Elisabeth Hasselbeck has released her book The G Free Diet after her many years of trial and error with her body in her attempt to feel well. Dr. Peter Green helped put her search to an end. She too had celiac disease.
So why is gluten free food popping up in stores everywhere? Why are people requesting gluten free dishes at their local restaurants? These days you will find gluten free products in your stores and will be served a gluten free meal by a well informed chef.
Celiac disease affects approximately one out of every 100 individuals – (1%) in the USA. Often people are treated for an autoimmune condition before ever being diagnosed with celiac disease.
Celiac disease is vastly different than gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance. It is not clear how common the latter is but it is known that gluten sensitivity has no immediate effects like celiac and does not damage the villi in the small intestines, as celiac disease does, yet it can cause GI disturbances.
There are specific tests needed to determine if you are celiac or gluten sensitive. If one tests positive for either, a gluten free diet will be required to assist one for improved health. Now we have gene testing to help determine genetic predisposition as well.
I have gone to great lengths to ensure that others are well informed on how to go about getting tested, where to go for help, recipes, and additional resources – see my bio for more info about me.
As a children’s author, researcher and through numerous radio interviews, I hope to help raise awareness of these broad issues: gluten free food, celiac disease and gluten free sensitivity.
But, you know what? Now that I've been gluten-free for 2 years, I pretty much know what's gluten free and what's not at my grocery store. And what I would REALLY like is for the people at Triumph Dining to convert their wonderful "Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide" to an iPod application. I have had that book for 2 years, and I STILL refer to it any time I want to eat out! And it is especially useful when traveling! The few iPod applications currently at iTunes for gluten-free restaurant dining have only a small fraction of the restaurant locations that are in Triumph's book. So I wrote to the people at Triumph Dining asking if/when they plan to convert that one to an iPod/iPhone application.
What they replied was that they certainly will consider it if they get more people writing in requesting it. So here's what I suggest. If you have an iPod or iPhone, and want the Triumph Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide handily available on your nifty device, then write to the kind folks at Triumph Dining and tell them you want such an app. The link to their email is:
I am in the process of learning if the celiac or Lyme Disease was the biggest culprit in damage to my Pancreas. I'll keep you posted if anyone wants to know. My sons have been dianosed with Lyme and with the information on this site I've learned my youngest (16) may also have celiac disease. Why it's taken his whole life for doctors to get it right I will never know but we're here now and gluten free looks to be in his future too.
The article here relating celiac with pancreas issues is very interesting to me and is something I must look into for my son's welfare. Thanks for information about what to look for in juvenile's!
Since my husband is forced to be on a gluten free diet eating out has been a major issue for him. My family does a fair amount of eating out since both my husband and I work full time. At the end of day cooking a meal is the last thing on my mind. The problem for my husband is that most of his favorite restaurants have good amount of gluten dishes that he absolutely loves. Because of this eating out problem, I force myself to cook at home more often than usual and I have to constantly remind myself to not use any gluten. It is a big adjustment but once you get into the habit it is not that bad.
So what is the good and and bad of not being able to eat out?
- Save money - Since you are not paying for restaurant food and service; Often times, even though the restaurant may serve gluten-free items, they tend to be a little bit more expensive because the cost of the ingredients are often more expensive.
- Stay Healthy - By cooking at home, you are more aware of the ingredients that are involved making a dish. Often times, you can't really know what was in the dish even though it might seem gluten-free.
- Be a better Cook - I have been doing a lot of research on gluten-free cooking and exploring and experimenting different recipes. By doing that, I am actually learning to be a better cook and learn to cook more variety. It's always a good thing.
- Cost/Money - I know I mentioned above that 'Save Money' is a good thing. But the initial phase of getting the gluten-free ingredients does cost quite a bit of money. Imagine spends $20 on a bag of Xantham gum or buying different type of flours for example. The ingredient cost quite a bit, but they do last awhile.
- Time Consuming - Even though I enjoy cooking now, however, it is time consuming especially after a long day of work and need to prepare a meal that is not so much 'Out of the pantry'.
- Shopping Takes Longer - Often times you will need to go to health food store to get the gluten-free ingredients. Luckily, most of the larger supermarkets carry gluten-free items now. If you are not shopping in the gluten-free aisle, you will have to read every single label and make sure that there is no known and/or hidden gluten in it. That will cost some time.
