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Celiac and Gluten-Free Vocabulary List

504 Plan: An outline created by parents and school staff to ensure kids with celiac disease get the same treatment as everybody else, in spite of having a special diet. It is a protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Advocate: (noun) A person who publically supports a cause. (verb) Publically supporting a cause. By telling other kids about celiac disease, you can be an advocate (which means you’re advocating for celiac disease awareness)!

Antibody: A protein in your blood that is released in response to something in your body. There are lots of antibodies for lots of different things. When you have celiac disease, your body releases an antibody in response to gluten. (It’s one of the things the doctor measures when you get a blood test.)

Autoimmune: When your body releases antibodies that make you sick. Celiac is an autoimmune disease. Type 1 diabetes is another autoimmune disease (and some kids with celiac also have it!).

Awareness: Being conscious of or knowing about something. At the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, our goal is to help more people know about and understand celiac disease.

Celiac disease: An autoimmune disease that affects 1 in 133 Americans. People who have celiac disease cannot eat gluten because it damages their body.

Cross-contamination: In the case of gluten-free food preparation, it’s when a food that’s supposed to be gluten-free gets gluten on it. This can happen if a gluten-free food touches something that has gluten in it, like a piece of bread. It can also happen when someone eats a food with gluten, like sandwich, and then touches a gluten-free food.

Diagnosis: Finding out that you have a disease. It’s the first step in getting better. For some people, getting diagnosed can take years.

Diet: The food you eat. (That’s right – it doesn’t always have to do with losing weight!)

Dietitian: A person who helps you eat the right foods for your body. They know all about food, vitamins and nutrients, and they can help you stick to your gluten-free diet.

Endoscopy: A test that uses a little camera to look at your insides. Doctors use this to see if your intestine is healthy, which helps them figure out if you have celiac disease.

Gastroenterologist: A doctor who specializes in digestive health. They can help diagnose and treat celiac disease.

Genes: These are like tiny pieces to a puzzle that makes you unique. Genes come from your mom and dad, so your family shares some of the same genes. There are even two genes that are related to celiac!

Genetic: Something that runs in your family (based on your genes).  Celiac disease has a genetic basis, which means if your parents have it, you also might have it.

GI: Short for gastrointestinal – that means anything that has to do with your stomach and intestine.

Gluten: A tiny protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It’s what makes people with celiac disease sick.

Gluten-free: A food, drink or substance that does not have gluten in it. People with celiac disease must eat only gluten-free food to stay healthy.

Hereditary: Something that is passed from parents to their kids. It’s similar to the word “genetic.”

Intestine: A long, winding tube inside your belly that helps you absorb vitamins and nutrients from food. When you have celiac disease, gluten damages your intestine. That’s why it’s important to eat gluten-free!

Intolerance: Having a sensitivity to a food. In other words, it’s when your body doesn’t process a food the way other bodies do.

Nutrients: The parts of food that are needed to help your body stay healthy. Protein, fiber and fat are some of the nutrients your body needs every day.

Nutrition: The process of giving your body the food it needs to be healthy and strong. Good nutrition comes from eating things like fruit, vegetable, lean meat, nuts, and whole grains.  

Nutritionist: A person who helps you decide what to eat so you will be healthy. A nutritionist will help you make sure the food you eat has the right vitamins and nutrients.

Pediatrician: A doctor who treats children.

School Health Plan: This explains how your teachers, nurse and other people at school will help you stay healthy.

Support Group: A meeting with people who share a similar experience – like being gluten-free! The meeting helps people meet other people like them.  The meeting also teaches people how to stay healthy and about new foods, websites and events that can help.

Villi: These things look like tiny fingers and are found in your intestine.  They help you absorb nutrients from your food. If you have celiac disease, gluten damages the villi and makes it hard for your body to get the vitamins and nutrients it needs.

Vitamins: Tiny particles in food that your body uses to grow and get stronger. Vitamin C is in things like oranges, and Vitamin D is in things like milk. You need lots of different vitamins to be a healthy kid.



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