Next time you bring your child to a friend’s birthday party imagine having to bring your own pizza, not to mention a cookie for dessert. How about having to ask for a restaurant manager when you eat out just to find out how they made the chicken nuggets? This might sound strange to you, however for parents of kids with celiac sprue disease, this is commonplace.
Celiac disease, which affects one in 193 people, is a genetic disorder in which eating certain types of protein, called gluten, sets off an autoimmune response that causes damage in the small intestine. The small intestine loses its ability to absorb nutrients found in food, causing malnutrition and other complications. Gluten, the protein that causes this damage, is found in wheat, barley, rye and to a lesser extent in oats. At Farmwise® all of our Veggie Fries®, Veggie Tots®, and Veggie Rings® contain no gluten ingredients and are free of the Top 8 Allergens. If you are in the Denver or Minneapolis area, please come visit us at the Gluten Free Festivals happening on May 18th and 19th (visit our Farmwise Foods Facebookpage for details). We will be there supporting the Gluten Free Community and sampling our products.
According to the Celiac Sprue Association only 3 percent of those with celiac disease have been diagnosed. They estimate over 2.1 million undiagnosed people in the United States. Many of those who go undiagnosed are symptom-free for many years, and never seek a diagnosis.
With celiac disease, there aren’t always physical symptoms. Symptoms might include bloating, constipation alternating with diarrhea, and stomach ulcers. For children we also see failure to thrive, especially shorter growth stature, along with inability to concentrate and other behavioral issues.
While there’s no current cure for this disease, the way to treat it is strict adherence to a gluten-free diet. Aside from celiac disease, there are many new studies suggesting a gluten-free diet may be beneficial for those with ADHD, autism and a host of other illnesses. With ADD a gluten-free diet has been shown to reduce issues of hyperactivity
and inability to concentrate among kids. And some studies show that when you take out the gluten, you lessen the “foggy almost drug like mental state” that’s often see in kids with Autism.
Living gluten free means learning what foods and ingredients to avoid. Someone who is gluten free needs to avoid: wheat, oats, rye and barley. The first, wheat, is the primary offender and the one that will be listed as a potential allergen on a food label. While this seems simple, it is often a bit more challenging as wheat serves as a hidden ingredient in many foods. For example. soy sauce, dry roasted nuts, buckwheat flour and often corn flakes are all hidden sources of wheat. It is important to read labels and be educated on what you are eating as just a very small morsel, like the size of half of your pinky nail, is enough to cause some people with celiac to have a reaction.
Luckily, today many companies like Farmwise® have worked to develop products that are more than naturally gluten free and even free of the top 8 allergens. For those with an allergy, these products are a dream come true, allowing them to enjoy food without the fear of a reaction.
In the case of living gluten free, getting to know what to avoid, keeping a house free of cross contamination, educating those around you and always advocating for yourself when eating out will ensure a safe eating environment. After all, your health is definitely worth it.
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– Marlo / The Farmwise Nutritionist