May is a month-long campaign to bring awareness to Celiac disease, a serious autoimmune condition that affects 1 in 133. Celiac disease affects the digestive process of the small intestine inhibiting the absorption of nutrients and damage to the villi. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, of the 3 million Americans with celiac disease, 95% go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. The treatment for Celiac disease is a strict Gluten Free diet. Gluten free diets may also be used for other reasons including gluten sensitivity (non-celiac) and other diseases such as dermatitis herpetiformis (which is a direct link to celiac), infertility, migraines, and thyroid disease, among a few.
Going gluten-free can be overwhelming in the beginning. You have to change the way you shop, read labels, and eat. Straying from the diet can bring immediate consequences. Knowing what to look for in the grocery store is vital to maintaining health.
Many supermarkets now employ Registered Dietitians to help navigate the ever-changing aisles of products. Cindy Silver, RD, Corporate Nutritionist for Lowes Foods in North Carolina, states they have an online listing of gluten-free private label products that they update annually. Michelle Mix, RD, of Hannaford in Massachusetts, is an in-store Nutrition Coordinator who has given in-store gluten-free cooking classes and tours. She also helps in designing end caps in their Nature’s Place section of the store that is dedicated to gluten-free products. Hannaford also offers on online shopping tool, myhannaford, where customers can check ingredients and soon compare products. Larger nationwide chains such as Kroger, have a gluten-free product listing that you can access online or see one of the dietitians in one of the King Soopers/City Market stores or in Kroger in Kentucky for help with gluten-free shopping. You can also call their Consumer Affairs call center dietitians for specific product questions at their corporate headquarters.
Ask and see if your retailer has a Registered Dietitian that can help you with your gluten-free shopping needs. Many stores may also have gluten-free shelf tags or designated gluten-free sections of their stores. While this is helpful, it is important to remember to double-check food packaging and labels before purchasing products to ensure their safety.
If your retailer does not have a dietitian, find a local dietitian who can help and use shopping list resources like Supermarket Savvy who has gluten-free brand name shopping lists for a fee. The Gluten Free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide by Shelley Case is an excellent guide for learning how to shop for gluten-free foods. Gluten Free Watchdog is an excellent online resource that helps ensure the safety of gluten-free products. This resource is founded by one of the leading dietitians who specialize in celiac disease and the gluten-free diet.
Have you used any of these resources? Did you find them helpful?
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