Last Friday the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center’s held their annual Spring Flours benefit to raise money for celiac disease research. While celiac disease affects at least 3 millions people (and many more that are undiagnosed), Kovler has a particular interest in this cause as approximately 6% of those with Type 1 diabetes also have celiac disease.
As a diabetes educator, I work with patients that have both diseases, and I also have a sister with celiac disease; I have seen firsthand the impact the disease has on everyday life, and the challenges that come with eating gluten free. Given both my work and personal connection to celiac disease, I was honored to represent Kovler at this fantastic and important event.
With tasting stations set up around the room, local Chicago-land restaurants had the opportunity to showcase their gluten free (and delicious!) cuisine and desserts. Restaurants included Mastro’s Steakhouse, Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine, Maya Del Sol, and Swirlz Cupcakes. Executive Director of the Celiac Disease Center, Carol McCarthy Shilson, honored all of the restaurants and chefs for their dedication toward providing gluten free menus.
For many of us, going out to eat is an enjoyable experience and a chance to relax; the most difficult decision may be narrowing down from the many delicious menu choices. But for people living with celiac disease, eating away from home can be challenging, and requires research and planning. Their goal is simple: cross your fingers to find at least something that is gluten free and try not to get sick. A person with celiac disease must constantly compromise what they want to eat in order to manage their disease.
Many restaurants do not understand the true definition of gluten free and the extensive measures that need to be taken to eliminate all contamination in the kitchen. However, the restaurants honored at this event understand the complexities of executing gluten free cuisine, as well as how important it is to the overall dining experience. These wonderful chefs have changed the lives of so many people who can now enjoy eating out in a way that many people often take for granted.
I was thrilled to be a part of such an amazing event. The committee that organized Spring Flours did a phenomenal job, 12-year-old keynote speaker Luke gave a touching presentation, and overall, I am proud that the Celiac Disease Center is part of our hospital. On behalf of my sister, and my patients, I want to sincerely thank them for the work they are doing to find a cure.
Julia Socke, RD, LDN, CDE
Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator and Outreach Coordinator
For more information on Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease, please visit our website.