Gluten Free Guerrillas

Life is a Gluten Jungle for Coeliacs. We'd love your help to collaborate and campaign for a better GF future for us, our friends and families. Together we can share tips and encourage organisations to offer more GF services and products. Get involved today. Connect with us on Twitter & Facebook! PS: Want to contact us? We welcome ideas, guest bloggers, review requests & press releases. Drop us a line at glutenfreeguerrillas [at] gmail [dot] com or Tweet us!

Check us out on Pinterest!

Hello Tumblrs, 

We’ve been busy with lots of work rest and play and haven’t had time to blog for ages. So to make up for that we’ve finally managed to get our Pinterest Gluten Free Guerrillas account launched!

We’d love it if you hoped over and took a look. If you’ve spotted any great products or recipes we should Pin then let us know. We’re keen to make GF living a bit easier for all coeliacs, their friends and people who are gluten sensitive. 

More blogs to follow soon ; )

Until then - take care and avoid the gluten!

GFGs

PS: if you have a great Pinterest account tell us so we can follow you too!

Our Coeliac Question of the Week: Dr Rodney Ford answers…

 

****EXCLUSIVE****

Our Question of the week is answered by Dr. Rodney Ford!

A brief overview:

Dr Rodney Ford is well known amongst the Coeliac community and his medical peers as New Zealand’s expert Paediatric gatroenterologist, allergist and nutrition consultant. He is also a champion of Coeliac awareness and passionate advocate of gluten free living and penned the book ‘The Gluten Syndrome’.

Our question this week..
arose as we’ve had a lot of on-going queries on our Health Site HealthUnlocked and our facebook page ref neurological symptoms of Coeliac Disease. We all know that when we are diagnosed much focus is made by the medical profession on healing the gut through a strict gluten free diet so that we can digest foods properly again and regain our health. Yet as we know Coeliac Disease is an auto-immune disease not an allergy (despite what ill informed articles may sometimes say!). So like us you may be one of the many Coeliacs that had non-typical symptoms which eventually led to the correct diagnosis of Coeliac Disease e.g. via neurological symptoms like dizzyness, poor co-ordination, fatigue, foggy headedness, repeat headaches, cramps and muscle spasms. So it got us thinking about our nervous system and when this will recover. After all we know it can take years for our villi to recover and grow back in our gut yet what of our neurological symptoms - when will these get better?

So this week Gluten Free Guerrillas ask …

Q: When will my nerves get better?

Dr Rodney Ford answers…

A:

There is overwhelming evidence that gluten sensitivity affects the brain.  My research, and that of others, indicates that gluten sensitivity if predominantly a nerve and brain disease.
Ford RP. “The gluten syndrome: a neurological disease.” Med Hypotheses. 2009 Sep;73(3):438-40. Epub 2009 Apr 29.
Hadjivassiliou and colleagues, “Gluten sensitivity: from gut to brain.” Lancet Neurol. 2010 Mar;9(3):318-30.

The brain is connected to every cell in your body by nerve fibres.  Your brain sends nerve messages to all the organs of your body.  This delicate and extensive nerve network is called the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS).  It is responsible for the faultless function of all of your organs, including the whole length of your intestines.  For your gut, this means that when you eat something it gets swallowed, digested, broken down and passed out of your bottom end, all without you being aware of it other than the taste and the download.

However, when this process goes wrong you get to know about it.  You suffer from gut symptoms (the belching, gastric reflux, bloating, tummy pain, diarrhoea, constipation).  Other symptoms that gluten can cause, related to the brain and nerves, include: epilepsy, ataxia, headache and migraines, depression and psychosis … and also behaviour problems, attention deficit disorder (ADD), autism and irritability.

Similar to the gut healing story, the longer that the gluten-illness has lingered (with gluten provoking the symptoms), the slower you are going to recover.  The adult literature on nerve and brain disease caused by gluten is not good reading.  It shows that gluten-nerve-damage is often not reversible.  It is permanent: once the brain and nerves are damaged by gluten, it is difficult to heal them.

