This must be one of the questions I get the most. And the answer is SO long, and not always easy to understand. Celiac Disease is a complex auto immune disease that can show in so many different ways in different people. But just incase you (like I often do) need the short version, here you go (once you are done reading it, hit the F or T at the bottom and share it on Facebook and twitter, more awareness = a better life for Celiacs :)
Celiac (Coeliac) disease is an autoimmune disease. When someone with Celiac disease eats gluten, the immune system triggers a reaction and releases antibodies, the antibodies cause damage to the villi in the small intestine. The villi in the small intestine is responsible for soaking up all the nutrients in our food, so once it is damaged a whole range of issues can follow.
Symptoms of celiac disease vary from person to person, some researchers say there are around 200 symptoms associated, others go as far as saying over 300 symptoms! Some people may have only 1-2 symptoms, others will have 10, or many many more.
The more common symptoms are:
Bloating / Cramping
Abdominal discomfort / pain
Diarrhea or constipation (or both)
Weight Loss (or sometimes weight gain)
Failiure to thrive (in children)
Dental and bone disorders (such as osteoporosis)
There is currently no cure or medical treatment for Celiac (Coeliac) disease. The only treatment is to go on a life long gluten free diet. Once on a gluten free diet, symptoms will clear up and the villi will heal. It is important to watch out for small amounts of hidden gluten in foods, as even minute amounts are enough to cause a reaction, and if the exposure is frequent there will (again) be damage to the villi.
I think Pizza is probably one of the most discussed topics on our Facebook and Twitter. Its also one of the first questions people ask once they get in touch after being diagnosed. 'Where can we get gluten free pizza?'. Until now, I have been unable to recommend anything other then 'Make your own'.
Sure, there IS gluten free Pizza out there, but just how gluten free is it? Thats a totally different post altogether really, but lets just say that none that I have come across and spoken to would advertise themselves as safe for Celiacs. In fact, most will tell you they are NOT safe for Celiacs.
The cross contamination issues with Pizza will always be there, the only way to totally 100% get away from it would be to only serve gluten free. Well, someone is finally making the effort to make us a 'safe' gluten free Pizza here in Dubai (and hopefully also in Abu Dhabi by next year).
I say 'safe', because really, with Pizza, made in a Pizza place, there is always going to be some risk involved, but having visited the kitchen and seen their process, Id say that in order to be contaminated you would have to be pretty unlucky.
So, who are they and how do they do it then?
here in the UAE launch their gluten free crust in August, and they will follow all the strict procedures they use in the USA (where they are allowed to call their glutenfree crust gluten free).
They use mainly Organic materials for their Pizzas, and their whole philosophy is about making a pizza less unhealthy. They put all their cards on the table when it comes to what goes in - and on top - of their pizzas, and all my questions were answered fully.
They will also be adding a video to their website (filmed here in the UAE), showing you all what they showed me in their kitchen! But let me tell you what they told me.
Each store will have 1-2 staff members that will be the only ones allowed to handle anything gluten free or anything in the gluten free section. This is to try to minimise the risk of cross contamination, and seems a good security measure to me.
The nominated 'Gluten Free Person' will wash hands and put on a clean pair of gloves before making a new order of gluten free crust pizza.
The Pizza base is individually wrapped, imported, and kept in a cupboard with a door (again, to minimise gluten exposure).
The base contains corn and rice flours, and its a 'thin base'.
The Gluten Free 'station' is off course smaller then the one used for gluten, so there is some limitations in regards to toppings.
Toppings are kept in plastic containers and there is a lid to cover everything, again, minimising gluten exposure. The trays used for the Gluten Free pizzas are different to the gluten ones.
The pizza ovens in NKD are 3 level rolling along jobbies. You put a pizza in, and out it comes, ready, on the other side (I did have a picture of this, but its blurry, sorry). The gluten free pizza goes to the top right only. Never anywhere else. And only the gluten free person is allowed to pick it up when its done.
How do they make sure that procedures are adhered to then? Well, I asked this, because we all know we can have an 'off day', only an off day for someone making gluten free food in a gluten kitchen can result in someone being very ill. Each store has a full time staff trainer. They do not just come in for a couple of hours here or there, they are there, all the time, providing on going training. So if there ever is a slip up, it should be able to be picked up straight away and rectified.
Those of you who have met me know that I never let my little Celiac eat anything from outside, but on this day, given that she was with me, it would have been incredibly unfair to not let her try it, but actually, I wasn't very worried at all. Is it my kitchen? Sure, no, but its a kitchen that is taking gluten free seriously, a company that is used to operating in a country where laws in regards to what can be called gluten free are strict (well, stricter then here), and made by a team who seem very passionate about what they do and their ingredients.
I am not sure who ate more, me or the kids! (It was probably me, lol), but the kids both said its the best pizza they have ever had, and I am not able to disagree. It was crispy, thin, gluten free, full of flavour, not dry and crumbly in the slightest. Dare I say its better then my own gluten free pizza made from scratch?
Best part, watching our celiac that afternoon, evening, and the day after for a reaction, seeing nothing other then a happy healthy 3 year old with a flat tummy!
So, will I let her eat the NKD pizza regularly? Probably not, but I will for sure let her have it again! The best bit will be that I will actually now have the option of not cooking if there is ever an emergency. Given that our house is gluten free it also means that me and hubby can now add pizza to our take out nights without worry!
I did ask a million questions, about which chopping boards were used for the veggies, where the cheese is sourced, if the soap is gluten free, where are things washed etc etc etc, but if I include it all I will be writing for hours. Go to their website when the gluten free crust is launched, watch the video and see for yourself.
me, I cant wait to eat it again!
-Linda And as usual, I have received no payment for this, nor will I ever ask for any. I do what I do in my spare time to help other families like ours. If NKD want to give me a T - shirt I'll happily say yes, but thats about it ;) Happy to review any gluten free product by any company who does it right :)EDIT:
As promised NKD has now put a video on their website of the entire procedure, as well as a full ingredient list. It can be found here
(opens in new window).
Tips for Coeliac Disease sufferers
By: Parviz Rashvand, ND
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
Inflammatory Bowel Diseases including Coeliac result in extensive inflammation and tissue destructions. As a result, digestion and more importantly, absorption of nutrients become compromised and therefore, nutritional deficiencies always play a major role in the long-term outcome of such conditions. Details checkups reveal large amount of toxins in the body, extensive vitamin and mineral deficiencies and microbial growth in the body as a result of immune system disturbance and weakness. To help the patients, controlling the inflammation and excessive destruction is imperative. Detoxification actions must be supported and microbes should be eradicated by balancing the immunity. This is what I recommend:
- A complete avoidance of any gluten containing food, including not just wheat, rye and barley, but also soy sauce, modified food starch, ice cream, soup or alcoholic beverages. This will reduce the production of the toxins and will give a chance for cleansing the body!
- Abstain from milk or any milk product until the healthy intestinal function is restored.
- Regular intake of high quality raw veggies and fruits will supply plenty f enzymes to our body and enzymes will not only help digesting gluten, but they also digest inflammatory proteins and markers.
- A comprehensive supply of the RIGHT probiotics to carpet the inner lumen of the digestive system
- Stimulation of a more efficient pancreatic function in a key issue since pancreas is one of the most important digestive organs responsible for manufacturing of many different enzymes. We do this by using very specific nutritional supplements.
- Although vitamin Bs (esp B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6) and omega 3 fats (the essential fatty acids) are mainly deficient in those patients, supplementing them in the beginning could cause more problems due to the presence of active microbes in the body. They will also feed the bugs!!! In the later stage of the treatment, they will be totally fine but not from the beginning!!!
- Avoiding fried foods, large amounts of red meat, stimulants such as coffee or very spicy food, and sugar will help the body with the excessive inflammation
- Botanical preparations of marsh mellow (Althea officinalis, not the candy!), Silica as Horse tail, Burdock, Slippery elm, pure Aloe Vera gel, and medicinal clay (Bentonite) is always helpful
- To follow the Rules of Stomach will ensure less pressure and more comfort in the digestive system promoting healing
- Addressing stress as the most important debilitating factors for our health is a major point to consider. Long-term stress, whether physical, emotional or others will compromise immunity and digestive functions in everyone! It is, therefore, very important to recognize the source of the stress and address them properly to suit the individual. Quantum technology in medicine not only could detect the possible allergies and sensitivities in people, but also it could desensitize the body and address stress parameters in them.
Dr. Parviz Rashvand is a pioneer in many areas of Naturopathic Medicine in the UAE. He is trained both in conventional and natural medicine and has studied dentistry partially. Dr. Parviz is extremely passionate about helping patients suffering from cancer, MS, autism and other severe auto-immune and degenerative conditions.
DR Parviz practices at Synergy Medical Centre in Dubai. Click the logo on the right to go to their web page (opens in new window).