A birthday party or anniversary is a time to celebrate accomplishments but when the guest of honor or others at the party can’t eat most of the food, the party isn’t at much fun.
There is increasing awareness of how gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly, oats, affects some people, particularly those with celiac disease, an inherited auto-immune disease lacking a gene which allows you to process gluten. Without this gene, gluten builds up in the hair-like projectiles in the small intestines preventing normal digestion. Long-term complications include malnutrition—which can lead to anemia, osteoporosis, and miscarriage, among other problems—liver diseases, and cancers of the intestine.
Estimates of the numbers of people in the US with celiac disease vary widely, from 1 in 1750 to 1 in 105 people. The Celiac Disease Foundation thinks the number is even greater – 1 in 33, asserting that 97 percent of the people affected don’t know they have it, attributing abdominal problems to other causes.
There is no medication for celiac disease. The only effective treatment is a commitment to a gluten-free diet.
To the rescue is where a menu can be created that will allow those with celiac to enjoy the same food as everyone else at the party. “Gluten free is on everyone’s radar now,” says Christopher Iavarone, vice president of operations. Iavarone says that in place of wheat flour, they use other flours such as those made from chickpeas or rice. “You won’t be able to taste the difference,” he assures.
Chicken Francaise, turkey meatballs and chicken burgers with sun-dried tomatoes, grated cheese and parsley are some of Iavarone’s gluten-free creations. There are other items such as stuffed pork loin, roasted salmon, Asian cole slaw and grilled vegetables that are naturally gluten free and the store carries a line of gluten-free breads. “An entire gluten-free menu can be created for customers,” says Iavarone.
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