Ask the Celiac Dietitian – Selena De Vries, RD
“It’s been two years since I went gluten free but my energy levels are decreasing even though all my lab results are within normal.”
My diagnosis inspired me to become a Registered Dietitian who specializes in supporting celiacs. I am here to help!
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Attend Selena’s ‘Talk on Gluten-Free Travel‘ Wednesday, April 26 in Kelowna, BC
For those of us who experience digestive health concerns, we are familiar with ups and downs in our energy levels. If we’ve been diagnosed with celiac disease, removing gluten was supposed to be the answer to restoring our health. But, what happens if we still feel unwell? There are multiple factors that can effect how we feel, ones that are very commonly overlooked.
Tips & Strategies to Consider If You Still Feel Unwell
Date of celiac diagnosis:
Typically, a newly diagnosed celiac will start feeling better within the first month on the gluten free diet. However, the villi, fingerlike projections that line your small intestine that absorb vitamins and minerals, can take up to 3-18 months to heal on the gluten free diet. So, if you are still feeling unwell one year into your diagnosis, it may be that your villi haven’t had the full time to heal.
Ensuring gluten is 100 percent out of the diet, consistently:
This is by far the most common reason why a celiac does not feel better. Gluten is a sneaky, sneaky protein and can hide out in spots completely unbeknownst to you. This is why it is extremely to important to meet with a dietitian with expertise in the gluten free diet upon diagnosis.
Common items that I see in my practice that may result in gluten cross contamination include purchasing GF grains and their products, lentils and seeds without a ‘gluten free’ claim, eating out without asking the correct questions on preparation methods, and purchasing from bulk food bins.
Vitamin, mineral and additional health condition status:
It is quite common for celiacs to be deficient in certain vitamins and minerals because of the damage done in the small intestine where absorption occurs.
Those relating to fatigue would include iron status, Vitamin B12 status, and folate status. Additional health conditions that could contribute to fatigue include thyroid function and blood sugar status. In addition, zinc and copper status can effect immunity. Sometimes, these aren’t all considered and a Registered Dietitian may need to advocate for testing on your behalf.
For the last two strategies, click to read more!
Do you have a question for Selena? Leave a comment at the bottom of the page or click here.
Living in the Okanagan or anywhere in British Columbia? View Selena’s services or book an appointment!
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- “I contacted Selena when I still wasn’t feeling well a year after my celiac diagnosis. I’d read so much on the Internet I thought I knew everything I needed to know. I was wrong.
- Selena has important advice on how to do GF properly (it’s not as straightforward as I thought) and for regaining your health. She is organized, punctual, and professional. And she has celiac disease herself , so she gets it.
- I think a lot of us, by the time we’re diagnosed, have had more than our share of health care practitioners and may not want to bother with a dietitian.
- Selena played a crucial role in my recovery, and I would highly recommend her, whether you’re newly diagnosed or just trying to feel better.”
- ~ Charlene (long-distance celiac disease client)
- HEALTHBEAN NUTRITION specializes in digestive health. We deliver easy to digest, bite-size pieces of information so our clients can, finally, achieve the healthy & happy digestive system they’ve been striving for. Learn more ...
- HEALTHBEAN PHILOSOPHY– Selena employs elimination diets and/or a specific diets in accordance with her clients’ conditions, and only when deemed necessary. She reserves advice about the gluten-free diet for those who require it – not those choosing to follow the diet as a lifestyle choice. Expect clear, concise instructions on the appropriate diet for you and, maybe even some myth busting! Learn more …
Selena knows first-hand how her undiagnosed celiac disease affected her physical and emotional health. After telling her that, “Well, you have celiac disease,” her MD suggested she, “google the diet,” and out the door she went. Sound familiar?
That’s why Selena established Healthbean Nutrition. She is dedicating her education, personal insights and her own recovery to helping her fellow celiacs make this enormous lifestyle transition – and find joy in eating again! Learn more …
Selena’s Road to Diagnosis
- “When I was going through university, I was exhausted, ALL the time. I had to drag myself out to hang out with friends, and if I had it my way I would have spent most days in bed sleeping. It was not unknown for me to sleep 12-16 hours a day. Call me crazy, but I related it all to the busy-ness of school. I was even checked for anemia at one point (common with celiacs) and I was ‘fine.’
- The symptoms continued through school and the brain fog was undeniable. I distinctly remember during my dietetic internship (like a medical residency except everything is nutrition based) at Kelowna General Hospital sitting in the office, charting on a patient and, literally, feeling like my brain was so fuzzy that I could barely keep my eyes from nodding off. It was awful.
- Another thing I didn’t pay much attention to, was bowels. I was always constipated. Never the other way around. Never. And, I also remember mentioning this to my gastroenterologist just before the endoscopy and he said ‘oh, well with your very low antibody levels and constipation, there is a very low chance that you are actually celiac but we will proceed with the endoscopy since you’re prepped and ready to go.’
- The piece of paper I received after the endoscopy said to follow up with my GP. I did follow up with my GP and the report came back positive for celiac disease. My GP said “well, you’re celiac. But, you’re a dietitian, right, so this should be easy for you!”
- Perhaps I had a leg up in the nutrition part of it, but I think we all know that the gluten free diet is not a walk in the park. And, although, I am so appreciative of the medical care I received, it did open my eyes to the lack of knowledge within the medical community when it came to celiac disease and the lack of support offered to individuals with celiac disease.
That’s how Healthbean Nutrition was born!
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- *Information and perspectives posted on The Celiac Scene are intended to provide general information, without independent verification on the part of The Celiac Scene for the accuracy of the information provided to it. The information is specifically not intended to be a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment by your physician or other health care professional. Always consult your own physician or other health care professionals about any medical questions, diagnosis, or treatment, especially before trying any diet. Healthbean Nutrition does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on any content contained herein.