Roger George, a volunteer for the Celiac Society UK visited Big Fry (the “Gluten Free Monday” fish and chip shop) to raise awareness of celiac disease and the range of food now available for those who suffer.
Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate a protein called gluten which is found in wheat, rye, barley and possibly oats. When people with celiac disease eat foods containing gluten, their immune system responds by damaging the small intestine. Specifically, tiny fingerlike protrusions, called villi, on the lining of the small intestine are lost. Nutrients from food are absorbed into the bloodstream through these villi. Without villi, a person becomes malnourished regardless of the quantity of food eaten.
The only way to stop this disease from causing any more damage is to stop eating gluten. Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye and some oats. About 60% of wheat is made up of gluten.
Since his diagnosis Roger has only had two episodes when he has eaten gluten with out knowing, he started to get headaches very quickly along with feeling sick which lasted for a few weeks!
Buy Local Bear who is raising “Buy Local” awareness within the community and raising the profile of local businesses, making sure we all keep using them so they can continue to serve the local community, met with Roger today who said “My main symptoms were neurological which made me seek help, I also suffered with feeling very tired because my body wasn’t getting the vitamins it needs. I also had other symptoms but had lived with them for years not realising that I was celiac.” Peter was only diagnosed as celiac because he went for a blood test related to arthritis and it showed he wasn’t absorbing any nutrients apart from potassium. Further tests revealed that he did infact have celiac disease. Peter went on to say there are three things people normally miss when they are first diagnosed – bread, beer and fear of eating out.
Cross contamination can be a real factor with celiacs, you only need a tiny amount for gluten for some people to feel the symptoms, it may be a little as crumbs from a slice of bread! So restaurants who do cater for Celiacs have to make sure their food is kept completing separate and prepared separately.
As more people are being diagnosed with celiacs disease there is more food becoming available which is gluten free. Roger handed out samples for people to take away. Local celiac residents were able to choose from granola, mince pies, cakes and bread.
Many people now even opt for a gluten free diet because it makes them feel better even thought they are not diagnosed as celiac.