Several years ago when I was talking to all my mommy friends about making a better ketchup, I remember the one talk that convinced me to go into business. My friend is a big healthy food blogger (won't name names). At the time I thought she loved making everything from scratch. What she and I didn't know was the reason for her cuasi-obsession with dissecting every meal: Celiac Disease.
In this particular day, I asked her opinion about my idea: an all-natural ketchup with hidden veggies and low sugar. She asked me about all the ingredients, processing methods and packaging with so much interest that left me speechless.
She then confessed that her obsession with food came from her picky 5-year old son. She told me that her son was only eating a handful of foods she had on a list. Anything not in the list would cause vomit and in some cases even rashes. She had taken him many times to the pediatrician but they couldn't find anything. She knew there had to be something in the food. So she started deconstructing everything they ate and studied their ingredients. Eating very little processed foods and keeping track of it all. Little by little she developed her list and noticing patterns in the food that made her son sick. They were mostly grains or developed from grains.
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disease which damages the small intestine. The small intestine is the part of the gut which digests & absorbs nutrients from food. When the small intestine is damaged, the rate of nutrient absorption from food is reduced. Celiac disease can affect people in many different ways and symptoms vary in severity.
People with celiac disease are sensitive to gluten which triggers symptoms. Gluten is a protein found mostly in grains.
Celiac disease affects 1 in 133 people in the USA, or about 1% of the population. Like little John-John, 83% of Americans are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions.
My friend finally found a great doctor in Miami Beach that ran a IgA-tTG blood test on little John-John and finally diagnosed him as Celiac intolerant.
Untreated Celiac Disease is a real problem because it can lead to other disorders including infertility, reduced bone density, neurological disorders, some cancers, and other autoimmune diseases.
There is no medicine for Celiac Disease and the only way to keep it at check is by following a 100% Gluten Free diet. Is that simple. To stay safe and healthy, we recommend that you look for products that are certified Gluten-Free.
The month of May is Celiac Disease Awareness month. This is a great opportunity to help bring awareness and hopefully inspire some people to get tested and diagnosed.
Years after the diagnosis, little John-John has gained weight and is no longer afraid of food. My friend and little John-John have learned the types of food that makes him sick and buy foods like Veg'd Organics Gluten-Free Better Ketchup in their diet.
Our Better Ketchup is certified Gluten-Free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization. That's why we are allowed the use of the Gluten-Free icon on our labels. To get certified, we sent several samples which were then tested at their facilities and do so with every production run.
Still, living with Celiac Disease is a challenge. Little John-John eats homemade school lunches and can only eat out at certain restaurants but the number of food products free of Gluten is rising and becoming more mainstream like our Better Ketchup!