Cites & Bytes @ Bailey

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Can I Have that Hamburger Without the Bun?

According to recent studies conducted at the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research, 1 in 133 Americans suffer from Celiac Disease, a genetic disorder that leads to dramatic intestinal damage following the ingestion of gluten, which is found in wheat and some other grains. There is no cure; those with Celiac Disease can, however, lead normal, healthy lives by following a gluten-free diet. Unfortunately those who have been diagnosed only scratch the surface of those who probably suffer from this disease--which can be life threatening if not discovered. I'm very familiar with Celiac Disease because I was diagnosed in the mid-1980s after several frustrating years of coping with various maladies. Since then all of my siblings, my father, one of my children, and several nieces and nephews have been diagnosed. Recently, in large part because of the work of the aforementioned Center for Celiac Research, more physicians are aware of this disorder, and manufacturers are responding to the demand for gluten-free foods. It's much easier to follow this diet now than it was 25 years ago! My purpose in this blog is two-fold. First, I'm always trying to raise awareness of this sometimes difficult-to-diagnose disorder and second, I'd like to recommend a recent book, Gluten-Free Girl, which was published at the end of 2007--and which I received as a Christmas gift. It's a foodie's guide to living gluten-free, written by Shauna James Ahern, who was diagnosed with CD fairly recently. Her take on the gluten-free diet is positive and enlightening--and lots of fun to read. She took to the blogosphere shortly after being diagnosed (her award-winning blog is also called Gluten-Free Girl) and this book is a natural offspring of her online musings. If you have questions about CD, check out the FAQ section from the Center for Celiac Research or stop in my office for a gluten-free pretzel (I usually have some).


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