Celiac Disease

Pizza, pasta, and bread are a pretty standard part of most American’s diet. Unfortunately for some they contain a protein called gluten. As the number of people who are allergic to gluten increases, so does the number of alternatives for our favorite foods. According to Dr. John Saran, about one in every 100 people have Celiac disease. It’s an illness that doesn’t allow your body to digest gluten. He says it’s important to be tested regularly because the symptoms might be as mild as a stomachache.

The big thing is not the symptoms, but because the fact that you are destroying the lining of your intestine you mal-absorb so you’re not absorbing the vitamins and minerals,” said Dr. Saran.

Dr. Saran only knows of one treatment for the illness and that’s to completely cut out gluten from your diet. Sue Keeley was diagnosed with Celiac 16 years ago and she admits it wasn’t easy to adjust to a new lifestyle.

“I remember having a pity party for myself and becoming educated,” said Keeley. “It was very difficult to cope.”

“There are fortunately a lot of good alternatives,” said Dr. Saran. “You can safely eat corn, rice and potato, there are a lot of grocery stores and restaurants that offer corn and rice pasta for example.”

One of those restaurants is Braconi’s Pizzeria off Ogden Avenue in Naperville. Owner Bill Paus says its become common place for those with Celiac to still go out to eat.

“We went after this market with some pastas and even a gluten free pizza crust just so that we can help those people out, find something they enjoy without feeling bad or making themselves ill,” said Paus.

According to Paus his restaurant is going through three or four times as much gluten free products as when they first started carrying it. Dr. Saran believes that even though these sorts of alternatives are available, those with Celiac should not rest easy.

Read the label to make sure. There are ways around it. Ask your doctor to add the services of a dietitian or nutritionist because the ingredient list is so long you might not recognize some of the ingredients.

He added that there aren’t any side effects to cutting gluten from your diet as long as you get protein from other foods.

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