Taking Action to help restaurants serve everyone

By Anna Carrera

Published 05/02 2014 04:03PM

Updated 05/02 2014 05:50PM

URBANA -- Millions of people in the U.S. have celiac disease. They can't eat gluten, which can make it tricky to eat out. An area woman is Taking Action to help change that. WCIA-3's Anna Carrera finds out how.

Making food for your family can be an adventure all its own. But, throw something like celiac disease into the mix and that makes dinner for people like Dana Mancuso even more complicated.

"It wasn't that I wasn't eating food," said Mancuso. "I wasn't absorbing what I needed, like vitamins and minerals."

Now, she can't eat anything with gluten in it.

"It's bread. It's pasta. It's rolls. It's donuts," said Mancuso. "It's everything you could possibly think of. You don't eat those anymore ever and you eat other things instead."

Changing her menu at home is one thing because many gluten-free foods have it written right on their labels.

But, when she leaves, eating out is a struggle because it's not on top of people's minds.

So, that's what she wants to change. Mancuso is reaching out to restaurants in the area to see if owners want to learn to cook gluten-free. She's even offering to pay for one to get training.

"What I eat can't be put in the same fryer as the French fries," said Mancuso. "It can't be put on the same grill as the hamburger buns. It can't be cut on the same chopping board as things that have bread."

Re-mastering her kitchen has taken time, but Mancuso says it's worth it.

"Knowing that I have it and being able to change my diet will help my health in the long-run for sure,"  said Mancuso. 

She hopes sharing the knowledge will help other families enjoy more meals together, at home or on the town.

If any restaurant owners or chefs are interested in taking her up on the gluten-free training offer, you can email her. The deadline is May 20.

For more information, click here

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