Kathleen Alleaume Talks Coeliac Disease

{ We met with Kathleen Alleaume to discuss all things health, wellness and coeliac disease! }

Coeliac disease is a topic we discuss regularly on yum. Gluten Free. There are more and more people getting diagnosed annually, which is increasing awareness globally! With this in mind, it’s important that we maintain contact with our health professionals to stay up-to-day with the most recent findings and how to make this condition more manageable in our daily lives. yum. Gluten Free welcomes nutritionist, exercise scientist, author, and most importantly, mother of three, Kathleen Alleaume to talk all about coeliac disease.



yum. Gluten Free: Hi Kathleen! Thanks so much for meeting us today. We’d love to hear all about your business, The Right Balance.

As founder of The Right Balance, we specialise in health and nutrition communications. I’m passionate about translating evidence-based information into practical ways people can easily understand.


ygf: That is so important, as it can be quite confusing when get diagnosed with coeliac disease, or any food intolerance! Why are you passionate about gluten free?

A decade ago, gluten was a foreign word to the general population. Today it is part of our mainstream culture. That said, I believe there’s a lack of understanding as to what exactly gluten is and what it really does – and knowing that eliminating gluten from the diet is only for people with a medical condition known as coeliac disease or non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (also known as wheat sensitivity).


“My inspiration is helping people make genuine, positive changes in their lives,” Kathleen Alleaume.


ygf: It is extremely important that we are not cutting out foods, just for the current trend. But who should be gluten free and how do we know?

People diagnosed with coeliac disease or people with a non-coeliac gluten sensitivity (and wheat sensitivity) need to be 100% gluten free. In order to test whether you have these conditions, a definitive assessment by your doctor will help exclude other serious medical problems, determine your diagnosis, and establish the best course of treatment.


ygf: So by approaching our GP first, we can be confident we are eliminating the right foods for the right reason. Speaking of clarifying important topics, can you explain coeliac disease to our audience?

According to Coeliac Australia, coeliac disease is a medical autoimmune disease where the immune system reacts abnormally to gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and oats), causing damage to the lining of the bowel. This condition can affect nutrient absorption, causing long-term detrimental health ailments, and can lead to various gastrointestinal symptoms, caused by inflammation.


ygf: How do I get tested for coeliac disease?

Blood tests are used for screening. Before the blood test, you have to keep eating gluten. This test may be followed by a small bowel biopsy which is essential to confirm diagnosis. Then a further blood test may be carried out after a process of eliminating gluten from the diet.


As a first port of call, you may wish to consider a free digestive health check, available at Amcal+ stores during March, or a coeliac disease screening at selected Amcal+ stores nationwide for $39.99.


ygf: Why is coeliac awareness week important to you?

Raising awareness and education for people who unfortunately have a serious illness, not a fad that people feel compelled to follow.


“Always question whether the source of health information you read is from a credible source.”


ygf: Thanks so much for all of the information on coeliac disease. Can you go into a bit more detail on non-coeliac gluten sensitivity?

Non-coeliac gluten sensitivity describes a set of symptoms people attribute to dietary gluten, but the cause and treatment is not well understood. Emerging research indicates it may not be gluten that is the main problem and that the malabsorption of fermentable sugars (FODMAPs) may be the culprit in those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).


ygf: There are lots of people out there that have tested negatively for coeliac disease but still experience similar symptoms. Do you recommend them carrying out an elimination diet?

Only under guidance of your GP or Pharmacist, this is required to undergo diagnosis. It’s best to speak to your doctor or accredited practicing dietitian who can refer appropriately.


ygf: Alright, so if we now know we need to be gluten free, how can we do it without the refined sugars and flours?

The easiest way to do this is to focus on fresh, whole foods which are naturally gluten free, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meat, tofu, fish, legumes, dairy, nuts and eggs. Making these foods the base of your diet will mean not having to worry about being unintentionally exposed to gluten, such as processed foods which often can be lower in fibre, vitamins, and higher in sugar, fat, and emulsifiers to create a similar ‘mouth feel’ that gluten imparts.


“I appreciate the true essence of how food brings people together.”

ygf: Do you have any tips for making gluten free more affordable?

Eat whole foods, buy less processed packaged foods, cook in batches and freeze leftovers, buy fresh foods in season (it’s cheaper and more nutritious).


ygf: If eating gluten free means eating more fresh, whole foods, should everyone eat gluten free?

Absolutely not! While we should all be eating more fresh, whole foods, some foods containing gluten i.e. wholegrains are highly nutritious and should not be eliminated because a celebrity has or it’s fashionable. The only need to eliminate gluten is if you have a medically diagnosed condition.


ygf: Thank you so much for your time and your wealth of knowledge, Kathleen. How can our readers stay up-to-date with you?

Tune into my regular health columns, which generally run on the weekends on news.com.au


The Right Balance:

Website: http://www.therightbalance.com.au/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheRightBalance

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/therightbalance_/


“Be true and kind to yourself. Talk less, and listen more.”

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