Celiac Disease

What is Celiac Disease?

It is an autoimmune disorder where the digestive system is intolerant of gluten. This disease results from a condition called gluten sensitive enteropathy; however, it is still not known why this happens in some individuals. Unfortunately, medication cannot be given to prevent or “cure” an individual of this disease; therefore, lifelong avoidance of gluten is essential. It is important to note that this condition is not the same as having a food allergy to wheat.

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a protein that is found in certain food ingredients. Ingredients that contain gluten include wheat, rye, barley, and triticale. A few individuals may experience a reaction to oats as well.

Signs and Symptoms of Celiac Disease

Celiac Disease is not necessarily a disease that is given at birth. It can be developed later in life as a child or even an adult; usually it is seen to be developed after trauma occurs to the body. Diarrhea, constipation, amenorrhea, abdominal cramping/pain, foul-odor and/or consistency of stools, weight loss, the presence of mouth sores, bone/joint pain, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), unexplained anemia, abdominal pain, weakness, and fatigue are some of the signs and symptoms that may occur from Celiac Disease. This information should not replace the advice of a physician; therefore, if you suffer from the signs and/or symptoms of Celiac Disease please consult your physician.

Celiac Disease and Gluten

If someone with Celiac Disease eats a food product that contains gluten, the body initiates an immune-mediated toxic reaction. This reaction causes damage to the small intestine, an essential organ in the absorption of nutrients, therefore preventing proper nutrient absorption. An individual can suffer from damage to the bowel, even if they are not showing symptoms of it; therefore, avoidance of gluten is crucial to a healthy life for individuals with Celiac Disease. The consequences of uncontrolled Celiac Disease can be life-threatening, including the development pancreatic insufficiency, certain cancers, fatal vitamin/mineral nutrient deficiencies, and central or peripheral nervous system disorders.

The consequences of Celiac Disease are essentially eliminated if a life-long avoidance of gluten is adopted; most individuals will not experience side effects. Additionally, gluten avoidance will (in most cases) heal the damage caused by the consumption of gluten that may have occurred prior to diagnosis of Celiac Disease.

How Do I Remove Gluten Out of My Diet?

To ensure a gluten-free diet, it is essential that you learn to read and understand the nutrition label on food products. In the blog section of this website, we have information on how to read a nutrition label; this will be beneficial to you in learning the nutrition label. Additionally, on the VT Dining Services Nutrition website, we provide a list of all of the nutrition and ingredient information for the food products served in the Virginia Tech Dining Halls. For Celiac Disease, you want to pay particular attention to the ingredient information.

Food manufactures have the option of labeling their food products “gluten-free”, if their product meets the requirements. The Food and Drug Administration has determined that a food product can be labeled “gluten-free” if it meets the below requirements:

  • Does not contain “a prohibited grain, which refers to any species of wheat, rye, barley, or their crossbred hybrids”.
  • Does not contain “an ingredient that is derived from a prohibited grain and that has not been processed to remove gluten”.
  • Does not contain “an ingredient that is derived from a prohibited grain that has been processed to remove gluten, if the use of that ingredient results in the presence of 20 micrograms or more gluten per gram of food”.
  • Or does not contain “20 micrograms or more of gluten per gram of food”.

For more information on the proposed FDA labeling of “gluten-free” products, please see their website listed in the references section below.

The Celiac Disease Foundation recommends individuals with Celiac Disease to stay away from certain food ingredients, as they may contain gluten; these ingredients include: fillers, unidentified starch, malt, extenders, binders, and excipients. Additionally, this foundation provides a list of the grocery stores that provide lists of gluten-free products sold in their store, please click here to see these stores and their lists’.

Understanding which foods contain gluten and those that do not may be difficult at first. However, after a little practice, you will become a master at identifying gluten! Below, we have provided you with a list of some of the foods that commonly contain gluten and those that do not. Please keep in mind that not all brands of these products may contain gluten, as many food manufactures have begun making gluten-free products! It is important to talk to your pharmacist as well, as some medications may contain gluten.

  • Common Foods that Contain Gluten: bread, cookies, pizza crust, pasta, gravy, beer
  • Common Foods that Do NOT Contain Gluten: fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, potatoes, gluten-free flours (soy, corn, rice, potato), rice, most dairy products, fresh meat/fish/poultry, beans

What Foods In the VT Dining Halls Are Gluten Free?

