Sunday night is pizza night at our house, and I couldn’t be more excited about it. I have celiac, and until recently, family pizza night consisted of ordering the house salad and living vicariously through my friends and family as they contemplated their favorite toppings and chowed down on one-too-many slices.
That all changed two Sundays ago when I was introduced to the gluten-free crust at Naked Pizza, a health-conscious pizza joint in St. Matthews. I ordered a 12-inch thin crust with “the works” and managed to finish it off in one sitting!
It may seem as if I am overreacting to a slice of pie, but finding acceptable alternatives to many of the foods that most Americans take for granted is a challenge to people, like me, who are restricted to a gluten-free diet.
Although the term gluten-free is becoming more common on restaurant menus and in news articles, it does seem a bit weird that something as ordinary as wheat could cause so much trouble. But celiac is a serious condition triggered by certain foods in 1 out of 133 people. It is described by the medical field as an auto-immune condition initially caused by hypersensitivity and hyper-immunity to a class of proteins, called gliadins, which are found in the outer husk of common grains such as wheat, barley, rye and oats.
I won’t bore you with the gory details of its damaging effects to the body, but let’s just say I wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole.
As with any dietary restriction, a gluten-free diet is not as bad as it sounds if there are allergy-friendly alternatives that satisfy the body’s daily nutrient intake, as well as your taste buds. The restaurant industry has begun to recognize the need for gluten-free options for many dishes. For example, P.F. Chang’s and locally-owned Simply Thai offer rice noodles in lieu of the normal wheat version in their signature dishes.
Gluten-free grocery lists have also improved. One of my favorites is a new line of baked goods called Udi’s, which you can find at most Kroger stores. And Great Harvest Bread Co. on Hurstbourne Lane carries some rather delicious items, like their super-moist pumpkin bread.
For home cooking, even Betty Crocker is jumping on the gluten-free bus with its new gluten-free Bisquick, which hit many stores last summer. Wow, pizza and pancakes – who could ask for anything more!
Category: Around Town
About the Author (Author Profile)
In addition to her duties as a society columnist and photographer, Shari Baughman handles business and community relations for The Voice-Tribune.