Last night, I heard David Sax speak to a packed crowd in Los Angeles to promote his new book, "The Tastemakers: Why We’re Crazy for Cupcakes But Fed Up With Fondue." As a Toronto-based journalist who's written for publications such as New York Magazine, Vanity Fair, the New York times, NPR and GQ, David's won a James Beard award for Writing and Literature, has written before on food topics and has credibility as a food writer. David's topic was food trends, in this case why Angelenos love Kogi BBQ, kale and cupcakes. Before he began, David polled the audience on how they felt about different food topics. When he asked about food trucks, the audience cheered. When he asked about gluten-free, people booed.
While I was surprised and perturbed by the boos, I understood. From my observation, Angelenos think they're ahead of the curve when it comes to food. In my experience, they're behind. More restaurants than in prior years have a gluten-free item on their menu. Most still don't. This is in contrast to Seattle, my prior home, which is currently ranked #1 for gluten-free offerings. Last week, I made my annual pilgrimage to Seattle and discovered an Italian restaurant that's had a separate, gluten-free kitchen for several years and offers an extensive, entirely gluten-free menu in addition to their non-gluten-free menu.
David didn't address the gluten-free boos during his talk. So, during the post-lecture q and a, I approached the mike. First, I asked David what he thought about Seattle's longtime, public relations-generated, crazy love affair with Copper River salmon. This time of year, Copper River salmon can be had for upwards of $26 per pound. David knew nothing about this. In fact, he managed to simultaneously mispronounce Copper River salmon and dismiss it in the same breath.
My second question was about gluten-free. David proceeded to dismiss gluten-free with a vengeance. He saw gluten-free as a fad diet that didn't do anything for anyone. He mentioned the Jimmy Kimmel man-on-the-street interviews where Jimmy interviewed three people who said they were gluten-free but couldn't describe what gluten was. David declared that research has shown that gluten intolerance doesn't exist. I found his attitude toward gluten-free as snide and condescending. David said a gluten-free diet was only relevant for those who had celiac disease or other significant health issues.
My takeaway? I hope David Sax gets to eat his words.
As someone who appreciates film, and obviously spends a lot of time spreading the work about celiac disease, I just wanted to share this Kickstarter possibility:
- By Michael Antonoff
- Published 04/11/2014
For people with celiac disease like my wife, Jackie, eating gluten-free is serious business. That's why she looks forward to grocery shopping before Passover and being able to choose from the expanded selection of cakes and cookies made with potato starch or coconut and other foods that replace wheat with ingredients she can actually digest. The season has inspired her to compose this jingle sung to the tune, usually heard around Christmas, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year."
It's the most wonderful time of the year!
Market shelves lined with care for the Passover fare,
It's when celiacs eat without fear!
It's the most wonderful time of the year.
It's the hap-happiest season you see.
There's matzo and taiglach,
Kugel and kreplach
And most gluten-free!
It's the hap-happiest season for me.
Those with gluten allergies
Don't count the calories
They grab for the cakes, pies, and cheer.
They inhale Parve like vacuums
Not needing the bathrooms like
They do the rest of the year!
It's the most wonderful eats of the year!
Things made without flour
We quickly devour
'Cause they'll soon disappear.
It's the most wonderful time ,
It's the most gluten-free time,
It's the hap-happiest time of the year!
- By Kay A. Chick, Ed.D.
- Published 03/19/2014
College students are invited to volunteer for a study conducted for research purposes and approved by the Pennsylvania State University. The purpose of the study is to determine what educational, dietary, and social experiences college students are having as a result of their celiac disease and what accommodations colleges and universities are making to meet the needs of these students. The study will also help to determine what recommendations college students have for schools so that higher education personnel might better meet the needs of individuals with celiac disease and gluten intolerance. Any college student (community college, four-year college or university) with celiac disease will be asked to participate in a 15-20 minute phone interview. By sharing their experiences college students may provide higher education personnel with information that will allow them to better serve the needs of students with celiac disease.
If you are interested in participating in this study, please contact Kay Chick, principal investigator and Professor of Curriculum and Instruction by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Informed consent forms will be mailed/emailed to you and a phone interview will be arranged at your convenience.
- By Scott Adams
- Published 03/9/2014
This post is outstanding. I've been thinking much the same thing for months now, but was too lazy to actually write something about it. Obviously there is no need to now, as Gluten Dude says it all...perfectly.
