by Danielle Andrews Sunkel
With the popularity of books like “Wheat Belly”, people are trying out being Gluten-free like it’s a diet or lifestyle, unfortunately this diminishes the seriousness of food safety for those who must be gluten-free.
First you need to understand Celiac and Gluten-Intolerance. People with Celiac Disease or Gluten-intolerance cannot have Gluten in any shape or form. It takes 1/70 of a piece of bread to make a person with Celiac Disease extremely ill for days, that’s only a crumb! Celiac Disease is an auto-immune disease that affects approximately 1 in 100 people. Celiac disease inflames the small intestine causing the body to attack itself, it manifests in neurological episodes similar to strokes, migraine, joint pain, severe abdominal distress (bloating, gas, cramps, pain and diarrhea), and without treatment, it can cause stomach cancer. The only treatment is a gluten-free diet. Gluten-intolerance causes severe abdominal pain and distress for those afflicted, it does not have any lasting effects. Neither of these are allergies, one is a disease, the other an inability to digest the protein properly.
Gluten is a binding protein found in wheat, barley and rye. This means no flour, malt, soy sauce, worcestershire, etc. See a full list here.
Reading the above, you can see why it is so important to accommodate wedding guests, but can you imagine how important this is if your couple needs gluten-free? We would never want their wedding to be ruined by them having horrible cramps and diarrhea, or worse, a neurological episode, so here are some tips to keep them safe at their own wedding:
Choose a one-site venue. There is less risk of cross-contamination if your couples’ wedding is the only one happening at the facility. Make sure they have a stainless steel commercial kitchen that gets completely scrubbed down between events.
Menu and Catering:
Make sure every single item served at the wedding is gluten-free. Gluten-free isn’t anything crazy, it is simply pure food, the guests will never miss the gluten. If you can’t get a completely gluten-free caterer, than a larger company with a trained executive chef is the safest choice. Ensure that there will be no cross-contamination in the kitchen where the food is prepared.
Beer, grain and malt alcohols are off limits. Wine, vodka, rum and gin are all gluten-free. There are several micro-brewed gluten-free beers available.
Get a Gluten-free cake or cupcakes from a 100% gluten-free facility. There is so much flour floating around regular bakeries, it is too difficult to guarantee no cross-contamination at a regular bakery.
Make sure all food service staff are knowledgeable about your clients’ gluten-free needs and take them seriously, that way your clients can relax and enjoy their day!
*If you have any questions about gluten-free, need suggestions or tips, let me know, I have Celiac Disease, so I’m an expert out of necessity 😉