Wednesday, July 14, 2010

We interrupt this famine to bring you intestinal peace

As some of you know, I'm a world war II history buff. However, until I read one of Bette Hagman's books, I had no idea how centrally WWII -- and the post-war European food crises -- figured into the diagnosis of celiac disease.

As paraphrased on

"Another important marker in the history of celiac disease were the findings by Dutch pediatrician, Dr. Willem Karel Dicke. In 1953 Dr. Dicke wrote his doctoral thesis for the University of Utrecht based on his observations that the ingestion of wheat proteins specifically, and not carbohydrates in general, were the cause of celiac disease. He was able to exemplify his findings based on bread shortages in the Netherlands during World War II. During the bread shortages, he found that the health of children with celiac improved tremendously. However, when the allied planes began dropping bread to the Netherlands, the same children quickly deteriorated."

A miracle, really -- first, that anyone was paying attention to the stomachs of small Dutch children while Europe was in chaos and denial; second, that someone realized that the problem was wheat protein and not one of the myriad other food storage problems that existed at the time.

Dank je!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ten things to be happy about

Inspired by my godson, recently diagnosed with celiac disease, and my family, who has been incredibly supportive of JFG, and a recent posting on my favorite blog (Postcards from the Edge), here is a list of ten things to be happy about regarding this pesky condition:

10. Gluten-Free Pantry Pie Crust -- any company that allows you to make gluten-free pie crust without crazy flour purchases should be on this list.

9. Zydeco (in Bend, OR), PF Chang's, Kwan's, Andina, and all of the other restaurants with separate and generous gluten-free menus.

8. Bette Hagman and those of her generation who made food safe for future celiac sufferers before it was sexy. Or even normal.

7. Chex mix.

6. Betty Crocker's gluten-free yellow and chocolate cake and brownie mixes, available not in the special gluten-free section of the grocery store but right in the baking aisle.

5. Gluten-Free Girl and Mag's Sentence, and every other blogger who realizes that celiac disease, once properly treated, is funny.

4. Family members willing -- and even eager -- to make entire Thanksgiving dinners gluten-free.

3. Physicians who can identify celiac disease quickly and relatively painlessly.

2. My husband's health.

1. Your family's health.

Thanks to everyone for giving us so much to be happy about. I am grateful.