What is celiac disease? Taken from Celiac.org, Celiac is define as the following:
"Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disease that occurs in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. Two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications."
While it's not something Cassie or I personally have, I do know a lot about it.
I have a close friend who had a daughter born so plump, beautiful and healthy. However, around two, she started to get very sick. She lost weight, dark circles around her eyes, constantly vomiting each time she ate, her belly extended and swollen. She was literally withering away right before their eyes and nothing they could do about it! After seeing so many baffled specialist, my terrified friend was told her daughter was given the diagnosis as "failure to thrive."
NO WAY!! That's not gonna happen.
So, like any mama bear, my friend's persistence and a mother's love of not giving up on her child, her determination found THE top GI specialists in the country. After just a few short minutes with her baby, he knew what was wrong. A biopsi confirmed what he knew--she was Celiac. She is now 17 and thriving! Thanks Heavens. I get chills every time I retell that story or think about it.
That story shows just how severe and dangerous this disease is and it isn't something to be taken likely. It's NOT A FAD to be gluten free.
Let me repeat that. Against popular belief, this is not a fad diet for everyone.
It is medically necessary to survive. Even a small amount of cross contamination can make some who manages this disease, violently ill. And that is something I do not wish on anyone. I've seen it.
On a more personal level, many know that I have Hashimoto's and that is the reason for my dietary need to be gluten free. In short, it helps lessen the attack on my thyroid. I switched over 14 years ago to help me manage my AI disease. The world has gotten a lot easier in that time as far as gluten free food options. I remember that EVERYTHING I cooked was 98% from scratch because there were VERY little options. Where it is easier now, the world has also at the same time become a little lazy and complacent about the guidelines of labeling a product gluten free or managing cross contamination in a gluten kitchen. Even a deep frier shared by both regular flour and gluten free flours can make an extremely sensitive person very ill with a multitude of symptom that I wouldn't hope anyone to ever experience.
That's why I wanted to start offering products that were safe for the gluten free community! Enter our wildly and every growing popular chicken strips that are batch tested! I know what it takes to keep someone protected from cross contamination or from being glutenized leaving them feeling weeks of a nasty gluten "hangover". I wanted to create a safe place, to be trusted in what we offer. When we find and release a new product and we label it with "Gluten Free Winning", it means I have triple checked and personally emailed the company asking how they control CC, what testing they use, and how they manufacture.
Our hope is to keep this growing and keep offering foods that are delicious, safe, even convenient, and in bulk for our community who suffer from Celiac Disease or other medical conditions that require this diet. And as a bonus, I try to find dairy free items as well!
Cassie and I pour our heart into this co-op, we love our little village and our celiac members are 100% included in that! It's already a super difficult challenging and expensive world why not make that easier and more affordable?
Last, but especially not least, we are teaming up with our friends at Gluten Free World Expo, Elisa and Jamie, to be offering even more and greater products that are local to Utah. You can follow them on IG at @myglutenfreeworldexpo. They hold an amazing Expo every year dedicated to gluten free products that you can try out and shop. It grows each year so go follow them so you don't miss out on those updates. Last year it was cancelled due to COVID-19 but as of now, it's totally game on!
Stay with us as we grow this side the Food and Meat Co-op. You never know what Cassie and I will get into and bring to the co-op next. Always a journey with us.