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According to a recent study published in the journal Chronic Illness, women with celiac disease are more likely to report stress, depression and disordered eating, even if they are following a gluten-free diet.

The researchers found that women adhering to a gluten-free diet did experience greater vitality, lower stress, decreased depressive symptoms, and greater overall emotional health than those women not following the diet, but even so, they still experienced more stress, depression, and body dissatisfaction when compared to the general population.

Eating gluten-free, even in today’s world of readily available gluten-free fare, is a big adjustment, even when you have been eating gluten-free for years. Food becomes a central focus, rather than an afterthought. Everyday meal planning is required to be sure you have access to the right foods. Shopping at multiple grocery stores becomes the norm. Eating gluten-free creates a whole new way of life. This has the possibility of becoming stressful—and even alienating, depending on the company you keep.

But eating gluten-free—especially in those with celiac, but even in those who are gluten sensitive—is also a ticket to freedom for many people. Freedom from constant digestive issues with seemingly no solution, freedom from wondering, “What the heck is wrong with me?” and freedom from a downward health spiral that itself can cause more stress, dis-ease, and depression.

If you have celiac and you tend to get down about it, take a moment to think about what a gluten-free diet has given you, rather than what it has taken away. Sometimes a shift in perspective is all you need.

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Lactose intolerance is caused by a deficiency in lactase, the enzyme required to digest milk sugar. Symptoms include gas, bloating, diarrhea and cramping when dairy foods are consumed. People who suspect they are lactose intolerant can perform a self-test by eliminating dairy products from their diet for 10 days. If the symptoms disappear and again reappear with the reintroduction of dairy products in the diet, lactose intolerance is probably the explanation for the symptoms.

Take the Lactose Intolerance Self-Test

Print this page and answer the questions below.

1. Do you experience cramping and diarrhea 30 minutes to 2 hours after eating dairy products?

YES___ NO___ (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

2. Do you have uncomfortable gas and bloating after eating baked goods or dairy products?

YES___ NO___ (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

3. Do you experience nausea after eating?

YES___ NO___ (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

4. Do you suffer from headaches?

YES___ NO___ (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

5. Do you have persistent acne?

YES___ NO___ (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

6. Are you of Asian, African, Native American, Mexican or Mediterranean ancestry?

YES___ NO___ (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

7. Have you ever had inflammatory bowel conditions such as colitis, Crohn’s disease or IBS?

YES___ NO___ (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

8. Do you have celiac disease (gluten intolerance)?

YES___ NO___ (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

9. Do sugar alcohols such as sorbitol, xylitol or maltitol give you gas, bloating, cramping or diarrhea?

YES___ NO___ (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

10. Have you ever had parasites or a candida overgrowth?

YES___ NO___ (YES = 1 NO = 0) _____

TOTAL SCORE ______

(A score of 3 or higher indicates you may be Lactose Intolerant, but as always, ask your primary care physician.)

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‡These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The material on this page is for consumer informational and educational purposes only, under section 5 of DSHEA.

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