In May 2013 I discovered that I had coeliac disease.
As defined on Coeliac Australia, “People with coeliac disease (pronounced ‘seel-ee-ak’ and spelt celiac in some countries) the immune system reacts abnormally to gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats), causing small bowel damage.
After a year of feeling unwell and constantly getting sick I decided to consult my doctor. She decided to do a blood test (coeliac serology) to check, amongst many things, my antibody levels. An untreated coeliac typically has above the normal antibody range as your body reacts to gluten intake.
My doctor called to explain my antibody levels were off the charts and predicted it was coeliac disease. From here, a diagnosis requires a small bowel biopsy (camera down the throat and into your bowel). The small bowel biopsy will provide evidence of villi damage. The villi, which lines the bowel is where the fun happens! For untreated coeliacs, the villi becomes inflamed and flattened – “villous atrophy”. An inflamed and flattened villi reduces the surface area of the bowel for nutrient absorption. Often this damage isn’t visible to the naked eye so they take some samples for further observation. In my case, my gastroenterologist came over after and explained that I had the textbook appearance of coeliac disease. Goodbye gluten.
Since my diagnosis I have developed an obsessive tendency to seek out all things gluten free. This originated from a need to replace favourite foods and has evolved to perpetual gluten free research. Overtime amongst searching the web and Sydney, I have stumbled upon great information, recipes, places to eat and shop but I have been disappointed to see that a lot of this knowledge isn’t shared online.
So I have decided to solve my own problem and to share my knowledge.