On one hand I am reluctant to further publicize the "Society" site in any way. After more thought, however, I realized that getting the word out may help some poor celiac not waste their money, and may prevent them from going on an unnecessarily restrictive diet.
So my story begins with me planning a special dinner to surprise my husband for his birthday. Now as you all know being gluten-free, we have limited resources when it comes to eating out, however, I was bound and determined to find some place new and exciting to dine. I will not mention the name of my chosen destination due to the fact that they had only been open for a month, and my intention is not to destroy their good name, but rather to help keep people like us more engaged when it comes to dining out.
I made all the proper arrangements in advance, and also went a step further in speaking to the manager about their gluten-free menu. He assured me that they take great precaution when preparing gluten-free meals, including the meal being prepared in a separate area from the rest of the food. At this point I am not only confident in their ability to accommodate me, I am relieved!
Later that night my husband and I arrive at the restaurant and are seated within 10 minutes of walking through the door, so far so good right? The waitress arrived at our table to greet us, and proceeded to ask us what we would like to drink. We ordered a few cocktails to start the night out, and when she returned with them I request a gluten-free menu, and as she brought the menu to me I observed that there are more than just five items on it (that do not include the words “without”), so I was ecstatic!
Well here goes nothing, so I continued to order what I considered to be the best meal you can get, which is of course lobster tails accompanied by a salad with some veggies. Here we arem a great atmosphere, wonderful food, and a few cocktails,,,what could be better...right? Wrong, sorry sister your not getting off that easy! I figured that’s what the cook was thinking when he prepared my meal, you guessed it--Houston we have a problem!
There I was eating as if I had never eaten before, and my husband glances over my plate and asks "what 's that," so I replied "not sure it must come with the meal" (it happened to be a veggie mix with a special sauce). Apparently I was less than convincing because two minutes later he called the waitress back to the table to verify what this mystery item was. So again he verified with the waitress "what is this, and is it gluten-free?" and she replied "umm, I'm not sure let me check with the cook."
Now you can imagine my disappointment, as I am not only afraid they are going to take my food away, but my trust as well. She returned to the table only to explain that it is a garnish that comes on all of their plates and it is not gluten-free, so my husband being the caring person that he is replies: "my wife explained to you that everything she ordered must be gluten-free". In an effort to resolve this issue with the least amount of resistance, the waitress then spoke with the manager and returned to the table only to explain: "I just spoke to the manager and he apologizes for the confusion, however he is also gluten-free and he said as long as you did not eat it all you will be ok".
Really, I am being punked? Am I on that show "What Would You Do"? I don't know what kind of shady condition he has, but mine is legit! Needless to say my husband received a free dessert and a box of chocolates (that were not gluten-free)! So, in the end, I guess it's true "life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what your gonna get!"
Have you ever had a conversation with someone about being gluten free, and in the middle of explaining they look at you like you're crazy and ask how something could possibly contain wheat? I find it happens to me quite frequently. It's easy for people not living the gluten free lifestyle to view our lifestyle as extreme, however if you have done the research and you know what is proven to be safe for you then you have to trust your gut! in other words never let someone dictate what is safe or unsafe for you to consume. Only you know your body and your limitations therefore do not have doubt about what you know. It can be tricky in some situations due to people not having the knowledge that you do about food, I have been in that predicament many a time. Every time the house wins! in other words chances are you are in the right and never let people determine what is safe for you. As time goes on it will get easier for you to better assert yourself in this type of situation without feeling doubt, until you have reached a comfort level with being able to properly communicate this to people, take it slow and trust your gut!
I’m not sure when I became part of the “in crowd” but suddenly I find that I’m not weird anymore. Gluten-free is now “cool.” I go to restaurants and grocery stores and whole sections are labelled for people just like me. Stranger still, I meet people who are joining my dietary crowd. They want to be gluten-free.
At first I thought they were crazy. Why would anyone want my life of intense dietary restrictions if their health didn’t require it of them? But, then I’ve seen those same people feel better than they have in years, lose weight that they couldn’t for years, and have so much energy that I’m feeling twinges of envy at their transformation. Suddenly I don’t think they’re crazy, I’m proud of them-proud that they found the solution to their ailments just like I found the solution to many of mine 14 years ago.
