Chapter # 25 of CSA/USA, Inc.

Visits since 15Feb03
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Next Meeting
DATE: To Be Announced
PROGRAM: To Be Announced
PLACE: MEMORIAL DRIVE LUTHERAN CHURCH Fellowship Hall, 12211 Memorial Drive at Gessner.
The Houston Celiac Support Group exists to assist you in developing, enduring, and even appreciate your gluten-free lifestyle. Our chapter has been active since 1989. We have enjoyed helping many, many celiacs. We work with gastroenterologists and dietitians to refer new prospective celiac patients to. The advisors are listed on this homepage. The only treatment for celiac disease, gluten allergy, and dermatitis herpetiformis is a strict gluten-free diet. It may take up to a year for the villi to heal, but you will feel better in at least six months on the GF diet. Fortunately, food labels are easier to understand now and ascertain whether wheat is in the product. Some products are even “certified” gluten free. For members, our chapter publishes a newsletter, HOUSTON CELIAC PERSPECTIVE. We give members a New Member Packet. We have developed a long compilation of Restaurant Investigations (over 100 pages) and share miscellaneous information in monthly e-mails. We also organize gluten-free social dinners. We help you learn how to read labels, cook, go out to eat and travel as safely as possible. We are in the process of finishing up paperwork to join the National Celiac Association (NCA). Don’t hesitate to call or e-mail the President or Vice-President with your questions. We want to serve you. Janet Rinehart
Houston Celiac Support Group-Chapter Renewals
Now is the time to send in your check to renew your chapter membership for 2018. Renewals are $20 per family. Please mail your check to: Janet Rinehart,
13722 Ashley Run, Houston, TX 77077
281/679-7608      E-mail:txjanet@swbell.net


Click Links Below for more info.
About Our Celiac Support Group

Thinking about CD as a Diagnosis


Symptoms & Complications

CD Facts & Figures 2003

NIH CD Consensus Statement

Welcome Letter

Rx: The Gluten-Free Lifestyle

Beginning the Gluten-Free Lifestyle

Foundation Diet: Step 1


CD, Diabetes and Me

    - Houston Membership
    - CSA/USA Membership Form

Texas Support Groups

National Support Groups

Publication Resources

Where to Get Gluten-Free Products

Traveling Gluten-Free

Research on CD


New Member Orientation & Membership Form with check
Janet Y. Rinehart, President
13722 Ashley Run, Houston, TX 77077
281/679-7608      E-mail:txjanet@swbell.net

New Member Packets:
Kathleen Williams, Vice President
7646 El Rancho Houston, TX 77087
713/645-3700     E-mail: Kathleenwilliams3700@yahoo.com

Membership Dues:
Andrea Maher, Treasurer
2411 Chatham Creek Court, Houston, TX 77077


Barbara Ferring, Hospitality Chairman, 281/358-0336
Melissa Aldrich, Ph.D., Research, 713/669-0457
John Longo, Ph.D. 281/493-3695




MEETINGS: Usually in the months of September, November, February and April at 1 to 3:30 p.m. For further details, call a contact person. We publish a chapter Newsletter to announce each meeting with directions to the location, along with other pertinent medical or dietary data.

The Houston chapter encourages participation in HOUSTON R.O.C.K. (Raising Our Celiac Kids). This is a free opportunity to join with other families with celiac children to discuss special issues and cooperate on gluten-free parties. Call Janet for more details. The national founder of R.O.C.K., Danna Korn, came to Houston in February 2003 to meet our members and to give a presentation on "Living and Loving the Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free LIfestyle." Go to http://www.celiackids.com/

Please note that our Houston chapter's full membership can include our special compilation of articles for families with celiac or DH children or youths; request this compilation if you desire. Families need both R.O.C.K. and the information our chapter and newsletter provides.

GOALS: We strive to help people with celiac disease, parents of celiac children, and patients with dermatitis herpetiformis adjust to the gluten-free diet, share information, discuss medical and dietary topics, and provide support and fellowship.


John R. Stroehlein, M.D., Gastroenterologist, MD Anderson Hospital and Univ. of Texas Health Science

Eamonn Quigley, M.D., Gastroenterologist, The Methodist Hospital

Alberto O. Barroso, M.D., Gastroenterologist, The Methodist Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine

Douglas Fishman, M.D., Pediatric Gastroenterologist, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital

Selvi Thirumurthi, M.D., Pediatric Gastroenterologist, Texas Children's Hospital.

Rya Clark, RD
Anne L. Dubner, RD, L.D.
Sara Olague, RD
Leslie Ramirez, RD
Norma Terrazas, RD


Celiac Disease (CD) {also called non-tropical sprue, celiac sprue, gluten sensitive enteropathy, gluten intolerance, or malabsorption syndrome} is a chronic digestive disorder affecting genetically susceptible individuals in which the surface of the small intestine is damaged by eating gluten-containing grains such as wheat, barley, rye and oats. Oats are generally contaminated with wheat. Triticale, spelt, kamut, and malt contain gluten as well.

The symptoms of celiac disease are as varied as the nutritional deficiencies caused by the lack of absorption. However, the most common symptoms are chronic diarrhea, or constipation, pale and bulky stools, abdominal cramping, intestinal gas, distention and bloating, anemia, fatigue, weakness, lack of energy, weight loss, depression, and irritability.

