(Light Green is the color for Celiac Disease)
Friday September 13 is a day set aside to bring awareness to Celiac Disease. Eating gluten free products and paying close attention to labels is important when you have Celiac Disease because for some, eating one bite of something containing gluten/wheat can be damaging to the individual’s health.
So, what exactly is Celiac Disease? It is more than just eating gluten free products and is certainly not meant to be a fad diet for weight loss. Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease that causes the small intestine to be sensitive to gluten which can cause bloating, gas, fatigue, and can lead to becoming malnourished over time. When the intestines are sensitive to gluten it causes them to become inflamed which then disables the body’s ability to fully absorb nutrients from food. The intestines contain Villi which are like having little fingers in your intestines that absorb nutrients from food and when these become inflamed and irritated they lay flat.
This inability to absorb nutrients is what leads to individuals becoming malnourished and the only way to reverse the malnutrition and inflammation is to strictly eliminate gluten from the diet. Gluten is a protein that is found in foods containing wheat, rye, and barley. When ingested it causes the body to view this protein as harmful thus causing the body to attack the small intestine leading to inflammation. Some of the most common gluten containing products are bread, pasta, bakery products and some seasonings.
Esker dining hall has a specific area called The Nest which houses gluten free products and other allergen free products. This room is an access only room and students that need access will have to reach out to CSD and fill out paperwork. CDS will then refer students to meet with our campus dietitian to sign a user agreement and learn how to utilize this room. The dietitian will also discuss other gluten free options in our dining halls and on campus.
In observance of this day, we challenge you to try and eliminate all gluten containing products from your diet for one day. Thankfully the dining hall can be helpful in accomplishing this task, all entrées have allergens listed and ‘Foundations’ is the best location for allergen friendly food.
Written By: Rachael Omdoll, Campus Dietitian