What is Celiac Disease?

by aevans
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac Disease is an allergy or intolerance to the gluten protein found in wheat, barley and rye. A large number of Americans, approximately 1 in 133 individuals in the US, have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, and about 97% of these individuals remain undiagnosed. For sufferers, consuming gluten can damage or destroy the villi (the tiny, finger-like protrusions lining the small intestines) and causing uncomfortable bloating and a feeling of fullness.

The discovery of celiac disease or gluten intolerance for oneself or a family member can seem like a dietary death sentence, but fear not.  It’s still possible to find joy in food, cook delicious meals, and go out to eat without losing the flavor or fun of the meal.

o        Drinks - Both wine and most liquors, like vodka and rum, are naturally gluten-free, but what many people don’t know is that there are a handful of gluten-free beers making their way onto the market. A great gluten-free brew is Redbridge, which is made with sorghum instead of wheat or barley – making it safe for individuals with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.  Other top picks for gluten-free beers include: Bard’s Original Sorghum Malt Beer, Lakefront Brewery’s New Grist Beer, and Ramapo Valley Brewery’s Honey Beer.

o        Entrees - Increasing the amount of seafood in your diet is a great way to reduce or eliminate your gluten intake – and as an added bonus, it’s a nutritional superfood packed with Omega 3 fatty acids. The ‘Fresh Fish Experts’ at Bonefish Grill offer a wide selection of fresh, wood-grilled fish topped with one of their gluten-free signature sauces.  Bonefish’s mouthwatering combinations include Norwegian Salmon with Warm Mango Salsa, or Snake River Rainbow Trout with Chimichurri sauce.

o        Desserts - Good news for those with a sweet tooth, baked goods are still on the table!  Gluten-free baking has never been easier thanks to the large number of gluten-free flours, mixes, and recipes that are available today. Top picks include King Arthur Gluten-Free Mixes, Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Flours.

It’s important to remember that just because a meal is gluten-free doesn’t mean it is necessarily healthier or fat-free. It’s crucial that regardless of what your dietary restrictions are that you consume the right amounts of nutrients and minerals in fresh foods to be healthy.

Enjoy National Celiac Awareness Month by exploring and embracing gluten-free options everywhere.  Gluten-free definitely does not mean taste-free – it’s easy to eat well and live well if you know where to look!

Written by: Mitzi Dulan, RD

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