Fortunately for children, they bounce back much more quickly.  Some lose their irritability and headaches within a few weeks of going gluten free.  Many children diagnosed with attention deficit disorder on Ritalin, feel so much better on a gluten free diet that they can reduce and even stop their medication.  Children’s learning improves dramatically if gluten was interfering with their attention and behaviour.

Yes, there is overwhelming evidence that gluten can provoke many neurological and brain diseases.  I recommend that any person with any nerve/brain/mental/mood disorders should be tested for gluten sensitivity (using the IgG-gliadin antibody test – also known as AGA: Anti-Gliadin-Antibody).  The earlier the diagnosis can be made, the speedier the recovery.  If gluten has been allowed to cause neurological harm for decades, it becomes irreversible. Think about gluten-nerve damage and get testing today.

By Dr Rodney Ford, Author of The Gluten Syndrome

Thanks!

We’d like to thank Dr. Rodney Ford for answering our question and helping to widen the debate and awareness of Coeliac Disease for the gluten free community worldwide!

Discover more…

Dr Rodney Ford, Author of The Gluten Syndrome
Website: www.DrRodneyFord.com




News:

The Gluten Syndrome is now available as an eBook revised new edition, 2011 see:  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/58338

Be Coeliac Savvy and share this blog post:
As May is a big Coeliac / Celiac awareness month why not post a link to this post on your facebook wall profile and spread the word on Coeliac Disease?  Maybe you you have close relatives that don’t think they have the ‘typical’ stomach symptoms of Coeliac Disease? If so this blog post may help prompt them to have the Coeliac blood test you’ve been suggesting to assess if they may have undiagnosed Coeliac Disease.  Alternatively tweet the post and help spread awareness on twitter.

Want to quote us?
We’d love you to help us spread the word that a gluten free diet is for life for Coeliacs, no ‘ifs no buts’. However, although the saying goes that ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’ we’d really appreciate it if we collaborated together to raise gluten free awareness by you quoting us as the source of the article. We’ll promise to do the same. After all social media works best when we all play nicely online.

Cheers,

Gluten Free Guerrillas Team

PS Let us know what you’d like us to feature as one of our regular questions in future? 

Our Coeliac Question of the Week: Dr Rodney Ford answers…

****EXCLUSIVE****

Our Question of the week is answered by Dr. Rodney Ford!

A brief overview:

Dr Rodney Ford is well known amongst the Coeliac community and his medical peers as New Zealand’s expert Paediatric gatroenterologist, allergist and nutrition consultant. He is also a champion of Coeliac awareness and passionate advocate of gluten free living and penned the book ‘The Gluten Syndrome’.

Gluten Free Guerrillas ask …

Q: When will my bowel recover?

Dr Rodney Ford answers…

A:

Coeliac disease is defined as,
‘small bowel mucosal damage, which is reversible on a gluten free diet, in genetically predisposed people (who carrying the DQ2/DQ8 HLA gene)’.

Gluten can trigger your body’s immune response that can then go onto cause this tissue gut damage.  However, this damage is slowly progressive: the longer you have been eating gluten, the worse the damage.  Of course, when you have this gluten-gut-damage, you do not absorb your food nutrients very well, and this leads to many other health problems. But, with any on-going gluten ingestion, the gut damage is perpetuated.


The good news is that as soon as gluten is (completely) removed from your diet, the bowel at last has a chance to recover.  In children, who have had a shorter time of gluten exposure, their bowel usually recovers very quickly (within weeks their symptoms go away, and within months their gut is completely normal).  It is rare for a child to not have complete gut recovery.

The bad news is that as we get older, and have had this gluten assault for a lot longer, our gut damage can be more severe and more extensive. Consequently, you can take a lot longer to get better.  You might take weeks and months to begin to feel better and sometimes it takes years for the gut to fully restore to normal.


Of course, if you still eat small amounts of gluten, or your diet is not scrupulously purged of gluten, then this small amount of gluten-toxicity can keep causing you ongoing damage to your gut (and other organs, especially nerves and brain).