One of the most pleasant improvements to gluten-free becoming mainstream is the friendly treatment I now receive at eating establishments. Until just a few years ago people viewed me with suspicion. They thought I was on the high protein diet fad by choice and they would look at me askance wondering why I was trying to lose weight. It would embarrass me to no end, to the point that I wouldn’t ask and then simply wouldn’t eat unless I had my own food. This led to even more speculation and people would pull my husband aside, asking if I was “OK.”
Now, when I go to Chipotle, and say I’m gluten-free, they happily change their gloves and tell me they will take care of my Burrito Bowl all the way to the check out. When I go to Five Guys, they smile and show me how they will make sure my burger is safe. At Disney or SeaWorld, they roll out the red carpet: A manager comes out and shows me a menu discussing safe food options with me. At Pollo Tropical, the drive-through lady yells at anyone who dares place a roll in my ¼ chicken dark meal and then tries to remove it without her seeing. At PF Changs, I can eat time after time and never get sick. Their gluten-free menu has so many options that I’m spoiled for choice.
And then there’s the grocery stores. Until even five years ago I had to shop at a health food store to get the bulk of my gluten-free items. Now, they sell them all at my local Publix. But, Publix doesn’t stop there. It has a happy little blue-encircled GF printed on the shelf label that invites me to pick up products that I ordinarily wouldn’t have approached. Granted, I still read the labels because I have additional restrictions but it’s a great start – as if a gluten-free fairy is guiding me along, making sure I don’t make a mistake.
I have to admit, though, all of this gluten-free popularity does concern me. What if restaurants and food manufacturers get so accustomed to what they view as a new fad that they become complacent? If it’s a fad, than 99% gluten-free should be good enough, shouldn’t it? Just yesterday I picked up a box of a certain company’s gluten-free spaghetti. I was skeptical. Was it processed on shared equipment? And there it was, right in the fine print, “processed in a facility that processes wheat.” I set the box down, intensely grateful to the company for their transparency and picked up a box of Barilla Gluten-free Spaghetti: “Produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility.” I purchased the Barilla and made it for dinner last night.
Companies and many restaurants are paying attention and they are getting it right. How do they know? Because if people consume their products and don’t get sick, they return to these same products over and over again. And, if a so-called gluten-free product makes people sick, as the gluten-free forums attest - everybody finds out.
The bottom line is that more and more people are going gluten-free and feeling well again. So maybe this is what sets gluten-free apart from the fads of the last 20 years. Remember fat free? It sounded good, but people gained weight on it. High protein? It worked for some until they started having issues with halitosis, gall stones, and lowered energy. But have you ever heard one person complain about a negative health effect from going gluten-free? I have not. They either notice no change in their health and happily go back to consuming gluten or they become so startling healthy that the thought of consuming gluten again becomes laughable. And therein lies the difference between a fad and a solution.
I have been gluten-free for nearly 14 years. If it was a fad, I may have lasted 14 days. But going gluten-free gave me a new future, free of debilitating health problems that were shutting my life down. My hope is that gluten-free is the beginning of a healthy future for many and that the 100% gluten-free products that grace grocery shelves and menus are here to stay.
I recently had to write a lesson plan for my Nutrition in the Community class for school. I am studying to be a dietetics technician in an effort to increase the awareness in that field about gluten sensitivity and celiac disease.
For the lesson plan I had to create I thought: "what better to teach than to use somethings that I am quite familiar with?" So I decided to teach about becoming newly diagnosed with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.
I learned something quite interesting about other countries around the world when it comes to celiac disease. I am sure most of you are aware that celiac is very much better known in parts of Europe. In some countries like Italy it is mandatory for children at age 6 to be tested for celiac disease. Each Italian citizen over the age of 10 who is diagnosed with celiac disease receives a monthly stipend of 140 euros, which is to be spent on gluten-free foods.
The Italian Celiac Association has spent a great deal of time educating restaurants on how to handle celiac disease. In the UK over 90% of British celiac patients receive gluten-free food as part of their prescription for the gluten-free diet that they must follow. Ireland offers tax breaks on gluten-free food like the U.S. does, but they used to offer gluten-free foods free of charge. That program is no longer offered today. I imagine it became much too costly.
The European Union has adopted universal labeling laws for gluten-free food. If the food contains less than 100 mg of gluten it is then labeled as " very low gluten." Where as if it contains 20 mg or less of gluten it is then labeled "gluten-free." The U.S. is working on this, but we are not there yet. Canada is known for it's impressive gluten-free labeling where any intentionally added gluten must be labeled on the product.
