Susan Hart: May is Celiac disease awareness month



May is celiac disease awareness month. Celiac disease is an auto-immune disorder that affects 1 in 133 persons; another 18 million people, or 6 percent of the population, suffer from gluten sensitivity. The disease is becoming more prevalent. I’ve included additional information on celiac disease with this article.

The only way to deal with celiac disease is to maintain a gluten-free diet. This seems daunting at first and appears to entail sacrifices that we don’t want to make. What? No pizza; no sandwiches; no cake or pie? While that used to be the case when I began to eat gluten-free 17 years ago, it’s no longer so. As awareness of the disease grows, many very good gluten-free products have been developed and mainstream groceries stock more of them. Restaurants are increasingly savvy and accommodating, and it no longer feels like a disease of deprivation to me.

In June, I’ll be going to France for a stay organized by my friends at Z Bistro, They have dedicated a gluten-free week from June 12 through June 18, and we’ll be making pizza and baguettes in a wood-fired oven, as well as éclairs and foccacia bread — probably not in the wood-fired oven. I’ve already scoped out two gluten-free bakeries in Paris and can’t wait to see what delights they have to offer.

I’ve always found it a welcome challenge to create gluten-free foods that taste wonderful in and of themselves. It’s becoming easier all the time.

Recently I made the chocolate layer cake you see pictured for a friend. The recipe is from and is gluten-free and dairy-free. The review was “Everyone loved it! It was so rich and delish…” The “goddess” is one of many Internet resources for amazingly good gluten-free recipes.

So, take heart. If you suspect you or someone you love may have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, get diagnosed and feel better by embracing a gluten-free diet.

Carson City’s gluten-free discussion group meets quarterly. The next meeting will be held on Monday, July 8. Please email Susan for details.

Susan Hart has been cooking gluten-free for 17 years. She can be reached at


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