Coeliac Diseasecubbassoup

Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disorder caused by the body reacting to gliadin; a prolamin gluten protein found in many of our basic foods, like wheat, barley, rye and oats. The villi, which resembles finger-like projections in the small intestine becomes flattened when gluten is consumed in someone with coeliac disease. Consequently, the nutrients in foods are not absorbed into the body's system like they should.

Symptoms of coeliac range from chronic tiredness, lethargy, headaches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, breathlessness, bloating and cramps. In babies this will not be apparent until solid foods are introduced to the diet.

There is no cure for this disease and a lifetime gluten free diet must be followed religiously. A broken diet can result in the further risks, for instance, osteoporosis. A continually broken diet can result in more serious conditions like anaemia and gut lymphoma.

Most supermarkets have their 'free from' range. Tesco's do have a large variety to choose from, and this includes a bread called Genius which tastes just like normal bread. You can freeze it and the bread will be as good once defrosted as if bought and consumed the same day. Mrs Crimbles would be a second choice; where gluten free bread from the supermarket shelf is bought. Marks and Spencers have gluten free sausages which are inexpensive and very tasty.

Sainsbury's have increased their choice of gluten free foods and their chilled sausages are something to really get your teeth into! Of course you will find gluten free foods in health food shops like Holland and Barrett but they can be expensive.

If you have been diagnosed try out - help line number 0845 305 2060 where you will find everything you want to know plus recipes, where to eat out and how to go about getting some foods on prescription. There is a yearly registration fee of around £20 but this is worth every penny. They supply a book of all the places you can buy gluten free foods from and keep you updated on their site with foods that are no longer suitable or new foods that are. If you want to cook books for gluten free receipes go to where you will find, for example, Phil Vickery's Seriously Good Gluten Free Cooking priced £11.73 or The Big Wheat and Gluten Free Cookbook by Jody Vassallo and Dianne Boyle £8.44. There are other choices on Amazon at very reasonable prices.

Don't let Coeliac disease get you down. I was diagnosed around five years ago and now I've sorted my diet out I'm fine. The only annoying thing is finding a suitable place to eat out in your own locality. I reside in Welwyn Garden City. On going out with some friends for dinner one evening the pasta restaurant Ask kindly cooked my pasta for me, and I enjoyed a really nice meal and didn't feel out of place. Believe it or not several of my friends wanted to taste my pasta just to see how different it was; they were surprised to find there was very little difference at all. You can buy your own pizza base and ask the chef to deliver the topping! This is especially important where the younger generation are concerned, because let's be honest eating out in aPizza hut is popular among young people. Of course all fresh meat, vegetables and fruit are gluten free in their naked form; no coatings unless gluten free.

There is plenty of information on the internet which delivers all the answers to those niggling questions about any kind of health problem.

At the end of the day a gluten free diet is on the menu for life, so might as well enjoy it.