Gluten-free diets are necessary for individuals who are unable to digest a protein called gluten found in wheat, rye, barley, and possibly oats. Gluten intolerance or inability to digest gluten– is commonly referred to as celiac disease, or gluten sensitive enteropathy. Individuals who have gluten intolerance suffer damage to their intestines when they eat foods that contain gluten.
You can identify gluten-containing foods with the following symbol placed on food items:
This symbol identifies foods that include gluten. When in doubt, please ask to see the manager or chef.
People with celiac disease have a broad range of symptoms. Common symptoms can include: DIARRHEA, WEIGHT LOSS, STEATORRHEA (FATTY STOOLS), BLOATING, CONSTIPATION, and MALNUTRITION.
Bone and muscle pain, lethargy, neuropathy, depression, and behavioral problems can also be symptoms of celiac disease. Due to the variability of symptoms, an individual with celiac disease is often misdiagnosed for years before getting the proper diagnosis and treatment. Currently, the only treatment for an individual with celiac disease is strict adherence to a gluten-free diet. It is estimated that one in 133 Americans have sensitivities to gluten.
Strict adherence to a gluten-free diet is difficult. All foods that contain wheat, rye and barley gluten must be avoided. Pizza, bread, bagels, pasta, some breakfast cereals, noodles and bread crumbs are only some examples of foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a common “hidden” food ingredient in many commercial food products including condiments, sauces, luncheon meats, soups, beverages, and snack foods. Foods that don’t contain gluten may be produced in a food plant that manufactures gluten-containing food products. Therefore, the possibility of cross-contamination is high. It is essential that an individual with celiac disease carefully read and understand food labels, ask how food is prepared when eating out, and familiarize him or herself with food additives that are made from gluten.
Major Sources of Gluten**
• Barley • Bran • Couscous • Flour (wheat) • Kamut • Malt • Matzo • Pasta • Rye • Seitan • Semolina • Soy Sauce • Spelt • Sprouted wheat or barley • Teriyaki Sauce • Triticale • Udon • Wheat
Hidden Sources of Gluten**
• Beer • Brewer’s yeast • Coloring • Fillers • Flavorings • Graham flour • Hydrolyzed plant protein • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein • Mono- and diglycerides • Monosodium glutamate • Spices • Textured vegetable protein
** For a more comprehensive list of gluten-containing foods visit the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America.
There are a number of gluten-free foods that can be purchased through food suppliers (such as United Natural Foods), and at local grocery stores. These products can be used in place of their gluten-containing counterparts in many recipes. In addition keep the following tips in mind when preparing special diets:
- Quick Start Diet Guide
- Gluten-Free Guidelines
- Read labels carefully.
- Prepare gluten-free meals with clean pans and utensils, and in areas that are separate from major food production.
- Prepare modified meals to order and avoid the possibility of cross-contamination.
- Identify a core team of foodservice personnel in each dining location to work with students who have specialized diets.
- Educate all members of the foodservice team, including management, about the common food intolerances and their symptoms.
- Post lists of ingredients that contain gluten in all food preparation areas.
- Never assume that a product is gluten-free. When in doubt, avoid using it.
- Roasted or Grilled (Beef, Chicken, Fish, Shrimp, Surimi, Vegetables, Tofu)
- Stir Fry Entrée (Beef, Chicken, Fish, Shrimp, Surimi, Vegetables, Tofu)
- Pasta Entrée (with Rice Noodles, or Gluten-Free Noodles)
- Burrito, Roll-up, Taco, Quesadilla (with Corn Tortilla)
- Main Dish Salad (Chef, Chicken, Shrimp, Tofu, Legumes)
- Breakfast items (Eggs, Omelets, Gluten-Free Pancakes and Waffles, Breakfast Sandwiches on Gluten-Free Bagels or Bread)