Gluten Free; not always glamorous
By Catalin Varela
In recent years the gluten-free diet has gone from being a medical necessity for many individuals to a trend diet that has caught lots of media attention. You wouldn’t be hard pressed to open a magazine and find an article about celebrities who eat gluten free because it’s “trendy.” But the media has done very little to share the stories of those who suffer from celiac disease (CD), an autoimmune disease triggered by gluten (found in wheat, barley and rye) affecting all systems of the body…specifically the intestines. Being a CD patient myself, it is my hope to bring awareness to the disease and explain that for many people, the gluten-free diet is rooted much deeper than a trend. CD affects approximately 3 million Americans and unfortunately there is currently no cure. The only option for individuals diagnosed with CD is to adhere to a very strict gluten-free diet and focus their attention on healing the gut flora and eliminating the inflammation that comes along with all autoimmune diseases.
The act of going “gluten free” in our society is not all together impossible. In fact, there is now a huge selection of gluten-free foods at most grocery stores. Where it gets dangerous for CD patients is cross contamination. If one single crumb of gluten touches the food, or someone uses the same spoon between gluten-free and regular pasta, for example, it can cause a CD patient to be terribly ill for days or even weeks.
Mandy Krause, an 80108 mom, was thrown into the gluten free whirlwind when her 10-year-old son was diagnosed with CD. Speaking on the social impact of CD, Krause said “I don’t want him to miss out on all the fun childhood activities, but I still have to keep him safe. Other people just can’t know what they haven’t been exposed to or had to learn for the sake of their family’s health.” Krause’s son is a student at Buffalo Ridge Elementary and their family is so grateful to the school for taking the precautions necessary for their son to be a participating member of the community. The school has agreed to train all the cafeteria staff in proper gluten-free food preparation and create a safe environment for Krause’s son. Kudos to BRE for leading the way for schools to create a more accepting society for CD patients of all ages.