Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Celiac Diagnosis: A Gluten-Free Road

It's not new information to me as I was diagnosed maybe three weeks ago (just prior to my two week vacation sojourn to Maui), but I've decided to actually start doing something about the diagnosis I received of Celiac Disease. For lack of anywhere particularly better to do so, me thinks I'll use this blog to help me keep track of information and what not...


I went to see my very nice doctor at Kaiser and told her that I've lost probably 10 pounds over the last few months for no apparent reason. Some additional background is that maybe seven years ago I lost close to 20 pounds in a few months for no apparent reason. At the time, doctors didn't come up with anything wrong and my weight stabilized, but this time lab test results from aforementioned nice current doctor came back as... Celiac positive.

Celiac basically means you have an intolerance towards the dietary item gluten and having said gluten in your system if have Celiac can lead to bad stuff. Where it manifested in myself is the effect of the body having a difficult time absorbing nutrients, which leads to weight loss. Unactioned Celiac disease over time damages the small intestine and can lead to real bad stuff. However, most of what I've read to date says that the one and only current action if you have Celiac is pretty effective in getting the body working right. That one and only current action... trying to cut out glutens as much as possible from your diet.

Before I get to the whole gluten-free diet thing, I do have both a few higher-level Celiac Disease type questions I'll likely need to run by my doctor and wanted to list some of the Celiac resources I've found online.

Open Celiac Questions

1. I've read that Celiac can basically lie dormant and then be triggered by unrelated viruses or other sorta random stuff... so, is there a way to tell how long I've either had it active or dormant?

2. Is there a way to tell if it's done damage to the body... particularly damage that could be counteracted some way other than just through a gluten-free diet?

3. Do I really truly for sure have Celiac? Could it be a false positive?

Celiac Resources


2. A search for "U497" on the Kaiser Permanente website (which is this Kaiser link if it works)

3. The Facebook group "Celiac Disease Support Group"

4. Anything I can find by my two favorite celebrity doctors Mehmet Oz (how could Oprah possibly be wrong?) or Andrew Weil (link to Celiac on his site here)

Gluten-Free Diet Resources

* fair amount of import here given that cutting out glutens appears to be the only way to improve any Celiac related maladies (some new proposed vaccine in Australia that "might" be available years from now notwithstanding)

- Trader Joe's: They publish a helpful list of gluten-free items which you can get in any store. Even more helpful, though, is the products that actually say "gluten-free" on either the packaging or cute little TJ signage. Wish that labelling signage was more prevalent.

- Whole Foods: I've heard they're good and expect that to be the case. With stuff costing that much, I would hope for the higher level of help.

- Sprout's: Had this recommended... not sure if there are any around the Bay Area.

- Fast Food: Some quick looking on the sites of my more frequently visited fast-food places reveals... most don't care. McDonald's, Burger King, Panda Express: you're outta luck finding gluten-free stuff. Taco Bell... there's a few things that are ok, not many, but a few.

Ahh... good times. Well, at least it sounds sorta romantic to refer to "my disease"... and good that it's something that can actually be dealt with. I'd really hate to be that person who has a health problem and is too stubborn or dumb to do anything about it.