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Living a gluten-free life

August 28, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
At Xooros in Santa Monica, dietitian Evelyn Tribole is scrutinizes the food at a new bakery that sells Spanish churros. It is not because she is interested in health, but because her son, Connor, has Celiac Disease. "Celiac Disease is an auto immune disorder in which you react to gluten. And gluten's a protein that's found in wheat, rye, oats and barley," said Tribole.

Those grains are typically easy to recognize. Yet, from licorice to soy sauce and from cereal to soup, gluten is in all kinds of foods under many different names.

Those who have Celiac Disease suffer from multi-symptom, multi-system disorders - especially gastrointestinal.

"It's like eating glass, it shaves off all your villi and you get all kinds of stomach problems. Pains and aches. And more importantly, there are some horrible diseases that are associated with it," said Tribole.

A blood test and perhaps a small intestinal biopsy will determine diagnosis. Having Celiac Disease means a lifelong lesson of following a gluten-free diet, which is challenging. However, with supplementation CD sufferers can live a normal, healthy life; especially with the inception of all the new products.

"There's bread, pizza, there's even gluten-free beer," said Tribole.

Gluten-free food is one of the fastest growing trends at the market. Trader Joe's, Whole Foods and regular groceries now offer many good tasting options for those who need them.

Those who feel they're intolerant of gluten may feel better omitting it from their diet. However, tests should be done to be certain because there are ample reasons to keep these foods in the diet.

"You're not going to get folic acid in there, you're not going to get iron, thiamin or niacin. Keep in mind this is a diet that is typically low in fiber and it's not enriched in the B-vitamins that you get in other kinds of foods," said Tribole.

Gluten-free products are more costly, so Tribole recommends seeing a physician before living a gluten-free life.

 

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