(WBNG Binghamton) May is Celiac Awareness Month, a good time to celebrate advances in research, treatment, and recently developed food products that make life easier for those who must avoid gluten in what they eat.
According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, it’s estimated that 1 out of every 133 individuals has celiac disease, and about 83% of those individuals are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions. So even if you don’t suffer from this life-changing sensitivity, chances are you know someone who does.
According to a news release:
During May, Wegmans Food Markets is sharing information from experts on living a gluten-free lifestyle, and calling out gluten-free ways to eat, cook and entertain that are easy and delicious.
A quick overview:
• Wegmans stores have gluten-free product demos with sampling on Saturdays in May. Visit Wegmans.com/glutenfree for details.
• Alessio Fasano, MD, Director for the Center for Celiac Research at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, will talk about new developments in his field in an interview on the Wegmans Fresh Stories blog.
• Also on the Fresh Stories blog, Chef Bill Makofski will share ideas for making gluten-free meals everyone will love, so mealtimes are easier.
• Summertime entertaining: Beginning May 12th, Wegmans’ entertaining guide will note which offerings have no gluten ingredients, making it easier to choose a menu all guests can enjoy.
• Tweets from @Wegmans with the hashtag #WegGF feature additional tips and facts about living gluten-free.
To make sure you don’t miss a thing, sign up for Wegmans’ free e-mail newsletter, Fresh News, which will highlight Celiac Awareness Month activities at Wegmans. Customers can also ask Nature’s Marketplace staff at their local store about what’s coming up.
Gluten is a protein naturally present in wheat, barley and rye. It’s also in an enormous range of foods, from baked goods to sauces to food additives. For most people, gluten has no harmful effect. However, gluten can cause serious health problems in about one percent of the population. In people with celiac disease, gluten triggers an autoimmune attack on the small intestine, leading to bloating, pain, diarrhea and other symptoms.
It can also cause similar symptoms in people with gluten sensitivity, a different condition from celiac disease. Avoiding foods with gluten helps individuals in both groups.
Today, says Wegmans Nutritionist Kazacos, it’s a lot easier than it was just a few years ago for folks to shop, cook, eat gluten-free and entertain like everybody else. One reason is better labeling. Examples: The gluten-free Wegmans Wellness Key on food packages, the labels on Wegmans prepared foods pointing out which dishes are made with no gluten ingredients, and now, the option for Catering department customers to see at a glance which dishes have no gluten ingredients.
Another reason is more gluten-free products that taste as good as the traditional foods they’re replacing. “Many of the most popular foods you can think of – bread, pizza, pasta, cakes, cookies – are traditionally made with wheat flour and are, therefore, off-limits in a gluten-free diet,” says Kazacos, who has gluten sensitivity. “But over the last decade, new gluten-free versions have reached grocery shelves and some taste so good you’d really never know the difference. Everyone at the table can eat and enjoy the same things – it’s easier for the cook or host, and it helps those on a gluten-free diet feel just like everybody else, instead of ‘different.’ That may be especially important for gluten-free kids.”