To check if your gut has properly healed, you can either have second endoscopy (which is often scheduled about a year after you have started a gluten free diet), or you can see whether or not the tissue-damage-markers (tTG, DGP, and EMA) are coming down. There is a good correlation between blood test results and endoscopy.


The lesson from this: diagnose coeliac disease as early as possible, and once diagnosed remain strictly gluten free without exception, lifelong.  If you have ongoing gut disease and ongoing symptoms, there may be other things going on and you may need to have other strategies to help gut healing.

By Dr Rodney Ford, Author of The Gluten Syndrome

Thanks!

We’d like to thank Dr. Rodney Ford for answering our question and helping to widen the debate and awareness of Coeliac Disease for the gluten free community worldwide!

Discover more…

Dr Rodney Ford, Author of The Gluten Syndrome
Website: www.DrRodneyFord.com


News:

The Gluten Syndrome is now available as an eBook (only $4.99) revised new edition, 2011 see:  http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/58338



Want to quote us?
We’d love you to help us spread the word that a gluten free diet is for life for Coeliacs, no ‘ifs no buts’. Especially given the recent outcry and OFCOM complaint about BBC One’s Saturday Kitchen show..view our blog posts here. However, although the saying goes that ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery’ we’d really appreciate it if we collaborated together to raise gluten free awareness by you quoting us as the source of the article. We’ll promise to do the same. After all social media works best when we all play nicely online.

Cheers,

Gluten Free Guerrillas Team

PS Let us know what you’d like us to feature as one of our regular questions in future? 

Follow us on Facebook!

Hello Tumblr followers and bloggers.

Just a quick note from our jungle tree house to say don’t forget to follow us on Facebook http://facebook.com/glutenfreeguerrillas or on our sister health site http://glutenfreeguerrillas.healthunlocked.com/ for lots of lively debates and tips on living life gluten free. We welcome Coeliacs, Celiacs and people with gluten sensitivities. So don’t be shy pop by and say ‘hi’. We’re also on twitter for real time updates and musings just click here.

We like to connect so if you’ve got a great blog, group or twitter account and we’ve not followed you back yet just say ‘hello’ and list your site as a comment below.

Coeliac Christmas survival: How to eat out

Whether you are a newbie Coeliac or an old hand at gluten free living Christmas can be daunting. There’s a whirl of parties and business meals to wade through. Pre-Coeliac you probably looked forward to this time of year with carefree drinking, eating and being merry. Yet post-Coeliac diagnosis life at celebration time can be daunting, especially if you are a newbie Coeliac and this is your first Christmas gluten free. It can feel you’ve lost control on what you eat and how it’s prepared. 

How can you eat out at social gatherings and ensure you won’t be sick from that lunch meal you’ve paid so much for?  Will you just be loaded up with fruit and vegetables?  Will it be embarrassing to ask the waiter to double check the sauces are gluten free? Do they understand about cross contamination?

You mentally scan the menu looking for the possible gluten and cross contamination risk instead of what you’d like to eat like everyone else. House parties can be a minefield as well.  Should you bring your own food around to your mate’s house or chance that they’ve understood what gluten free means? 

You’re faced with a buffet..do you just opt for the obvious salad and veggie finger foods or just nibble on some rice cakes you’ve smuggled in with you just in case?

So…how can you keep your cool and enjoy a contamination meal with work colleagues or round at friends and family, who may not be as Coeliac savvy as you?

Well here’s some tried and tested Gluten Free Guerrilla team tips. They’re all based on our personal experience so we’d love you to join in and add your hints and tips as well. We hope they make celebration time a little simpler so that you can forget you have Coeliac Disease and just enjoy socialising with family and friends without feeling like the odd one out.

Meals Out: ‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’

Dull but true..we’ve found that having Coeliac Disease makes planners out of the most spontaneous of us!  Like creating a great project the best way of ensuring you have fun and safe eating out experience is to plan, plan, plan. So here’s our personal top tips….

