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Eat Gluten Free for Celiac Awareness Month 

  As part of Celiac Awareness Month in May, the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) and Pamela's Products, maker of gluten-free baking mixes and ready-to-eat foods, are sponsoring a national Gluten-free Challenge to increase awareness of celiac disease.

  Triggered by the immune system, celiac disease affects one in 100 Americans and can lead to malnutrition if not properly managed through a diet free of gluten. With celiac disease and the associated dermatitis herpetiformis (DH), protein fractions in wheat, rye and barley cause a chain reaction that can damage tissue in the lining of the small intestine. In DH, the immune response also can cause the skin to itch and blister.

  The Gluten-free Challenge asks that people eat one gluten-free item a day for a month and then eat entirely gluten-free during the weekend of May 22-23. A bonus challenge is to visit a restaurant participating in the gluten-free Chef to Plate program during the weekend of May 29-30. Area restaurants participating in the program so far are The Melting Pot (1820 St. Charles Ave.) and Outback Steak House (60 Park Place Drive, Covington; 830 E. I-10 Service Road, Slidell; 1601 Barataria Blvd., Marrero; 2746 Severn Ave., Metairie).

  Register for the challenge at www.gogfchallenge.com. — Kandace Power Graves

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