Today is Friday the 13th, a day known for bad luck and superstitions. But this year it also happens to be National Celiac Awareness Day, which is dedicated to raising awareness about celiac disease, a severe and damaging gluten intolerance that can be bad news for people who have it.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which the body attacks and damages the digestive tract in response to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. It's a challenging disease, because gluten can lurk in countless foods and products (including cosmetics).
About 1 in 133 Americans has celiac disease, according to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, but 83% don't know it or have been misdiagnosed. The symptoms can range widely and include fatigue, diarrhea, bloating, infertility, constipation, joint pain, and more.
If you have celiac disease, avoiding gluten is the only way to keep your digestive tract free from damage. Although gluten-free diets are popular, many people avoid gluten for other reasons. Some may have gluten sensitivity, which is less severe than celiac disease, but can still cause bloating, diarrhea, and cramping. (Although some people go gluten free to lose weight, it probably won't work. Check out the 5 Worst Gluten-Free Mistakes.)
However, if you have gluten intolerance, you CAN have your cake and eat it too.
Here are 5 delicious gluten-free meals that you’ll love:
Shrimp and Snow Pea Sitr-Fry
Chocolate Olive Oil Cake
Chicken, White Bean, and Spinach Stew