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What do the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and Cirque de Soleil have in common? They both require balance! It frustrates me that even doctors are under the misapprehension that the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is a No Carb or Low Carb diet. It is fairly limited in carbohydrates (grape juice, carrots, a few carbs in the dry curd cottage cheese) for the first few days.

The Specific Carbohydrate Diet starts with a brief introductory diet that clears the decks and notifies bad bacteria that change is on the way. In fact their sugar, starch and gluten party is nearly over. Immediately after this two to five day startup regimen new foods are added gradually, depending on their degree of tolerance which is monitored through journaling. The Specific Carbohydrate Diet then becomes a carbohydrate restricted program but only in the sense that certain types of carbs are eliminated.

What remains has no limits beyond good judgement since Elaine Gottschall* clearly stated in "Breaking the Vicious Cycle"* that the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is designed to be balanced (There are always exceptions. A lower carb version of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is considered useful in instances of seizure inclined individuals).

You might think that the Specific Carbohydrate Diet is somehow connected to the Glycemic Index, but it is not. That index does not differentiate between monosaccharides and polysaccharides and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet does. The "monos" are directly absorbed into the bloodstream, the "polys" must be broken down further to become digestible. That's why honey is a real asset to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. The bees have predigested it.

There are two ways to achieve balance. One way to get up and running and develop a feel for balanced menu choices is to open a free account at and keep track of very mouthful. I normally don't get beyond breakfast because spontaneous balance comes easily after my many years of practice.

I just include a protein, fruit and vegetable with almost every meal. This can mean a vegetable, even at breakfast like poached eggs on a bed of mashed butternut squash or cooked spinach or an omelet studded with diced veggies. Fruit juice set with unflavored gelatin is a neat way to spoon in some extra carbs at or between meals. The Specific Carbohydrate Diet includes legumes as advanced foods. They require overnight soaking and precooking to eliminate starch but they still retain generous amounts of carbohydrates.

Other "advanced" items like dried fruits are also excellent sources. If I reviewed what I have had most days, Fitday's little pie chart graph usually comes up fairly even in all three categories, fat, carbohydrate and protein. Eating rice and pasta on the standard gluten-free diet is going to increase the carb count and I believe that not having these for so many years is what helped me easily maintain a substantial weight loss which happened eleven years ago. I may not be able to stand on my head at the top of a pyramid of trapeze artists, but balancing the SCD diet is a breeze.

*Editor's Note: Elaine Gottschall claims in her book "Breaking the Vicious Cycle" that the Specific Carbohydrate Diet can cure celiac disease, which is false.
Here is another product recall that just came to my attention-thought it important to share this information. Be safe & have a great weekend everyone!

North Carolina Firm Recalls Brunswick Stew Products due to Undeclared Allergens
Recall Release CLASS I RECALL

Congressional and Public Affairs
(202) 720-9113
Neil Gaffney

WASHINGTON, April 29, 2010 - The Murphy House, a Louisburg, N.C., establishment, is recalling 414 lbs. of Brunswick stew products because they contain cracker meal with undeclared allergens, wheat and milk, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. Wheat and milk are known allergens, which are not declared on the label.

The following products are subject to recall:

5 lb. packages of MURPHY HOUSE BARBECUE OUR OLD FASHIONED BRUNSWICK STEW produced on April 2, 2010.
24-ounce cups of MURPHY HOUSE OUR OLD FASHIONED BRUNSWICK STEW produced on April 2, 2010.

Each package bears the establishment number EST. 2135 inside the USDA mark of inspection. Cases and individual packages bear the sell-by date of 05/17/10.

The beef stew products were distributed both at the wholesale and retail level in North Carolina.

The problem was recognized during a Food Safety Assessment of operations at the establishment by FSIS. 

Well, It has been 11 months since my hubby's diagnosis and what a ride.  At first the doctor scared him straight...that lasted all of 3 months, and since then he has been going down hill and especially in the last 3 months.  I cook gluten-free and then he hits a few Oreo cookies.  YIKES! what is a person to do?  If any of you have or had the same issue please give me some tips on how you handle it. I know the disease is his and he should take care of it, but let's be real here.  He is not going to cook for himself and if he does fix his own food it is cereal, gluten-free ham and sliced cheese with gluten-free crackers, canned fruit and rice and eggs. Not a very nutritious diet.  Thanks for your suggestions.
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with celiac disease it is likely you’re still adapting to a gluten-free lifestyle. It may seem overwhelming at first to a celiac patient to begin the gluten-free road to recovery, as there are many challenges to face in adjusting to a gluten-free diet.

