Gluten is a protein found in wheat and wheat relatives like rye, barley, triticale, and kamut. When someone with Celiac Disease ingests gluten, the absorptive villi of the small intestine is damaged, preventing the absorption of vital nutrients. The only currently known way to treat this disease is to avoid the gluten-containing foods that aggravate it. Gluten is found in many foods that you wouldn’t suspect. Soy sauce, soups, vanilla flavoring, and licorice are some of the foods that contain hidden gluten.
Products made with food starch, caramel coloring, hydrolyzed plant, or vegetable protein all contain gluten. Gluten contamination of non-wheat foods can also be a problem. However, many companies are becoming conscious of the need for gluten-free foods and package their products in certified gluten-free facilities. Look for the gluten-free label when shopping for packaged foods. Non-wheat grains, like rice and corn, are healthy and nutritious alternatives for gluten-free diets. Your Co-op has many gluten-free and wheat-free products, including a wide selection of cookbooks and a monthly periodical.
For more information about Celiac Disease or stocking a gluten-free pantry, visit these websites:
- Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University: www.celiacdiseasecenter.
- Celiac Sprue Association: www.csaceliacs.info
- Gluten Intolerance Group of North America: www.gluten.net
- Mayo Clinic: www.mayoclinic.com/health/
- Gluten-Free Girl by Shauna James Ahern: glutenfreegirl.blogspot.com
Food, stories, and recipes. A Co-op recommended resource! Shauna’s book is also sold at the Co-op.
- Living Without: A magazine for people with allergies and food sensitivities. Sold at the Co-op. A really well-constructed resource for recipes and new products.
*These statements are not intended to diagnose or treat any illness or disorder. Please consult with a medical professional before beginning any treatments or dietary regimen.