HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Cindy Rinna suffered with digestive problems for years. She was severely underweight and sick at her stomach.
After being misdiagnosed several times, Rinna was finally diagnosed last March with Celiac Disease.
By that time she had major problems.
"It was part of the routine. I would eat and I would get sick," said Rinna.
That changed with the diagnosis.
"24 hours after being diagnosed it was like a light switch... night and day," said Rinna. She now lives a gluten free lifestyle.
Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat. Some products that are not wheat are still prepared with gluten. Someone with sensitivity to gluten has to be careful about the foods they eat and products they use.
Some products that can contain gluten include lunch meat, lipstick, Chap Stick, envelopes, vitamins, and medications.
Kim Donahue is a registered dietician who works with people who have intolerance to gluten.
Donahue says sensitivity to gluten can cause a range of reactions. It can cause a simple rash, anaphylactic shock, or even death in someone with Celiac. Celiac is classified as an autoimmune disease.
Rinna's Celiac causes her to be severely sensitive to gluten. She will get reactions on her skin after she touches bread or chips and doesn't wash her hands right away.
Many restaurants are getting on the bandwagon with gluten free menus or marked items for their customers that eat gluten-free diets. Some restaurants in Huntsville participating in gluten-free options include the Olive Garden, Bonefish Grill and Jason's Deli.
Todd Moore is the manager at Jason's Deli. He says they offer as many healthy options as possible for their customers.
"We have a lot of items on our salad bar that are gluten free as well as a gluten free bread," said Moore.
The bottom line? If you are sensitive to gluten and the restaurant you're at doesn't have gluten free items on the menu, ask the server or the manager. Eating gluten-free is a good way to stay healthy and avoid some digestion problems.