West End Gluten Free Options

  • Chop Shop: Premium Baked Ham, Carved Lamb, Whole Lobster, Cajun Pork Loin, Carved Turkey Breast, Catch of the Day (request plain and cooked in separate pan), Fresh Cooked Broccoli, California Blend, Homemade Applesauce Served with Cajun Pork Loin, Whole Baby Carrots, Whole Green Beans, Baked Potato, Garlic Whipped Potatoes, Roesti Potatoes, Prince Edward Blend Vegetables, Squash Medley, Catalina Vegetable Blend, Provencale Vegetable Blend
  • Sports Bar: Plain Hamburger Patty, Cheddar Cheese, Monterey Jack Cheese, Swiss Cheese, Veggie Patty, French Fries, Hot Wings
  • Wraps: Blackened Chicken, Fajita Chicken, Caesar Chicken, Corn and Bean Relish, Mexican Rice, Jasmine Rice, Grilled Onions & Peppers (all items may be requested on a plate or a to go container)
  • Wired: Fresh Fruit, Carrot Apple Juice, Pineapple Ginger Juice, Blueberry Peach Smoothie, Coco Nana Smoothie, Peach Smoothie, Planet Raspberry Smoothie, Strawberry Banana Smoothie, Strawberry Daiquiri Smoothie
  • Leaf and Ladle: All American Tossed Salad (no croutons), Fresh Fruit Salad, Spinach Salad (no croutons), Greek Salad (no croutons), Chicken Salad, Balsamic Vinagrette Dressing, Fat Free French Dressing, Fat Free Ranch Dressing, Fat Free Honey Dijon Dressing
  • Bistro Firenze: Gluten Free Pasta (100% Corn Flour), Marinara Sauce, Meat Marinara Sauce, Alfredo Sauce, Shrimp Diablo Sauce, Chicken Broccoli Alfredo Sauce, Vegetable Primavera Sauce, Italian Sausage Sauce
  • Brunch Items: Scrambled Eggs, Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice, Fresh Apple Juice, Omelette, Redskin Homefried Potatoes, Sausage Links

D2/DXpress Gluten Free Options

  • Breakfast: Omelettes (no Monterey/cheddar cheese blend or pepper jack cheese), Cottage Style Home Fried Potatoes, Hash Brown Potatoes (not hash brown square), Sausage Links, Pork Sausage Patties, Bacon, Home Fried Potatoes, Home Fried Redskin Potatoes, Grits, Scrambled Eggs, Hard Cooked Eggs, Eggs Cooked to Order, Country Ham, Hash Brown Potato Cakes, Sliced Ham, Cooked Apples
  • East Side Deli: Provolone, Swiss, Cheddar, Salami, Ham, Turkey
  • Eden’s Salad Bar: Veggies, Hard Cooked Eggs, Tuna, Cheddar Cheese, Goat Cheese and Pear Salad, Ambrosia, Mixed Fruit Compote, Waldorf Citrus Salad, Italian Dressing, Honey French Dressing, Bleu Cheese Dressing, Fresh Banana, Apple, Oranges, Canned Fruit (Peaches, Pineapple, etc.)
  • Gaucho’s: Brazilian Tilapia, Cajun Rotisserie Chicken, Lemon Pepper Rotisserie Chicken, Carved Roast Beef, Carved Ham, Carved Lamb, Carved Pork, Carved Ham from VT Meats, Fruit compote sauce, Apple Brandy sauce, Chimi Brazilian sauce, Chimi Cuban sauce, Peach Chutney, Cranberry Apple Chutney, Cranberry Sauce, Baked Potatoes, Fried Potatoes and Onions, Steamed White Rice, O’Brien Potatoes, Roasted Potatoes, Lyonnaise Potatoes, Acorn Squash, Candied Baby Carrots, Sauteed Zucchini and Mushrooms, Sugar Snap Peas, Tuscany Blend Vegetables, Prince Edward Blend Vegetables, Fresh Cooked Broccoli, Italian Vegetables, Corn on the Cob, Whole Kernel Corn, Flame Roasted Corn, Peas and Carrots, Southern Style Green Beans, French Green Beans with Almonds, Pan Roasted Root Vegetables, Greek Vegetable Stir-fry, Hamburger Patty, Sliced Ham, Sliced Bacon, Sliced Turkey, Cheddar, Provolone, or Swiss Cheese
  • Olives: Greek Vegetable Stir Fry, Cajun Skillet Beans, Green Briami Casserole, Eggplant and Tomato Sauce, Steamed Brown Rice, Fresh Cooked Broccoli, Baked Potato, Veggie Patty (no bun), Fresh Fruit Cup, Hummus, Southwestern Pinto Hummus, Baba Ghannouj, Crumbled Feta Cheese, Olive Salad, Tofu, Roasted Red Peppers
  • Salsa’s: Beef Taco Meat, Black Beans & Yellow Rice, Salsa de Pina, Guacamole, Corn Taco Shell, Spanish Rice, Grilled Veggies, Sour Cream
  • Pan Asia: Jasmine or White Rice (served from Rice cooker)
  • DXpress: Caesar Salad, YES To Go Strawberry Cup, YES To Go Fresh Grape Cup, YES To Go Fresh Fruit Bowl, YES To Go Fresh Honeydew Cup, YES To Go Pineapple Cup, YES To Go Cantaloupe Cup, YES To Go Garden Salad

