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Sherry Lynn’s GLUTEN FREE Restaurant…the only 100% GLUTEN FREE Restaurant in the Country!
Hours: Monday thru Saturday 8:00am – 8:00pm
836 Troy-Schenectady road (Rte.7), Latham, NY 12110
el Loco Mexican Cafe
465 Madison Ave
Coping with Celiac disease
By Sabrina Katrayan
*Borrowed from: Capital Region Living–September 2009*
Do you often find yourself feeling sleepy, full and bloated after eating even a small meal? Do you find that you’re in a lot of pain after eating food except for vegetables and fruits? If you answered yes to these questions, chances are that you’re part of over 100,000 Americans with Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that irritates the small intestine because of sensitivity to gluten.
Gluten is commonly found in wheat, rye and barley. It is rich in protein, whether it stays in its natural form or is an additive in the food-manufacturing process. One of the biggest obstacles people dealing with Celiac disease have is that they have to check every little thing they eat to make sure the ingredients don’t contain gluten.
According to the National Institutes of Health, one in every 133 Americans has Celiac disease, but only three percent have been diagnosed.
When people suffering from the disease remove gluten from their diets, they are giving their small intestines a chance to heal. However, removing the protein from their diets is not an easy task. Grains are used in so many foods, and it’s often hard to tell by an ingredient name what may be in it, so you can easily end up eating a gluten product without even knowing it.
By eliminating gluten from your diet, you will find yourself eating some of these foods: vegetables, rice, buckwheat, chickpeas, fresh fish, fruits and tapioca. And now that manufacturers are creating more gluten-free foods, you can also enjoy bread, baking mixes, pastas, meat, peanuts and many more of your favorite foods. A lot of businesses are also trying to offer gluten-free foods, including Sherry Lynn’s Gluten Free bakery and restaurant in Latham, the only 100 percent gluten-free restaurant in the country.
Owner Sherry Lynn Birch suffers from Celiac disease so she can relate to her clientele.
“They’re frustrated and lost, and I know what they’re going through,” she said.
Seven years ago, there was hardly any information out there about gluten-free diets or Celiac disease. Even doctors had a hard time diagnosing it because they knew very little about it. With the lack of gluten-free food, Birch learned how to do without them.
“I gave up bread for two years before I finally learned how to make my own without gluten. I’d make French toast and then freeze 30 pieces in the freezer.
Like most people with the disease, she missed her beloved food choices, so she decided to open her gluten-free business in 2007, bringing back all those favorite foods like breads and donuts that people with the disease have had to sacrifice for their health.
Customers like 52 year-old Chuck Bleibtrey of Lake George have been thankful for her business.
Six years ago, Bleibtrey experienced itchy elbows and knees which led to painful blisters. It took five years for doctors to diagnose him with Celiac disease.
“The hardest part was changing my eating habits,” he said, “I had to give up my favorite homemade apple pie and Italian dishes. I used to go down to Verdile’s in Troy for their homemade spaghetti every Thursday.”
Bleibtrey tried going to restaurants that offered gluten-free menus, but after one of his dishes was cross-contaminated with flour and he became very sick, he realized that his health was not worth the risk.
That’s when he knew he had to change his dining options to something safer. While meeting other people around the area with Celiac disease, he learned about Sherry Lynn’s Gluten-Free and has been a loyal customer for the past two years.
“Here I found the best pizza I’ve ever had in years! Now I can have Italian food, only it’s a different version because it’s made with rice flour. The hardest part was getting used to the taste.”
People with Celiac disease also have another option. Today, big name grocery stores like Price Chopper and Hannaford stock their shelves with gluten-free products. For example, Betty Crocker recently came out with gluten-free cake, brownie and bread mixes. Delis are offering naturally, gluten-free meats. Many supermarkets also have an organic, natural foods aisle which contains safe pastas, cookies, cereals, wheatless flour, crackers and soups under specialized gluten-free brands. Some frozen meals like Lean Cuisine are also going gluten-free.
Coping with Celiac disease may have been tough five to seven years ago, but today there are a lot more options for people to choose from including restaurants and grocery stores. It’s a pretty good indication that you’re not alone!
For more information about Celiac disease visit www.celiacresource.org.