By Amy Lignor
Although October was once Celiac Awareness Month in the U.S., the designation was switched to May a few years back. But when it comes to the growing number of Americans who suffer from celiac disease – which is one of the most difficult-to-diagnose disorders on the planet – every month needs to be one that promotes education, learning and further study in order to help celiac sufferers enjoy longer, healthier lives.
Everyone speaks about gluten-free diets. But many do not understand what gluten actually is. Because of this non-education, many people have chosen to adopt a gluten-free diet and have ended up causing themselves far more harm than good. So what is gluten, exactly? The education starts here:
Gluten is what doctors call a “glue-like protein” that’s found in various food staples – from breads to pastas to cereals and various desserts. The good news for celiac sufferers is the fact that with every year more and more gluten-free products hit the market in order to make a gluten-free diet just as appealing and great-tasting as the regular staples.
The latest news in 2013 regarding the gluten-free realm was the fact that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration put out a ‘book’ showing Americans their new ‘gluten-free’ labeling system for foods. This will help over three million Americans with celiac disease better adhere to the diet they need.
The federal definition standardized the meaning of “gluten-free” and put a stop to the ‘claims’ that are made by producers and distributors across the food industry. The FDA now requires that all companies, in order to use the term ‘gluten-free’ on their food labels, must meet all of the requirements of the FDA’s definition. In other words, celiac sufferers can now purchase gluten-free products with confidence – knowing that they are, indeed, gluten-free.
Although the manufacturers and companies in the food industry have a year to change all their labeling, the FDA has encouraged everyone to comply as soon as possible. The need for celiac sufferers to be able to identify truly gluten-free foods is of monumental importance for their health.
For those who are unaware, in people with celiac disease foods that contain gluten actually are the triggers for the body to produce antibodies that attack and damage the lining of the small intestine. This type of damage limits the ability of celiac disease patients to absorb the nutrients from their foods, and puts them into a high-risk category as far as health problems are concerned. There is literally a list, including nutritional deficiencies, osteoporosis, growth retardation, infertility, miscarriages, intestinal cancers and more, that can occur if gluten is a part of their diet.
We are talking about people who have to face potentially life-threatening illnesses if they eat gluten, which means the re-labeling of foods in accordance with the FDA’s definition is a number-one priority for both sufferers and doctors.
The FDA set a gluten limit of less than 20 (parts per million) in foods that carry a ‘gluten-free’ label. This is the absolute lowest level that can be detected in foods claiming they are free of gluten – which is a huge victory for all the celiac disease advocates who have been fighting for this new labeling process to go into effect.
When it comes to the vast array of gluten-free foods that are really gluten-free and made for celiac sufferers in order to live healthier lives, Storehouse Foods is one company that can literally be counted on to provide excellent meals for the ‘on-the-go’ person that are absolutely gluten-free.
Their ‘Pouch 2 Plate’ line of delicious foods are literally flying off store shelves, because it gives the buyer the ability to have delicious meals during lunch hours spent in the office, during camping and recreational times, as well as in a college dorm cramming for that final exam. With ‘Pouch 2 Plate’ the idea is simple. No oven or refrigerator is necessary; just add hot water…and there you have it!
As we become more and more aware – every month – about celiac disease, we need to make sure that the foods out there are as reliable, tasty and truly gluten-free as the ones Storehouse Foods (www.StoreHouseFoods.com) provides.