  1. Make friends with the event organiser
    - let them know your requirements - email them your food restrictions (which should mean less is lost in translation as they can forward onto the restaurant)- you may want to offer to liaise with the restaurant directly - this may seem like more hassle in the short term, yet if you talk/ email the restaurant manager you have more chance of being able to explain what you need and establishing a good rapport with them
  2. Do your research
    -get the set menu off the website/ company/ office organiser. Read it and note anything that may have:

    a sauce, coating, be mass produced, cooked in contaminated oil or water, and use this to discuss with the venue manager. Then you can be sure your specific queries have been answered well in advance
  3. Catch them at the right time
    -try and avoid the big meal for fri/ sat nights at busy Christmas time. Hard we know - yet these times will be harder to check details on the day etc vs quieter mid week meals/ lunches.

    - offer to pop by at a quiet time and see the Catering / Mgr and discuss the menu. Often useful as you’ll have their full attention and they’ll understand your needs- ask if you can bring your own GF bread or bread sticks so you won’t feel left out at the starter time
  4. Educate
    -the party planner or restaurant mgr in a humble way so they are clear that Coeliac disease is more than just not eating bread- rather than say I’m allergic to wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelt etc focus on what they need to know e.g. I can’t eat anything that contains wheat, flour, or any grains etc. Try and talk in cooking language rather than ‘Coeliac speak’.

    Once they understand that explain that there is also an issue ref cross contamination as CD is an immune problem which means that a and that a breadcrumb can make you ill or using the same utensils or oil or water for cooking your dishes could make your very ill and sick in the restaurant. *often restaurants will be nervous in case Coeliacs are sick or complain if they are contaminated.

    They may say they can’t 100% guarantee your meal is gluten free. In which case you will gauge from the discussion with the venue as to whether they
    a) understand your needs b) are covering themselves legally.
    Often places will say this as it’s company policy and you can eat out safely.

    Yet if you feel they don’t understand or they’re not able to avoid cross contamination in the kitchen area eg if they make products with lots of flour flying around then you maybe wise to avoid eating at such a venue. Only you can decide and take that decision.
  5. Sell the positives
    - if they can check the stock is gluten free, oil used for your food, pans, grill etc are clean there should be no problems- eating gluten free is actually eating healthy well made (less processed) food, so most good restaurants ‘get this’ and can adapt their menus or point out the best choices for you- explain that you’re very loyal to places that do cater for Coeliacs and often you’ll bring your family and friends so they will get repeat business
    *from a catering perspective catering for Coeliacs can seem like a hassle at a busy Christmas period

    - you are an ambassador for all Coeliacs when you speak with a venue. So be understanding, be assertive and recommend them to other Coeliacs if they do a great job.
  6. Ask to see the Mgr
    - on the day ask to see the Mgr or ring ahead to check everything is order- it’s not being fussy as your health is at risk
    - don’t expect all the waiting staff to understand what gluten free means or have been trained in it. Staff turnover is high in retail and catering and with many Xmas temps it can be hard to standardize training.
    - it can seem embarrassing to double check things esp if you are out for a business meal
    - so ring ahead or ask to see the mgr when you arrive so you can discreetly check everything is ok
    - if they mess up on the day and you end up with a crutons/ bread roll etc on your plate (mistakes do happen!), then discreetly see the mgr and explain the issues and ask for a gluten free version again. Suffering politely or quietly fuming doesn’t get any of us far. It’s better to be safe than sorry and bring it to their attention.
  7. Thank and thank again
    - each time you eat out you are an ambassador for Coeliacs
    - remember to praise the catering team and tip well for great service
    - follow up with a nice short thank you note to the venue and head office (it’s only human that we tend to remember bad experieces more than good ones). Let’s change that and praise the chains and indy venues that cater for Coeliacs and go the extra mile
  8. Tell a Coeliac friend
    - had a great time?
    - then spread the word
    - if more venues see that there is a market for gluten free food then they will adapt their menus
    - so why not pass it on and let another Coeliac on the site or in your personal circle of friends know how good the venue was?

    Eating out at a friends/ family…coming soon….

    In the meantime don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. See you on the other side!