I want to talk about Celiac and gluten intolerance. But I feel that to do so, you have to at least have a brief look into history and WHY gluten intolerance is on the rise.
Before WWII, the companies who manufactured foods sought to find a way to make food last longer. One goal of this project was to make things easier for the everyday housewife. The hope was that she could bring food to the table without having to slave over the meal all day long. Up to that point in history, whole foods had a short shelf life and would rot fairly quickly. In order to give foods a longer shelf life, they had to take out the living organisms and enzymes in the food. These living organisms in some foods are what causes them to break down more quickly and rot. So to avoid this, they had to not only take out the living organisms, but they had to add fillers to make up for what they took out. Along with genetically altered additives, they
added gluten to add more protein and elasticity and to "improve" the processed version with the preservatives. So when you see bread or wheat products NOW, they have added gluten to them versus what they used to have a long time ago, before genetic engineering. THEN when WWII hit, the idea of food preservation got mass manufactured. Women were needing to work rather than stay home, creating even less time for them to spend on making meals for the family. Boxed cake mixes and pre made everything became the norm.
With knowing that, you can understand why the rise of gluten intolerance and Celiac is on the rise and more predominant today that it every has been before. We keep adding and engineering our foods to outlast us. It's more convenient, but to what cost?
ANYWAYS, back to me and off of my rant. Celiac's disease has run in my family for at least three generations. My grandmother had all kinds of health issues from not catching the issue sooner, including a liver transplant and various other issues. She was 80 something pounds and dealt with more health issues than I even know. I was the next in our family to find out. When I was 16, I knew that something was off. I dealt with deep depression for years, among bipolar mood swings, dietary issues, constipation and so on. I went Vegan, because that was the trendy thing to do back then and I had a bunch of friends who swore that that would help. I did for a few months and got much worse. Why? because my diet was made up of a ton of gluten. Hindsight is 20/20. After some time, I decided to cut out gluten. I'm not sure how it came up or who suggested it. But it's what I did. And I immediately noticed a huge difference. I was in control of my thoughts and actions. I wasn't dealing with half of the gut issues I was before. So, it stuck. Shortly after my family noticed my huge change, my dad was placed in the hospital for a bowel obstruction (Again. Something he'd dealt with on and off his whole life.) He went off of gluten after that, and within just a few short months, his dietary issues were back down to little or none and TONS of other issues that he was having issues went down as well. After that, it seemed like clock work that most of my other family members followed suit. Right now, my mom, dad, step dad, a few cousins, myself, and my sons are all eating gluten free. Not including some of my friends who have noticed a huge difference cutting out gluten as well.
Because Celiac runs so heavily in my family, I have chosen to keep my boys gluten free. Not only does this teach them healthy habits, but it gives their immune system and digestive systems longer to become stronger. They do have a less likelihood of having an issues because they are boys, but the more that I limit gluten from them, the better chance that they will not have an issue with it in the future. Plus, I firmly believe that it's best for them to be raised on this lifestyle then to let them eat whatever "normal" processed foods that they want, and then later take it away from them if/when they do show signs of gluten issues. Right now, this means that I hand make and take in a lot of foods to school for my oldest, who is in preschool, when they do parties or have birthdays and whatnot. Luckily, my son's teacher has been more than amazing with accommodating this for us. She even has a jar where she stores his GF goodies for him to have at a later date.
Noticing gluten issues really varies so much from person to person that it is hard to spot for some. The symptoms can range from bloating and constipation to diarrhea and nausea for gut issues alone. People with gluten issues are very highly likely to not be able to absorb nutrition as well as a normal person would. This creates a host of other issues as well as just not being able to eat gluten. For some, it can lead to rashes. This isn't even including the chemical imbalance that can occur, causing mental health issues along with all the other affects.
Now a days, living GF is pretty simple, but it was very hard when I first started all those years ago. There weren't nearly as many options as there are now. A lot of people think or have this notion that living gluten free is just a simple diet choice, but for me, and for most, it's not. It is a lifestyle. It makes grocery shopping hard. It makes budgeting hard. It makes parties and going out nearly impossible. But it's so worth it to not be in pain and not be in control of my emotions.