FAIRBORN — When Samantha Hicks was 5-years-old, she was diagnosed with Type 1 Celiac disease.
“It was a big, life-changing experience for us and our kitchen,” her mother, Vicki Howser, of Fairborn, said. “ … In all reality, I’m still learning about it, myself.”
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder in which the ingestion of gluten can cause damages to the small intestine, according to celliac.org. It can occur in genetically predisposed individuals. Howser said Hicks underwent an upper endoscopy procedure as a kindergarten student, which is when they found out of her diagnosis. She had been experiencing cramping in her stomach and trouble with digestion.
However, places like Spark Gluten Free Fairborn can help. The gluten-free kitchen incubator houses individuals who create gluten-free foods, flours and spices. Howser highlighted that upon her daughter’s diagnosis, their family had to adjust their kitchen. At their house, they only use glass wear and stainless steal. No paper or plastic.
“They say the plastic and everything else can hold the [gluten] on everything,” Howser said. “It’s all about how they prep it. If they cooked other things here that weren’t gluten-free, she could not have it.”
Betty Destout, of Beavercreek, had also been diagnosed with Celiac disease and said she had not consumed bread for three years. However, at the Spark Gluten-Free open house hosted in January, a variety of gluten-free treats were up for grabs. While some attendees ate brownies, cookies, cupcakes and a variety of pastries, Destout enjoyed chicken noodle soup — and bread.
“This is like eating bread — real bread,” she said. “I actually got emotional.”
Destout met Amber Tipton, owner and baker at The Neighborhood Nest, at a food truck rally following her diagnosis. Tipton was among the first members of Spark Gluten Free and baked the bread that Destout enjoyed. Tipton said in previous interviews that her dream would be to open a gluten-free diner.
It is estimated that 1 in 100 individuals are impacted by celiac disease. Celiac.org said 2 and a half million Americans live with the disease undiagnosed, which can put them at-risk for additional health complications.
Spark Gluten Free is located at 309 W. Main St. and offers a variety of membership options. For more information, individuals should contact Downtown Revitalization Specialist Tonia Fish at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.