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

Alberta premier unhappy with Suzuki honorary degree but defends academic freedom

EDMONTON — Premier Rachel Notley says she does not agree with the… Continue reading

Sylvan Lake wants to create year-round tourist season

Public open house and workshops held May 10-12

Historical bylaws show a different Lacombe

Staff combed through records to find hundreds of outdated bylaws still on the books

Gravel companies facing fee increase

Red Deer County considering raising levy charged to gravel companies for road repairs

Excessive dog poop on Blackfalds ball diamonds frustrates town

Melting snow in Blackfalds uncovered ball diamonds full of dog poop, frustrating… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer students get active, healthy

Healthy Active Schools Symposium takes place in schools

Poll: Advocate readers support Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

Red Deer Advocate readers want the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion to be… Continue reading

Celebrate all women this Mother’s Day in Central Alberta

A breakfast fundraiser is scheduled May 12 in Lacombe

Photo: Poplar Ridge Grade 6 class learn about newspapers

Red Deer Advocate editor Crystal Rhyno visited the school on Wednesday

‘The Heat’ doc examines gender barriers for top female chefs

TORONTO — In making a documentary about top female chefs, Toronto filmmaker… Continue reading

Hank Azaria willing to stop voicing Apu on ‘The Simpsons’

NEW YORK — Hank Azaria is ready to stop voicing Kwik-E-Mart owner… Continue reading

US stocks mostly fall in wobbly trading as costs, rates rise

NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are wobbling and trading mostly lower Wednesday… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month