Celiac disease was first written about near the first century AD by the Greek physician Aretaeus of Cappadocia. He described his patients, whose food passed through them without being digested. He named their disease for the greek word for abdomen (koalia), coeliac diathesis. For centuries after, coeliac diathesis served as a death sentence.
Aretaeus of Cappadocia
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease affecting the small intestine, the primary organ used for digesting and absorbing nutrients. People with celiac disease are unable to digest gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Not only are they unable to digest gluten, but if consumed, their bodies will mount an immune response that attacks the small intestine. One byproduct of this immune attacks is damage of the small villi of the intestine which are necessary for nutrient absorption -- thus not only will patients be unable to absorb nutrients from gluten-based foods, but from other food groups as well. Before doctors learned how to help patients with celiac, they would often starve to death in the presence of food.
In the 1930s, Dutch pediatrician Willem-Karel Dicke began studying celiac disease. He noticed how his patients symptoms worsened after eating bread or biscuits and suspected an ingredient within these foods was the cause of celiac disease. Then during World War II came wartime famine which furthered Dicke’s observations. During the Hunger Winter of 1944 Dutch people had to subsist on only 500 to 1,000 calories a day, over 4 million people went hungry, and over 20,000 died. However, despite this period of famile, Dicke noticed that children with celiac disease were seeing improvements in their symptoms. Some were even gaining weight.
After the famine, food supplies from the allies flooded in -- among the supplies, wheat and bread. Dicke critically noticed that celiac patients relapsed. He noticed the correlation. Dicke would spend the next five years running experiments with celiac patients, recommending to them wheat-free diets, and helping them feel better.
Today, we live in a gluten-free world. Well, not exactly, but increased social awareness surrounding celiac disease provides for plenty of gluten free options and substitutes. Bakeries sell gluten-free breads and gluten-free pastries, restaurant menus list gluten-free pizzas and gluten-free pastas. Even many health-conscious people without celiac disease flock to gluten-free foods and try to adhere to a gluten-free diet.
Now, at Rip Van Wafels, we are taking the next step in our journey. We are holding to our promise to push boundaries in health and food science. We are introducing Rip Van Wafels GLUTEN FREE!
We asked ourselves, “why arenʼt there any truly delicious sweet gluten free snacks out there that are also low in sugar?” Some of the most popular gluten free options have over 10g of sugar! So we decided to solve this. We went about inventing a convenient snack that you can feel good about eating anytime.
Try Gluten Free Rip Van Wafels today!