Why are there more celiacs now?

In today's Globe and Mail, Paul Taylor wrote about Celiac disease being 4.5 times more common now than it was 50 years ago. (The findings came from the journal Gastroenterology.)

I feel like I know quite a few more celiacs than people from my parents' generation did: A., E.L. and my friend's mom.

Most people are aware that Celiac disease involves a body's aversion from gluten, found in wheat, barley and rye. Say goodbye to beer and all bread and pasta unless it's made of rice. You can't eat a lot of prepared foods like soup, TVP, cookies or pastries- even some chocolates. Gluten can also be found in drugstore medicines, vitamins and lip balms.

Gluten is the trigger for the immune system to destroy villi, thereby damaging the small intestine and diminishing the body's ability to intake nutrients.

So what has changed? Why are there more celiacs today?

It's probably what you would think. Some doctors believe that our intake of processed food is having adverse effects on our bodies and the bodies we pass on to our children. Writing about this makes me want to heave back a handful of blueberries to antioxidize evil toxins.

This one goes out to all the celiacs in the house.

Avocado Dressing

flesh of 1 medium avocado
1 1/2 cups nonfat buttermilk
1 tbsp mayonnaise or one egg yolk
1 squirt of anchovy paste (optional)
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tbsp Italian parsley
2 tbsp chives
finely grated zest of 1 medium lime
squirt of lime juice
drizzle of olive oil

Toss ingredients in a blender. Blend.

Eat tossed with watercress, arugula and white beans. Throw in raspberries if you wish. I wish.


  1. A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with some sort of sensitivity to wheat, not exactly an allergy and not exactly celiac either.

    Fortunately, there's a lot more awareness and gluten free products available for those with these conditions.

  2. J, thanks for your comment. I've heard of those wheat aversions. In fact, I feel like that's happening more often in general with different food products:kiwis, cucumber, lettuce, lactose, wheat...

    There's something happening with the way our food is treated before it gets to us. These allergies and sensitivities becoming more prevelent should be a warning sign that something is wrong and people's bodies are reacting.