Prevalence of CD in the U.S. is now thought to be at least 1 in 133, or higher, from a 3-year study by the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Disease. The percentage is 1% world wide.

A related skin condition known as dermatitis herpetiformis (DH) can also occur. DH causes intense itchy, blistering outbreaks usually on the elbows, knees and feet. CD and DH are so closely linked that 80% of DH patients have the same bowel sensitivity to gluten as CD patients.


The information, including opinions and recommendations, contained in this website is for educational purposes only. Such information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. No one should act upon any information provided in this website without first seeking medical advice from a qualified medical physician. Food manufacturer's products are subject to formula change at any time, changes that may or may not be reflected on labels. No liability is assumed by the Houston Celiac Support Group or any of its members.


The most definitive test to confirm CD is a small bowel biopsy. The biopsy involves the insertion of a small, flexible tube down the throat and on to the small intestine to retrieve tissue samples. Although this procedure won't make most people's list of favorite things to do, it is relatively quick and painless.

There is a special panel of 4 or 5 antibody tests that may be done as screening tests before the endoscope procedure. One must be eating gluten for all of these tests to be as accurate as possible.


Unfortunately, there are no pills, shots or operations to cure celiac disease. The only known treatment is complete, lifelong avoidance of all products containing gluten. After beginning the gluten-free diet, you should notice improvement within a few days to a few weeks, depending on the degree of sensitivity and the severity of the damage.


The gluten-free (GF) diet is not as simple as it may seem. You will be surprised to learn that gluten is hidden in many food products, like soups, salad dressings, medicines, vitamins, vinegars and ice cream. It can even be in the glue on stamps and envelopes.

Further complicating matters is the fact that food labeling laws are not precise. Ingredients listed on labels as modified food starch, hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP), texturized vegetable protein (TVP), hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP), etc., can contain gluten. Many CD patients have other food allergies, such as to milk, soy, or MSG.

So it's more than a matter of simply not eating bread, pasta, oatmeal and breaded fried foods. But it may be as easy as choosing a different brand. Read all food labels!


Cheer up! You don't have to live on bananas and boiled rice. You can eat any food that doesn't contain wheat, barley, rye or oats in any form. Acceptable foods include fresh meats, fish, salads, vegetables and fruit.

We recommend you acquire CSA's publication "CSA Gluten-Free Product Listing" that has detailed information about the disease and GF diet.


The good news is that you don't have a disease requiring hospitalization, constant medication or long-term suffering -- at least not if you follow a strict gluten-free diet.

If you change your eating habits, you can eliminate the symptoms of CD and live a normal life. Constant scrutiny and control of food intake is the only defense a person with celiac disease and/or DH has against gliadin-induced illness. Thousands of others around the world have done it and so can you.

It may not be easy. You won't be able to go to your favorite burger place any more, or to that wonderful pizza parlor you love so much. But it will be a small price to pay for good health. As soon as you eliminate all sources of gluten from your diet, your overall health will improve.

With appropriate substitutions, the diet can be quite acceptable. Combinations of rice, corn, soy, potato starch, bean and tapioca flours are used to make gourmet breads, cakes, cookies, pastas and pizzas.

Your doctor and dietitian don't have to live with these dietary restrictions every day and can't keep up with the multitude of product changes. From here on, YOU are responsible for your own healing.

It is important to fully educate yourself about CD. You will become an expert in what is allowable and what is not. If you are not sure about a food item, you may contact the manufacturer or check the "CSA Gluten-Free Product Listing" published by CSA/USA.

It may take you a while to get used to your new lifestyle. And because you will not be eating the same as everybody else, you may be perceived as "different". By preparing your own meals, "brown bagging" at work, and calling ahead when you go to restaurants, you can be a part of the group and fit in just like everybody else. It will just take a little more work than before.

We are also lucky that there are many food vendors who have gluten-free lines of flours, mixes and food products for celiacs. Thus, you can add variety to your diet. More information is available from your support group and CSA/USA.

Support groups play the important role of helping identify what foods are free from gluten, how to adjust recipes, and give updates on where to locate foods that are free from the offending grains. These resource groups provide continuing education on CD, encouragement, and practical help in coping with this often frustrating condition in order to contribute to your continued health and well-being.


Grains are so prevalent in our modern culture that it is difficult to get away from them. Wheat, at least, seems to be everywhere. You will be surprised to learn just how many places grains can turn up. They sneak their way into foods that on the surface seem completely harmless for celiacs. You have to read labels, check menus, call restaurants, question cooks and do anything it takes to be doubly sure you are not eating any offending grain products.


You may think you are the only person in the world with this unusual condition. However, there are actually thousands of people in the U.S. with celiac disease. These fellow celiacs are members of support groups all across the country sponsored by the Celiac Sprue Association/USA. The support groups meet regularly to discuss issues related to celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis.

CSA/USA publishes an informative newsletter called "LIFELINE" that will be mailed to you quarterly once you join. The CSA Gluten-Free Product Listing is available at a cost of $30 per copy. Remember that product ingredients and sources may change at any time. Continue to be vigilant and use common sense.

A portion of your annual CSA membership also goes to support research that will continue to make life better for persons with celiac disease.


Celiac Support Association

413 Ash Street

Seward, NE 68434


877-CSA-4CSA (toll free)



Updated 31 July 2016