May is National Celiac Disease Awareness Month which is a great time to learn more about Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance whether you’ve been following a gluten free diet for years or just switched to one. This May I teamed up with Jewel-Osco for their in-store Gluten Free Food Fests to educate shoppers on all of the gluten free options that exist in their stores.
Celiac Disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide and two and one-half million Americans are currently undiagnosed. The disease is hereditary meaning that in runs in families, and can develop at any age after people start eating foods that contain gluten. Left untreated, Celiac Disease can lead to additional serious health problems, as it triggers inflammation in the small intestine.
As a dietitian who works with clients that have both Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance (does not cause damage to the lining of the small intestine) I strive to empower those with the disease or intolerance to never feel like they are limited in what they can eat. I look at it as an opportunity to add even more nutrition to the diet and find alternatives that are equally as delicious as their gluten-containing counterparts.
This month, in partnership with Jewel-Osco, I was part of Gluten Free Food Fests that took place each weekend at select Jewel-Osco stores in the Chicagoland area. I got to speak with customers first-hand about their experiences following a gluten-free diet while they sampled gluten-free snacks like Caulipower pizza and truroots brown rice, quinoa, and lentil blend.
We chatted about hidden sources of gluten like in sauces, condiments, medications and alcoholic beverages and alternatives that don’t sacrifice flavor and texture.
Watch this video to get an inside look at the Gluten Free Food Fests:
Many of the customers who stopped by shop at Jewel-Osco because of the extensive gluten-free selection. They know they can find gluten-free alternatives to their favorites without having to go to a variety of different stores. This made the Gluten Free Fest even more impactful because it got customers excited about a some gluten free products they didn’t know were out there, and better yet available at Jewel-Osco stores!
Through my nutrition education I always strive to provide solutions to clients with special dietary needs. These events at Jewel-Osco where a great touchpoint for customer education and offered samples that served as solutions to the gluten-free community when faced with what is safe for their diets. I really enjoyed being there to answer people’s questions, watch their eyes light up when they tried a sample that they liked, and to cheer them on in their journey of being gluten free.
Grab some inspiration for your own gluten free meals with the sample pairings offered during the Gluten Free Food Fests:
- Caulipower margherita, three cheese pizza, and natural pepperoni pizza
- Tasty Bite basmati and brown rice + Kikkoman gluten free teriyaki sauce with frozen peas and carrots with Crispin cider beverage
- truRoots quinoa, brown rice & lentils blend + La Preferida refried beans and green chilies with Schar bread & honeygrams
For more information about Celiac Disease and source of gluten in the diet check out this informational brochure. And be sure to check out this recipe for gluten free pumpkin chickpea blondies and this one for gluten and dairy free pumpkin cookies too!