Argentina recently implemented it's "National Program for the Detection and Control of Celiac Disease." This program is wonderful in that it promotes awareness and knowledge of celiac disease. The program also led to labeling restrictions. What impresses me is that for residents of Argentina, Argentinian health care providers must cover the cost of alternative gluten-free flours and mixes.
The United States has come a long way in awareness and research of celiac disease, but we still have a long way to go if we want to catch up with these other countries.
- By Cheyanne Hadlock
- Published 10/14/2013
My journey with celiac began a year ago...I have been sick all my life and doctors just couldn't figure out why I was having such severe abdominal pain and bloating. Until last September, I just couldn't take it anymore.
I went in for an ultrasound of my gallbladder and a hida-scan. My gallbladder was not failing to the point where they normally remove it. So, we ignored the pain. Until one night, after eating dinner, I ended up in the emergency room.
My doctor decided to send me in for a colonoscopy, EGD and biopsies to check for ulcers. I was cleared of ulcers, so we went ahead and removed my gallbladder.
A week later, my biopsy results had come in and suggested we get some lab work ran to check for celiac disease. My results came back over 100% positive.
I started the gluten-free diet after meeting with a dietician, and still have not started feeling better! In July my doctor wanted to do a Capsule Endoscopy to check for cancer and lymphomas. My insurance would not approve this without another blood test for celiac disease. When I got the results back, they were negative. My doctor explained that I have been following the diet extremely well, and we needed to rule the serious stuff out.
My insurance approved the capsule endoscopy and when the results came in, my doctor said everything looked good, but if he didn't already know that I had celiac disease there would be a couple things that he would be concerned about...I never found out what! After telling me that he would see me in a couple weeks, I decided to see another doctor. We tested my vitamin levels which were low, and I am iron deficient. I am now taking prenatal vitamins, ferrous sulfate (iron) and a probiotic to get levels back up. I also have osteoporosis at 20 years old.
We took more biopsies of my small intestine 3 weeks ago, and the doctor said that he saw no trace of celiac disease! It was normal...
So why am I still in pain and why can't they find anything?
- By Carissa Bell
- Published 09/26/2013
This is my very first blog on celiac.com and I wanted my first blog to be something that troubles me almost everyday. It began about a year ago...I suffered for half of that year not knowing why I was having severe skin irritation and the second half of the year trying to avoid the culprit.
I'm talking about wheat and I'm talking about how it effects me airborne. I was diagnosed with celiac disease back in early 2009, but these symptoms I started having were new and nothing I'd expierenced before. It started when I was out to eat with family and someone at the dinner table ordered bread. Moments after they received it my skin would start burning and itching, the next thing I know I would break out into hives. I would remain miserable and itching until I got away from the wheat then after 15 minutes usually I would be fine.
Now I really noticed this happening when I walked into a bakery. I went to this bakery near by because I was told they offered gluten-free options. I was only in there 5 seconds for the chef to inform me they do not offer gluten-free and I instantly started breaking out into hives and my skin was on fire. Five seconds is all it took for me to have a reaction.
Let's push forward a year later to now and when I am in the grocery store and near the bakery, smelling the wheat physically makes me sick to my stomach. I literally feel like I want to run to the bathroom and throw up. I've talked to many people with celiac and what I have gathered is that my reaction to wheat, on top of the normal reactions that most people get, is rare. I have met one other person who reacts the way I do but that's it. I talked to my primary care doctor and my GI doctor about this and both of them said they would have to research it and get back to me--it's been six months and I am still waiting on them to find anything on airborne reactions.
Since realizing I have an airborne reaction to wheat my life is what most people would consider to be sheltered. I live in a gluten-free bubble and I am much happier that way. Being as allergic to gluten as I am means that I can almost never go out to eat, and if I do I have to eat away from other diners or outside. If I am at the grocery store I cannot go down the isle that contains wheat and nowhere near the bakery. Someone please explain to me why in most grocery stores you have to pass through the bakery to get to the produce, the naturally gluten free foods. It is utterly unfair to people like me!
Gluten can affect people with celiac in many different ways. I've read that gluten can affect people in 50 different ways. That to me is quite a lot. I hope reading this is eye opening for both people with celiac disease and people without. Cheers!
