Celiac Disease and Allergies

By Heather Legg

I have to take on a personal note today as my good friend, after months upon months of sickness, struggling and a myriad of doctors, just had her daughter diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I know it’s not considered an allergy, but on top of that, her allergy diagnosis came back, too – soy, corn, apples, oranges and a few other things are on the list.

Wow – this is some life changing material, with a mix of emotions, too. Though Celiac Disease is not an allergy, all the allergy precautions need to be taken. Here is the definition from Celiac Central:

Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. What does this mean? Essentially the body is attacking itself every time a person with celiac consumes gluten.

So no more gluten and add to that all the allergies, and her food is really limited. Many of the gluten substitutions have soy or corn in them as a replacement. My friend was even stumped looking for jams and jellies because the ones without high fructose corn syrup often have apple pectin in them.

Diagnosis
I think the big kicker is all the work it took to get this diagnosis. There weren’t the digestive problems often associated with Celiac’s and there weren’t any anaphylactic type symptoms associated with allergies. My friend took her daughter to doctors ranging from the pediatrician to an ENT to allergists, and no one ever mentioned Celiac’s until she demanded a full blood work up. Her daughter had terribly sensitive skin and was constantly itching with eczema and other rashes. She had strep throat and ear infections one after the other. And the doctors simply wrote it off as a peanut allergy and a weaker immune system. No, her mom said, I want more!

One thing she couldn’t get over is how she had expressed her concern over the skin issues to all of the doctors and no one made any connections. Even the allergist said it was not related to anything; it was something all on its own! Not only is irritable, rashy skin a sign of Celiac Diesease, but also a sign of food allergies. He never mentioned the soy or corn or any other foods, he solely focused on peanuts.

I think what we can take from this is that we must use our instincts. Whether it is a condition regarding allergies or something beyond allergies, go with your gut. Get the answers you need and don’t settle for the standard answers if you don’t feel it’s applicable to you or your family.

Diet Changes
So now my friend is busy reading, researching and discovering all she can to manage Celiac’s and the allergies. One or the other is difficult enough, but combine them and the food choices become very limited. She has to read labels and become versed in all the ingredient speak and different names for gluten, soy and corn.

One thing we did talk about is how clean the family’s diet will become. Once you start reading labels you learn how many foods have way more processing then then need and way more additives than necessary. She has looked into phone apps, cookbooks and blogs to find the best recipes and diets for her daughter and family.

From this, we need to take in that there is a way to cope. Whether it is Celiac’s or a food allergy, you cope and adjust and you move along. It is a challenge life gives us, but there is only one alternative and that is to empower ourselves and children and go from there.

No matter how scary a diagnosis of Celiac’s or a food allergy may be, it is better to know than wonder what is making you or your child sick. Once the diagnosis is there, the diet can be adjusted and modified. It takes a lot of learning and managing and dictating, but it can be done.

2 Comments »

Debbie:

I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease last summer after having stomach problems for 40 years. Then I discovered I was allergic to corn and soy, probably because of having a “leaky gut” for many years. It is very difficult to find safe foods as I am very sensitive to anything that has any type of gluten, corn or soy. It is challenging and very time consuming to eat a varied diet, as even a lot of vegetables and fruit from the grocery store are not safe. I spend a lot of time doing research and reading labels, and there are so very few foods and brands I can eat. I rarely eat out as there is not much I can have at a restaurant. It has really changed my life. I feel better except when I accidentally get some gluten, corn or soy in me and then I am sick for days. I had to switch soaps, detergent, etc. as well. The corn issue is definitely the most difficult as it is in so many products, or foods are processed with a corn ingredient. The corn industry has definitely taken over the food and personal products industry. It’s also in almost all medicines and vitamins, so I had to get medications compounded.

March 19th, 2012 | 3:45 pm
Donnie:

I have Celiac and I’m allergic to corn, sulfites, onion/garlic, mustard/radish/canola, and more. I have to avoid soy because of my Hashimoto’s thyroid disease. Gluten free food products, and most other food products are loaded with corn and sulfites, and so that really limits my diet. And so many products contain onion or garlic, too. Doesn’t leave me many food choices, when corn and sulfites are used for processing and packaging aids for fresh foods, and not labeled to warn me. Corn allergy is ignored by the powers that be, even though it is quite common.

April 13th, 2012 | 9:25 am
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