Starting on Monday, avoid beer, bread, cake, candy, cereal, cookies, crackers, croutons, French fries, gravy, imitation meat, imitation seafood, matzo, oats, pasta, pies, processed luncheon meats, salad dressing, sauces, seasoned rice mixes, seasoned snack foods (potato chips, et al), self-basting poultry, soups and soup bases, and vegetables in sauce.
And don’t forget to stay away from anything else with made with barley (including malt), bulgur, durum flour, farina, graham flour, kamut, rye, semolina, spelt, triticale, wheat, wheat flour, or wheat gluten. Could you go cold turkey (no pun intended)?
The challenge has been set by the Celiac Disease Foundation as a fund raiser for National Celiac Disease Awareness Month, but it’s an interesting challenge for anyone who wants to see if they can do it.
Celiac disease is the primary medical reason a person goes wheat gluten free. The disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes a gamut of symptoms from iron deficient anemia, itchy skin and fatigue to abdominal bloating, pain, vomiting and other digestive un-pleasantries, plus dozens of other symptoms. Different patients can have different symptoms, or no symptoms at all, but the result of Celiac is the same: damaged villi in the small intestine which results in poor nutrient absorption and possibly the development of other medical issues and auto immune disorders. It’s all caused by an immune system trigger against wheat. When a patient’s body goes into overdrive fighting off wheat, it fails to process and absorb nutrients from food (and causes all the symptoms above).
The foods listed on the avoidance list often contain some form of wheat gluten as a result of processing cross-contamination or use as an ingredient in everything from caramel coloring to lunch meats; that makes it very difficult to grocery shop and dine like most Americans are used to. Food service businesses that understand the reasoning behind guest requests for gluten-free options immediately turn Celiac sufferers and their families into loyal customers for life.
Thanks to big growth in gluten-free food production, restaurants can now lean on quality ready-to-service products for their gluten-free guests. Celiac sufferers are grateful for gluten-free sandwich breads that taste good enough to eat, and for common ingredients like gluten free soy sauce, which makes Chinese foods (a very gluten-heavy diet because of sauces) friendly to both gluten avoiders and gluten eaters.