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Sunday

Legislation sitting around since Sept. 2007

I am writing today to urge you to cosponsor H.Con.Res. 70 to raise awareness about the world’s most common genetic disorder, Celiac Disease.

For over 10 years, my priority in cooking and baking has been to make food that tastes, not only normal, but also delicious and fits most special needs diets. I spend a majority of my time lecturing and teaching courses about cooking and baking for special needs diets.

The number of people living with celiac disease in the United States is estimated at 2.2 million, yet only about 90,000 have been accurately diagnosed. Symptoms of celiac disease include: anemia, osteoporosis, arthritis, diarrhea or constipation, and infertility. About 10% percent of Type 1 diabetics have CD, as do 12% of those with Down Syndrome. Without treatment, the condition can be life threatening and has been linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer, especially intestinal lymphoma.

Individuals with celiac disease are unable to eat foods containing gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. For them, gluten sets off a reaction which causes damage to the small intestine, impeding the body’s ability to absorb vital nutrients.

The only course of treatment for CD is strict adherence to a gluten-free diet – no prescription drugs, injections, or invasive medical procedures. The GF diet is the lifeline for those with CD and recommendations of the NIH Consensus Panel on Celiac Disease note the need for patients to see a skilled dietitian to help identify and treat nutritional deficiencies caused by the disease.

All of these numbers do not include the millions of others who would also benefit from this legislation for they also live a gluten free lifestyle because of gluten intolerance, wheat allergies, autism, or other special dietary needs.

Nothing can change without awareness -- let us catch up with Europe where they are quite aware of this disease. Help Americans grow stronger and more informed.

Share the Responsibility! "No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another," Charles Dickens did not necessarily have food in mind, but the sentiment rings true. Pass this legislation, add gluten to the list of allergens, host a class at your house, share information with your friends, family, and the kids too!

Do something.

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