Orange County Celiac Foundation Support Group attends gluten-free food preparation demo at St. Anthony Community Hospital
There are currently no medications that cure or control celiac disease, an auto immune digestive disorder that damages the villi, or lining, of the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food. The only control is to remain on a strict gluten-free diet.
May is National Celiac Awareness Month. On May 10, Morrison Food Service at St. Anthony Community Hospital hosted a gluten-free food preparation demonstration for the Orange County Celiac Foundation Support Group. The event was held in the Greenbriar Room at Mount Alverno Center in Warwick.
Morrison’s lead dietician Janine Killeen and Carmela Decker, assistant food service director and chef, and Lourdes Braadt, director of the hospital’s Center for Diabetes Education, explained how a gluten-free diet is not only important but can also be tasty as well as healthy.
Decker, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, fielded questions while demonstrating how to prepare a gluten-free apple quinoa salad, which she later served to members of the support group. She explained that quinoa is a naturally gluten-free grain that was once a staple of the Incas in South America.
In her presentation, Braadt shared the causes of celiac and its association with diabetes, especially Type 1 diabetes. Killeen offered a slide show about the gluten-free diet, explaining that celiac disease is triggered by the consumption of gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye – and many processed foods.
People with celiac disease who eat food containing gluten experience an immune reaction in their small intestines, causing damage to the inner surface of the small intestine and an inability to absorb certain nutrients. Poor compliance to diet can result in weight loss, malnutrition, anemia, abdominal bloating, gas and diarrhea, as well as stunted growth in teens and children.
Celiac disease, Killeen said, is also associated with bacterial overgrowth of the small intestine, which can cause or worsen malabsorption. Acidophilus, an over-the-counter product, can help manage bacterial overgrowth. It is found naturally in yogurt.
The Orange County Celiac Foundation’s support group meets from 7 to 9 p.m. the second Friday of every month in the Greenbriar room at Mount Alverno Center.
Informational events and healthy cooking demonstrations are periodically offered as a community service for the public at St. Anthony Community Hospital. For information call 845-987-5197.