I had been throwing up for about 6 months on and off, and it seemed like no matter what I ate I would still get sick. I was transitioning from San Diego back out to Dallas where I was from, and was trying to get settled in. I had days where I felt perfectly fine, and on those days I worked out with my trainer at the gym for about 2 hours a day. I thought I was doing everything right at that point.
I remember waking up one morning and getting ready for an appointment at the women's clinic. That morning was peculiar, because my hands were very numb. I had been experiencing numbness and tingling in my hands and feet for a couple months now, but this was different. I don't mean numb like they had fallen asleep, this numbness was unlike anything I had experienced before. My hands were so numb that my thumbs were pressed against my four fingers and I could not pry them apart.
That day was four and a half years ago and still very vivid. I stood there in my kitchen trying to open a box of "healthy whole grain" cereal and could not get the box open due to my hands. I decided not to worry about it and drove myself to the doctor. My hands remained numb for about an hour after that. I mentioned to my doctor the numbness and she suggested I call my primary care doctor.
I had a checkup with my doctor that week so I waited until then. That appointment changed my life. I finally decided to mention to my doctor about my getting sick no matter what I seemed to eat. She asked me to do a blood test and those results explained everything. It's never a good thing when you are in your doctors office waiting for results and she rushes in, in panic mode. My doctor was running around like a mad women. She finally calmed down enough to explain my results. My calcium and potassium levels were half of what they should be which explains why my hands were so numb a couple days prior. I was taking vitamins everyday so how come I was not absorbing them?
The next thing I know is I was being hooked up to an EKG machine and then rushed off into an ambulance. The next 2 weeks of my life were miserable to say the least. I was given potassium by an I.V. and that burned so bad that it brought me to tears quite often. They put me on a liquid diet and I was still getting sick from the chicken broth. The doctors were puzzled because I was not eating anything, yet I was still getting very sick. My second to last day at the hospital they decided to do a endoscopy, biopsy, and a colonoscopy all at the same time. I fortunately was completely under and could not feel a thing.
Two weeks after having that done I received a phone call which made all the pieces to the puzzle fit. A nurse called me to say that I had celiac disease. Those words plagued my head for the next couple of days. All I could think about was that I had a disease and how was that possible? The nurse sent me some information and briefly explained what I had. That was the day I heard the term gluten for the very first time which was in March of 2009. That very day I threw away everything in my pantry that contained gluten which meant everything.
I was basically starting over and throwing out everything I knew about food and starting fresh. I started reading up on celiac disease and gluten-free night and day. I was scheduled to see a nutritionist two weeks after being diagnosed and by that point I already knew more than she did about celiac disease. She seemed impressed by that.
Fast forward to now and the term gluten is widely used in my vocabulary. It's been over four years since I have eaten anything with gluten and am much healthier than I have been in my whole life overall. I make it a mission now to spread awareness about celiac disease teach those around me about it. People need to understand that it's much more than an allergy to gluten and wheat. Being diagnosed with celiac disease made me decide to become a nutritionist, which I am currently studying at school.
Something like 60% of the stuff you put on your face is absorbed into your skin. Ladies and gents I’m talking make-up, lotion, soap, anything like that. Your skin is your largest organ and it sure does like to suck stuff up. Let’s all take a minute to think about the things you put into and on your body… that’s a lot of stuff! Some experts believe that gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin. Now of course we all react differently to this gluten stuff. I am super sensitive and not only does my skin freak-right-out but I may perhaps even have an angry poo or two. Lotion, shampoo basically anything that touches your skin or is ingested, is something you should watch out for.
When I was first diagnosed I never thought about lotion as something I had to watch out for. When asked about the wheat or oats in my hand cream I simply said… ‘Well, I’m not eating it’. There are so many articles out right now about celiac disease and lotion or cosmetics. Google it, you will find a lot. Some of these articles are stating that gluten is too large of a particle to be absorbed through the skin. I have noticed that, for me, I will react to gluten on my skin. And there are so many other Celiacs out there that are having gastrointestinal problems due to the absorption through the skin and not knowing why they are feeling so bad. We aren’t eating our lotion or our makeup. It wasn’t until I joined the celiac society in my city that I learned that all gluten is bad gluten. Who knew?
