Aware­ness leads to big­ger choice

Townsville Bulletin - - News - Alexis Gill­ham

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.

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