Smoking Prevents Celiac Disease! (Disclosure: read on, because smoking is still not recommended)

Smokers, don’t get too excited about the news that there is at least one disease you may be fending off by lighting up. While Dr. Anthony Colatrella informed the audience at the Thriving Gluten Free Workshop, “Cigarette smoking is actually protective against celiac disease…”, he quickly added, “although, we don’t recommend smoking.” 

Source: Fasano

Dr. Colatrella also introduced the concept of the celiac iceberg. With approximately 83% of celiacs still undiagnosed in the United States, the symptomatic and diagnosed cases of celiac are simply the tip of the iceberg. That’s why organizations like the Celiac Support Association, who hosted today’s Thriving Gluten Free Workshop, work so hard to get the message out to patients and health care providers to consider testing for celiac disease.
In addition to yummy treats provided by 2Good2B and Healthy Creations, local gluten-free eateries in Encinitas, there was a special program for GF kids and GF cooking tips. The lecture by Registered Dietitian Melinda Dennis left me with several takeaways:
  • We need to find a dietitian to help us balance the deficits of calcium, iron, zinc, B12, Vitamin D, fiber and phosphorus common in the GF diet. Not only does Miss E need this extra care, our whole family is subjected to the GF diet in our home. I am particularly concerned about Miss E’s five-years-and-growing brother. Let’s face it. As fabulous as gluten free cookies made with potato flour supplemented with extra fat and sugar taste, they are not exactly the staple of a healthy diet.
  • In addition to diet, we could use the help of a dietician to select the proper vitamins for the unique needs of each family member, especially on a gluten free.
  • While quinoa is my new best friend, I am going to have to get familiar with other GF whole grains like amaranth, millet, sorghum and teff, right after I figure out where to find them in the grocery store.
To that last point, I am going to start by taking on millet. A quick search online tells me that it is the main ingredient in bird seed. Great. We’ll ignore that and move on. These three millet recipes are now in my Pepperplate meal planning app, waiting to be tried: 
Thank you, San Diego Celiac Support Association, for the information and the inspiration!

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