Clarice Schulz stands behind some of the gluten free products.

Gluten-free lifestyle battles celiac disease

For those living with celiac disease, a gluten-free lifestyle is a medical necessity.

For those living with celiac disease, a gluten-free lifestyle is a medical necessity.

When Clarice Schulz, 79, was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2000, she found the answers to her questions about her bloating, stomach aches and other inexplicable symptoms.

Since eliminating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and triticale, from her diet, Schulz said she feels like a new woman.

“I am much healthier and I have lots of energy,” said Schulz, of Red Deer.

Celiac disease is a permanent intolerance to gluten. Celiacs who eat products with gluten like bread, cereal, pasta and cookies can do serious damage to their small intestine.

Some common symptoms are anemia, chronic diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, cramps and bloating and irritability. In some cases, celiacs develop a skin disorder called dermatitis herpetiformis.

There’s no cure for celiac disease and the best treatment is to rule out gluten from your diet.

Schulz said in 2000 there was few choices in grocery stores or restaurants for people who could not tolerate gluten.

“We thought we died and gone to heaven with what’s available now,” laughed Schulz.

In the early days, Schulz learned what she could eat through trial and error.

She would bring in her own gluten-free buns or bread to make a sandwich at restaurants which didn’t go over well with the wait staff. Even a small amount of gluten can cause problems for celiacs so they must be mindful of cross contamination when gluten-free food comes in contact with food containing gluten.

These days Schulz is an expert at reading labels, quizzing waiters at restaurants, and calling the 1-800 numbers on items such as personal hygiene products, spices, teas and coffee. Schulz said she has learned to question the ingredients in everything from vitamins, prescriptions to make-up.

Schulz said several restaurants in Red Deer now cater to gluten-free needs.

While she prefers to make her own food, Schulz does eat out occasionally and when she does she hands the waiter a card from the Canadian Celiac Association. The card explains her dietary needs as a celiac so people do not assume they are on a “trendy” diet and not take them seriously.

“It’s a strict gluten-free diet for life,” said Schulz. “If you cheat you know you’re in trouble.” Schulz said she doesn’t miss any kind of food because there is more variety of gluten-free food.

Schulz is a member of the Red Deer Celiac Support Group, a satellite chapter of the Canadian Celiac Association. The support group meets every third Tuesday of the month at the coffee lounge at south Sobeys (5211 22 Street) in Red Deer. The group hosts guest speakers, share information on living gluten-free and provide recipe tips and support. The next meeting is May 15.

For more information on the local support group call 403-341-4351 or reddeerceliacs@yahoo.ca. For information on the newly formed Stettler Celiac Support Group, call Val Charles at 403-742-5217 or information on celiac disease visit www.celiac.ca.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Drilling forecast goes from bad to worse after slow start to summer deployments

CALGARY — The Canadian oilfield services sector is expected to continue to… Continue reading

Twisted weather: Alberta ahead of average tornado count at 17 so far this year

EDMONTON — Alberta storm chaser Chris Kiernan has hardly had a moment’s… Continue reading

Two teens thought to be missing now suspects in 3 northern B.C. deaths

SURREY, B.C. — Two teenagers who were thought to be missing are… Continue reading

Court orders Elections Canada to review moving voting day over religious worries

OTTAWA — A Federal Court judge has ordered Canada’s chief electoral officer… Continue reading

Saskatchewan farmers convert old grain bins into unlikely tourist cabins

Nothing says “Saskatchewan” quite like spending a night inside an old grain… Continue reading

World’s second-ranked amateur Andrea Lee out in front at Canadian Women’s Am

Andrea Lee hasn’t played golf in over a month but showed no… Continue reading

Opinion: RCMP and military legal settlements ignore accountability

If you asked Canadians which institutions stand at the heart of our… Continue reading

Drilling forecast goes from bad to worse after slow start to summer deployments

CALGARY — The Canadian oilfield services sector is expected to continue to… Continue reading

Twisted weather: Alberta ahead of average tornado count at 17 so far this year

EDMONTON — Alberta storm chaser Chris Kiernan has hardly had a moment’s… Continue reading

Two teens thought to be missing now suspects in 3 northern B.C. deaths

SURREY, B.C. — Two teenagers who were thought to be missing are… Continue reading

Court orders Elections Canada to review moving voting day over religious worries

OTTAWA — A Federal Court judge has ordered Canada’s chief electoral officer… Continue reading

Saskatchewan farmers convert old grain bins into unlikely tourist cabins

Nothing says “Saskatchewan” quite like spending a night inside an old grain… Continue reading

25 million historical artifacts will get new home in capital region

OTTAWA — Many of the country’s priceless historical artifacts — and millions… Continue reading

Federal NDP and Greens, provincial opposition call for review of Glen Assoun case

HALIFAX — Opposition leaders in Ottawa and Nova Scotia are calling for… Continue reading

Most Read