Have you ever wondered what it’s like to constantly check menus for their gluten-free items and only being able to order a salad? With Celiacs disease, or other gluten allergies, 1 in every 133 people struggle with this issue every day. Many people begin to ignore their diet just to eat out with friends and family. This leads to malnourishment and others health problems. Ten percent of people with Celiacs (especially those who ignore their strict diet) can eventually develop cancer involving their lymphatic system (Celiacs). Gluten free options should be available at all restaurants. Panera Bread should carry more gluten-free friendly foods because celiacs disease and gluten allergies are common; this change will bring in more business, and healthier options exist to make soups and sandwiches.
In the first place, Celiacs disease and gluten allergies are very common in the United States. People that have Celiacs disease and gluten allergies fight with the hardship of eating out with friends and family everyday. Celiacs disease affects about 2.2 million people; that is almost 1 in 133 people that struggle daily with this disease; says Amy Hackney Blackwell and Elizabeth Manar in the UXL Encyclopedia of Science (Blackwell). Celiacs Disease is also very common in people with autoimmune diseases, Down Syndrome, and other genetics diseases. Being diagnosed with Celiacs Disease can possibly be one of the worst things of your life, but also one of the best. It brings a little extra adventure in when trying new foods, but also it is frustrating when you can not have the same thing as everyone else. When a person is diagnosed with Celiacs, he/she has to go on a gluten-free diet, and remains on that diet for the remainder of their life. A gluten-free diet does not only help people with Celiacs disease, but removing the gluten from the diet of an autistic child, can also improve their symptoms. An article published in The World of Health states that if gluten were to enter the body of a Celiacs diseased person, the small intestine becomes inflamed and begins to tear the villi, (the finger-like structure in the small intestine that takes in nutrition) and the person becomes malnourished and experiences symptoms such as a distended abdomen and generalized weakness and stomach pain and diarrhea and about 10% of people develope a rash, known as dermatitis herpetiformis (Celiac). For these reasons, Panera Bread should have gluten-free friendly items available to their customers.
In addition to helping a number of people on a gluten-free diet; adding gluten-free friendly items to Panera Bread’s menu will improve their business. Having these gluten-free items on the menu can appeal to another community of people. Almost 2.2 million people have Celiacs disease, not counting the people that are on a gluten-free diet and other people that avoid non-gluten-free friendly places. Those people would now be able to come to Panera Bread with their friends and families and eat a well balanced meal.
In fact, bringing in more business is an easy fix when using healthier options to thicken soups and making sandwiches to make them available to gluten-free customers. Eating on a gluten free diet does not only help if a person has Celiacs, but in moderation it can also be a healthier life choice. Being gluten free does not mean to completely cut all carbs from your diet. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Other grains that do not contain gluten are rice, potatoes, soy, quinoa and tapioca. Gluten-free friendly items also include but are not limited to, fruits, vegetables, beans, meat and fish. Even replacing the wheat flour in the broccoli cheddar soup with corn starch, (a gluten-free friendly thickening agent) or tapioca or rice flour and using tapioca and rice flour bread on the sandwiches would open up a whole new community of business.
However, some people can see this change to be harmful, because of cross-contamination. So much bread, wheat, and gluten-containing products cross the prep counters, and it would be too hard to certify the kitchen to be gluten-free friendly. This is a valid argument. However, ordering pre-packaged cookies and bagels that would not go near any gluten until the customer opened them would be completely safe. Also, once a week the company could make and freeze all soups and sandwiches that are gluten free after the kitchen is thoroughly cleaned. When serving the meals, all the employees would need to do is change their gloves. Now, no restaurant that also serves gluten items can be fully gluten-free; at least adding gluten-free items would bring peace to people struggling with eating out.
Panera Bread should have gluten-free items available to their customers due to the prevalence of Celiacs Disease; this change will bring in another community of people, and other food choices besides wheat exist. Gluten free options need to be accessible at all places to ease the struggle for people with celiacs, gluten and wheat allergies and other genetic diseases that have to be on a gluten-free diet. Using a rice flour bread to make the sandwiches or cornstarch to thicken the soups are simple things that can go such a long way to making Panera Bread a more gluten free friendly place. Adding gluten-free items to Panera Bread’s menu will save several people from the hardships of not being able to go out with friends and families and saving them from cheating their diet and ending up extremely sick.
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