There are cosmetics and bathroom supplies that are gluten-free. These can be hard to find because of the lack of ingredient labels but, my friends, there is always a solution. Call the manufacturer and talk to them regarding the ingredients/gluten content in the products that are in question. Ask them to email you the ingredient list of they are not able to give you a straight answer. Please never feel weird about calling the manufacturer; they are the only people that truly know what is in their products. If they can’t tell you what is in it please by all means do not buy that stuff! I have found that the manufacturer wants my money so they will do what they can to reassure me in their product. Sometimes I can get the product sometimes I can’t.
Now if you are less sensitive and don’t notice anything happening to your skin or internal discomfort just remember that sometimes we don’t feel that damage as its happening. You also might be one of the lucky ones that just plain don’t have a reaction to it on or through your skin. You are awesome and please enjoy for those of us that don’t partake.
You need to do right by you (you do you) and I believe as long as you are listening and really paying attention to your body you will know what is right and wrong for you.
Grocery shopping can be daunting to a new celiac and I think we could all use a little help. My help came in the form of a nutritionist. She gave me a page of ingredients that are gluten free ‘safe' foods and also ‘foods to avoid'. She told me to memorize these lists. At the time it seemed like an impossible task. To even learn how to pronounce some of these words seemed impossible. But memorize I did...eventually.
I, like the nutritionist, believe in memorizing the list. Yes you do have to read everything you buy. And I do mean everything!! Read your shampoo, read your plain vanilla ice cream, read your lotion. A lot of things have gluten in them! There have been times where I forgot to read or I figured that this product couldn't possible have gluten in it, and it did. This read everything system is not fun at first but it does become easier and faster with time.
I tend to say that things become ‘normal' normal is relative. I think we all strive to find normality on our regular lives. I'm not talking about what someone else deems to be normal but what is the norm for each of us. We as people are different and that should be embraced and even celebrated. We all react to things differently and we all react to gluten differently as well. Nothing should be taken as a national average, find your normal. At my house it's normal to have 2 butter dishes 2 toasters and this is fine for me. This may not be ideal but I'm happy knowing that I'm not going to being contaminated. One of my closest and dearest friends keeps a butter dish for me at her house just in case I stop by. To me this is a beautiful show of friendship and solidarity. I love this woman and this is a way that she and her family show me that they care, and maybe I should stop by more often.
For a new celiac or a person with a recently discovered gluten intolerance eating becomes more than something that happens a few times a day. Eating and grocery shopping becomes way more involved.
I don't often meal plan but I always make a list. The list (unless you are making a meal plan) is a guide line. There will be things that you might not be able to find or it won't be the brand you are used to. That is ok. I have heard some celiacs say don't try to substitute gluten-free for gluten foods, it won't be the same and you will hate it. At times this is true. But I feel that it depends on what you are substituting and your willingness to experiment. I will not ever make my own bread. I suck at it and it always turns out bad. So this I buy. But I bake mini muffins like a mad woman. Some recipes I find might have only one little ingredient that is bad, such as flour to thicken. In these cases I might substitute something like rice flour or xanthan gum or whatever I have in the cupboard. Some things are better than others and that takes a bit of experimenting.
The other day my mom and I attempted onion rings for the first time. They were terrible! But I had fun. I was bonding with my Mother while playing in the kitchen. This is a good thing. Neither of us were doing this for some sort of pride game. (Who is the better cook? …mom wins) This was us just trying to make a snack. So when it failed we stripped the onions and dipped them in pancake batter and fried them to a crispy golden yumminess. (The second time was the charm. The first attempt was with corn meal.)
In life it is important to know 1- you learn the best from failure and 2- other people's opinion of you, is none of your business.
When I made my famous mini muffins and brought them to work one day. Everyone in the office tried them, loved them and asked me if I could eat them. My response was ‘why would I make food that I can't eat?' hearing this, one girl had declined my double chocolate muffins because and I quote” no. I don't like cat food” wow. That was the first time someone had so rudely rejected my food outright. I was a bit hurt and annoyed for the first 30 seconds... Then I realized that I get to eat more muffins and I got over it.
Some people will never understand that gluten free is still food. My brother rejects gluten free food as well. For a short time I was living with him and his wife, when they were in Canada. My sister-in-law was interested in how I prep the kitchen and how to make sure we are all eating healthy and safe for me. And the brother would just complain. I remember we were sitting down for supper. I think we had steak, potatoes and some steamed vegetables. As he is eating I said something about how good this all is and this entire meal just happens to be gluten free. Nothing was altered just for me. He had nothing to say about that. (He is the oldest of 3 and ‘always right'. I have to get mine in whenever I can) the spice we used on the steak was g/f, plain veg is fine and I as per normal I used my butter they used theirs.
