Gluten intolerance is largely affecting people in the United States. There are changes being made in recognition of this disease and the people it affects.
The Reason for Change
Out of every 100 Americans, one is affected by celiac disease. Because the disease is now becoming more and more noticeable, food companies, restaurants and the general public are now seeing a difference in the food made available to our society. Gluten-free food is offered in nearly every grocery store. Restaurants are taking the initiative and offering a separate menu for celiac sufferers. People have now noticed that additives of gluten are affecting individuals’ health. Celiac disease may often go undiagnosed sometimes for a long period of time. When this happens, other diseases are stemmed from it causing numerous problems and complications later in life. With the many food options now opened to allergic individuals, can it be said that it is truly affecting our lifestyle?
More People are Cooking at Home
People with celiac disease have found it is easier to prepare meals at home. This allows them to know exactly what is being put in their food. Preparing large amounts of food and packaging some away helps to make gluten-free food easily accessible on a daily basis. Because of the many ingredients in already prepared food, celiac individuals may not be entirely aware of what ingredients are put into it. It is a good habit to read the Nutrition Facts labels when beginning a gluten-free diet. For most prepackaged meals, frozen meals and fast food chains, the majority of them will contain the allergen.
Lowering Expenses for Gluten Free Foods
When most people begin cooking non-gluten meals, they may find it to be expensive. Eating gluten free does not have to be expensive. There are hundreds of alternatives to use, as opposed to strictly buying products that are labeled gluten free. Some inexpensive products can be found at local supermarkets.
• Rice flour and Tapioca flour (Often found in Asian food markets and it is usually very inexpensive.)
• Chex cereal (Perfect for adding density to burgers, and found in your local grocery store.)
• White and Brown Rice (Found in local grocery stores.)
• Rice noodles (Found in Asian food markets, but you can also find them in the Asian aisle of your grocery store.)
Products do not have to be labeled gluten-free in order to be edible. However, you do need to read the ingredients listed on the product. Also, be on the lookout for the words, “May be processed with other items containing wheat,” or “May contain traces of wheat.” These words are indicating the product may or may not have wheat in them. If the company is stating this uncertainty, it is a good idea to stay away.
Carefully Planning Restaurant Dining
Eating gluten free food at a restaurant can be a worrisome thought. While the majority of big chain restaurants are jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon, some are still not quite there yet. The options for most gluten free individuals are to opt for more meat-based dishes. They must avoid anything breaded or order salads without croutons. Most individuals may find themselves checking into a restaurant’s website to see if they offer gluten-free eating before visiting the restaurant.
Awareness is Key
Because celiac disease is becoming higher in many areas, people should take action to learn more about the characteristics of the disease. Knowing and understanding the consequences of not following a gluten-free diet is also important. Helpful websites with information about celiac disease and gluten intolerance help people understand the disease better. Parents can also find helpful information when assessing whether or not their child may be suffering from a gluten allergy.
See a Doctor First
As with any condition, it is always important to make a doctor’s appointment. The individual should not self-diagnose the suspicion of any possible gluten allergy. There are tests that are done to confirm whether an individual does have celiac disease, or just an allergy to gluten. These tests will reveal this information to the doctor, and he or she can determine the best treatment. Celiac disease has no cure. The only way to treat it is to change the individual’s diet and ultimately, lifestyle habits.