leave at a low heat while you cook your fish.
2. Wrap the lemon sole in tin foil, skin side down with the lemon wedges and some fresh thyme, and pop in the oven at 200 degrees for 20mins.
3. Once cooked, serve the lemon sole on a bed of the vegetables and season to your taste. Serve the cooked lemons on the side, they are lovely squeezed over the fish.