I really good friend of mine and her brother were driving through town and stopped by my house. He is vegetarian and has been for about 14 or 15 years. I knew after the long drive they both would be super hungry!! I was struggling with what to make. How do I make a gluten-free vegetarian meal?! I decided on lasagna. This turned out so good and it was so easy!!!! I had no idea that lasagna could be made without meat and still be so good. It was such a hit that they asked for some to take on the road with them.
When thinking about gluten-free food, stick to simplicity. I used to say plain with a side of boring but now I have embraced the idea of simple natural food.
Because I have been gluten-free for around 12 years, it is difficult for me to remember all the struggles that I faced when I was early in the process. I want you guys to know that it does get better. For me things are normal.
Everyone has their own story about how they were diagnosed. The lucky ones ‘found out’ early in life and could make the changes to their lives without too many problems. I had gone about this discovery in a convoluted sort of way with only a few hiccups.
I was around 20 years old and living at home still (I’m a late bloomer, I know). One day I decided not to go to work. I just wasn’t feeling well, nothing serious but I was not about to go and work another day at my crummy job. My work, of course, asked for a doctor’s note. This insignificant request actually changed my life…so thank you crummy job for starting my path to a healthier me! I went to a walk-in clinic close to my house and the doctor on duty had a look at my hands, gums and eyes and said that I needed to get my iron checked. This was strange to me as I came in for a note and not a series of tests. Well surprise, surprise...I was severely iron deficient and anemic due to the deficiency. This also explains my random fainting, fatigue and irritability.
I started months of iron pills, one per day for two months, two per day for two more months and four per day for yet again two more months. My Iron levels weren’t increasing (I had black, tar smelling poo, this is weird). Not knowing why this was happening, I started to jump from specialist to specialist until I finally saw a GI doctor. She took one look at me and said, "You have celiac disease. Now it could be [this, this or this] but I think it's celiac disease."
When I went for my biopsies I was nervous and hungry and the drugs didn’t keep me knocked out for the entire procedure. Luckily I fell back into a drug induced coma for a few more hours. The results were textbook my doctor said. My blood work came back negative for celiac disease but the biopsies were clearly of a person with this disorder. I have celiac disease. I am a celiac. I have to attempt to wrap my newly adult brain around this fact and that the stuff I have been eating my entire life, stuff I love. is so harmful. I think one of the reasons I struggled with this is that I believed that it just popped up. At the time I didn’t believe that I was born with this.
The first two or three months I was as diligent as a newbie can be. Then I had a bad day. I was at work and for some reason feeling bad for myself. I didn’t have a lunch prepared. For people newly living gluten-free in 2001 it was bad. People didn’t understand the allergy (2003 the height of the Atkins diet) and I didn’t truly understand the consequences of eating gluten. I went to a sub place and got me a pizza sub with triple cheese. That’s right triple cheese. Don’t look at me like that, I’ll pay the extra. I want that damn cheese. It was so good!!!!! Soft and warm! At the end of my shift, about 3 hours later, I was in the cash office with a good friend of mine and I was so weak that I couldn’t pick up the dimes to count them. I looked over to my friend and said "Dar I don’t feel good."
I will never forget the look on her face. I apparently looked translucent. I’m a pale kid, Irish/English decent; there isn’t much hope for a tan on me. Darlene made sure I got the heck out of there because of how bad I seemed to get so fast. I spent the next 3 days in violent pain. I can say to you now that I have felt the depth of my intestines. How cool is that? How many people know that feeling? Maybe a few but no one I know. Those three days sucked and I never questioned this ‘no wheat’ thing ever again! I have been gluten free for 12 years. There is always more to learn and read about. There are always new celiacs to help and discover how easy and good gluten free food can be!
I love to bake and I cook a lot at home. I am lucky in that I have lived with people that cared enough about me to keep an open mind…and not call it cat food.
Today Marks the Finalization of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Gluten-Free Labeling Regulation
- By Scott Adams
- Published 08/2/2013
Today marks the finalization of the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Gluten-Free Labeling Regulation, which will assure consumers that all products labeled gluten-free in The United States must follow standardized governmental guidelines.