One question celiac patients have is: "how much gluten is too much?” Even though the amount of gluten that can be tolerated by celiac patients is variable, there is yet a definite agreed-upon amount of gluten that is considered to be acceptable among most celiacs.

In general, research suggests that less than 10 milligrams (mg) of gluten daily is unlikely to cause significant damage to the intestines in most celiac people. However these small amounts could still be enough to make a person feel unwell.

How small is 10 mg? A dime weighs about 2,200 mg (2.2 g). Tricia Thompson, RD, a celiac disease authority explains that a one-ounce slice of regular white bread has approximately 3,515 mg of gluten, or 351 times the maximum daily amount that’s safe for celiac patients. That means even a crumb is too much.

This doesn’t mean that you can cut a slice of bread into 350 little crumbs and eat one of them. Even if you’re maintaining a diet that is otherwise gluten-free, chances are good that you’re still getting some gluten daily. Regulations in most parts of the world allow a product to be labeled gluten-free if it contains up to 20 parts per million of gluten, which is equivalent to about 20 mg per kilo.

“Even a slice of gluten-free bread contains a little over 1/2 mg of gluten,” Tricia says. “So sticking to an entirely gluten-free diet is not only the best way, but the only way, to ensure your gluten intake is at a safe level.”

It may seem tough at first to celiac patients to monitor gluten intake, but with time and practice, it will become second nature. The gluten-free road is full of challenges, but with the right information and in enough time these challenges can all be met with satisfaction.

In am engaged in efforts to raise support and awareness on behalf of the celiac community and for the Celiac Disease Center at the Columbia University Medical Center, headed by Dr. Peter Green, MD. Celiac disease (also spelled coeliac) is an autoimmune disease caused by an allergic reaction to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. An estimated 3 million Americans have it and only three percent of them know it, Dr. Green estimates. Not only do I work towards increasing awareness and support for celiac disease, but I also like to help the celiac community, especially celiac children, make the healthy change to a gluten-free diet.
Today is the 40th anniversary of  Earth Day. What began 40 years ago today, is now a global movement, celebrated by people worldwide. The grind of the  day-to-day routine can make it easy for many of us to get caught up with our own problems and  not see the big picture, especially if you suffer from dietary ailments, like celiac disease. This Earth Day, make yourself feel good by making a difference to our Planet. You don't have to necessarily plant a tree, or clean a beach (although that would be nice) to participate in Earth Day. To show your appreciation to the Earth, there are a variety of ways to contribute, even if it's simply making it a point to recycle more. So no matter how big or small, everyone can get involved in Earth Day 2010, even celiacs.

Happy 40th Birthday Earth Day!How does Earth Day impact celiac disease, you ask. Earth Day affects every living thing on our planet. Even if you have celiac, you still need the planet to exist, right? Founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson on April 22, 1970, as an environmental 'teach-in', Earth Day is now acknowledged and celebrated by almost every Country in the World on April 22nd.  Earth Day is celebrated by many as a week long event and there are many wonderful Earth Day events open to the public, so there is likely one in your area.  To find an Earth Day event in your neighborhood check out the link below:
*Celiac Fact #1: Did you know that you already contribute to the environment by not eating gluten? According to a new study published in the  Environmental Science & Technology, it takes 1,400 gallons of water to produce $1.00 worth of consumer grains. So by not eating wheat, rye or barley, you are actually saving billions of gallons of water every year. For a list of 100 other ways you can save water, check out the site below:
To honor Earth Day 2010, President Barack Obama recently announced  a plan to invest $452 million in Recovery Act funding which will go toward energy-efficient building retrofits in 25 communities. For more information on how the money will be distributed and where it will go, check out the link below:
Now more than ever, it is important to get involved and  help make your community a “green” community. There are literally millions of ways to get involved, and no contribution is too small when it comes to our Earth. Did you know there is even an official Earth Day Campaign page?
Celiac children need to have fun too, and everyone loves animals! To celebrate Earth Day, more than 130  top zoos and aquariums all over North America are throwing a “Party for the Planet”, making it the biggest combined Earth Day celebration in North America, ever. To find out if there will be a Party for the Planet at a zoo or aquarium near you, check out the link below:
Celiac Fact #2: Finding gluten free food can be very costly. Not only is it expensive to purchase gluten-free food, but it is often difficult to find gluten-free food. Sometimes, I find myself driving to 3 or 4 different stores just to find what I need. Gas is not cheap and driving around for gluten-free food ends up being very costly. Cut back on toxic emissions by driving less. Some ways to avoid driving more than necessary are:
  • Make a list in advance. That way you don't end up driving all over, and you don't forget anything that will have you driving back to the store unnecessarily.
  • Shop online. When you shop online you will spend less time driving from store to store, so you will use less gas, and you will have more time to do things other than trying to find gluten-free food, like taking your kids to an Earth Day event.
  • Buy local produce. Try buying your produce from local farm markets, and health food stores that carry local produce. Buying local is good for the environment, and  actually for people too.
Another easy  thing you can do for the Earth is to try to use less electricity. One way to save on electricity is to cook less. Here is one gluten-free recipe that requires very little cooking. In fact, some variations don't require any cooking at all. The following recipe is a delicious appetizer or dish for any Earth Day event, or as an everyday addition to your repertoire. These spring rolls are easy, healthy, gluten-free and my personal favorite all time quick meal. The recipe can be varied and you can add your favorite foods to make a delicious roll that will have you coming back for more

