140 – CAW – Running the gauntlet of dining out with Coeliacs

gluten

Well, not if one is sugar free too. Or if it has been sitting in the cabinet on the same tray with the ‘normal’ food. Or if the server picks it up with gluten-y tongs. Or if it was cooked in the oven at the same time as something glutenous. Or if when they bring it to you – and this has happened to me – they have drizzled it with a sauce with gluten in it without thinking.

In fact, the more I learn, the more I realise that I can pretty much only eat out at those wanky Paleo or ‘clean eating’ only cafes that are popping up all over Auckland (thankfully).  Places where gluten is a dirty word – even to the normals – and they don’t cook with it, don’t stock it and don’t say the word – they hiss it. These places are great – granted that they can sometimes get a bit heavy on the coconut oil – but they are good for me because I can usually safely eat something labelled GF and know I’m not going to get glutened.

Unfortunately because being GF is so right now, and people are pretty sick of hearing about it; saying you are GF in a cafe or restaurant is bound to get the servers rolling their eyes and visibly gritting their teeth when you need to order. I always say ‘I have coeliacs disease’ (so they know I’m not just affecting it – I’m not a hipster I swear!) but I am sure that this just means extra hassle for the establishment and I know I get fobbed off on things where I could be being more careful. Because I’m a silent coeliac I could be getting glutened and not know. Which is pretty scary because cancer. So we don’t get out much anymore.

But tomorrow night I am going out for dinner with some of my Dean friends from school . We are going somewhere that I haven’t been before and I am going to have to ring them tomorrow to ask if they have gluten free options that are safe for Coeliacs. It is a Japanese restaurant and a good one by all accounts so I am hoping I can eat ‘off the menu’ and not have to have a ‘special’ meal made for me with all the delicious-ness taken out of it.

Wish me luck!

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139 – Tuesday of Coeliac Awareness Week – Rolled oats – safe for Coeliacs or no?

RolledOats   Nutty-oat-biscuits   10092672

The role of oats in a gluten-free diet – has the evidence changed?

Although the addition of oats to a gluten-free diet has nutritional benefits and may introduce more variety in the diet, evidence for their use remains controversial.  The main protein type in oats is different to the gluten found in wheat and other cereals, however, oats do contain smaller amounts of avenin, a protein which is similar to gluten.

Recent evidence suggests that a subgroup of people with coeliac disease are intolerant to pure oats and also that the amount of avenin and the degree to which an immune response is triggered varies between different cultivars of oats. This new research may help explain why earlier research into the safety of oats in people with coeliac disease has had contradictory results. Most studies have also differed in the type and purity of the oats used and in study size and design.

Contamination of oats and oat-containing products with gluten continues to be a problem for researchers and also for people who choose to include oats in their diet. Contamination may occur during planting, harvesting, transport and processing of oats. Many countries are now working to improve agricultural techniques and industrial processes so that an uncontaminated supply of oats and oat products are available.

Current advice in New Zealand (July 2010) recommends that the consumption of oats and oat containing products should be avoided by people with coeliac disease.

“The safety of oats in individuals with coeliac disease has been extensively investigated. Some people with coeliac disease exhibit toxicity to oats. The Clinical Advisory Committee of the Coeliac Research Fund recommends that in Australia and New Zealand, oats should be excluded from a gluten free diet for people with coeliac disease.”’

Best Practice Advocacy Centre of NZ, 2011.

So what that boils down to is that at the moment, Oats are pretty much a no-go for people with Coeliac disease – even if you buy the really fucking expensive ones from the health food store that have been imported from ‘Murica and are plastered with ‘gluten free’ all over them. Because of the Avenin.

Which means that people with coeliacs and people baking for people with coeliacs need to think outside the box for chewy, tasty recipe fillers. I have a good brown rice porridge recipe that I use (and have posted before) and I know that some folks use both quinoa flakes and rice flakes in baking. I have not tried these but have them on my (long) list of things to do in the near future.

To sum up; People with Coeliac disease can’t eat Wheat, Rye, Barley or OATS.

And I miss porridge.

138 – Coeliac awareness week

Did you know that in New Zealand it is Coeliac Awareness Week this week? From the 18th until the 24th of May the folks over at Coeliac.org.nz are going to be doing their best to make people aware of what Coeliacs is, the symptoms of it and how to get tested; And they will be promoting the stories of famous (or world-famous in NZ) folks who also have Coeliac disease. So this week I too will be focusing on ceoliacs ‘stuff’ in order to talk the walk or some shit.

I’ll start by ripping some stuff straight from the Coeliac.org site;

What is Coeliac Disease? Coeliac disease is a permanent, autoimmune disorder caused by an intolerance to gluten which is found in wheat, barley, oats and rye. This intolerance to gluten causes the body to produce antibodies which damage the lining of the small bowel and make it impossible for the body to absorb vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from food. Both genetic and environmental factors play important roles in coeliac disease and coeliac disease is hereditary.

In 2015, it is estimated that 60,000 to 70,000 of kiwis have coeliac disease (1 in 70), however up to 80% of those are unaware they have the condition.

There are no specific symptoms of coeliac disease. Every body experiences it differently (remember I am considered a ‘Silent’ Coeliac because I don’t get a lot of the more unpleasant bottom-related symptoms) Click this link to read about some of the symptoms which may occur alone or in combination.

Here is a photo of a cat who doesn’t have Coeliac disease;

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Notice how happy he looks wit his bread hat – definitely not Coeliac. Lucky cat.

How did I get diagnosed I hear you asking? Was I terribly uncomfortable every time I ate bread? Did doughnuts make me dizzy? Was I exhausted, bloated and fading away? Well, yes and no.

I went to the doc for my usual half yearly WOF. I try to go regularly to get my iron levels checked, anything else looked at and my general paranoia about dying of something random and possibly-parenting-related eased. This time it wasn’t my usual Doctor, she had left the practice and they had to give me a locum. It turns out this was a good thing because she wouldn’t be fobbed of with ‘Of course I’m tired, I have two small children, a fairly hard-core job and I get up every morning and go for a run! YES I am tired all the time but that’s got to be normal hasn’t it?’. Not so said she, and what are your iron levels like she asked.

Well, they were and have always been fucked. No matter how many beasts were slaughtered so that I may dine upon their iron rich limbs, no matter how many leafy greens I ate, no matter how many bloody iron pills I took; I was always very low in iron. Under 20 low. (That’s really low btw). SO on the basis of my general exhaustion, foggy brain and low iron she had me tested. And of course here I am.

That was in March of 2012. My bloods were so high that I was Coeliac enough for three people so she had me booked in a for a biopsy straight away. I then had to wait until September for the actual procedure (I tell you what, being unconscious for that was the best 1.5 hr sleep I have had in ages and since, oh to do it again just for the shut-eye!) and it came back confirmed. The villi in my gut was non-existent and the damage was extensive. I thought it looked pretty in the photograph but the medical people were horrified. Very bad they said.

And that’s me. I have been gluten-free since September 2012 and will be for the rest of my life unless they develop the mythical vaccine.

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