Celiac Disease is Everywhere


Nikolas Lamkey, Junior Reporter

While people may not talk about it much, Celiac Disease is actually pretty common in the United States. Doctors believe Celiac Disease is a genetically inherited autoimmune disease triggered when someone ingests wheat, rye, or barley. If any product containing wheat is ingested, there are numerous reactions within the body, including vomiting, malnutrition, weight loss, and regulation of body temperature. Often people with Celiac will feel like they are in Antarctica when it’s 100 degrees outside. Celiac may seem like a rare and uncommon disease, but that’s not the case. As of 2021, 1 in 133 people in the United States have the disease, including at least five students here at Briar Woods.

People with Celiac can not eat wheat, and because most foods that delight our taste buds are laden with wheat, much of the non-wheat food tastes dry and often like cardboard. Yummy? No, not yummy. In order to make the dry cardboard taste palatable, non-wheat food items are infused with more sugar and salt, and they are often over-processed in order to add flavor. The truth is, people with Celiac Disease are not offered a smorgasbord of options. Literally.

At Briar Woods, there are only a few options for gluten free food, and sadly, the offerings are lacking in protein and nutrition, and are void of flavor. Healthy food options for people without the disease are limited, but for the students with Celiac, the choices are scanty.

In general, outside of Briar with free lunches, people with Celiac pay high prices to keep wheat out of their diets. A large 16 inch pizza may cost 15 dollars while a small 10 inch gluten free pizza is the same price. With most food options off the table (pun intended), many people with Celiac Disease eat the same few meals over and over and over. Every day.

That is why it’s important to increase people’s awareness of Celiac Disease so the 97 percent of people that have it but don’t know it might have a chance of finding out.