Awareness leads to bigger choice
MENU POSITIVE: Ron Piper, with Coeliac Awareness Group members and products that are gluten free WHEAT flour, wheat bran, noodles, spaghetti, macaroni and ravioli all used to be off the menu for a person diagnosed with Coeliac disease.
But things have come a long way since Townsville Coeliac Society area contact Sally Lacquer discovered she had the disease 24 years ago.
Since then, restaurants and supermarkets have improved their menus so that those affected by the condition are able to enjoy similar food to their friends.
Ms Lacquer promoted this positive menu change through a gluten-free pancake cook-off when she hosted the first meeting for 2011 of the local Coeliac organisation on the weekend.
‘‘ A lot of restaurants now have gluten-free options,’’ she said.
‘‘ At home, my family all eats the same food.
‘‘ If we’re having spaghetti, we all eat the same gluten-free sauce but I’ll cook the glutenfree spaghetti for myself.’’
Coeliac disease occurs when a protein called gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, malt and oats, generates an immune reaction in the small intestine, causing the body to attack itself.
Coeliac disease is often inherited but can also occur in i ndi v i d ual s who have had severe stress, physical trauma, been pregnant and/ or a viral infection in susceptible individuals for reasons that weren’t well understood.
Ms Lacquer said the Townsville organisation was a support group and was not about fundraising.
‘‘ We’ve introduced shopping tours where I ask people what they want to eat and take them around a shop and show them how to understand a label.
‘‘ We meet every two to three months as a support group. We talk about places to eat and any new ( gluten-free) products.’’
People who want to be involved in the local group should contact the Queensland Coeliac Society on 3839 5404 for details.