by Elizabeth BarboneSeptember 13 is Celiac Awareness Day! Celebrated on the birthday of Samuel Gee, the physician who, in 1888, made the connection between the celiac disease and diet, the day calls attention to what was once a little known autoimmune disease. When someone with celiac disease eats gluten, a protein found in grains like wheat, rye, and barley, a serious immune response occurs in the small intestine. This reaction damages the villi that line the intestine walls. When villi are inflamed, absorption of key nutrients is diminished, causing malnourishment and other ailments. Symptoms of celiac disease are incredibly varied. The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness states that there are over 300 symptoms of celiac disease. Untreated celiac disease is linked to other autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, thyroid disease, and cancer. Blood work ordered by a physician is the first step in diagnosing the disease. Once diagnosed, a diet free from gluten remains the only cure for celiac disease. If someone with celiac consumes even the smallest amount of gluten (think: crumbs), the immune system is triggered. However, avoiding gluten doesn’t mean avoiding whole grains! Whole-grain flours, like their gluten-filled cousins, are high in fiber and contain important nutrients. In the past, whole grain gluten-free products were tough to find and required mail order or long drives to specialty shops. This meant that many of us on a gluten-free diet stuck to the “white stuff”: rice flours and starches. Now whole grain gluten-free products are more commonly available. Sorghum, quinoa, millet, and buckwheat flours are now shelved alongside white rice flour and whole grains are included in more commercially prepared gluten-free products. Since everyone, whether they have celiac disease or not, should aim to consume three to five servings of whole grains per day, here are three ways to incorporate more whole grains into your gluten-free diet:
- Bake with Whole Grains
- Enjoy whole grains as a savory side dish.
- Look For Whole Grains on the Label
Did you know September 13th is Celiac Awareness Day? We will be having a live chat on our Facebook page from 12-1pm on the 13th with cookbook author and gluten-free expert Elizabeth Barbone! In addition to the live Facebook chat, Elizabeth will also be hosting in-store events where she will share her expertise, recipes and samples to help you navigate the challenges of living a gluten free diet. Elizabeth will be making appearances in the following stores. Click on the link to register- tickets are free but limited! Niskayuna Burlington Utica Cicero Bristol