The holidays are quickly approaching and many of us are getting excited about those special foods that we associate with this time of year. We can’t wait to indulge ourselves. A nibble here … a plate there … and a lot of — OMG! I have to try some of that! But for those with Celiac Disease, the holidays pose an even greater challenge — celebrating without causing a flare (worsening) of their symptoms!
But what exactly is Celiac Disease? Well, it is a Chronic illness — specifically Autoimmune. It occurs in genetically predisposed people. In other words, it is hereditary. And it’s estimated to effect 1 in 100 people, worldwide. Some patients are diagnosed as children. Others develop the disease in adulthood. And doctors are still unsure of why this happens. Yet, we do know that the cause is the same — gluten. This is a protein found in Wheat, Barley and Rye. When a Celiac patient ingests gluten, their body launches a massive immune response — attacking their small intestine. For this reason, dietary precautions must be taken to avoid painful and frustrating symptoms.
Many processed foods, unless labeled “Gluten-Free“, contain gluten:
- Beer, Ale, Stout
- Cakes & Pies
- Communion wafers
- Cookies, Crackers & Croutons
- French Fries
- Hot Dogs & Lunch-meats
- Salad Dressings
- Seasoned Snack-foods & Potato Chips
- Self-basting poultry
- Soups, Bouillon & Soup Mixes
- Vegetables cooked in sauce
Now, for a moment, imagine trying to navigate your way through a holiday dinner or party with Celiac Disease. Obviously, it isn’t easy. But it is possible.
If you are hosting a holiday dinner or party and you know that a guest (possibly more than one) has Celiac, consider incorporating a few gluten-free options into your menu-plans. There are many recipes available. You may even find that others like the idea of having a “healthier” choice available!
Fresh fruit is a great option. Grapefruit, oranges, pears, cranberries, etc., are just waiting to grace your table. Nuts like cashews, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamias and pecans offer a nice snack, but avoid salting and/or baking them in oil. Veggie trays are another. Think Bacon and Pimento-cheese dip — absolutely yummy! Wine is another gluten-free option. Shrimp also gets a thumbs-up. So do cuts of beef, lamb, rabbit and fish. It’s just not that difficult. More importantly, it gives everyone the opportunity to enjoy themselves! And your Celiac friend or loved-one will certainly thank you for it!
*Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash