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Posted on February 24, 2016
For many, May simply means thawing snow and bouquets of fresh blossoms – but for the millions of people living with celiac disease, May means something else: It’s Celiac Awareness Month.
A serious health condition that has been gaining a lot of attention in recent years, celiac disease is still widely misunderstood. Different from gluten intolerance or sensitivity, celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that is hereditary (according to the Celiac Disease Foundation, a person with a first-degree relative with celiac disease has a 1 in 10 risk of developing it) and currently without a cure.
The only way to effectively treat celiac disease is to maintain a strict gluten-free diet, as gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye and barley) triggers a negative immune response in those affected. When a person with celiac disease consumes gluten, his or her body reacts in a way that damages the small intestine. Over time, this damage can trigger side effects like anemia, osteoporosis, infertility, neurological conditions, autoimmune disorders like Type I diabetes and multiple sclerosis, and even certain types of cancers (source: celiac.org.)
Even the tiniest bit of gluten (like crumbs left on a bread knife) can cause small intestine damage for a person with celiac disease. This can make it very difficult for someone suffering from the disease to eat in restaurants or other peoples’ homes – especially since gluten hides in a wide array of ingredients (many pre-packaged sauces, marinades and snacks contain gluten) and also because one of the more common side effects of the disorder is lactose intolerance and/or other food allergies. Additionally, many people with serious food allergies or sensitivities can react negatively to casein or whey, the proteins found in milk.
Not only are all Daiya products deliciously dairy-free, but they are gluten-free and soy-free as well. We take special care to create and offer foods that feature the rich, creamy texture and taste of dairy that everyone – even those living with celiac disease – may enjoy without compromise.
We at Daiya are proud to support those living with celiac disease, and we encourage you all to do so as well. How? Check out these ideas from the Celiac Support Association, and learn more about Celiac Awareness Month at CeliacCentral.org.
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