No grain, no pain: many Mormons cope with gluten restrictions

Believe it or not, there are kids who don't get excited about pizza parties, toddlers who can't be consoled with Cheerios and girls who don't get excited about dates to romantic Italian restaurants.

There are also Mormons who don't have wheat in their food storage.

For a rising number of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, celiac disease can define food-related church experiences more so than the stereotypical Jell-O.

Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and doesn't allow absorption of nutrients into the body. Those with this disease are not able to ingest gluten, which is a protein in wheat, barley and rye.

When someone with celiac disease eats something containing gluten, their immune system responds by destroying villi — tiny finger-like protrusions lining the small intestine. Without villi, a person becomes malnourished, no matter how much they eat.

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