Tips to Help Celiacs Live Full and Happy Lives
Adhering to a gluten-free diet is relatively manageable at home; the real trouble comes when the time comes to eat outside the home. Whether at a friend’s house or in a restaurant, the fear of cross-contamination weighs heavy on those who have celiac disease.
Cross-contamination is a real threat. All it takes is a single crumb of gluten to elicit a serious reaction, which can happen when using shared toasters, colanders, or cutting boards. This may come as a surprise to many, but even the bulk food bins at grocery stores can be contaminated. In order to be as cautious as possible, celiacs should buy products such as mayonnaise, peanut butter, or jelly in squeezable containers, to help prevent contamination.
While dining at someone else’s home, you can bring food for yourself, in order to be sure it is entirely safe. In cases where you cook using a shared grill, you can always wrap your food in heavy-duty aluminum foil to protect it from cross-contamination. Since you will often not be permitted to carry your meal to a restaurant, try to research the restaurant well in advance, especially when traveling. Call ahead to confirm if your needs can be accommodated and which measures the kitchen staff will take to do so.
Specific measures should be checked off your list before you narrow your choices down to one restaurant, including the availability of dedicated fryers or grills, gluten-free prep sauces, and usage of separate cookware and cook spaces. Thanks to the increasing spread of awareness, several restaurants, bakeries, and other food outlets have begun making gluten-free food options available for people with conditions such as celiac disease. However, you will be best served to always verify how the kitchen prepares food items.
Recent developments in studies, clinical trials, and tools have made strides in improving the lives of those with celiac disease. For example, a portable gluten detector called Nima has been built that can detect the presence of gluten in food and certain beverages, an indispensable innovation that can help prevent cross-contamination while dining out. All you have to do is put a pea-sized amount of food in a Nima-specific capsule and push it into the machine. If the device detects gluten, you can either politely ask the restaurant chefs to remake the meal while reiterating the measures, or simply avoid that meal.
More great news for gluten-free folks: a peptide-based immunomodulatory vaccine is being tested that will help protect against accidental gluten exposure. This vaccine aims to allow those with celiac disease to lead their lives with unrestricted diets.
Moreover, plethora of drugs in various stages of development are being created to help break down gluten, interrupt its effects, and protect against the immune reaction to gluten by inducing immune tolerance in consumers. There is no denying that living with celiac disease is extremely challenging, but these new developments, and some effort on your own can help you lead a normal, healthy life.