Nearly 10 years ago, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) required the labeling of the top eight allergens in food. A second and separate part of FALCPA required the FDA to define regulations for labeling products as gluten-free. After exhaustive investigation, two public comment periods, and extensive meetings with the Gluten Intolerance Group as well as other interest groups, this ruling provides standards for labeling products designed to protect the health of persons with gluten-related disorders who require a medically prescribed gluten-free diet for their health.
The ruling sets the safety threshold for labeling products gluten-free at 20 ppm or less, and defines the use of ingredients and labeling terms. Manufacturers are being encouraged to comply with the regulation as soon as possible. The FDA standard is consistent with the Codex Alimentarius labeling guidelines set by the World Health Organization. The United States now joins the ranks of several major countries around the world that have adopted similar standards, including the European Union and Canada. Since 2011, The United States' gluten-free food industry has doubled annually in size and is projected to reach $8.5 billion by 2015, according to the Nutrition Business Journal. The Gluten-Free Labeling Regulation allows for numerous new products to be safely available to consumers in this ever-expanding marketplace.
"This ruling provides assurance to consumers that products labeled gluten-free are truly safe for persons requiring a gluten-free diet," states Cynthia Kupper, RD, Executive Director of the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America.
The Gluten Intolerance Group of North America applauds the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) completion of the Gluten-Free Labeling Regulation and is encouraged to see this triumph in standardization for the gluten-free community.
About the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America (GIG)
GIG has been serving the needs of the gluten-free consumer for 39 years through its social and food industry programs, which provide education and support for living healthy gluten-free lifestyles. These programs include the Gluten-Free Certification Organization, Gluten-Free Food Service Certification, as well as the international Chef to Plate Gluten-Free Awareness Program, which is conducted with restaurants in several countries. GIG also offers many educational programs and materials, support groups, and summer camps. To learn more about the Gluten Intolerance Group visit www.Gluten.net.
Contact: Cynthia Kupper, Executive Director (253-833-6655)
- By Welda Johnson
- Published 05/28/2013
Many people with celiac disease of gluten sensitivity will be happy to know that The Gluten-Free Mall now offers free non-frozen food shipping within the 48 contiguous states on orders over $75! Hopefully this will make gluten-free food more affordable for those who need it most. Use coupon code "free123" and be sure to read the rules.
CYE: Celiac Youth of Europe is an umbrella organization for all celiac youth groups in Europe and consists currently out of 17 participating countries. They meet once a year and initiate a project to raise awareness about CD or help improve the life of coeliacs. One of these annual projects was the Bulletin Beat the Wheat.
Beat the Wheat: The Bulletin is a tool for informing coeliacs about various topics. A normal bulletin therefore encompasses articles about travelling, recipes, diagnosis stories, portraits of famous persons with CD, medical curiosities etc. By the way, all the work done considering this project is voluntary. As the Bulletin is constantly developing, they are always looking for participants from all over the world in order to broaden their coverage. So if you would like to submit an article telling readers about life with CD in your region, or you have an interesting story to tell you are more than welcome to do so.
Their site is: http://issuu.com/beatthewheat/docs/btw_bulletin4
- By Scott Adams
- Published 01/21/2013
King’s Delight, a Gainesville, Ga. establishment, is recalling approximately 1,572 pounds of frozen chicken nuggets labeled as gluten-free because they contain wheat, a known allergen that is not declared on the label, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.
The product subject to recall include: [Labels]
8-oz. cartons of “APPLEGATE® Naturals Gluten-Free Chicken Nuggets.”
The establishment number “P-2617” can be found printed on the side of each carton. The products were packaged on Sept. 19, 2012. The lot number “210864” and the best before date “08/28/13” are printed on each carton’s side panel. The UPC code “25317-00556” is printed on the back of each carton. The products were distributed to retail stores in Indiana, Maryland, Oregon and Washington. Consumers who purchased these products should return them to the store for a full refund.
The firm notified FSIS of the problem after a consumer familiar with the product noted a color difference. Upon investigation, it was determined that chicken nuggets containing wheat were mislabeled on Sept. 19, 2012. FSIS and the company have received no reports of illness or adverse reactions due to consumption of this product. Anyone concerned about an illness or adverse reaction should contact a physician.
FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to ensure that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/FSIS_Recalls/
Consumers with questions regarding the recall should contact Gerry Clarkson, Applegate Consumer Affairs Specialist, at (800) 587-5858. Media with questions regarding the recall should contact Joe Forsthoffer at (410) 251-0363.