I once heard a punch line on a popular TV show that goes, saying you’re allergic to gluten is just a way of masking an eating disorder, or something to that effect. It was funny on the surface, although in reality, it could have offended people who are in fact suffering from gluten allergies, or worse, afflicted with a digestive disorder called Celiac.
Gluten is a common binding component of food and medicine. It is a type of protein that basically makes dough elastic—and dough, as we all know, is used to make bread. You’d be surprised at how many food contain gluten—almost everything! Good thing though that many organic and specialty food stores (like Trader Joes, Safeway and Whole Foods) that now offer gluten-free mixes for making spaghetti and various kinds of pastries. Pizza, also a popular American snack, is now available in gluten-free servings from some pizza parlors and restaurants.
Some people are sensitive to gluten, which means they’ll experience stomach cramps, bloating, joint pain and diarrhea from time to time after eating gluten-made food. Some 6 percent of Americans are like this, according to the Center for Celiac Research at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children. Some people, however, have bodies that completely reject gluten, and without serious consequences.
According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearing House, Celiac is a digestive disease that destroys or damages the villi lining of our small intestines. Just as the alveoli are to the lungs, villi absorb nutrients from the food we eat. And without nutrients, we get weak and malnourished. People who are sick with celiac are gluten-intolerant.
So much has changed since gluten allergies and Celiac was “officially” recognized as a serious and crippling disorder that affects the quality of life of people. Thanks to food establishments who are sensitive to their client’s concerns, now you can enjoy cakes and pastries, and even pizza that are gluten-free.
Craving for some pizza? Staying in for tonight? It’s now possible for you to have a box of gluten-free pizza delivered to your doorstep. And if you don’t mind walking or driving, check out this About.com list compiled last year by Jane Anderson. You can also make one at home with this recipe, courtesy of BBC Good Food.