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At Home With Celiac

Nutrition, From Our Kitchen

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It's not an easy diagnosis. What you think may be a gluten allergy may not be an allergy at all, but rather Celiac disease.

So what is Celiac disease? It is an autoimmune digestive disease that damages the villi of the small intestine, causing the body to attack itself every time a person with Celiac consumes gluten. This is why it is often misdiagnosed as a gluten allergy.

A Celiac diagnosis doesn't necessarily have to mean giving up the foods you love. It does however, mean looking at things differently and being open to new styles and flavors. Don't look at it as giving something up, but rather making a lifestyle adjustment and the opportunity to try something new.

May is Celiac Awareness Month, and this week SAGE President & Founder Paco Rodriguez takes on the role of Guest Blogger. Here's his first-hand account of living and eating with Celiac.

Living with Celiac Disease at Home
It’s a lot easier living with Celiac Disease at home than it used to be. Three years ago, there were many fewer products in the supermarket, in fact, some supermarket’s had no gluten free foods at all.

That’s not really accurate. There are plenty of gluten free foods–just think of rice and potatoes, not to mention every sort of meat, vegetable and dairy product. However, the problem is with baked and processed foods. Face it, wheat flour seems to be in everything. I never knew that corn muffins were made with wheat flour. Rye bread? Made with wheat flour. Living with Celiac disease has meant becoming really proficient in reading ingredient labels.

Three years ago, most gluten free baked goods were pretty bad. They were really heavy, really expensive, had the wrong texture, dried out quickly and crumbled when you ate them. Today, that’s not the case.

Those awful products are slowly going away (too slowly) and in their place are appearing decent breads, bagels, muffins, English muffins, waffles, you name it. Look for the brands Udi’s, Schär, Against the Grain and Foods by George for starters. I want to know what you think.

Two gluten products that have always been good are pasta and pancakes. There are now lots of varieties of dry gluten free pastas, and most supermarkets carry at least one. If you’re looking for ravioli or gnocci, look for a brand named Conte’s in the freezer section. As for pancakes, my favorite mix is made by Pamela’s Products.

One thing hasn’t changed in three years, though. These gluten free products are all still really expensive.

For more on Celiac awareness and treatment options click here.

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Out & About With Celiac

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Food Allergy Awareness Week

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