Old California Coffee House and Eatery has supported alternative lifestyles and diets since opening its doors in 1990. Our famous vegan chili and wide range of vegetarian choices have made our shop accessible to all different types of people. Today we wish to carry on this tradition by opening our doors to those inflicted with gluten intolerance or practicing a gluten free lifestyle.
I had the idea to introduce a gluten free pastry when I started working at Old Cal in February. After working for four years at a health food store, I witnessed first hand the hassles of eating out that those practicing this lifestyle encounter. I whipped out a batch of our new Gluten Free Garden Muffins at home and brought them to owners Giovanna and Craig Garcia to try. Not only were they open to my idea but, decided to expand our menu to be more accommodating as well. Old Cal now offers any of our sandwiches on gluten free bread!
For our costumers who are not familiar with gluten intolerance or why people practice this diet, let me explain. Celiac disease plagues up to three million people in America today. It is the body’s inability to digest gluten. Symptoms include diarrhea, flatulence, abnormal bloating, and irregular amounts of fat in the stool. Those who experience celiac disease can hardly eat out because cross contamination is highly likely in a non-gluten free environment. Although we are unable to completely transform our coffee shop to meet these needs, we are taking every precaution to ensure cross contamination is kept to a minimum. We have educated our staff on the importance of working with gluten free product in a safe manner and purchased a specific cutting board, knife, and heating plate specifically for preparation of such foods.
Gluten intolerance is more of an allergic reaction to products including gluten in them. Reactions include:
- Abnormal distention
- Pain and Cramping
- Diarrhea or Constipation
- Attention Deficit Disorder
- Bone Density Loss
- Grayish Stools
- Hair Loss
- Joint Pain
- Numbness or tingling in hands or feet
- Teeth and gum problems
- Vitamin and Mineral deficiencies
- Unexplained Weight Loss
Gluten Intolerant people experience one or more of these issues when consuming gluten. Their fears of cross contamination are not as seriously experienced as those with Celiac disease.
Others have experimented with this new diet as a form of weight loss, to control excessive migraines or acne, and to help with digestive problems. Elizabeth Hasselbecks new book ‘The G-Free Diet’ explains the disorders that go along with gluten consumption, expert advice from doctors, and how new information can alter the lives of those who don’t experience direct ailments from gluten consumption. Her book has sparked a wave of interest in this diet, which continues to gain momentum.
by: Erin Nenow