LIVING GLUTEN FREE
Eating and shopping safely in Northern Nevada.
WRITTEN BY AIMEE EIGUREN
PHOTO BY JACI GOODMAN
During the past 10 years, the gluten-free food industry has exploded nationwide. And it’s predicted to continue growing exponentially, becoming a $2.6 billion industry by 2012. This will ensure that in the near future almost every grocery store and restaurant will need to include gluten-free shoppers and customers in the mix. This includes the Northern Nevada market as well, which is already offering local residents with celiac disease or those suffering from gluten intolerance greater options for safely shopping and dining out gluten free.
There still are many people who have yet to hear about celiac disease, though one out of every 133 Americans has this autoimmune disease and 97 percent of these people have yet to be diagnosed. Celiac disease is a lifelong, inherited autoimmune condition affecting children and adults. When people with celiac disease eat foods that contain gluten, it creates an immune-mediated toxic reaction that causes damage to the small intestine and does not allow food to be properly absorbed. Common symptoms include:
- Abdominal cramping, intestinal gas
- Distention and bloating of the stomach
- Chronic diarrhea or constipation (or both)
- Anemia – due to folic acid, B12, or iron deficiency (or all)
- Unexplained weight loss with large appetite or weight gain
Gluten is the common name for the proteins in specific grains that are harmful to people with celiac disease. These proteins are found in all forms of wheat (including durum, semolina, spelt, kamut, einkorn, and faro) and related grains (rye, barley, and triticale). “The gluten-free diet is a challenge and should be taken very seriously,” says Dr. Dennis Yamamoto, gastroenterologist and celiac specialist at Digestive Health Associates in Reno. “Diagnosis and research are on the rise and becoming more prevalent.
The safest place to eat gluten free is usually in one’s own kitchen, far from any gluten contamination. However, safe options for dining out do exist throughout the Reno-Tahoe region. Every year, more restaurant owners begin paying attention to the serious risks that come from a gluten-intolerant customer coming in contact with even the slightest amount of gluten.
Restaurants such as 4th St. Bistro in Reno, owned by partners Natalie Sellers and Carol Wilson (who went gluten free in 2000), offer a fantastic variety of gluten-free items on their organic and fresh food menu.
“Over the years, many of our customers asked for gluten-free entrées,” Wilson says. “We recognized that the majority of our menu already was gluten free and, therefore, decided to offer even more items that were safe.”
Café de Thai presents many gluten-free choices as well. The Reno restaurant’s owners, Jay and Catherine Sakul, and staff pay close attention to any gluten-free needs of their customers. For instance, their delicious pad Thai always is gluten free. Their mango chicken and several other appetizers and entrées also are available gluten free.
Fresh, gluten-free baked goods are savored by the gluten-intolerant simply because there aren’t many good options here. Since Haven on Earth Bread & Bakery Co. opened in Reno in 2010, celiacs have been lining up for a taste of warm sweet rolls, pizza, cookies, sliced breads, and even doughnuts. They are all created inside their 100 percent dedicated gluten-free bakery. In addition, Café Girasole in Gardnerville offers delicious gluten-free soups, bread, dessert, and other baked goods.
Shopping for gluten-free food is not the quest it used to be. Mainstream grocery stores such as Scolari’s, Raley’s, Save Mart, and Walmart carry a hefty inventory of gluten-free items. Whole Foods Market has an entire aisle of gluten-free products sure to bring happy tears to the gluten intolerant. And Trader Joe’s sells numerous items that are safe and delicious. The Great Basin Community Food Co-op sells organic gluten-free items, while Great Harvest Bread Co. bakes up gluten-free breads every Monday that sell out each week.
Be Your Own Advocate
Northern Nevada is embracing gluten-free living, slowly but surely. There are support groups for adults and children alike, baking classes offered at Truckee Meadows Community College and Whole Foods, as well as great medical care available for celiacs and the gluten-intolerant community. The key is becoming your own advocate, delving into the research and always asking questions when you dine out. It’s a life-long learning process and journey to delicious, safe foods, which can now be found, most likely, right around the corner.
Aimee Eiguren is a public relations professional, celiac advocate, blogger, and sports enthusiast. She also loves spending time in the kitchen creating new gluten-free recipes, and exploring restaurants in her travels that offer wonderful, gluten-free meals. For details, visit Eiguren’s blog at Glutenfreebowlofsoul.blogspot.com
Whole Foods Market, Reno
Trader Joe’s, Reno and Carson City,
Great Basin Community Food Co-op, Reno
Haven on Earth Bread & Bakery Co., Reno
Tia’s Sweet Treats
Great Harvest Bread Co., Reno
High Pointe Event Catering, Truckee
The Cheese Board, Reno
Truckee Meadows Community College, Reno
Nothing To It Culinary Center, Reno
Dr. Dennis Yamamoto at Digestive Health Associates, Reno www.Digestivehealthreno.com
Dr. Nancy Conley at Family & Integrated Medicine, Reno
High Sierra Gluten-Free Support Group, Mary Reynolds, RD
Raising Our Celiac Kids, Carrie Owen
Restaurants that offer gluten-free items or a gluten-free menu
4th St. Bistro, Reno
Beaujolais Bistro, Reno
BJ’s Restaurant and Brewery, Reno
Café de Thai, Reno
Café Girasole, Gardnerville
Country Garden, Reno
Dish Café, Reno
Glen Eagle’s, Carson City
JT Basque Bar & Dining Room, Gardnerville
La Ferme, Genoa
La Vecchia, Reno
Lone Eagle Grill, The Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe, Incline Village
Moody’s Bistro and Lounge, Truckee
Outback Steakhouse, Reno
P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Reno
Sezmu, Reno www.Sezmurestaurant.com