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Harnaaz Sandhu’s befitting reply to trolls on body shaming her, needs attention on the lesser known ‘Celiac disease’ – Times of India ►

Post her global feat at Miss Universe beauty pageant, Punjab girl Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu has been in news for several reasons. Be it her perspective on the hijab row, or her befitting response to body shamers, Harnaaz has been receiving mixed response from her fellow men ever since she has been back home.

All hell broke loose with trollers when Harnaaz walked the Lakme Fashion Week ramp. She donned the ‘Spezia Micro-Velvet Gown with CrysMesh halter accents’ dress for the Shivan and Naresh Show. She paired the dress with John Jacobs EyeWear.

While being on the ramp Harnaaz definitely caught the attention of fashion lovers, for both good and bad.

Soon after the pictures of the show got viral, Harnaaz was brutally trolled for having gained weight.

Recently, at an event she talked about her recent weight gain, the trolls and how misinformed people are about beauty pageants.

“Many people do not know I am allergic to gluten,” she said and added that she has celiac disease. A Punjabi by birth, Harnaaz is allergic to a certain type of protein which is abundantly found in wheat, barley and rye due to her health condition. Gluten is the protein that gives wheat its chewy texture.

What is Celiac disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition, in which the affected person’s own immune system works against the body. This autoimmune response is triggered when one eats gluten.

Celiac disease leads to malnourishment, loss of bone density, fertility issues, neurological diseases and sometimes even cancer.

Due to lack of awareness of this disease, many people do not know they have it until it progresses to a later stage.

Other symptoms and diseases like Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, infected colon, intestinal infection and intestinal bacteria growth also indicate Celiac disease.

The common symptoms of Celiac disease are chronic diarrhea, constipation, gas, numbness in legs, missed menstrual cycle, anemia, infertility, osteoporosis, teeth discoloration, stomach pain, bloating, muscle cramps, joint pain and itchy skin.

“I’m one of those individuals who was first bullied that ‘she’s too skinny’ and now they bully me saying ‘she’s fat’. Nobody knows about my Celiac disease. That I can’t eat wheat flour and many other things,” she said.

Experts and physicians advise against consumption of gluten rich foods, once Celiac is detected. These people are usually advised to switch to alternatives and/ or gluten free foods.

Beauty pageant is not just about looking beautiful: Harnaaz

While addressing this health condition she also said that a human body undergoes lots of changes when the location and geographical condition changes.

“When you go to a village, you see changes in your body. And I went to New York for the very first time… It is a whole other world altogether,” she said.

She spoke about body positivity and how the perception of beauty varies in society.

“I’m someone who believes in body positivity and one of the Miss Universes for the very first time is going through that. On the platform of Miss Universe, we talk about women empowerment, womanhood, and body positivity. And if I am going through that… I know there are a lot of people who are trolling me and it’s okay because that’s their mindset, their stigmas, but there are a lot of other individuals who are trolled every day irrespective of their Miss Universe or not. I’m empowering them by making them feel that if I feel gorgeous, you are beautiful too,” she said.

On the wrong perception about Miss Universe pageants she said, these pageants are not just driven by external beauty. “For me everyone is beautiful. It’s about how you represent yourself and what kind of ideology you have. Your features do not matter at one moment. If you think that I’m the most beautiful girl that’s why I won Miss Universe, I’m sorry, you’re wrong. I might not be the most beautiful (girl) but I might be the one of the courageous and confident girls who believes even if I’m fat, even if I’m thin, it’s my body, I love myself. I love the changes and you should appreciate it because not everyone can go through the changes. So be happy if you’re going through changes. If you are facing challenges in life, you should be thankful because that means something good is going to happen,” she said.

Here are few common questions related to Celiac disease have been answered:

  1. What is Celiac disease?
    Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition, in which the affected person’s own immune system works against the body. This autoimmune response is triggered when one eats gluten.
  2. What is gluten?
    Gluten is the protein that gives wheat its chewy texture. Many people who are allergic to gluten.
  3. How do I know if I have celiac disease?
    If you feel bloated, constipated, upset stomach, unexplained weight loss for a longer duration then you should check your diet and contact a doctor.
  4. How do you get celiac disease?
    Experts say Celiac disease is hereditary, which means if it runs in your family you are most likely to get it.
  5. Who is most affected by celiac disease?
    Celiac disease affects all irrespective of age and gender. As per studies, this disease is more frequent in women than in men.

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