Owens Food Court and Hokie Grill Gluten Free Options

  • The Carvery: Carved Ham, Carved Roast Beef, Carved Ham from Plantation Meats, Rotisserie Chicken, Pork Loin Adovada, Cajun Pork Loin, Corn on the Cob, Glazed Carrots, Lima Beans, Pinto Beans, Green Peas, Ratatouille, Steamed Broccoli and Cauliflower, Spiced Cooked Apples, Prince Edward Blend Vegetables, Steamed Broccoli, Succotash, Whipped Fresh Potatoes, Buttered Spinach, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Mixed Vegetables, Country Corn, Nutty Brussels Sprouts, Peas and Carrots, Cole Slaw, Roasted Root Vegetables, Flame Roasted Corn, Peas and Mushroom Medley, Ranch Roasted Red Potatoes
  • Flips Sandwiches: Grilled Hamburger Patty, Grilled Chicken Breast, Veggie Patty (request ALL as cooked to order, no bun)
  • Lotsa Pasta: Gluten Free pasta (100% corn flour), Marinara Sauce
  • Freshens: Strawberry Oasis Smoothie, Acai Energy Smoothie, Brazilian Energy Smoothie, Jamaican Jammer Smoothie, Citrus Mango Smoothie, Strawberry Squeeze Smoothie, Orange Sunrise Smoothie, Caribbean Craze Smoothie
  • Sweet Temptations: Peanut Butter Parfait, Gluten Free Sliced Bread, Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin
  • La Cantina: Black Beans, Chipotle Chicken, Pinto Beans, Cilantro Lime Rice, Corn Taco Shells, Monterey Jack Cheese, Sour Cream, Peppers/Onions, Chipotle Steak, Chipotle Vinaigrette, Guacamole, Chili Corn Salsa, Fresh Salsa, Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
  • Bowl Dynasty: Steamed Rice
  • The Garden Salad Bar: Veggies, Fruits, Cheese, Eggs, Chicken Salad, Broccoli Raisin Salad, Sunflower Seeds, Honey French Dressing, Golden Italian Dressing, Fat Free Ranch Dressing, Fat Free Honey Dijon Dressing
  • Brunch: Scrambled Eggs, Sliced Ham, Pork Sausage Patties, Bacon, Shredded Hash Browned Potatoes
  • Hokie Grill: Chick-fil-A Lemonade, Chick-fil-A Waffle Fries, YES To Go Fruit Cups, YES To Go Garden Salad, Blue Ridge BBQ Smoked Pork, Blue Ridge BBQ Cole Slaw

I Think I May Have Celiac Disease, What Should I Do Now?

Only a doctor can confirm if you have Celiac Disease. Many of the signs and symptoms of Celiac Disease are common to other gastrointestinal disorders or illnesses; therefore, a diagnosis should not be made solely based on the presence of certain signs and/or symptoms. Please contact your physician if you are concerned about a condition you believe you may have.

I Feel Like the Only Person Suffering from Celiac Disease!

You are not alone! The Celiac Disease Foundation estimates that 1 in every 133 individuals has Celiac Disease. There are approximately 28,000 students on the Virginia Tech Campus; this means that over 200 students have Celiac Disease. If you desire, please feel free to use this page as a blog to meet other students who may have Celiac Disease on the VT Campus.



1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Sharon  |  September 30, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    so glad to see my alma mater has so many GF options… my 4 year old daughter has recently been diagnosed with Celiac Disease and hopes to become a Hokie cheerleader. I’m sure by the time she gets there, even more awareness will be raised and the food choices will be easy!

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