Gluten-Free Spring Rolls

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 42 minutes
  • 1 package large dried rice wrappers/paper ( make sure the ingredients do not list wheat)
  • 1 cup cooked chicken or turkey,  shrimp, baked tofu, sliced or cut into bite-size pieces, and tossed in 2-3 Tbsp.  gluten-free soy sauce( I use San J organic soy sauce)
  • 1 cup fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 cup fresh sweet basil, roughly chopped if leaves are large
  • 1/2 large cucumber, sliced into matchstick-like pieces
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
*Tip: I like to wash and peel my carrots and cucumber. I also cut out the seeds of my cucumber-it seems to be easier for me to digest. Gluten Free soy sauce and rice papers can be found at most Asian markets.

1.Set rice wrappers aside.
2.(Optional. You can also use soy sauce as a dip) Place all  ingredients  in a large mixing bowl and drizzle the soy sauce  over. Toss to mix.
3.Fill a large bowl with hot water (but not boiling, as you’ll be dipping your fingers into it). Start by submerging one wrapper into the water. It should soften after 30 seconds.
4.Remove the wrapper and place on a clean, flat surface( I use a plate).
5.Place a heaping tablespoon of roll ingredients toward the bottom of the wrapper. Spread out the ingredients horizontally (in the shape of a fresh roll).
6.Fold the sides of the wrapper over the ingredients, then bring up the bottom. Tuck the bottom around the ingredients and roll to the top of the wrapper.
7.To secure the roll, wet it with a little water on your fingers and press (like sealing an envelope).
8.To serve, place your platter or bowl of rolls on the table along with the dipping sauce. Eat with your fingers and lots of napkins. (If you plan on sharing your rolls, place them on a plate and cover them, and keep them in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve them.

*Ingredient Variations: Avocado, lettuce, bell peppers...the sky's the limit.  Add your favorite salad ingredients and see what you think. You can also use gluten-free sweet & sour sauce, gluten-free peanut sauce, or gluten free tamari sauce as a dip.

How am I contributing to Earth Day this year? I will be contributing to Earth Day by making everyday Earth Day. I pledge to recycle everything I can, try to take baths instead of showers whenever possible, and I will make sure to continue to turn off lights when not in a room.  I also plan to take my doggies to the beach this weekend to celebrate. This time I will bring extra garbage bags and some plastic gloves and I will be cleaning the beach as we walk, something I can do on every beach visit. I will also contribute to Earth Day 2010 by continuing to share valuable information with others. Communities and communication is the key to a better world. Let's all share what we learn and make this world a better place to live.

Happy Earth Day 2010!

Kudos to General Mills

I say Kudos to General Mills.

I used to eat Campbell's Soups, but they have told me that not a single one of their soups is gluten-free, and despite emails from me encouraging them to convert their soups to gluten-free status (any soup without pasta or barley can be made gluten-free without a significant change in taste or texture), they have refused to do so. Phooey on them, I say!"

