I’m proud to be taking part in Coeliac UK’s #ShineALightOnCoeliac campaign as part of Coeliac Awareness Week this week.
Coeliac UK are challenging the coeliac community to get involved and help raise £50,000 to ensure that no child is left out because they’re gluten free. This is a cause very close to my heart because, as regular viewers will know, I was diagnosed with coeliac disease as a baby. It can be tricky growing up gluten free, but thankfully Coeliac UK provide unparalleled support and information to keep our community safe and well.
Coeliac disease is a lifelong autoimmune disease caused by a reaction to gluten. Symptoms include a range of altogether unpleasant phenomena such as vomiting, bloating, diarrhoea, nausea and fatigue.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. When someone with coeliac disease eats gluten, their immune system reacts by damaging the lining of the small intestine. It’s estimated that one in 100 people in the UK have coeliac disease and, once diagnosed, the only treatment is a gluten free diet.
Having lived with coeliac disease for nearly 30 years, it’s something which is a big part of who I am and I’m proud of how I’ve turned it in to a positive. In my spare time I run this blog and Instragram account to help raise awareness and share my tips, experiences and recipe ideas.
While people these days are more familiar with the term ‘gluten free’, there is still a lot of misunderstanding around coeliac disease. For those diagnosed with coeliac disease, food needs to be 100% free from gluten for it to be safe to eat. Even one crumb of gluten is enough to damage the gut and cause all of the lovely symptoms mentioned previously. It’s for this reason that I try to get involved as much as possible with schemes such as #ShineALightOnCoeliac to raise awareness and improve understanding.
As part of awareness week, Coeliac UK are challenging people to take part in a 50-themed challenge to help raise £50,000 to carry on their vital research and support. I’m therefore challenging myself to complete 50 minutes of exercise per day. This may not sound like a lot but I’ve found it tricky to be motivated to exercise this lockdown, so it’ll be good to push myself to get moving!
Find out more about the campaign at www.coeliac.org.uk/shinealight, and give me a follow over on Instagram (@thecoeliacman) to see how I get on with my challenge!