Last spring I went to get a haircut. I'm sort of pals with the woman (her name is Awura) who cuts my hair, and this time she was enthusing about how she'd gone (sort of) gluten free, and how amazingly much better she felt.
I ran down a long list of symptoms of celiac disease, and she said she'd had all of them.
Also, she has Graves, an autoimmune thyroid disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease - it's an immune reaction to dietary gluten that triggers an autoimmune process, and other problems.
If someone has one autoimmune disease, they're likely to get others.
So already having an autoimmune disease and lots of symptoms of celiac disease, it seems likely she does have celiac disease.
But - she found out about the gluten-free diet from a book, Grain Brain - not from a doctor.
So, she is still eating gluten to some extent!
People who have celiac disease are supposed to consume no gluten, to the best of their ability.
I've seen this many times. People discover they have a problem with gluten via alternative-medicine ideas, or a popular book.
So they sort of quit gluten, but not really. If they were properly diagnosed with celiac disease by a doctor, the doctor would tell them to eat no gluten, that they should not eat wheat, barley, rye and probably oats (or foods derived from those grains). And the authority of the medical diagnosis means something to people.
It's a big problem with these "alternative" or "popular" approaches to health. People don't take them all that seriously. These books and so on are under-diagnosing people with serious problems. Celiac disease can kill people. It raises the risk of several kinds of cancer.
I suggested to Awura years ago that she might have a gluten problem. But it just went in one ear and out the other :(
This fall when she cut my hair again, she was still eating gluten now and then. She says it makes her vaguely sick, but she does it anyway.
From my experience and those of many others I've heard from, this probably means that she's still eating enough gluten in an ongoing way so that her body suppresses obvious symptoms when she eats a major amount of gluten. If she really went gluten-free for an extended time and then ate a major amount of gluten, she'd likely get really sick.
I told her she was running an increased risk of cancer and other problems as long as she kept on eating gluten - that she likely has celiac disease even though she hasn't been properly diagnosed.
She said she didn't think she had celiac disease. I told her people can have celiac disease without the obvious "classical" symptoms.
I hope it sinks in eventually. Often people with celiac disease seem to be addicted to gluten.