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Health Team

Disease forces man to find gluten-free food in Raleigh

Posted December 30, 2008
Updated March 9, 2009

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— Zach Becker 's quest to find tasty, gluten-free food led him to two Raleigh restaurants that could relate to his problem.

Becker suffers from celiac disease, which affects one in 133 people in the United States. The disease prevents people from eating food that contains gluten, which is found in wheat, rye and barley.

Disease forces man to find gluten-free food in Raleigh Man finds gluten-free food

Adopting a gluten-free lifestyle can be tough. Becker said he lost 25 pounds without trying. He writes a blog detailing his journey.

“Pretty much everything you know about eating you have to throw out the door,” he said.

Gluten, a protein found in most bread and countless other products, slowly damages the intestines of celiac sufferers and blocks the absorption of other nutrients.

Becker said he found it difficult to find gluten-free food that appealed to him or that he could afford.

“Generally, at the grocery store, the products are 240 percent more expensive, on average,” he said.

His search led him to Lori and Michelle Corso’s Twins Kitchen in north Raleigh. They suffer from celiac disease as well, plus other food allergies. Their restaurant caters to people like Becker.

“We’re also finding people (who) just choose to eat this way for the health reasons that come along,” Michelle Corso said.

On Becker’s food quest, he also found Rosie's Plate near downtown Raleigh.

“(Rosie’s Plate is) a place where you can go to order prepared food (and) bring it home hot. It's allergy-free,” he said.

The owner, Rose Waring, has two children with multiple food allergies, so she knows the challenge of finding safe food and preparing it.

“One of the things we try and do is make our food so good that you won't taste the difference,” she said.

Both kitchens use creative food substitutes to avoid the dry, gritty results of most food without gluten. It helps their clients not just tolerate food, but enjoy it once again.

10 Comments

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  • dragonmum Jan 5, 2009

    This article perpetuates a myth about eating gluten-free. My daughter developed CD 4 yrs ago when she was 20. She has never eaten better or been healthier. There are only 3 main rules to avoiding gluten... Focus on what you CAN eat (everything else), not what you can't (remember wheat products are totally optional), eat mainly non-processed foods & when you get a craving for a "traditional" food (my daughter loves pies) buy it from a reliable source like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's or make it yourself from gluten-free flour. She has also become very familiar with the restaurants that have either GF menus or will custom cook your food - Outback, Carrabas, Bonefish all have GF menus. Saratoga Grill here in Hillsborough is a great place to get dishes that can be custom cooked.

    So, lose the pasta, forget about that yeast roll - open your eyes and see all the other food options the world has to offer!!

  • kevboom Jan 1, 2009

    The food options mentioned in this article do seem a little pricy. That is probably the first shock when diagnosed with celiac disease--the alternative food prices. Fortunately, one can find more and more items in regular grocery stores like Rice Chex, now gluten-free and $1.67 (Target) to $2.50 (Food Lion) per box. Don't bother with any of the frozen bread products from Glutino and others. Absolutely nasty. The only bread I've found worth buying is the gluten free frozen bagels at Whole Foods which can be toasted and hold together much better than the lousy GF rolls and bread loafs that crumble apart. I also think the Mi-Del cookies, Blue Diamond Nut Thins, and EnviroKidz cereals are tasty products that won't break the budget. In my opinion, the Earth Fare at Brier Creek has BY FAR the best gluten free selection in the entire Triangle, blowing away the ridiculously priced and understocked Fresh Market, and even beating Whole Foods which has a fair number of GF products.

  • lettered olive Jan 1, 2009

    My son is gluten and dairy intolerant and it is true that a lot of the foods are two and three times as much, it is definitely expensive. I try to only buy the really good pre-made or prepackaged foods or the foods that are more of a pain to make yourself. However, I am really shocked at the prices at Twins Kitchen. I don't know anyone who would spend $39 on 12 cookies or cupcakes. That is ridiculous even for a special occasion.

    Once you get used to gluten free and/or dairy free cooking it really is not a huge lifestyle change, at least in my experience. Especially with the gluten free menus available in restaurants now, it is much easier than it used to be.

  • hi Dec 31, 2008

    Lily's Pizza now serves Gluten free pizza.

  • CLR Dec 31, 2008

    I forgot to mention, Lowes Foods carries the best brand of brown rice pasta called Tinkyada as well as some baking mixes. Krogers near where I work in Cary has a good selection of gluten free products. Don't get the cookies, yuck.

    Trader Joes has an excellent gluten free ginger snap!

  • CLR Dec 31, 2008

    I don't have celiac but I'm gluten intolerant. I lost 20 lbs when I quit eating it. Honestly I'm so used to eating without it I don't find it as difficult as some make it out to be. Yes the gluten free products are expensive so I just go without and find other things to eat most of the time.

    Believe it or not even canned broth and tomato soup have gluten in them so I make my own.

  • jkca Dec 31, 2008

    Wendy's has some gluten free options as well.

  • Aussielady Dec 31, 2008

    I am lucky that I do not suffer any food allergies. I use to work for a law firm and one of our clients was the Gluten Intolerance Group from Auburn, Washington. You can Google them. Their website is gluten.net. I hope this website provides you with additional resources.

  • Yelena Dec 30, 2008

    I believe both Rosie's Plate and Twins Kitchen are take out or delivery only, and at least in the case of Rosie's Plate, you need to order many of the items the day before. The products are a little pricey, but carry zero chance of cross contamination. It's absolutely fantastic.

    Other area restaurants, such as PF Chang's, Pei Wei, Outback, Chili's and Maggiano's (and many others) have a gluten free menu on a daily basis

  • bellamoore13 Dec 30, 2008

    Great article, and I am always happy to see actual news sites and reporters talking about celiac. Though I do wish you had also mentioned gluten intolerance, which can be much more frequent and just as severe. There is actually even a new gluten-free "search engine" that's just been created for us gluten sensitive folks called GlutenFreeFox.com, it's worth a look, it helps filter out the bad results.