Club brings more awareness to students with gluten-free lifestyle


    Many people who have celiac disease may be unaware they have it, according to a research study by Mayo Clinic.

    Celiac disease is an inherited autoimmune digestive condition where people cannot tolerate gluten.  Gluten is a protein that is in wheat, barley, malt, and rye flours.  This means pizza crust, cake, tortillas and alcohol, along with many other foods, cannot be eaten by those affected by the disease. 

    “Now there is more awareness of Celiac disease and gluten intolerance, so more people are being diagnosed at an earlier age,” said Julie Dubois, a Cook Children’s Hospital Registered Dietitian. According to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, the disease is seen in an average of 1 in 133 of healthy people. 

    There are many students on campus that are affected by celiac disease. 

    Gluten Freedom is a club for these gluten intolerant students. The club helps raise awareness about the gluten-free options around the Fort Worth area. 

    Jackie Scimeca, the vice president of the club, has been gluten-free for three years.  She said that as a club they are working to make a restaurant and grocery guide for gluten-free students.

    “Cook Children’s Gastroenterology clinic does blood work to screen for Celiac Disease in patients who are at risk or presenting symptoms that could be related to Celiac,” Dubois said.

    She said the increased awareness of gluten intolerance has resulted in more products available.  Market Square now has gluten-free options to accommodate the high demand of students.    

    President of the Gluten Freedom Club, Sydney Cox said students should still be careful of cross-contamination. Cox said that the pizza at the BLUU is really good and that the club hopes to have a gluten free Thanksgiving feast hosted by Market Square later this semester.  

    According to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, a few symptoms of Celiac Disease include:

    ·       Malnutrition

    ·       Diarrhea

    ·       Abdominal pain

    ·       Vitamin deficiencies

    ·       Decreased appetite

    ·       Stunting of growth

    ·       Defects in tooth enamel


    Visit the Gluten Freedom Facebook page here