Health Team

Disease forces man to find gluten-free food in Raleigh

Posted December 30, 2008 5:30 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:11 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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.