Going out for a bite to eat generally does not seem like a difficult task, but for those that have Celiac disease, gluten can severely limit their choices.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten consumption, which results in the body attacking its own small intestine, senior music composition major Aaron Kline said.
“I had what’s called the Celiac blood panel, which is a more extensive blood test to determine if you have Celiac disease,” he said.
Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye and barley, Kline said. He began a gluten-free diet following the blood tests that showed he had Celiac disease.
Jackie Scimeca, a junior coordinated dietetics major, said she found out she had Celiac disease earlier this year.
“I had no idea what gluten was and I knew no one who had Celiac disease, so it was really difficult because I was starting alone,” she said.
Kline said prior to being diagnosed with Celiac disease he would eat bagels every morning, something he can no longer do. Due to the risk of cross-contamination, he shops at grocery stores that carry gluten-free products.
“All my breads are gluten-free, and instead of buying the regular sandwich meat from Wal-Mart I just go to Trader Joe’s, because I know they already have gluten-free stuff packaged,” he said.
Scimeca said fast food restaurants usually provide limited options for those who must avoid gluten, but recently more restaurants offer gluten-free menu items. Places like Chick-Fil-A, Chipotle and Jimmy John’s all have food she said she knows she can eat.
Although Celiac disease has required them to make significant dietary changes, both Scimeca and Kline agreed that following a gluten-free diet is not as hard as people might think.
“It’s really not that bad; I know at first it seems like your world is ending,” Scimeca said. “But it’s really not that bad.”