Dierbergs Markets Offers Activities, Savings For October Celiac Disease Awareness Month

October is Celiac Disease Awareness Month…although for those living with the disease, the reminders come daily.

Celiac disease is a digestive condition triggered by consumption of the protein gluten, which is found in bread, pasta, cookies, pizza crust and many other foods containing wheat, barely or rye as well as potentially oats. Yes, it’s seemingly all the good stuff and certainly foods that are prevalent in most of our daily diets.

When a person with celiac disease eats foods containing gluten, an immune reaction occurs in the small intestine, resulting in damage to the intestinal surface and an inability to absorb certain nutrients from food (1) that can lead to a host of other symptoms and illnesses. Estimates show that as many as 1 in 133 Americans could be living with Celiac disease.(2)

No treatment can cure celiac disease; so it is managed through diet with zero tolerance for any foods containing gluten.  The challenge historically, for those living with the disease, has been to find foods that don’t contain gluten but still retain the flavor and characteristics of its traditional gluten-containing counterpart. Even five years ago, finding such foods could be a huge challenge, and finding flavorful foods even more so.

Ben Ablan, Dierbergs category manager overseeing Dierbergs Whole Life category of healthful foods, understands the challenges.  “My mother has lived with celiac disease for years, so I know how hard it’s been to find good-tasting foods that are also gluten-free. At Dierbergs, we are building this category at a very rapid rate. I see and hear firsthand how much customers appreciate having more choices that meet their very strict dietary guidelines.  We’re committed; Dierbergs is in this for the long haul,” Ablan said.

Every one of Dierbergs’ 23 metropolitan locations has a large category-specific section of gluten-free products and a mix of items integrated throughout the store.  Products can be easily identified by gluten-free shelf tags.

As part of Celiac Disease Awareness Month, Dierbergs will feature a variety of gluten-free products in its October Weekly ads.  Customers can save on popular and new products; sample gluten-free foods on Saturday, Oct. 9 and Sunday, Oct. 10; find literature; and meet representatives from the Celiac Sprue Association on select dates.

More details can be found at Dierbergs.com/GlutenFree, as well as gluten-free recipes and cooking class schedules.

(1) Mayoclinic.com; (2) University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research.