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Archive for June, 2013

Celiac Disease: The Gluten Intolerance

Epidemic Sweeping the NationImage

 

 Attention: There’s a cereal killer at large lurking in your pantry! Attacking its victims in the form of upset stomachs, fogginess and fatigue, and even worse! Using four main deadly weapons to prey on its helpless victims- wheat, barley, rye and triticale disguised as crackers, bread, cereal etc. – this assassin has become unstoppable. What’s worse? This criminal creeps up without notice and can trigger a series of further complications including autoimmune diseases, osteoporosis, thyroid disease, and even cancer when left untreated and ignored. The main suspect in question is what we like to call Celiac disease or the intolerance of gluten in the human body. Affecting nearly 1 out of every 100 Americans, this autoimmune digestive disease damages the villi of the small intestine where the absorption of essential nutrients normally takes place. More or less, when an individual with this aliment eats gluten in any form, the immune system responds by attacking the protein so much so that the body is unable to take in the proper nutrients as a result. Those who are diagnosed with Celiac, are forced to change their diets altogether in order to steer clear of the consequences that may otherwise arise in the consumption of gluten.

Just ask any individual dealing with this disease how much of a nightmare it is trying to dodge any food that has been made using gluten ingredients and further finding a replacement that won’t ever come close to what they have been use to enjoying for any fraction of their lives before they were diagnosed. When you’ve been eating sandwiches, spaghetti, and cereal your entire life and are suddenly forced to choose a substitute instead where taste is nearly compromised in the reconstruction process of the main ingredients- you’re subsequently left with a piece of cardboard. Moreover, it seems unfair to pay more for something that has little to no resemblance to the food that has become the bread basket of your diet. Though food scientists have not perfected the art of a cracker that tastes even remotely identical to a wheat based one, the occurrence of more Celiacs has caused the range of food offerings without gluten to expand exponentially especially in the catering world.

ImageThose unfamiliar with the Celiac Disease house a preconceived notion, “if it’s a starch or carbohydrate then it must contain gluten.” This is just not the case! Take potatoes for example. The basic, bare spuds straight out of the dirt have very low levels of gluten, however once you start adding accessories to Mrs. Plain Jane Potato Head such as frying oils and preparation heating mechanisms that may have been cross-contaminated with other food stuffs containing gluten, chances are your potatoes will too acquire the gluten. The same can be said of your run of the mill plain rice- regardless of the type white, brown, or black is always considered gluten free. The danger lies not within the rice, but how it is prepared or the mixes you can find on your grocery store shelf. Many of these deceiving packets contain soy sauce or a wheat based component to act as a thickener when cooking the rice.  In order to make absolute certain that a food in question is, in fact, gluten free it is important to read the package in its entirety. Not just the main ingredients but all that are listed throughout, because any other ingredient used, natural or manmade, can be comprised of gluten based proteins.

Although more food providers such as grocery stores and caterers are embracing the growing trend to supply gluten free food provisions, the actual retail food service industry as seen in restaurants is lagging as a whole. Luckily, caterers, like Y.Lo Epicure Catering, have followed suit with their food supplying counterparts, accommodating clients with dietary standards such as vegan, vegetarian, and the ever present gluten free.Clients who cater through Y.Lo Epicure Catering have the ability to tailor any meal to one that fits the needs of any individual regrettably facing the Celiac disease. Clients can rest assured that substitutes, gluten free, used are of only the highest rated in terms of overall taste and quality. Any way you slice it, falling victim to this up and rising food aversion aliment can be quite the bubble buster, fortunately there are options out there to surrogate what one must avoid in their daily intake.

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