My wife has Celiac Sprue also. It is not an allergy and it isn't the same as gluten sensitivity. Celiac Sprue is an autoimmune disorder where gluten from wheat, barley, rye and, some say, oats causes the cilia in the small intestine to flatten out and lose the ability to absorb nutrients.
The latest studies indicate that as many as 1 in 133 Americans have the disease and many of them don't even know it. Doctors have caught on and now they usually check for CS when there are complaints about abdominal pain, digestive problems or unexplained weight loss.
The problem with food for a CS patient in this country is that wheat is every where and in almost anything. Soy sauce, rice pilaf, malt, barley malt, "modified food starch" ingredients are sometimes made from wheat, hair care products, lip balm, makeup, lickable stamps, latex gloves sometimes are dusted with wheat or oat flour, medications can have gluten in them, corn and rice cereals, and wheat based products are sometimes used as stabilizers in spices.
You also have the cross contamination problems. Bread toasters, oil that is used to cook french fries is also used to cook onion rings, double dipping a knife in the peanut butter or mayonnaise after putting on wheat bread can leave gluten in the otherwise gluten free food. Also, corn flour is often ground on the same machines as wheat flour.
Then you have the ever changing recipes. You have to stay on top of ingredient lists of processed foods because the manufacturers often change the recipes. One day the product is gluten free, the next it has gluten in it.
The worse is the hidden gluten. For example, hydrogenated vegetable protein, hydrolyzed plant protein, monosodium glutamate if made outside the USA probably has gluten in it. How do you know when you read the ingredients on the package?
For you folks who run restaurants or catering businesses, I can tell you that people with CS greatly appreciate your efforts when you accommodate their needs. My wife was diagnosed many years ago. There were few gluten free products like bread, pasta, etc. that she could eat. In the last couple of years some pretty good gluten free "bread" products have come on the market. The first time she had pizza with a decent gluten free pizza crust after many years of no pizza, she got tears in her eyes. Bread is an emotional food, I guess.
The problem with meat comes up when it's processed. Many times wheat, barley, or oat fillers are often added. "Nathan's" hotdogs claim to be all beef but if you read the ingredients you find that they have wheat in them. A few years ago, we would have to drive all over town looking for a Thanksgiving turkey that wasn't brined in a solution that had wheat in it. Now days, many turkeys have "gluten free" stamped right on the package.
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