- Bye Bye Corona - This is extremely hard for my husband because he loves beer and Corona is his favorite. He is not a wine drinker so it's not easy for him to just switch. It was like the end of world when he found out that he could not have beer. He tried some gluten-free beer, it is just not the same. All beers are not created equal, after all.
Sometimes it is the idea of not being able to just simply go out and have a meal that is difficult for a lot of people who have celiac disease. But I think as long as you are aware and smart about what you order in a restaurant, it will get easier.
Though I know it sounds like I'm complaining, I just wonder how do you go about repeatedly telling a person what you can and cannot eat with out getting so frustrated every time? The worst is when you have to go through a fast food place and they look at you like your crazy because you say "Sorry there is nothing for me to eat here!." I guess Celiac disease has more to it then not only being able to eat much! Frustration...
- By Amy Leger
- Published 12/28/2009
It has been a busy decade for celiac disease. I even think non-celiacs would agree we heard more about celiac disease and the gluten-free diet in the last 10 years than ever before! Including me. We had it in our family for 40 years before I had any idea this disease even existed – with my daughter Emma’s diagnosis in 2000.
With the end of the decade now just days away, I got to wondering what were some of the more significant moments that had an impact on celiac disease. While I certainly have my own thoughts on this, I felt like this needed responses from the greater celiac community.
And you delivered! Starting on December 16th, I opened the unscientific survey asking “What do you think has had the greatest impact on the celiac community in the last ten years?” 94 people responded with their top three answers to my survey which closed on December 27th. Your answers and comments are very interesting. So here are two of the top three vote-getters…
3rd choice for top impact on the celiac community in the last decade: More selection at restaurants
61 percent of respondents chose dining out as their third choice in this survey. It is true. This boom has made eating out with celiac disease so much easier! Really with the exception of Outback Steakhouse’s nationwide gluten-free menu (it’s had the gluten-free menu for as long as I can remember), most other restaurants didn’t even venture into the gluten-free options until about 2006.
Then with the advent of the websites like glutenfreeregistry.com, celiachandbook.com, glutenfreeonthego.com and glutenfreetravelsite.com we all are now able to go on long-distance trips (or even just a local date-night) and have a starting point with which to find a gluten-free meal at a restaurant. One respondent commented, “Awareness at restaurants and with chefs has grown quite a bit. Gluten-free menus are a great way to start a conversation at the table and show others that it can be easy to fulfill a ‘special needs’ diet.” A parent reflected on the change in the last ten years…including finding a place “where we can go to eat out and eat safely.”
Admittedly, there is work to be done. While some restaurants really have a solid understanding of the diet and cross contamination issues, others do not. But in an interview I did with Sheila Weiss the National Restaurant Association consultant on food and nutrition policy earlier this year, she mentioned the interest restaurateurs and chefs have in pleasing patrons with special requests. “We strongly encourage customers to explain their food intolerances to their server so that the appropriate staff member can be notified in order to accommodate the special requests. Restaurants are happy to work with the customer to find menu items that work for a gluten-intolerant guest,” Weiss said. “The lines of communication are very important so that a restaurant can ensure a safe meal for their food-intolerant guest from start to finish. This personalized attention is of utmost importance to all parties involved.”
2nd choice for top impact on the celiac community in the last decade:
A tie: celebrities with ties to celiac and blogging/social networking
Respondents chose these two categories for their #2 selection 50% of the time in the survey.
Celebrities with ties to celiac disease started with Rich Gannon who was an NFL quarterback when his daughter Danielle was diagnosed with celiac disease. He and his wife Shelley have been very active in raising awareness over the last decade. Most recently the additions of Heidi Collins (CNN anchor) and Elisabeth Hasselbeck (The View co-host and author of The G-Free Diet) have really added to the awareness. In some cases it seems too bad that it takes a public figure to get people interested in a cause, but it has helped here. I am thankful that they’ve used their celebrity to bring awareness to this cause.
Blogging and social networking about celiac disease seems to be the current equivalent to a support group. It is so easy to throw a question on Twitter and get several responses within a few hours (or even minutes). I believe bloggers have made people with this disease not feel so isolated not just because there are many out there, but many of the stories they are telling are very relatable.