General Mills, however, has taken my suggestions to heart. At first it was just a couple of the Progresso soups that were gluten-free. But last week when I was at Giant Food I discovered about 6 or 8 Progresso soups that now have "Gluten Free" on the label! Yeah General Mills! Finally I can have some convenience in my life, and not have to make every soup from scratch.

So, I wrote an email to General Mills, applauding their response. They wrote back telling me that they have launched a new web site: About this they said, "The website offers a list of over 200 products from General Mills that are gluten free. We also offer a number of gluten free recipes and the opportunity to join our gluten free newsletter.  As a member of the newsletter you will be the first to receive information regarding new gluten free products and promotions."

I have been so heartened by General Mills' sympathy toward our dietary needs. Do send them an email thanking them, and encouraging them more on this path! Love it!
We had our first support group meeting.  It was a picnic. Abby was able to meet some children her age.  They grilled hamburgers and sausage.  There were about five vendors there to present their foods. We got some great samples, and recipes that each family brought with their food.  It was amazing to me how people connect having never met before. That common bond, just having someone that understands, or gets it. 

There are so many people that have never heard of celiac disease, or if they have heard of it, they do not understand how serious it is.  I want to go and tell moms everywhere, please pay attention to these symptoms.  I do not want another child to be sick for over two years and have to get really sick for the doctors to take it seriously, and then find out what is wrong.  We need support and we need to make people aware. I want to help form a support group with the Family Connection in Columbia SC. I am in the process now. If you know anyone that is looking for a support group please help them get in touch with me by posting a comment below, or call Family Connections in SC they will help you get connected. 

We had another successful cookout the next day even with some ungluten free food around.  My daughter looked at the dessert table and saw those oh so beautiful pink  icing sugar cookies. I said oh, honey you cannot eat anything over there. I brought your dessert. I expected to get a drama cry, but thankfully she said oh, ok, mommy and went off to play with her friends.  I count that as a success story for us. She may be starting to get it . I know there will be setbacks but we are ready for them.   My daughter has designed some really cute t-shirts. A little girl  with a cape.  logo says "Super Celiac Girl... fighting gluten everywhere", and then there is a boy says the same but Celiac boy.  There other one is a toaster and it says keep your crumbs out of my toaster.

It's not just Gluten

For me, it's not just gluten! I have adverse digestive responses to yeast, vinegar and dairy as well. For 5 years I have been living a life free of these "toxins" to my body. It is quite challenging to avoid both the gluten & yeast (they so often come hand in hand). Most gluten free breads, pretzels and crackers have yeast! In honesty, they feeding tube has made "eating" much easier. However, my wish is to begin to eat, again, and get off this tube (currently I am identified as a "lifetime" patient). I'm only 39!! Currently, I do consume a few things: liquid vitamin supplements, liquid protein drinks, fruits and occasionally a bite or two of whatever my husband is having for dinner. The liquid foundations truly help me through the daytime, so that I may only run the pump during the evenings. It's been quite "freeing" that past 3 months to not be on the feeding tube 20/7.

Everlasting Hope

As I have been struggling with health issues for nearly 6 years, I have lost and gained hope so many different times.
My chronic states of malnutrition and starvation have taken quite a toll on my body. I suffer from chronic pancreatitis, a heart condition that leaves me with dangerously LOW blood pressure and a likeliness of fainting, my adrenal glands are insufficient, my liver damaged and my thyroid underactive. Through it all I have had several extended hospitalizations, depression and hope. So many doctors and non-traditionals have made me promises. However, it is the promise one makes to oneself that is most important. Mine, "Don't lose Hope!" Even during the worst of days when I would not be able to get out of bed and wanted it all to just end, I truly never lost hope! I am here to tell you that it is soooo important you hold on. Because, one day when you're not even looking and hardly paying attention, something will come to you and change your life.
There have been a few major food recall's in the gluten-free community lately. In case you missed any of them, check out the list below.
  1. On Friday April 2nd, 2010, Glutino Food Group of Lawrence, Massachusetts recalled their "Raisin Bread" due to undisclosed "egg" in the ingredients.
  2. Friday April 2nd, 2010, Zatarain's Recalled their,  "Original Dirty Rice Mix Package" due to unlabeled wheat and barley ingredients.The package comes in 8 oz size and has a UPC code 7142909535 and a "BEST BY" date of JAN 19 12H.
  3. April 7th, 2010, McCormick & Company, Incorporated recalled, "McCormick Fajitas Seasoning Mix" due to undeclared "milk & wheat" in the ingredients. McCormick distributes to grocery stores nationally. The product comes in a 1.12-oz pouch labeled with a UPC code 5210002121 and “BEST BY” dates of JAN 16 12 AH and JAN 16 12 CH. The package contains the wrong product. Consumers may call (800) 632-5847 with questions or to request a replacement or full refund.

