Coeliac vs gluten-intolerant

OK, so I have been blogging for a few months now, offering my opinion on all things gluten-free and some things not! In recent times, I have come to realise that there is a HUGE difference to being gluten intolerant and being coeliac.

I am gluten-intolerant, which is to say that I can eat gluten, but the result tends to be nasty eczema and my skin reacts very badly. But I can eat gluten and it doesn’t make me sick, or as far as I know damage any of my internal workings. Having coeliac disease is a very different thing.

Wikipedia, the source of all information, defines coeliac disease as:

Coeliac disease (play /ˈsli.æk/; spelled celiac disease in North America[1] and often celiac sprue), is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that occurs in genetically predisposed people of all ages from middle infancy onward. Symptoms include chronic diarrhoea, failure to thrive (in children), and fatigue, but these may be absent, and symptoms in other organ systems have been described.

When you’re gluten intolerant, there are things that you can tolerate – for instance, if your chips are cooked in the same deep fryer as someone’s battered fish which contains gluten, it’s not especially a problem. A little bit of malt vinegar in sushi? Not an issue. The odd bit of soy sauce in teriyaki marinade can certainly be tolerated. If you have coeliac disease, none of these things are a good idea.

When I review a restaurant, cafe or food item, I am not checking to see if they have any cross-contamination procedures in place in their kitchen. All I am looking for is the absence of gluten in their menu items. I have come to realise that this is not especially responsible on my part. So in future, if I haven’t checked for cross-contamination, I will make a specific note of this in my review or post.  And this is probably also a good place to state that I am not a medical practitioner.  So any opinions I offer are just that – opinions. I do my best to find out everything I can, but if you are an especially sensitive coeliac, I strongly stress that you do some additional checking on your own!

For those of you who are just gluten intolerant, feel free to take my words as gospel 🙂

Happy and safe eating!

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