Whether you are just recently diagnosed with celiac disease or you’ve been living with it for years, it’s never too late to learn a few new tricks that can help you take better care of your body, your wallet, and even your sanity.
Celiac Disease Isn’t An Allergy
An allergy is defined as a damaging immune response by the body to a substance to which it has become hypersensitive.
Many people believe, assume, or are even told that Celiac Disease is an allergy – specifically an allergy to gluten – but that isn’t true.
Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease – a disease in which the body produces antibodies that attack it’s own healthy cells, tissues, and organs, typically leading to deterioration or destruction of such.
In the case of Celiac Disease, this deterioration occurs when gluten is ingested and damage is caused to the small intestine. This damage leads to a variety of issues such as malnutrition, intestinal pain, and digestion problems, or long-term consequences such as infertility, seizures, and cancer – unlike allergies, which inflict immediate, short-term responses from the body.
A Gluten-Free Diet Is The Only Treatment
While it is unfortunate, the only true treatment for those affected by Celiac Disease is to follow a strict gluten-free diet.
Following such a diet will typically ease one’s symptoms, help the body promote the healing of existing damage within the intestines, and will prevent more damage from occurring.
Luckily for those of you affected, more and more food companies and restaurants are beginning to produce and offer gluten-free options as Celiac Disease becomes more recognized.
You Can Claim Gluten-Free Food Expenses at Tax Time
Yes, you read that right.
It’s no surprise that maintaining a gluten-free diet can be quite costly, especially if you are purchasing specialty foods such as gluten-free baking ingredients, premade items, etc. – but worry not! You may be able to claim gluten-free food as medical expenses on your taxes!
First you will need to determine if your household will properly qualify for the tax credit used to claim GF foods as a medical expense. If you do qualify, your next step (after doing a celebratory dance) is to figure out how to properly calculate your expenses, which you will then report to the CRA when you file your income taxes – and don’t forget to document everything (this means keep your receipts, people!).
Celiac Support Groups are a Thing!
As with any diagnoses, learning that you have Celiac Disease can be upsetting, daunting, and confusing.
A great way to come to terms with your diagnoses, better educate yourself, and simply surround yourself with others who are experiencing the same thing as yourself is to join a celiac support group!
There are most likely support groups in your city, but if there are not (if you live in a rural are perhaps) there are also a variety of forums and support groups available online that you can turn to for help, information, mentoring, etc.
Celiac Disease isn’t something that anyone wishes upon themselves, but with the proper education and care you can still live and eat as happily as ever.