One respondent acknowledged the importance of bloggers and social networking, but that person worries that most of the impact has been negative. “[Blogs] allow all the kooks and nutcases free rein to promulgate their belief systems as if they were backed by solid scientific research.” This is an area in which readers need to be careful. I hope that when people start searching for celiac-related blogs, they can eventually deduce which ones are right for them. Some blogs only focus on gluten-free cooking, others are more about the celiac lifestyle. This blog, thesavvyceliac.com, is about education, research and lifestyle. Either way there must be hundreds of us out there…I would like to think that we are all trying to achieve one goal – raising awareness as accurately and honestly as we can.
The top spot will be posted on Tuesday!
- By Amy Leger
- Published 12/8/2009
For years I’ve only purchased big brand names of ibuprofen and cough/cold medicine for my gluten-free daughter, because I couldn’t guarantee the generic, store brand version sitting right next to the big name brand (and about a third less in cost) was gluten-free. Now it appears that’s about to change — in a bold way.
In a news release Monday, the Perrigo company says it will begin labeling gluten-free products appropriately beginning in January of 2010! Wow! Those Sunday 2:00 a.m. trips to my local 24-hour drug or grocery store looking for a pain reliever for my feverish child may not be so bad. Now I’ll actually be able to find out a medicine’s gluten-free status — right there in aisle 9! “Now, consumers will be able to identify whether a Perrigo-supplied product is “gluten-free” simply by reading the product label,” the Perrigo news release said.
Perrigo is the “world’s largest manufacturer of OTC [over-the-counter] pharmaceutical products for the store brand market.” It certainly is showing it’s progressive side by not only adding the gluten-free label, but also putting together a plan to ensure gluten-free claim on the medicines is true; which is a bit reassuring:
“To support the gluten-free labeling initiative, Perrigo has instituted a gluten-free assurance program. Perrigo’s program is based on the acceptable thresholds of gluten (less than 20 parts per million) identified by the FDA for the food industry. It is comprised of a gluten testing methodology for raw materials and products, as well as ongoing quality assurance for ingredient and formula changes.”
The Perrigo website doesn’t list which companies it prepares store-brand OTC medicines for, but it did briefly make mention of WalMart, Walgreens and Kroger as big name examples on one of the company’s web pages. So you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled at your local store.
But in the meantime, this appears to be the list of generics they create. I can’t wait to check them out!
Here's the letter I got back from them:
Hallie, thanks for your note. Our QC folks followed up with our flavorings supplier, and our flavorings do not contain rye, barley or any of their derivatives.
Thanks for contacting us.
Mt. Olive Pickle Company, Inc.
Corner of Cucumber & Vine
One Cucumber Boulevard / P.O. Box 609
Mount Olive, NC 28365
800.672.5041, ext. 3628
So I will continue enjoying the Mt. Olive Pickles!
- By Scott Adams
- Published 11/16/2009
Apparently the lawsuit was dismissed after Hassett’s attorney, Richard Cunha, failed to file certain paperwork in a timely manner.
According to Bostonherald.com:
"It’s unclear why Hassett didn’t pursue the case. Her lawyer, Richard Cunha of Swansea, yesterday told the Herald, 'I can talk about that,' then hung up the phone."Just for the record I never received a response from Hassett (I emailed her directly) regarding her book's use of my site's Safe & Forbidden Lists page from May 30, 1997. She used an almost identical copy of my copyrighted list without permission or proper citation. I asked that she correct this in future editions of her book, but she has ignored my request.
Judge tosses plagiarism suit vs. “View” star Elisabeth Hasselbeck
- By Wendy Cohan
- Published 10/5/2009
My thing is I have been getting very nauseous for about a month now. My GI doc thinks it is because I still have gluten in my system (the number being 10 still). Prior to being diagnosed nausea wasn't the problem. It was bloating, cramps, bowel issues, migraines (side note: migraines are gone!). But now I am nauseous daily. I had bloodwork and an ultrasound done for gall stones, liver and pancreas and all was fine. It doesn't seem to matter what I eat. It is usually after lunch, and I normally eat salad, meat and veggies, banana and almonds. Today I had no lunch and had coffee with milk and I suffering bad with nausea, sweating and headaches. I don't seem to have trouble with milk but maybe I do.
