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Celiac Disease & the 'Maltin Sisters' Around the World

Posted May 18 2009 12:06am

Well, we' re keeping it in the family! As much as my mom and I are 100% convinced that my little sister has celiac disease, she has never been officially diagnosed. However, she is a wonderful celiac supporter and raises awareness of the disease everywhere she goes. Yes, she' s that girl who smells someone fart in an elevator and will turn to them and tell them to come read my blog! Go Stacey!
Maltinfamily
About two months ago, Stacey boarded a flight to Tel Aviv to participate in an internship program that is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I was incredibly sad to see her go, but she' s off on an incredible adventure, learning Hebrew and writing for Ynet News. And, even though she' s all the way on the other side of the globe, she' s still educating everyone she meets about celiac disease! Check out the article she wrote today for Ynet about celiac disease in Israel and all of the great gluten-free food the country has to offer. 

Stacey' s article looks at prevalence of celiac in Israel, which I find stunning. Just like in the United States, older research suggested that the disease was quite rare in Israel.  However, more up-to-date statistics find that about 1 in 157 Israelis are affected by celiac, translating to about 45,000 people in the country. This number is much more realistic and is in line with what researchers from other countries are finding as well.

Stacey' s article also highlights a new law about celiac patients in Israel who are drafted to the army as part of their mandatory service. Previously, celiac patients were not required to serve their tour of duty because it was difficult to provide gluten-free meals to them. However, beginning in 2009, those who serve on closed bases will be guaranteed gluten-free catered meals and those serving on open bases will receive a food stipend to purchase their own gluten-free food items. This is a huge step for Israel and, who knows...maybe the United States Military will follow their lead!

And, if you' re traveling to Israel, be sure to check out the Israeli Celiac Society at www.celiac.org.il. They have lists of restaurants that offer gluten-free menus and a database of stores that sell gluten-free products. And, be sure to check out www.glutenfree.co.il to find all of the best gluten-free and kosher products that can be shipped anywhere is Israel and abroad.

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