Why do the nurses at the pediatrician's office have to be so rude?  I love our doctor but her nurse stinks. She is rude and unconcerned. She always makes me feel like I am an over reacting mom. I honestly can't stand her today.  I need to go and pray and it's a good thing we don't go in to see her until tomorrow, because I will have time to cool down. I just have had it with the run around with my daughter. It took over 2 years to get to where we are now, and you would think that they would jump through hoops and not make me jump through hoops to get something done. One of their doctors misdiagnosed her about a year ago, and she ended up in the hospital so sick with acute colitis. Stop acting as if this is not real or just a little allergy! That is what I want to say to her. She needs labs drawn to see what she is lacking. I know that she needs this so why do I have to come in there to let you look at her in order to get it done? She has not gained her weight back since last June when she was misdiagnosed, and now since we have her on this diet she has lost another 1/2  lb.--for a total of 4.5 lbs. She is so tiny she is 7 and weights 42.5 lbs.! That should speak for itself--are they scared to mess up again or do they want that doctor's visit fee? Ugggggh I am so upset today. I am having a feel bad day. It has hit me today that she has this for life, it's not going away, she won't out grow it like most food allergies. It's here and we need to fight it for life.  I have met a woman who's daughter was diagnosed at age 3 and she is 13, she is also a nurse, so she has helped me a lot in what to ask for at the doctor's office. I hope tomorrow  I have a more upbeat blog. I know I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. 
Dr. Peter Green and the Celiac Disease Center (CDC) at Columbia University is the only center in the US providing comprehensive medical care and nutritional consulting for adults and pediatrics with celiac disease. The cure: a gluten free diet. The CDC diagnoses and treats over 2000 patients annually. Children’s author Tina Turbin has been eating gluten free for about nine years, and has been actively researching, writing and promoting the need for increased awareness of celiac disease as well as gluten intolerance and gluten sensitivity.

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.
I recently learned that Triumph Dining has made an iPod/iPhone application based on their wonderful "Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guide." I thought, "How Wonderful!" and promptly bought it from the web site. Now I have this wonderful reference with me at the grocery store without having to lug a book along.

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:
If I only knew I had celiac disease long before I was finally diagnosed.  Now suffering celiac spru, gastroparesis and severe pancreatic insufficiency, I will never regain the full use of my pancreas.

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?

The good:

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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.

The Bad:

  1. 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.
  2. 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'.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Gluten-Free Frustration!

I know I have been following this diet for 2 years now, but it still seems like it hasn't been any easier to follow. I still have the  temptations, cravings and I feel like there is nothing for me to eat. My doctor has told me to stay away from greens and the gluten because not only do I have celiac disease, but I now have IBS. They go great together! (sarcasm) Some days I feel like there is nothing for me to eat. I am the only one in my family that has to follow this diet and they never quite understand how to cook for me. So for this past holiday I ended up with some olives, pickles, turkey and mashed potatoes! I guess I don't have to worry about that 5 lbs over the holidays!

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...
Wow,  I cannot believe that it is time to move onto 2010.  Where the heck did 2009 go?  What a year.  I personally am glad to see it go and good riddance to it.  It was a year of 3 brain surgeries for me and a celiac diagnosis for my husband.  Honestly, I think I won out in the deal.  The holidays have been hard in that it is difficult to replace all the g-full food.  And let's be honest, my husband did not try too hard.  He has fallen off the proverbial wagon big time.  But with the new year comes new resolutions to fail at...I mean to try.  What will yours be?  Mine, the same 10 pounds to loose from last year.  Only I think a few friends have come to live with those 10. And as always to exercise.  But my resolution for my hubby (he is not allowed to make his own LOL) is to be more g-free in the new year.  Hope you all have a prosperous year and free of trauma!

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,, and 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,, 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!

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!

Recently, noticing that the Mt. Olive pickles contain flavoring, or natural flavoring, I wrote a letter asking whether their flavoring contains any derivatives of rye or barley, even if it doesn't contain any wheat.

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.



Lynn Williams

Community Relations

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!

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