So far, we have been really lucky that we haven’t had any allergies in our household. Obviously, we haven’t started weaning Elizabeth yet, but she’s not shown any signs of being intolerant to anything, and with being breastfed, I’m hoping that will have helped prevent any potential allergies or intolerances. Of course, that’s no guarantee, however! Allergies and food intolerances are something that I’m pretty ignorant about, if I’m honest because it isn’t something that we have had to think about. I had a milk allergy as a child, which thankfully, I grew out of by the time I was a toddler. I do have friends with children with quite severe allergies or intolerances to particular food groups, and it is something that I want to learn more about in 2020.
One of my friends has coeliac disease, which sounds pretty awful. She has to avoid all foods containing gluten, which is rather a long list. She can’t eat standard pasta or bread, amongst lots of other things, which I thought must be really difficult. I’d really struggle with that because my lunches are one or the other. However, the one good thing is that the world is becoming more aware of these issues, and are doing what they can to create alternatives. Supermarkets have a whole range of products free from particular ingredients, and Panasonic have their own gluten free bread recipes, so you can make your own at home in a breadmaker.
What I didn’t realize about people who have to follow a gluten-free diet is that even the tiniest bit of gluten can make them really poorly. Cross-contamination from using the same kitchen equipment can cause serious issues.
What are the signs of an intolerance to gluten?
Most people wonder if they have coeliac disease or a gluten intolerance because of gastrointestinal symptoms like gassiness, diarrhoea, constipation or excessive bloating. However, sometimes it is not quite so obvious and can include symptoms such as:
- Digestive issues
- Fatigue, especially after eating food containing gluten
- Frequent headaches, migraines, dizziness or seizures
- Iron deficiency and anaemia
- Depression and anxiety
- Missed periods
- Fertility issues
- Skin rash
- Tingling or numbness in hands and/or feet
- Bone and joint pain
I hadn’t realised that things like bone pain could be a symptom of it, but coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease, so it is always worth keeping an eye on any suspicious symptoms.
Now that I know more about gluten intolerances and the diets that anyone who is unlucky enough to suffer from this has to follow, the more I realise how lucky I am to be able to pick up any food off the shelf in the supermarket and eat it without worry. However, it does seem that more and more places are catering for this dietary need, which can only be a good thing.