Soldiers who suffer from celiac disease will soon get some dietary relief. The IDF announced this week that it will be adding several gluten-free offerings to its menus, including gluten-free pasta.
Worldwide, the incidence of celiac disease, which centers on an intolerance of gluten, has exploded worldwide, and the IDF is no different, said army spokesperson Lilach Ben-Chamu. “It’s important for us to provide tasty and nutritious meals to soldiers wherever they serve, so after discussions with the IDF caterer, we will be developing a line of gluten-free foods and meals.” According to IDF statistics, some 30,000 soldiers in the IDF cannot eat gluten.
In a special tasting event, the army on Wednesday convened a group of celiac sufferers, and the caterer, Tamam, presented them with an array of the gluten-free offerings that will be available, for the approval of soldiers. Based on the approved choices, said Ben-Chamu, the IDF will develop a gluten-free menu that will available to all soldiers serving on bases, and in limited form to soldiers in the field.
Among the offerings were wheat-free pasta (made of corn or rice), non-wheat couscous, and various main dishes with gluten-free sauces, side dishes and desserts. Also available were gluten-free rolls, for use as sandwich field rations.
Until now, said Dan Salomon, an army veteran and celiac sufferer who has been advising the IDF on how to deal with gluten issues, many parents have been forced to provide food for their children serving in the army because they are unable to get gluten-free foods on base. “There are a lot of problems in the field,” he said. “Celiac disease is something that kids grow up with and learn to deal with, but in the army, where there is less flexibility, fitting in his harder for them.”