I am just wondering what other celiacs would have to say. I am committed to doing this, I just wish I would start feeling better. Any advice is appreciated.
It has been sometime since I have checked in and for that I apologize. The gluten-free diet is going well but a little boring. I did discover a new product (well new to me). I was shopping at my local Redners a few weeks back. I was picking up the cookies my hubby likes. upon my arrival I noticed 2 men standing right in front of my (LOL) gluten free section of the aisle. I say mine because I never see anyone else standing there. I became very curious as to why they were there. As it turned out, Redners was increasing their line of gluten-free items and in doing so now carries Dr. Schar Products. I spoke at length to the sales rep. The company is European and he informed me that across the pond they are more concerned than the US in getting this stuff to taste good. I was very excited. The pasta was fantastic and my hubby loves the shortbread cookies. Check it out and let me know if you try any of the other products. Happy Eating!
- By Nancy Kotlowski
- Published 07/27/2009
As much as I love home-cooking, I certainly also enjoy a nice meal out and the social life that usually accompanies dining outside the home. Since being diagnosed as a celiac disease nine years ago, I've learned to navigate through many restaurants safely and with confidence, yet on the other hand, there have also been many times when the message of cooking gluten-free was not properly transmitted from server to chef, and I've paid the serious price for their lack of awareness via a very sick body.
This past incident, however, has made me really angry and that's not like me - but when a restaurant so blatantly goes to great lengths to advertise and serve homemade gluten-free pastas on their menu, in my opinion, they are announcing that they have not only the understanding but the full awareness of exactly what gluten-free food preparation entails - this was so sadly not my experience on that lovely June evening. In fact, I went to great lengths to speak with the restaurant staff, and server five times from when the reservation was made on line, to a phone call, and throughout my meal. What more can a paying Celiac customer do to ensure their safety?
As it turns out, the special gluten-free pasta that I ordered ahead of time was then prepared with a basil cream sauce that was mixed with wheat flour, and then poured all over my delicious pasta and served to me. I instinctively asked the server as the beautiful plate of too-good-to-be-true pasta was placed in front of me, "okay so this meal is 100% gluten-free, correct?"...."Yes, enjoy!"....I was told.
It's this kind of negligence, and lack of understanding about how Celiacs and gluten-intolerant folks truly have to eat to ensure safety, that really incenses me.
I'm sure there are many of you out there who have experienced similar situations, and hopefully survived to tell about it. Our voices need to be heard and in my opinion when gluten contamination of food in a restaurant happens, it's not simply a stomach ache that ensues...there are serious symptoms involved that restaurants all across this nation need to be educated about. It's really a matter of life and death.
Good Morning all, Sorry I have not written in a few days. We have be busy like all of you. Friday night my husband and I went to our favorite place to eat (since the diagnosis). Pizzeria Uno. The most fascinating thing happen. We were sitting there eating our food talking about what else, G-free eating, when all of the sudden the couple sitting in the booth behind ours said "you all are eating gluten free?" As it turned out her husband was diagnosed with many food allergies including gluten. Poor thing. It sure made me appreciate my husbands single issue. Well, we did what any foursome would do..... we completely confused the waiters by moving to another table and sharing our stories. What amazing conversation we all had. And what better an opportunity to have than to spend an evening with people with the same issue.
So the next time you feel a little embarrassed about asking the waiter for special info regarding your diet, don't. You never know who will be listening and what a great opportunity that is.
Have a great day and keep on eating great food!
- By Nancy Kotlowski
- Published 07/1/2009
As soon as the diagnosis of celiac disease came, the doctor told us he would refer us to a really good dietitian. We were very excited to get in front of her because we had so many questions. As with anything else, the more information you get the more you need so you can filter through it all. I found out that the insurance would not cover it. The plan only covered a dietitian for a diagnosis of diabetes. I could have waited until letters were sent and pre-authorization was in place but we were anxious to see what we needed to do. So off we went only to find out that not only did this person not specialize in celiac disease, she told me that I knew more that she did. She was a weight loss specialist. The bill came in the mail the other day for $500.00. I was shocked. So here is a bit of advise. If you doctor advises you to see a dietitian, check with your insurance company for coverage and make darn sure they specialize in the disease or you will be wasting your money.
Have a great day!