A weekly series about our food and sustainable agriculture.
As the Tula Gluten Free Bakery Café name implies, the bakery was created “to bring together” (the literal meaning of tula in Scandinavian) those who can’t consume products containing gluten, and regular eaters into the same communal environment that offers tasty food for all its customers. As we see in this video, people who suffer from gluten sensitivity or Celiac disease, it’s a big deal to find a bakery that provides not only a worry-free environment in choosing what to eat, the choices are abundant, and there are no second class citizens—every customer is equally welcome.
“…food is family, food is friends, food is loving, food is giving, food is creating” — Mieke Johnson of Tula Gluten Free Bakery Café
Those with Celiac disease, or other forms of gluten sensitivity must avoid eating foods made with any wheat, rye, or barley grains.
Those not diagnosed with Celiac Disease, and are ruled out of having other unrelated conditions with similar symptoms, an international team of medical experts has created a new designation “Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity” to define this broader group.
Celiac disease is one of a number of autoimmune disorders, where the body’s immune system mistakenly recognizes cells in the body as foreign invaders, and attacks . In the case of Celiac disease, it is triggered by foods containing even trace amounts of the gluten protein, and leads to the immune system attacking the intestinal cells. It is estimated that nearly 1 out of every 133 Americans suffers from Celiac disease. If left untreated, the disease can lead to a cascading set of conditions, including the flattening of the intestinal cells that prevent the stomach from properly absorbing vital nutrients through the normal digestion process.
In contrast to Celiac Disease— those with “Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity”, about 6% of the U.S. population, do not have an autoimmune condition, and in general, have a much more favorable prognosis even though they must still avoid eating foods containing gluten for the rest of their lives. There is no specific diagnostic test to determine if someone has Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity other than by ruling out other possible conditions first (Celiac disease, an allergy to wheat, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, etc.), and through trial and error, completely avoiding the consumption of gluten containing foods.
Here are a few reliable resources for those wishing to learn more about Celiac Disease or other Gluten Related Disorders:
Gluten Intolerance Group of North America
31214 124th Avenue SE
Auburn, WA 98092–3667
U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services
National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDDIC)