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    Celiac Disease in the Military—Don't Ask Don't Tell?


    Jefferson Adams

    Celiac.com 03/04/2016 - For anyone who hasn't seen it, the website Glutendude.com has an article titled "Why Doesn't the Military Accept Those With Celiac Disease?"


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    CC--Tomi KnuutilaThe article highlights the story of a smart, capable, American who was motivated to serve in the military, but who was medically disqualified by military policy, and all had failed in all attempts to secure an admission waiver. The man was further frustrated by the fact that he had very minimal symptoms, and felt that he had the ability to serve effectively.

    The article also highlights the military's uneven treatment of personnel with celiac disease.

    Medical fitness for the military is governed mainly by the Department of Defense Medical Examination Review Board (DoDMERB), which schedules, evaluates, and certifies all applicants as "medically qualified," or as "medically does not meet the medical accession standards" for the US Service Academies, ROTC Scholarship Programs, Direct Commission Programs, and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

    Basically, current military policy is to reject potential recruits with known celiac disease, provide some accommodation for some troops already in the service, and to provide medical discharges other troops, as needed.

    The military doesn't reject you if they don't know you have celiac disease, and wouldn't likely test you for celiac disease unless you pressed the issue.

    But if there's no official diagnosis, or no debilitating symptoms, and the recruit says nothing, then celiac disease is not a barrier to military service. And, once in the military, if the disease is kept under wraps, then it's likely it will never come up, and thus pose no problem.

    Going back to GlutenDude's article, here's part of a quote from the soldier who was rejected due to celiac disease:

    "Two years ago I was diagnosed with celiac disease, and the military does not accept people with this disease. I was medically disqualified by DODMERB, and all waiver attempts have been denied. Years of hard work, a 3.9 GPA, a 32 MCAT, and a desire to spend my entire career in the service have been for naught. The most frustrating aspect of this situation is that I have almost no physical symptoms, am not on medications, and the few symptoms I have are completely controlled by diet. Yet even though my disease would not affect my ability to serve, my dreams have come to a screeching halt."

    The man also points out that: "Militaries in other countries accept celiac patients like Israel. Even in our military there are celiac patients that are accommodated for, albeit ones that have already been accepted and are diagnosed after being in for some time. The fact that one percent of the population, nearly 3 million people, have no chance to give their service to their country is a disgrace."

    What do you think? Is the current military policy of rejecting people with celiac disease only if it becomes known a bit like Don't Ask Don't Tell? Are potentially good recruits being turned away unnecessarily? Are existing soldiers being asked to cover up a treatable medical condition for fear of being discharged?

    Should people with celiac disease or gluten-intolerance be able to serve in the military?

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    Guest Betty

    Posted

    The situation is that celiac is a malnutrition disease. Gluten prevents the body from absorbing nutrients. Finally, the body wears down and other diseases and maladies occur. I suspect stress will accelerate the process.

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    Guest A Baker

    Posted

    As someone who has personally dealt with celiac for over 17 years, and as a military spouse of 27 years I feel confident that people with celiac sprue should NOT be in the military at this time. Even with symptoms under control, if a soldier were deployed they have no guarantee over the control of their food sources. In the middle of the desert, a war, a foxhole, or 3rd world country there are no guarantees that a soldier could secure gluten free meals. Not only does that put the soldier at risk, it puts the soldiers around them at risk who need to be able to move quickly and respond rapidly to anything that comes their way. Imagine your squadron gets attacked and the soldier next to you is suffering from a gluten reaction.

     

    There are those who may say that you simply don't deploy soldiers with celiac. The problem with that mentality is you are now increasing the responsibility for the soldiers who can eat anything, anywhere, anytime, and who don't have restrictive medical conditions. It would be unfair to have a medical condition that would allow a soldier to stay home with their family while others are constantly deployed. The military already faces a multitude of other limiting medical conditions (diagnosed after entering the service) that are now putting the military in a position where the the same people must deploy over and over again. It poses an unfair situation to those soldiers who have no limitations. If the medical conditions are severe enough, soldiers are medically boarded and can be discharged due to medical reasons.

     

    While some celiacs may not experience symptoms on a daily basis (and that's great), when celiacs are not in control of what they eat it's a concern for their well-being. Our military has shrunk considerably over the last few decades. It is estimated that approximately 1 percent of the population now serve in the US military. They must be deployable without restrictions. Some deployments last for a year and even longer.

     

    Before Celiacs take this as a personal slam, consider the long list of other medical conditions that keep people out of the service. usmilitary.about.com/od/joiningthemilitary/a/intmedstandards.htm

     

    Perhaps at some point in the future, once the pill treatment for gluten exposure is perfected, it would be possible. Until then, I commend anyone who wants to serve our country (and for those who already serve) . I am grateful for their desire to defend and protect. I appreciate your frustration and also your patriotism.

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    Guest Ginny

    Posted

    @ABaker - Regarding your comment that a symptomatic soldier with diagnosed celiac disease causing increased risk to fellow soldiers during combat situations we must consider the increased risk currently being posed by undiagnosed symptomatic soldiers with celiac disease who are serving in combat situations. Based on your comments the best way to safeguard our soldiers from having to depend on gluten symptomatic undiagnosed celiac disease positive soldiers is to test all soldiers for celiac disease. Probably would be a good outcome for all soldiers. And it would be fair. Yes, I know it would cost some money but aren't the lives of our soldiers worth it?

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    Guest derrick

    Posted

    While I do have sympathy for GlutenDude's situation, as a retired military member (diagnosed with diabieties while in the uniform) and both husband and father to Celiacs, I must strongly support the Military position, and strongly recommend GlutenDude to pursue other courses to support the Military outside of the uniform itself.

    After I was diagnosed with Diabeties, I was deemed "not-combat-deployable" and restricted to desk jobs until my retirement

    only a few years later. GlutenDude made a critical statement: "controlled by diet". This is a CRITICAL issue. Diet is one thing that absolutely CANNOT be guaranteed outside of civilian establishments. If a Celiac only had access to gluten based or contaminated food in the field they become a liability to their unit. As a diabetic, my medications were supplementary, my condition

    primarily controlled through diet ... same problem ... not deployable.

    PLEASE THINK.

    This is not a denial of rights/privileges. This is for the protection of the REST OF THE UNIT.

    Yes, I was disappointed. But it is necessary.

    As for the other militaries cited, good on them. But remember, they are primarily local defense forces where all hands are needed. The US Military has global operations.

    GlutenDude can join organizations like SPAWAR, DoE, DoT, or any one of the myriad of Defense Contractors.

    I wore glasses before I enlisted and have always been denied pilot or flight officer duty. I became non-deployable at the end of my career. I understand being denied. Find another way to serve, but don't threaten the safety and operational capabilities of your potential unit.

    Find an alternative way to serve, you motivation is welcomed!

    Best of luck.

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    @derrik: I realize a medical condition is different than that of race or sex, however, the military used to make exactly the same arguments about blacks and women being in combat units in the military--keeping them out was "for the protection of the REST OF THE UNIT." I think it is time that the military find a way to make it work for celiacs.

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    Guest A Baker

    Posted

    @ABaker - Regarding your comment that a symptomatic soldier with diagnosed celiac disease causing increased risk to fellow soldiers during combat situations we must consider the increased risk currently being posed by undiagnosed symptomatic soldiers with celiac disease who are serving in combat situations. Based on your comments the best way to safeguard our soldiers from having to depend on gluten symptomatic undiagnosed celiac disease positive soldiers is to test all soldiers for celiac disease. Probably would be a good outcome for all soldiers. And it would be fair. Yes, I know it would cost some money but aren't the lives of our soldiers worth it?

    As we know, it is possible to test positive genetically without symptoms. This does not guarantee someone would ever develop the disorder. I could see screening based on symptoms but I'm not sure screening all prior to entry makes sense. The initial article referred to someone who already knew they had celiac. That is much different than screening people for a disorder that may never manifest itself. It would be similar to screening for the breast cancer gene and determining someone is at risk who never develop cancer.

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    I wanted nothing more than to be a fighter pilot for the Air Force or Navy, but I have been wearing glasses since Junior High. I was automatically disqualified no matter how close I could get to 20/20. But, if I passed the initial flight physical and made it through training and then had a reduction in vision then they'd make due and I could keep on flying. Sound familiar? This is life and some people have been dealt a bad hand. But my vision restriction DID NOT keep me away from flying, in fact it is my career. And now my Airline will not provide me any special meals and there are ZERO safe options in our terminals, so again I am trying my best to make due with what I have.

     

    The same holds true with this topic, I am extremely surprised at the tone and suggestion that someone join the military with celiac disease. It is down right irresponsible, because when you join someone may really want to be a pilot, but the only opening for your tested skill set is carrying a gun on the front lines.... see there are zero guarantees when you join, and to even suggest one shouldn't be honest about celiac is extremely troubling.

     

    How about we try and focus our attention towards issues we can really have an impact on, like safe food options while away from the safety of our home kitchen!!

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    Guest Leigh Anne

    Posted

    My son is in high school and has always had aspirations to go to college at one of the academies. He was diagnosed with celiac disease in 9th grade, and we later found out that this will disqualify him from being accepted.

     

    Although we are disappointed, we totally understand this position. It's not about whether or not the military could provide gluten free food at the base or on the ship. It's about whether they would be able to provide it during combat. And there is no way to guarantee that gluten free food would be available in that situation. It puts the soldier in the position of having to choose between not eating, or eating food that he or she knows will make them sick. I believe that the military has made the right decision on this issue, and I support it.

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    Being a woman or of a different race is NOT a medical condition regardless of ignorance of yesteryear. As a group we'd all be better off focusing our attention to issues that truly matter, like being able to dine out safely without the risk of getting sick. Everyday young men and women are denied by our Armed Services, this is NOTHING new and most definitely not an attack on those with our disease. But then again we have a new generation coming up that doesn't know the meaning of NO with everyone leaving the field with a shiny trophy, so I guess this is the fallout.

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    Guest Janet

    Posted

    No Mary, the military does not have to make exceptions for celiacs. The same reason you can't serve if you have peanut allergies. The military cooks for the masses, not the individual. It is not personal. I was in the Navy. There is no was they can have have a gluten free kitchen on a ship where they cook 4 meals a day for 5000 people. I was lucky as I didn't find out I have celiac until 2 years ago. They currently do not test for celiac before entering the service, but if they did, and I was disqualified because of it, I WOULD HAVE FOUND OTHER EMPLOYMENT. The military is also an employer. They don't HAVE to take someone, just like you can't walk into a place and demand they hire you. They disqualify people all the time. And as for women in combat? Since you brought that up, BOTH situations are for the best interest of the unit. The military will never bend on certain medical issues, period. BUMED will list medical conditions of disqualification. I was lucky. I also understand that having celiac means I have a very different life now. I don't walk into restaurants and demand a gluten free meal, if they don't offer one. The man in the article from GlutenDude's website needs to find another career.

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    Guest Sarah

    Posted

    It's so refreshing to read so many comments with so much basic common sense behind them. Ever since Cruz's comments were manipulated to sound like he was being discriminatory it seems too many have forgotten the military's purpose - to protect and defend. Someone with celiac disease has no business being in the military. Too many people seem to think the world is meant to revolve around them. Putting people's lives at risk by removing screening criteria would be irresponsible.

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    Guest admin

    Posted

    It's so refreshing to read so many comments with so much basic common sense behind them. Ever since Cruz's comments were manipulated to sound like he was being discriminatory it seems too many have forgotten the military's purpose - to protect and defend. Someone with celiac disease has no business being in the military. Too many people seem to think the world is meant to revolve around them. Putting people's lives at risk by removing screening criteria would be irresponsible.

    This article only dealt with celiacs in combat...so you recommend banning all celiacs from the military completely? This would be totally unnecessary. Many celiacs have served this country in the military, including in combat. Celiac.com supports the right for celiacs to serve in the military in all positions.

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    Guest Catherine

    Posted

    Does anyone know how to get in touch with the military personnel with celiac? I'd be happy to get connected send gluten-free care packages. Seems like whenever I see info about sending gifts to military (usually around the holidays) they are general lists that can be distributed to anyone.

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    Guest Checky

    Posted

    I think that the military should accept people that are gluten free/ celiac. There are many non-combat roles where you don't need to be on the front line that are just as important. For example, just because someone is in the Air Force dosen't mean that they are a pilot. It is stupid that some political figures (the ones who WANT to expand the military) are denying 3 million people access. It just dosen't make sense. I don't know what the new president's position is on this is, but a I hope he and his defense secretary can change something.

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    Guest melissa

    Posted

    I'm in the navy and I have celiac and I even I don't believe people with it should join even if its they have very minor side affects. people like me who got lucky and got to a good command where I can cook for myself is rare and its really hard to watch what you eat in another country.

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    Guest Brianna

    Posted

    It's ridiculous some people think the military should accommodate people with this disease. The military doesn't accommodate, that's why they screen people before accepting them. It doesn't matter that there are 3 million people in the United States with this disease, that's 3 million people who will almost certainly never be allowed to join the military. The military isn't a civilian employer who has to accommodate you. The military requires you to be able to perform certain jobs at all times, and if have a disease that could prevent that, it would be negligent of them to accept you. Controlling this disease by diet is not an option when you are deployed, there is no guarantee you will have a say in the food you are given. You would be putting yourself and other soldiers in danger if you became ill because you couldn't control your symptoms. As for those who say not all soldiers need to deploy, why would the military accept anyone who could not deploy? A 3.9 GPA and a 32 MCAT are great but there are other people who are just as qualified, and don't need special accommodations. As someone who's been medically cleared and is going into the Air Force, I find it completely ridiculous that anyone could think they could join the military and not have to deploy because of a medical condition. Deploying is a huge part of being in the military, especially during war time. In my opinion it's a bit arrogant to think some people should be excused from deploying, while there are those who are literally risking their lives. I have no problem deploying, because I want to serve my country in any way I can, but also because it would be incredibly ignorant of me to think that I can join the military and not ever face the possibility of deploying. If I had the same job as another officer, the same rank, the same age, everything exactly the same, and I was deployed and they weren't, even though it wouldn't be intentional it would still be giving them preferential treatment. But besides that, if I was deployed and someone in my unit had a disease that made it so that, they couldn't 100% perform their job 100% of the time, it would put my life in danger. I feel bad for the guy, but his feelings and his wants do not compare to the need to keep the military safe and efficient.

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    Guest Phillip

    Posted

    As someone who has personally dealt with celiac for over 17 years, and as a military spouse of 27 years I feel confident that people with celiac sprue should NOT be in the military at this time. Even with symptoms under control, if a soldier were deployed they have no guarantee over the control of their food sources. In the middle of the desert, a war, a foxhole, or 3rd world country there are no guarantees that a soldier could secure gluten free meals. Not only does that put the soldier at risk, it puts the soldiers around them at risk who need to be able to move quickly and respond rapidly to anything that comes their way. Imagine your squadron gets attacked and the soldier next to you is suffering from a gluten reaction.

     

    There are those who may say that you simply don't deploy soldiers with celiac. The problem with that mentality is you are now increasing the responsibility for the soldiers who can eat anything, anywhere, anytime, and who don't have restrictive medical conditions. It would be unfair to have a medical condition that would allow a soldier to stay home with their family while others are constantly deployed. The military already faces a multitude of other limiting medical conditions (diagnosed after entering the service) that are now putting the military in a position where the the same people must deploy over and over again. It poses an unfair situation to those soldiers who have no limitations. If the medical conditions are severe enough, soldiers are medically boarded and can be discharged due to medical reasons.

     

    While some celiacs may not experience symptoms on a daily basis (and that's great), when celiacs are not in control of what they eat it's a concern for their well-being. Our military has shrunk considerably over the last few decades. It is estimated that approximately 1 percent of the population now serve in the US military. They must be deployable without restrictions. Some deployments last for a year and even longer.

     

    Before Celiacs take this as a personal slam, consider the long list of other medical conditions that keep people out of the service. usmilitary.about.com/od/joiningthemilitary/a/intmedstandards.htm

     

    Perhaps at some point in the future, once the pill treatment for gluten exposure is perfected, it would be possible. Until then, I commend anyone who wants to serve our country (and for those who already serve) . I am grateful for their desire to defend and protect. I appreciate your frustration and also your patriotism.

    You could literally say that about any allergies whatsoever, there's absolutely no guarantees a nut, milk, latex, silicone, whatever the heck else hasn't touched your food. And some celiacs don't show hardly any symptoms; I was just diagnosed, and likely have had it for many, many years. I have no problems if I don't purposefully eat gluten, cross-contamination is not an issue for me. Contrast this with any other allergy, where immediate symptoms are shown and potentially fatal.

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    Guest Celiac PT

    Posted

    As someone who has personally dealt with celiac for over 17 years, and as a military spouse of 27 years I feel confident that people with celiac sprue should NOT be in the military at this time. Even with symptoms under control, if a soldier were deployed they have no guarantee over the control of their food sources. In the middle of the desert, a war, a foxhole, or 3rd world country there are no guarantees that a soldier could secure gluten free meals. Not only does that put the soldier at risk, it puts the soldiers around them at risk who need to be able to move quickly and respond rapidly to anything that comes their way. Imagine your squadron gets attacked and the soldier next to you is suffering from a gluten reaction.

     

    There are those who may say that you simply don't deploy soldiers with celiac. The problem with that mentality is you are now increasing the responsibility for the soldiers who can eat anything, anywhere, anytime, and who don't have restrictive medical conditions. It would be unfair to have a medical condition that would allow a soldier to stay home with their family while others are constantly deployed. The military already faces a multitude of other limiting medical conditions (diagnosed after entering the service) that are now putting the military in a position where the the same people must deploy over and over again. It poses an unfair situation to those soldiers who have no limitations. If the medical conditions are severe enough, soldiers are medically boarded and can be discharged due to medical reasons.

     

    While some celiacs may not experience symptoms on a daily basis (and that's great), when celiacs are not in control of what they eat it's a concern for their well-being. Our military has shrunk considerably over the last few decades. It is estimated that approximately 1 percent of the population now serve in the US military. They must be deployable without restrictions. Some deployments last for a year and even longer.

     

    Before Celiacs take this as a personal slam, consider the long list of other medical conditions that keep people out of the service. usmilitary.about.com/od/joiningthemilitary/a/intmedstandards.htm

     

    Perhaps at some point in the future, once the pill treatment for gluten exposure is perfected, it would be possible. Until then, I commend anyone who wants to serve our country (and for those who already serve) . I am grateful for their desire to defend and protect. I appreciate your frustration and also your patriotism.

    As a military spouse with celiac who has a medical degree and wants to also join, it's disheartening. Granted I understand any ground troops dealing with securing gluten free food and maintaining a balanced diet would be difficult, but as someone who would be stationed on base especially in the Navy that is a physical therapist, it's hard to see why I am disqualified. In my situation I would go home at night and be able to pack food during the day.

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    Guest Alisa

    Posted

    I am disturbed by the apparent reluctance of the military to consider candidates with celiac disease on a case by case basis. While it is true that some with the disease may pose a risk to others if their diet is not controlled, this is not true for all. There is a broad spectrum of symptoms among those diagnosed, and many like my son showed no symptoms. Until a few months ago, my 10 year old son lived on white bread sandwiches and macaroni and cheese and yet never missed a day of elementary school from Kindergarten through 4th grade. He was NEVER sick! We simply discovered his celiac diagnosis because his growth rate is slow. I don't think his experience is unique, and for situations like his I believe a waiver should remain a possibility. Even if he adds gluten back in his diet as an adult, he will NOT be a risk to others. My son loves the Blue Angels and has aspirations for the Naval Academy. He is also wicked smart, and and it would be a waste for the military to not recognize the gray area that may exist in this disqualification diagnosis and consider each candidates symptoms and medical history.

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    Guest Nate

    Posted

    I am a Soldier with over 22 years of Military service. I was recently diagnosed with celiac after spending a week in the ICU on a military installation because my kidneys were shutting down. After a couple days in the ICU the Army doctors diagnosed me. I am allowed to continue to serve and there was no consideration to remove me from service. Luckily due to my rank and military specialty I am able to accommodate my diet most of the time. In situations when I am required to eat in dinning facilities I do find it difficult to find a gluten free meal. I do not expect the Army to accommodate my condition as I am one of the few in the military. I have deployed to several contingency operations prior to my diagnosis and due to not having resources on ground our diets were limited to mostly Meals Ready to Eat (MRE). They are no gluten-free MRE options yet but they do have vegetarian options available. I think that after more awareness of Celiac is brought to the attention of the Military there will be more gluten-free options at dining facilities and MREs. I still would not recommend enlistment to the Military if you have Celiac. There are members of our Military who disclosed they were Celiac but it was not "caught" when they Enlisted. I still recommend serving as a civilian if you have Celiac and wanted to serve the Military.

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    Guest John Moore

    Posted

    This article only dealt with celiacs in combat...so you recommend banning all celiacs from the military completely? This would be totally unnecessary. Many celiacs have served this country in the military, including in combat. Celiac.com supports the right for celiacs to serve in the military in all positions.

    In the military, *everyone* is expected to be combat ready, because you never know when they will be in combat, or needed for combat. I learned that the first day of boot camp, and it makes a lot of sense. My disease did not get severe until years after I had been discharged from the US Navy, and I didn´t know I had it. It But, I fully agree that the military should not accept diagnosed Celiacs unless the military has an extreme need. In that case, sure, and in that case, they would, just as they would waive other conditions that detract from optimal combat capacity. The military does not exist to provide training or jobs or to make people feel good. It exists to provide the nation the ability to defend itself. That may, without warning, include killing people, destroying things, and putting the people in the military at grave risk. Also unlike a job, it is against the law to quit - which should tell you how different this is than any normal employment.

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    On 3/16/2016 at 5:47 AM, Guest admin said:

    This article only dealt with celiacs in combat...so you recommend banning all celiacs from the military completely? This would be totally unnecessary. Many celiacs have served this country in the military, including in combat. Celiac.com supports the right for celiacs to serve in the military in all positions.

    The military rejects ANYONE with celiacs regardless of whether you have a “grunt” classified job. As someone who is currently active duty and recently diagnosed I can assure you the military is NOT a safe or healthy environment for celiacs. Most military assignments ( to be considered fit to be in the navy you are supposed to be fit for sea duty) will require you to eat at the galley. Especially when you first join and are forced to live in the barracks. Not only is the galley you’re required to eat at FULL of mostly gluten items, non gluten items are contaminated. I stand duty every 4 days (duty is where you stay overnight on the ship and don’t leave until end of working day the next day) I have to pack so much food, there’s gluten all over the place so even your own food can become contaminated with you being careful. Not to mention people make fun of you and leave gluten containing products with notes on them. If I get exposed (which happens often) I’m exhausted and in the bathroom literally all day for the next three days. THis is NOT compatible with military life. The navy doctor (after being diagnosed by a civilian GI) was like “well you can eat a little”, “you’re going to go crazy trying to see if there’s gluten in every little thing just don’t eat bread” they are ignorant and apathetic. Then he told me to bring my own food for a 9montj deployment.... um no bud I can’t have that much food in my rack. Plus boot camp requires you to eat the gluten food also for 8 weeks (longer in other branches) even if you COULD be assigned to somewhere not on a ship or deployed (mostly the point of my branch) I am very sick, shriveling away and miserable. Do not wish this on anyone else please. I know all y’all are just trying to be nice but people will get sick. 

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    Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. He has covered Health News for Examiner.com, and provided health and medical content for Sharecare.com. His work has appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate, among others.

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    UK celiac patients are currently allowed up to 18 lots of gluten-free bread, pasta and flour a month on the NHS. One unit is equal to a 400g loaf of bread, 250g of pasta or 250g flour or bread mix. Under the proposal the NHS budget of 209,000 pounds a year for gluten-free food prescriptions for gluten free food will face substantial cuts.
    But Alison Smith, of the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), says the current system is out of date and unfair. NHS organizations set up by the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to organize the delivery of NHS services. According to Smith, the wide variety of gluten-free foods available in supermarkets and even corner shops these days invites the creation of a new way of alloying gluten-free benefits that will be "fairer for everyone, not just people with celiac disease, so that we can actually share out NHS resources as fairly as possible."
    The range of foods currently allowed includes bread, rolls and baguettes, bread mixes, flour, pasta, crackers, pizza bases and breakfast cereals.
    The CCGs are proposing to change the allowance to eight units per month of bread, pasta and/or flour/bread mixes for everyone eligible for prescription gluten-free food. The change is needed, says Smith, because gluten-free food is vital for people with celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity.
    Source:
    mix96.co.uk

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 01/11/2016 - Is celiac disease a disability under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act? The Department of Justice says not necessarily.
    On the heels of a federal lawsuit that claiming that restaurants are violating federal disability laws by charging more for gluten-free food than for non-gluten-free counter parts, a Department of Justice spokesperson has stated that a 2012 civil rights settlement on behalf of Lesley University students with celiac disease does not make the condition a disability in all cases.
    DOJ public affairs specialist, Patrick Rodenbush, said settlement at Leslie University did not set a legal precedent, because the "…settlement enforces the rights of students whose food allergies were disabilities, [but] it doesn't necessarily make celiac disease a disability in all cases."
    This is relevant to a case in California, where federal judge recently denied a motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit alleging P.F. Chang's violates the Americans with Disabilities Act because it charges more for gluten-free items.
    In the P.F. Chang's case, Judge Ronald Whyte denied P.F. Chang's motion to dismiss because, he wrote, that, although the court had not found specific information proving that celiac disease constituted a disability under the ADA, the "plaintiff has pled sufficient facts to support her claim that she has a disability that impacts a major life activity."
    Whyte noted "on a more complete factual record, the court might reach a different conclusion." He also stated that it may be difficult, or impossible for Phillips to prove her claims.
    "The ultimate question is whether P.F. Chang's, in providing gluten-free meals, is providing different products or whether the price differential with regular meals is a pretext for discrimination against those with celiac disease," Whyte wrote.
    At stake is whether or not food vendors, such as P.F. Chang's can charge higher prices for gluten-free foods than they do for non-gluten-free items.
    The results of this case are being watched closely by celiacs and by restaurant companies, because a ruling that establishes that people with celiac disease are covered under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act could conceivably have a serious impact on how the restaurant industry approaches gluten-free food.
    Stay tuned for new developments.
    Source:
    legalnewsline.com 

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 02/19/2016 - Did senator Ted Cruz just declare war on gluten-free soldiers? It kind of looks like that.
    In an attempt to show he can be tough on American servicemen and women with celiac disease, the Republican presidential hopeful declared that, in the event the American people find him serving as their president and commander-in-chief, there will be no gluten-free MREs for soldiers anywhere under his command.
    Campaigning in South Carolina, and courting pro-military voters, the Texas senator seemed to believe he was striking a blow against what he describes as a culture of "political correctness" in the Pentagon.
    Speaking in broad strokes, Cruz said that "…the last thing any commander should need to worry about is the grades he is getting from some plush-bottomed Pentagon bureaucrat for political correctness or social experiments -- or providing gluten-free MREs;" the shorthand term for Meal, Ready-to-Eat.
    According to Ted Cruz, it's a bad thing to be in favor of soldiers with celiac disease having a gluten-free meal when they're in the field—while they might be putting their lives on the line in service to our country.
    Should American servicemen and women with celiac disease or gluten intolerance have their medical treatment made into a political issue? Apparently Cruz thinks so.
    However, since celiac disease is a bona fide medical condition, and a gluten-free diet is the only currently recognized treatment, regardless of whether you are Democrat or Republican, Ted Cruz, or anyone else who aspires to be commander-in-chief of the armed forces, should simply not be treating them like second-class citizens.
    All soldiers with medical conditions deserve proper treatment, that includes service men and women with celiac disease and medical conditions that require treatment with a gluten-free diet.
    Let the senator from Texas know what you think: Ted Cruz on Twitter @tedcruz
    Source:
    cnn.com

  • Recent Articles

    Christina Kantzavelos
    Celiac.com 07/20/2018 - During my Vipassana retreat, I wasn’t left with much to eat during breakfast, at least in terms of gluten free options. Even with gluten free bread, the toasters weren’t separated to prevent cross contamination. All of my other options were full of sugar (cereals, fruits), which I try to avoid, especially for breakfast. I had to come up with something that did not have sugar, was tasty, salty, and gave me some form of protein. After about four days of mixing and matching, I was finally able to come up with the strangest concoction, that may not look the prettiest, but sure tastes delicious. Actually, if you squint your eyes just enough, it tastes like buttery popcorn. I now can’t stop eating it as a snack at home, and would like to share it with others who are looking for a yummy nutritious snack. 
    Ingredients:
    4 Rice cakes ⅓ cup of Olive oil  Mineral salt ½ cup Nutritional Yeast ⅓ cup of Sunflower Seeds  Intriguing list, right?...
    Directions (1.5 Servings):
    Crunch up the rice into small bite size pieces.  Throw a liberal amount of nutritional yeast onto the pieces, until you see more yellow than white.  Add salt to taste. For my POTS brothers and sisters, throw it on (we need an excess amount of salt to maintain a healthy BP).  Add olive oil  Liberally sprinkle sunflower seeds. This is what adds the protein and crunch, so the more, the tastier.  Buen Provecho, y Buen Camino! 

