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When Gluten-Free Food Really is Limited
I constantly tell people how much easier it is to find gluten-free food. And for me, someone who used to mail order gluten-free food from Canada, it is. I make one trip to the grocery store and come back with all of the fruits, veggies, yogurt and quinoa I need.
Then I realize how lucky I am. Many others don’t have the same access. First, there’s the issue of store inventory. Then, the high mark up on gluten-free alternatives. But what I’m really talking about today are those situations when people have little-to-no choice in what they eat.
In January, our Director of Communications Whitney Ehret posted a staff blog about the letters she’s received from gluten-free individuals who are in prison. These individuals have extremely limited meal options, and the foodservice staff is rarely trained in gluten-free safety. Whitney’s account of a recently diagnosed prisoner who wrote in desperate search of information left us all with food for thought.
Then there’s the hospital. Slowly but surely, hospitals are improving their meals. Gone is the standard meatloaf and Jell-O regimen, and in its place, hospitals are building superior foodservice delivery. But the gluten-free issue remains. Patients can ask question after question, but when it comes down to it, they have to trust that the plate in front of them really is gluten-free. The same goes for long-term care facilities, where being the only person with celiac disease can mean that you’re stuck with dry chicken and soggy vegetables.
Finally, there’s college. Whenever I visit my daughter at University of Michigan, it hits me how much these students are at the mercy of the dining hall. My daughter does not have celiac disease, but one of her friends does. As freshmen living on campus, it’s either eat in the dining hall or fill up on what’s stashed in your dorm. Many students don’t have a car, so grocery shopping is off the table.
Why am I telling you this? Well, it’s part of what guides our work at NFCA. We believe in helping all individuals affected by gluten-related disorders, including those in situations you don’t usually think of.
So, Whitney ships resources to prison addresses. Beckee works with hospitals and facilities through our GREAT Kitchens program. And, this month, Cheryl gathered gluten-free college students to share their stories of on-campus survival so others won’t feel so alone.
It’s not always the big move that makes a difference. Sometimes, it’s the little changes that tip the scales.
Tips for Raising Sugar-Free Celiac Kids
By Miranda Jade Turbin
Just as with gluten, avoiding sugar can be tough, but if your child is suffering from conditions like hypoglycemia, candidiasis, or diabetes, leaving out this common ingredient can be critical. Even for kids who don’t have medical conditions requiring the elimination of sugar from the diet, being sugar-free has its benefits.
According to the American Heart Association, the average American consumes 22 tablespoons or sugar per day. This is easy to understand once you realize that sugar is a very common ingredient. Not only is it found in typical sweets and sodas, but you’ll also see it in foods like peanut butter, canned soup, canned fruits, condiments and tomato sauces.
Avoiding sugar has its health benefits, even for children who aren’t on a doctor-mandated sugar-free diet. Just as with adults, children’s bodies can only handle so much sugar at once. Refined sugar goes right into the bloodstream, unlike fruits and unrefined carbohydrates which have fiber to slow down the absorption process. Refined sugar leads to the release of insulin to stop your child’s sugar overload, which in turn leads to a crash following the sugar high and then craving more sugar to get energy levels back up. This vicious “bad sugar” cycle can eventually lead to hypoglycemia, candidiasis, and even diabetes.
Fortunately, there are many gluten-free substitutes for refined sugar that can fulfill your celiac child’s sweet tooth. These include agave nectar, stevia, xylitol, honey, maple sugar, date sugar, sorghum molasses, coconut sugar, palm sugar and brown rice sugar. Check with manufacturers of individual products to ensure they are gluten-free.
In addition to substituting refined sugar in your celiac child’s gluten-free recipes, you should also aim to avoid processed foods. Try to meet your child’s nutritional needs through fresh whole foods like vegetables and low-glycemic fruits such as apples, berries, peaches and pears.
Here’s a recipe for gluten-free and refined sugar-free carrot cake for your celiac child.
About Miranda Jade Turbin
Miranda Jade Turbin became extremely interested and involved in the subjects of celiac disease, gluten sensitivity and gluten issues a number of years ago, after being diagnosed as celiac after many years of unresolved troubles. Since then, she has engaged in diligent research and writing about these topics, developing gluten-free recipes and reviewing companies for celiac consumer safety at the award-winning website: GlutenFreeHelp.info.
Cead Mile Failte – Gluten-Free Recipes for St. Patrick’s Day
By Chef Oonagh Williams
IRISH CHICKEN ROLLS
IRISH SODA BREAD (Version 2012)
INDIVIDUAL STICKY TOFFEE PUDDINGS WITH TOFFEE NUT SAUCE
About Chef Oonagh Williams
British-born award-winning chef Oonagh Williams has a culinary arts degree and was trained in London and Switzerland. Based in New Hampshire, Chef Oonagh began adapting meals to gluten-free versions after her son was diagnosed with gluten and lactose intolerance two years ago. Chef Oonagh gives presentations and classes on gluten-free cooking and living, consults and guides people in adapting to a gluten-free lifestyle. She appears most months on her local New Hampshire ABC station, WMUR, as the featured chef.
By NFCA Staff
One year after Dr. Alessio Fasano and his research team published a landmark study on the differences between celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, the scientific community is still exploring how non-celiac gluten sensitivity works – and how doctors can diagnose it.
What’s more, researchers and the public alike are beginning to recognize how important it is to distinguish between celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Most recently, a group of thought leaders in celiac research developed a set of consensus vocabulary and definitions to use in describing celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity and other gluten-related disorders.
There’s a lot of information (including plenty of misinformation) out there, and we know it’s not always easy to understand. So, we’ve created a series of Q&As on non-celiac gluten sensitivity that we’ll post quarterly throughout 2012. This series is designed to teach you what we know about non-celiac gluten sensitivity, what we don’t , and how future research could answer more questions.
NFCA, in collaboration with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, is conducting research on the perceptions of celiac disease among families where a member has been medically diagnosed. This research seeks to uncover the attitudes and beliefs of at-risk family members who have not been tested for the disease.
The study will have two phases: telephone focus groups and personal interviews, and an on-line survey. The telephone focus groups and personal interviews at phase one will impact and define the content of the on-line survey. This notice is for participation in phase 1, the telephone focus groups and personal interviews, which is now open.
Yes, Celiac Disease Can Develop as a Senior
By Lisa Ferlaino
[NFCA has partnered with Allergic Living, a print magazine dedicated to the celiac and food allergy communities. Each month, we’ll feature a Q&A, news item or article excerpt from theAllergic Living team.]
The last thing Tom Hopper, then 65, expected to hear in late February 2008 was that he had celiac disease. But after enduring five months of frightening and inexplicable symptoms and being hospitalized five times, he knew something clearly wasn’t right.
Hopper first experienced one of his “sessions,” when he was 64. For seven hours he was vomiting, had diarrhea and felt excruciating cramping in his legs and feet. At times during this and subsequent episodes, the pain in his legs was so bad, he had to hold onto a door just to stand up. The vomiting always ended after bringing up bile that had leaked into his stomach. Delirious, weak and dehydrated, he would head to the hospital.
It wasn’t until he was on his way from his hometown of Ellicott City, Maryland to Boston for business that Hopper finally found out what was causing these excruciating bouts of poor health…
Read the full article (free access):