Jim Coleman | Wife can't eat wheat, so what can she eat?

Q. I am a retired cook, so I am interested in your articles, which I read regularly. I am writing to get your opinion.

My wife has celiac disease (can't eat wheat products), and we are trying so hard to find gluten-free food products, but have only come across a limited supply.

Any idea about where I can find more variety? My wife also cannot eat seafood or meat, so she is really limited in her diet.

She sticks to salad, Mexican (only cheese enchiladas or tacos with no meat), Chinese rice noodles or some vegetables.

I make gluten-free pasta and cheese lasagna, among other things, for her. I would like a better selection for her and some gluten-free ideas. Some of the specialty stores charge such outrageous prices that we can't even go there to shop.

Any help or books you can suggest? Thanks so much.

- Patrick G.

A. I hear your frustrations and hope I can help with some new suggestions, or at least share a recipe that I think your wife will enjoy.

Celiac disease, as your wife knows, is not a joke. She is treating it with the correct diet, but the long-term effect of the disease if left untreated can be life-threatening.

Once thought of as a rare childhood disorder, it is now known that celiac disease can be diagnosed at any age. Recent studies show that one out of every 133 Americans could be diagnosed with celiac disease. If those were the odds for the lottery, then I would be at 7-11 as much as possible.

You know, as important as it is to know about the do's and don'ts with ingredients, and not to take the condition lightly, it is also important to keep a sense of humor when dealing with it day to day.

The number of people who suffer from celiac disease has created a demand for gluten-free products. And as I learned in ninth-grade economics (ninth grade was a long three years for me), when there is a demand, someone will supply it.

I know that the little bit of information I got from talking to others who are knowledgeable about this disease is just the tip of a very large iceberg.

But I've learned that the more you discuss things with other people, the more avenues that open up and pretty soon you are surrounded with helpful facts. I hope this small list of stores and support groups helps.

By the way, Patrick, where is the line I need to stand in for "Retired Cooks?" Right now I'm just in a long line for "Tired Cooks." Let me know, Mr. Retired Cook, and enjoy cooking the recipe at home. *

Support groups

The Food Allergy Network

11781 Lee Jackson Highway,

Suite 160

Fairfax, Va. 22033


American Celiac Society

P.O. Box 23455

New Orleans, La. 70183


Celiac Disease Foundation

13251 Ventura Blvd., Suite 1

Studio City, Calif. 91604


Gluten Intolerance Group

15110 10th Ave. SW, Suite A

Seattle, Wash. 98166


Celiac Disease Foundation-National Celiac Disease Support Group


Contact: Rita M. Herskovitz

52 Rockglen Road

Wynnewood, Pa. 19096


Philadelphia-Support Group

Contact: Karen Dalrymple

Greater Philadelphia Area Celiac Sprue Support Group

583 Valley View Road

Langhorne, Pa. 19047


The Dietary Shoppe Inc.

4436 Ridge Ave.

Philadelphia, Pa. 19129


Enter-G Foods Inc.

5960 1st Ave., S.

P.O. Box 84487

Seattle, Wash. 98124

206-767-6660; 800-331-5222

Gluten Free Pantry

P. O. Box 840

Glastonbury, Conn. 06033


The Really Great Food Co.

P.O. Box 2239

St. James, N.Y. 11780


Online store: www.celiac.com.