Coeliac disease

Food is essential for the development and maintenance of the basic functions of our body. However, for these functions to be done properly it is necessary that, after digestion, there is a correct absorption of the nutrients. It turns out that some people can not tolerate certain foods, developing reactions that are more or less adverse. These intolerances can then have varying durations and can be manifested due to the intake of various food.

In the case of GLUTEN intolerance, if an immune response happens when it is ingested, even in minimal amounts, things become a little bit more complex... in this case we call it COELIAC DISEASE, an autoimmune and chronic disease (yes, it is forever - at least until a miracle happens in science :) ).

In a very simple way, whenever there is the intake of gluten, our body interprets as if it was a "foreign agent" (you can imagine a virus or a bacterium ... those ones that are very dangerous!!!) and produces antibodies in order to defend us from this "foreign agent". But, as this response is made in an exaggerated form, it ends up causing the destruction of the small intestine's walls, preventing the proper absorption of nutrients.

It is estimated that 1% of the population in Europe has coeliac disease, however many cases remain to be diagnosed.


Children - typical form 
  • Chronic diarrhea / constipation 
  • Abdominal distention 
  • Vomiting 
  • Stunted growth       
  • Weight loss / weight gain insufficient 
  • Mood swings / irritability 
 Adults - Atypical form
  • Anemia and recurrent thrush 
  • Bone pain and cramps 
  • Skin changes 
  • Chronic fatigue 
  • Decreased fertility / Miscarriages 
  • Behavior changes (depression / irritability)
It is important to point out that each case is unique and therefore not all people have the same symptoms.


If you have any of these symptoms and suspect you may have coeliac disease, you should immediately consult your GP in order to carry out the specific blood tests. In order to confirm the diagnosis it is also necessary to perform endoscopy, so possible intestinal changes can be detected directly.
Never start a gluten free diet without being recommended by your gastroenterologist before !! Doing so may alter the results, delaying and making the diagnosis more difficult!


Nowadays there's no cure for coeliac disease. The only treatment that is available is a gluten free diet for the rest of our lives!!

 But ... what is gluten ?!

Cereals have in their constitution, among other components, proteins that dissolve in water, such as albumins and globulins, but also proteins which are insoluble in water, gliadins and glutenins. These proteins are usually known as GLUTEN.

The gluten is then responsible for elasticity and viscosity of the dough.

Gluten can be found in wheat, barley, rye, malt, spelled, triticale (and derived cereals), and all foods produced from these cereals, such as bread, pasta, crackers, couscous, among others. In the case of oats there is still some controversy. Although, not causing the same effects as the other cereals, because they are planted in the same fields as the "dangerous" cereals, they become contaminated, not being safe to be eaten.

Ingredients to be avoided:
  • Starch from the prohibited cereals
  • Flours from the prohibited cereals
  • Modified starch from the prohibited cereals
  • Any food any is made with the prohibited cereals (bread, cakes, biscuits, malt vinegar, etc...)
  • E-14XX and E-5XX 
  • Malt syrup and malt extract
  • Beer
Now the best part ... What can we eat/drink?!
  • Fresh meat
  • Fresh fish
  • Vegetables 
  • Eggs
  • Fruit 
  • Rice 
  • Corn 
  • Mandioca
  • Tapioca 
  • Corn, tapioca and mandioca starch
  • Rice, corn and potato flour
  • Potato 
  • Milk
  • Natural yoghurt
  • Fresh cheese
  • Oils (Olive oil, etc..)
  • Water
  • Fresh juices
  • Wine
  • Processed food/drinks - if it is certified as being gluten free. (Pay attention to the labels, always read them!! - case of doubt, just DO NOT EAT IT!!)


The life of a coeliac person (or someone who, for other reasons, cannot eat any amount of gluten, no matter how small it is - as in the case of people who are allergic) involves having to always read the labels of the food. It is also necessary to take an extra care in the kitchen, especially when it is shared with people who are not in the same situation.

An obvious example - do not share the toaster! If you make a toast using your gluten free bread, when it gets in touch with the crumbs that are inside the toaster, it will no longer be gluten free and you will certainly have consequences.
Your gluten free food should remain separated from other to avoid cross contamination. Cutlery, dishes, etc., should also not be shared.

It is essential to avoid as much as possible any kind of cross contamination !!