Imagine having diarrhea and stomach aches for most of your life, seeing doctors who tell you it’s all in your head and finally at the age of 59 years getting diagnosed with Celiac Disease. That is just one story I heard from a conference attendee Carolyn A. as I promoted Dietz and Watson GF condiments, deli varieties and cheeses at the 39th Annual Celiac Sprue Association Conference in Erie, Pa. Celiac Disease affects 1/133 Americans and is an auto immune disease. It is marked by an intolerance to a wheat protein called gluten. If you have Celiac Disease and eat wheat, rye or barley as well as products containing these foods your gut gets sick, your intestinal villi flatten from inflammation and you cannot absorb nutrients. If you take wheat, rye and barley out of the diet the gut gets healthier. It is one of the only diseases that can be controlled- not cured- by diet alone. This disease has a genetic component, as well as environmental. Both children and adults suffer from Celiac Disease and often have been misdiagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome, nervous stomachs and like Carolyn “it’s all in your head”. As a dietitian it is my job to ask the right questions and to hone in on family and patient diet history, medical history, symptoms and present dietary intake. I help patients coordinate a workup with a Gastroenterologist to find out if they are gluten sensitive. After being diagnosed with Celiac Disease by an MD, I then help patients find gluten free (GF) foods and avoid those foods containing gluten…
Grasses that contain GLUTEN and should be avoided are wheat, spelt, kamut, eincorn, barley, rye, triticale, wheatgrass and bromegrass.
Foods allowed are rice, corn, millet, sorghum, quinoa, ragi, teff. wild rice, rice, oats, indian rice grass and Timothy.
The amount of gluten free products available to the US consumer has gone from $210 in 2001 to $1.7 Billion in 2007. Some of the many gluten free brands found in the supermarket today are: Enjoy Life Foods, Ians, Glutino, dr. Shar, Gluten Free Pantry, Lara bars, Genisoy bars, Rice Crackers, 365 Veggie chips and cheese curls and many many GF flours, pasta’s, cookies, crackers, meals and baking products.
Supermarkets are labeling foods at “GF” now as well as having special gluten free product areas.