Did you know that May is Celiac Awareness Month?
Celiac disease is a medical condition in which the body’s immune system overreacts to gluten and causes the absorptive surface of the small intestine to become damaged. As a result, the body is unable to absorb nutrients, and in children, this often fails to thrive. Common symptoms include anemia, chronic diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, abdominal cramps & bloating and a general feeling of unwellness & irritability. In other cases, sufferers from gluten-intolerance develop an intense burning and itching rash called dermatitis herpetiformis. The intestinal symptoms of celiac disease may or may not appear in dermatitis herpetiformis.
At the moment, there is no cure, but celiac disease is readily treated by following a strictly gluten-free diet. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, triticale, barley and in the case of wheat, gliadin has been isolated as the toxic fraction. It is the gluten in the flour that helps bread and other baked goods bind and prevents crumbling, and it is this feature has made gluten widely used in the production of many processed and packaged foods.
Which is fine, unless you have to avoid gluten. To follow a strictly gluten free diet you have to check every label of every item you purchase, just in case it has ‘hidden gluten.’ Also, because the ingredients of processed foods often change, you have to check the label every time you buy them – hence the rise in popularity of gluten-free products.
So I thought this would be the perfect time to share some fun and tasty food options for our readers with Celiac disease and those with a gluten sensitivity.
First, some of the tasty new snacks from Van’s.
We all know how handy it is to be able to grab a box of snack bars and have them in the cupboard for when the munchies strike. Van’s, a leader in wholesome new snacks, is making sure we all have the option to grab something tasty to go, with two new snack bars and two different types of Soft Baked Granola Clusters.
They have the Gramwich; a nostalgic, chocolate stuffed graham cracker sandwich that’ll take you back to those summer evenings around the camp fire when you were a child. Made with real chocolate sandwiched between two whole-grain, graham-style bars, they’re a one-of-a-kind pick-me-up.
Or, if chocolate’s not for you, perhaps you’d like some of Van’s super tasty new Banana Bread. This delicious & portable version of banana bread blends banana flavor with gluten-free oats and flaxseed to create a handy snack that’s wholesome enough to enjoy as part of breakfast.
Van also has delicious double chocolate soft-baked whole grain granola clusters. The Double Chocolate and Banana Nut Granola is baked with delicious, gluten-free, whole grain oats and offer 12-14 grams of whole grains per serving – with no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. Again, for the non-chocolate lovers, there is a wonderful Banana Nut flavor.
- Double Chocolate blends real chocolate chips with cocoa, coconut and pecans for a tempting alternative to a chocolate bar that’s so delicious kids won’t even know it’s whole grain.
- Banana Nut brings together real banana flavor with pecan, walnut and almond pieces. It’s like banana bread, but by the handful.
Van’s decadent, bite-sized gluten-free granola clusters are perfect for family road trips, an easy addition to breakfast or anytime on the go – are a soft and chewy portable snack perfect with frozen or Greek yogurt or by the handful when craving hits. Just be careful with these. Once you open the bag, your hand just goes on autopilot and before you know it everyone’s complaining you finished the bag!
Not only are they good to eat on their own, but Van’s snacks are also versatile enough to use in lots of recipes. My favorites from the Van’s blog are here:
Recipe & Photo Credit: Nutritious Eats on Behalf of Van’s Foods
Recipe & Photo Credit: Back to Her Roots on Behalf of Van’s Foods
Recipe & Photo Credit: Kim’s Cravings on Behalf of Van’s Foods