Coeliac Disease – What is it?

I’ve been posting healthy, gluten free recipes on my blog/social media channels for around 2 months now but I haven’t really explained how Oat So Delicious came about. I obviously have a love of breakfast food and baking healthy recipes and oats are a massive part of my diet, I don’t think I could live without porridge most days!


I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease October 2014, at the start of my 3rd year of uni and I couldn’t of been happier at the diagnosis! I actually found out the results on the first date with my boyfriend – that was a conversation starter!

As many people who have Coeliac Disease will know, the average time it takes to be diagnosed is 13 years, so my 6 months of symptoms, pain and unease was in fact very short. None the less, having the solid proof of what was happening to me was exactly what I wanted to hear and stopped me from the path of self diagnosis and worry (I was adamant I was lactose intolerant and had IBS before being finally diagnosed as Coeliac).

I’ve been extremely lucky with adapting to this new lifestyle, as I decided to change my diet and eat healthier around a year before I was diagnosed (freshers 15 anyone?) This meant that I had already cut down on bread, pasta, cakes etc and started to eat more greens and generally look after myself. Although I didn’t know at the time, this was the best decision to make as the transition from a gluten to gluten free lifestyle was easy peasy!


So after me rambling on a bit, I still haven’t really explained what Coeliac Disease is. It’s an autoimmune disease that affects the small intestine and stops you from absorbing nutrients. This is why most un-diagnosed Coeliacs are underweight, because they don’t get the full nutrients needed and become malnourished. Coeliac disease is caused by an adverse reaction to gluten – a dietary protein found in three types of cereal:

  • wheat
  • barley
  • rye

Symptoms can range from abdominal pain, diarrhoea, bloating, indigestion – the list goes on! Fatigue, lack of iron and weight loss are more general symptoms, but it affects each person differently. There’s also the dreaded ‘Silent Coeliac’, where the person doesn’t get any outward symptoms but still has the internal damage – this means their diagnosis is much harder to identify and it also becomes much harder to know if you’ve been glutened by mistake!

FYI Coeliac Disease isn’t an allergy or intolerance – I don’t get an allergic reaction (although it may feel like it!) It’s an autoimmune disease which is much more serious and can have serious consequences if not diagnosed.


So why oats? Oats is a bit of a funny topic amongst Coeliacs – although oats themselves are naturally gluten free, most standard oats are produced in the same place as wheat, barley and rye, which makes them unsafe for anyone with Coeliac Disease. Therefore because of the cross-contamination risk, it’s only safe for Coeliacs to eat 100% certified gluten free oats. They also contain Avenin which is a protein similar to gluten, therefore a small percentage of Coeliacs can still have a reaction to gluten free oats. Luckily for me they’re are completely fine, otherwise this blog would be pretty pointless!

I hope this makes Coeliac Disease a little bit easier to understand – I’ll be posting a little series about my diagnosis, restaurants I’ve been to and how I live with this lifestyle. I’d love to hear about your experience with Coeliac Disease, or any family members/friends who have it! I’m a firm believer that a gluten free diet can be just as exciting as a normal diet – if anyone is newly diagnosed and unsure about this new lifestyle, send me a message and I’m sure I can change your mind!

Sophie x

6 thoughts on “Coeliac Disease – What is it?

  1. Getting diagnosed takes finding the right medical support. Since shortly after my daughter’s birth, there were problems. The medical establishment kept telling the young mother to read books on child care, she was not my first and the other two were fine. I was worn out not to mention how my daughter suffered. At three and a half years old, she weighed sixteen pounds and had a huge swollen belly. As the newest doctor, to us, started once again with the same spiel, I handed him my daughter, both of us in tears, and said then you take care of her because obviously you tell me I cannot. She was transferred to another hospital where a small bowel biopsy was done. Well imagine, I was given the diagnosis of Coeliac. Unfortunately, little information was offered so this young single mom was on her own. Fortunately I found some knowledgeable people at a nearby organic store. Someone handed me a large book, soon to be my bible, on preparing gluten free foods. Within six months, she was a different child and while the regime of preparing two meals three times a day can be time consuming and stressful, it doesn’t compare to what it is like to watch your child suffer and to be helpless.
    That was a few decades ago. Today she is a pre-school teacher and gluten-free. Thank you for sharing your journey.


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