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 07/19/2018 - Maintaining a gluten-free diet can be an on-going challenge, especially when you factor in all the hidden or obscure gluten that can trip you up. In many cases, foods that are naturally gluten-free end up contain added gluten. Sometimes this can slip by us, and that when the suffering begins. To avoid suffering needlessly, be sure to keep a sharp eye on labels, and beware of added or hidden gluten, even in food labeled gluten-free.  Use Celiac.com's SAFE Gluten-Free Food List and UNSAFE Gluten-free Food List as a guide.
    Also, beware of these common mistakes that can ruin your gluten-free diet. Watch out for:
    Watch out for naturally gluten-free foods like rice and soy, that use gluten-based ingredients in processing. For example, many rice and soy beverages are made using barley enzymes, which can cause immune reactions in people with celiac disease. Be careful of bad advice from food store employees, who may be misinformed themselves. For example, many folks mistakenly believe that wheat-based grains like spelt or kamut are safe for celiacs. Be careful when taking advice. Beware of cross-contamination between food store bins selling raw flours and grains, often via the food scoops. Be careful to avoid wheat-bread crumbs in butter, jams, toaster, counter surface, etc. Watch out for hidden gluten in prescription drugs. Ask your pharmacist for help about anything you’re not sure about, or suspect might contain unwanted gluten. Watch out for hidden gluten in lotions, conditioners, shampoos, deodorants, creams and cosmetics, (primarily for those with dermatitis herpetaformis). Be mindful of stamps, envelopes or other gummed labels, as these can often contain wheat paste. Use a sponge to moisten such surfaces. Be careful about hidden gluten in toothpaste and mouthwash. Be careful about common cereal ingredients, such as malt flavoring, or other non-gluten-free ingredient. Be extra careful when considering packaged mixes and sauces, including soy sauce, fish sauce, catsup, mustard, mayonnaise, etc., as many of these can contain wheat or wheat by-product in their manufacture. Be especially careful about gravy mixes, packets & canned soups. Even some brands of rice paper can contain gluten, so be careful. Lastly, watch out for foods like ice cream and yogurt, which are often gluten-free, but can also often contain added ingredients that can make them unsuitable for anyone on a gluten-free diet. Eating Out? If you eat out, consider that many restaurants use a shared grill or shared cooking oil for regular and gluten-free foods, so be careful. Also, watch for flour in otherwise gluten-free spices, as per above. Ask questions, and stay vigilant.

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 07/18/2018 - Despite many studies on immune development in children, there still isn’t much good data on how a mother’s diet during pregnancy and infancy influences a child’s immune development.  A team of researchers recently set out to assess whether changes in maternal or infant diet might influence the risk of allergies or autoimmune disease.
    The team included Vanessa Garcia-Larsen, Despo Ierodiakonou, Katharine Jarrold, Sergio Cunha,  Jennifer Chivinge, Zoe Robinson, Natalie Geoghegan, Alisha Ruparelia, Pooja Devani, Marialena Trivella, Jo Leonardi-Bee, and Robert J. Boyle.
    They are variously associated with the Department of Undiagnosed Celiac Disease More Common in Women and Girls International Health, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America; the Respiratory Epidemiology, Occupational Medicine and Public Health, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom; the Section of Paediatrics, Department of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom; the Centre for Statistics in Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom; the Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom; the Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom; and Stanford University in the USA.
    Team members searched MEDLINE, Excerpta Medica dataBASE (EMBASE), Web of Science, Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), and Literatura Latino Americana em Ciências da Saúde (LILACS) for observational studies conducted between January 1946 and July 2013, and interventional studies conducted through December 2017, that evaluated the relationship between diet during pregnancy, lactation, or the first year of life, and future risk of allergic or autoimmune disease. 
    They then selected studies, extracted data, and assessed bias risk. They evaluated data using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE). They found 260 original studies, covering 964,143 participants, of milk feeding, including 1 intervention trial of breastfeeding promotion, and 173 original studies, covering 542,672 participants, of other maternal or infant dietary exposures, including 80 trials of 26 maternal, 32 infant, or 22 combined interventions. 
    They found a high bias risk in nearly half of the more than 250 milk feeding studies and in about one-quarter of studies of other dietary exposures. Evidence from 19 intervention trials suggests that oral supplementation with probiotics during late pregnancy and lactation may reduce risk of eczema. 44 cases per 1,000; 95% CI 20–64), and 6 trials, suggest that fish oil supplementation during pregnancy and lactation may reduce risk of allergic sensitization to egg. GRADE certainty of these findings was moderate. 
    The team found less evidence, and low GRADE certainty, for claims that breastfeeding reduces eczema risk during infancy, that longer exclusive breastfeeding is associated with reduced type 1 diabetes mellitus, and that probiotics reduce risk of infants developing allergies to cow’s milk. 
    They found no evidence that dietary exposure to other factors, including prebiotic supplements, maternal allergenic food avoidance, and vitamin, mineral, fruit, and vegetable intake, influence risk of allergic or autoimmune disease. 
    Overall, the team’s findings support a connection between the mother’s diet and risk of immune-mediated diseases in the child. Maternal probiotic and fish oil supplementation may reduce risk of eczema and allergic sensitization to food, respectively.
    Stay tuned for more on diet during pregnancy and its role in celiac disease.
    Source:
    PLoS Med. 2018 Feb; 15(2): e1002507. doi:  10.1371/journal.pmed.1002507

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 07/17/2018 - What can fat soluble vitamin levels in newly diagnosed children tell us about celiac disease? A team of researchers recently assessed fat soluble vitamin levels in children diagnosed with newly celiac disease to determine whether vitamin levels needed to be assessed routinely in these patients during diagnosis.
    The researchers evaluated the symptoms of celiac patients in a newly diagnosed pediatric group and evaluated their fat soluble vitamin levels and intestinal biopsies, and then compared their vitamin levels with those of a healthy control group.
    The research team included Yavuz Tokgöz, Semiha Terlemez and Aslıhan Karul. They are variously affiliated with the Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, the Department of Pediatrics, and the Department of Biochemistry at Adnan Menderes University Medical Faculty in Aydın, Turkey.
    The team evaluated 27 female, 25 male celiac patients, and an evenly divided group of 50 healthy control subjects. Patients averaged 9 years, and weighed 16.2 kg. The most common symptom in celiac patients was growth retardation, which was seen in 61.5%, with  abdominal pain next at 51.9%, and diarrhea, seen in 11.5%. Histological examination showed nearly half of the patients at grade Marsh 3B. 
    Vitamin A and vitamin D levels for celiac patients were significantly lower than the control group. Vitamin A and vitamin D deficiencies were significantly more common compared to healthy subjects. Nearly all of the celiac patients showed vitamin D insufficiency, while nearly 62% showed vitamin D deficiency. Nearly 33% of celiac patients showed vitamin A deficiency. 
    The team saw no deficiencies in vitamin E or vitamin K1 among celiac patients. In the healthy control group, vitamin D deficiency was seen in 2 (4%) patients, vitamin D insufficiency was determined in 9 (18%) patients. The team found normal levels of all other vitamins in the healthy group.
    Children with newly diagnosed celiac disease showed significantly reduced levels of vitamin D and A. The team recommends screening of vitamin A and D levels during diagnosis of these patients.
    Source:
    BMC Pediatrics

    Jefferson Adams
    Celiac.com 07/16/2018 - Did weak public oversight leave Arizonans ripe for Theranos’ faulty blood tests scam? Scandal-plagued blood-testing company Theranos deceived Arizona officials and patients by selling unproven, unreliable products that produced faulty medical results, according to a new book by Wall Street Journal reporter, whose in-depth, comprehensive investigation of the company uncovered deceit, abuse, and potential fraud.
    Moreover, Arizona government officials facilitated the deception by providing weak regulatory oversight that essentially left patients as guinea pigs, said the book’s author, investigative reporter John Carreyrou. 
    In the newly released "Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup," Carreyrou documents how Theranos and its upstart founder, Elizabeth Holmes, used overblown marketing claims and questionable sales tactics to push faulty products that resulted in consistently faulty blood tests results. Flawed results included tests for celiac disease and numerous other serious, and potentially life-threatening, conditions.
    According to Carreyrou, Theranos’ lies and deceit made Arizonans into guinea pigs in what amounted to a "big, unauthorized medical experiment.” Even though founder Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos duped numerous people, including seemingly savvy investors, Carreyrou points out that there were public facts available to elected officials back then, like a complete lack of clinical data on the company's testing and no approvals from the Food and Drug Administration for any of its tests.
    SEC recently charged the now disgraced Holmes with what it called a 'years-long fraud.’ The company’s value has plummeted, and it is now nearly worthless, and facing dozens, and possibly hundreds of lawsuits from angry investors. Meantime, Theranos will pay Arizona consumers $4.65 million under a consumer-fraud settlement Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich negotiated with the embattled blood-testing company.
    Both investors and Arizona officials, “could have picked up on those things or asked more questions or kicked the tires more," Carreyrou said. Unlike other states, such as New York, Arizona lacks robust laboratory oversight that would likely have prevented Theranos from operating in those places, he added.
    Stay tuned for more new on how the Theranos fraud story plays out.
    Read more at azcentral.com.