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Celiac.com 11/09/2012 - From their position in the public eye, celebrities can often draw attention to worthy causes, and to advocate for awareness of those causes more effectively than people outside the media spotlight. After being diagnosed with celiac disease in 2008, actress Jennifer Esposito is on a gluten-free diet, and though she's still recovering from the damage to her small intestines, the 'Blue Blood' actress is emerging as a strong advocate for celiac awareness. Like so many others with celiac disease, Esposito suffered for many years with symptoms ranging from stomach upset, exhaustion, joint pain, sinus infections, dry skin and hair, panic attacks, depression, and back pain. In fact, nearly twenty years went by before she had a solid diagnosis. In a recent interview, Esposito told S. Z. Berg that she is still dealing with the "repercussions of improperly being diagnosed over the years." She points to a lack of awareness about the disease for consumers and that fact that only recently "is the medical field paying closer attention." In a line that may be familiar to many people with celiac disease, she points out the long struggle to fully recover, even after adopting a gluten-free diet, noting that even though "many of the stomach issues and other ailment start to subside," celiac disease is an autoimmune condition that requires daily attention. People with the disease, she says, must constantly be aware of what they eat and maintain a healthy lifestyle, along with healthy vitamin and mineral levels. She says that her recovery has been "a long journey... and one that I still am on. The severe panic attacks have subsided as well as the depression, but with one bad meal they are ready and waiting to come to the forefront." Her own struggles have left her "determined to educate and make people aware of the truth about this disease." Ultimately, Esposito had her celiac disease confirmed through blood test and biopsy, but in some ways, that was only the beginning of her challenges. She says she believes that the medical industry needs to focus on "treating the individual person, the whole person, body and mind and not about money and mass studies of a disease." She also bemoans what she calls the "one pill fits all mentality" of the medical profession, along with the fact that nutrition is something that gets addressed only after an individual has gotten diagnosed. She describes this as "negligence," and says that it has compounded the damage, and with it, her difficulties. "My life is dramatically different and my health is a struggle everyday," she says. To help others with their celiac disease struggles, Esposito has created a blog called Jennifer's Way. There, she hopes to help people learn more about celiac disease and share the struggles and triumphs of her journey toward wellness. Her blog includes tips, ideas, and advice on how to get started in this new life. I also share some of my favorite easy and good for you recipes that I've created. She's also founded Jennifer's Way Foundation for Celiac Education to help make sure that going forward there is proper education about this disease in addition to helping to generate awareness to help people live a healthy gluten-free life. Jennifer has a nonprofit organization, Jennifer's Way, to help educate the public about celiac disease. Her Twitter handle is @JennifersWayJE. Developing Story: Breaking news indicates that Jennifer Esposito has been dismissed from her role in Blue Bloods, for reasons she says have to do with her celiac disease. This story is developing, so stay tuned... Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sz-berg/jennifer-esposito-celiac_b_1770642.html
Celiac.com 06/03/2017 - Dutch actress Famke Janssen is perhaps best known for her roles in movies like X-Men and Taken. But now Janssen is in the news after revealing that a serious intolerance to gluten has forced her to revise her diet and to go completely gluten-free. During an interview on U.S. cooking show The Chew, Famke, 52, says she had already taken a test for gluten antibodies, and that she "knew what the outcome was gonna be, I already knew it, so I was stuffing my face with everything that I could find that had gluten in it." However, as with so many people with gluten intolerance, the adverse effects began to make themselves clear, Famke said, when she watched clips of her shoot, and felt that she looked pregnant. "I just saw little clips of the movie," she said, "and I was like, 'Wait, I'm pregnant?', 'cause the whole time I just have this belly that sticks out." When the test results came back, she said, the doctors told her that, "It's really bad, as in, you can't really ever eat gluten again." The actress did not say which film she had been shooting at the time her gluten-intolerance became known, but she has made dietary changes in the past. In 2014, she went mostly vegetarian, and cut meat and dairy products from her diet. However, during her appearance on The Chew, she was noshing on a gluten-free gingerbread cake, which contained buttermilk. Like many recently diagnosed people with gluten-intolerance, Famke has regrets about getting tested, because not knowing was in many ways easier. "Stupidly, I got tested," she says, "and I'm gluten intolerant, and I love gluten!" Still, the improved health thatcomes with being free from the adverse effects of gluten are more than enough to offset those feelings in most people. That's part of what keeps them committed to their gluten-free diets. Stay tuned for more information of Famke's adjustment to gluten-free living, and for more stories on the world of gluten-free celebrities. Read more
Celiac.com 10/30/2012 - Many celiac sufferers have stories of discrimination and/or ignorance from coworkers, peers and employers but none have been quite as high profile as the current dispute between actress Jennifer Esposito and CBS. Esposito, a sufferer of celiac disease, plays one of the main characters in the CBS drama 'Blue Bloods'. After Esposito requested a reduced schedule to manage her condition, CBS took steps that have Esposito, her fans, and celiac sufferers everywhere rallying to her cause. The apparent point of contention between CBS and Esposito is the idea that celiac disease warrants special treatment (or perhaps that Esposito even has it). After the actress collapsed on set two months ago, her doctor recommended a significantly reduced work schedule. CBS was unwilling to comply, and evidently skeptical that there was ever anything wrong with the actress. According to Esposito, “CBS implied that I was not truly ill and this was a scheme to get a raise!” In a statement released over the weekend, CBS seems to suggest that it has more to do with the demands of the role than the disease: “Jennifer has informed us that she is only available to work a very limited part-time schedule. As a result, she's unable to perform the demands of her role and we regretfully had to put her character on a leave of absence.” Esposito claims that they have done much more than put her character on leave of absence: “CBS put me on unpaid leave and has blocked me from working anywhere else after my doctor said you needed a reduced schedule due to Celiac.” According to Esposito, it has been two months since the incident and Esposito still hasn't been invited back to the show. She also claims that CBS rejected her recent attempts to reopen negotiations. It seems unlikely that there was no possibility of compromise here, and CBS's actions come across as both excessive and insensitive. It is not uncommon for sufferers of celiac disease to face accusations of hypochondria, so Esposito's struggle with CBS could be seen as having symbolic significance. She speaks for many when she says “truly a very sad day when you can be bullied at my age with a disease”. Sources: http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/tv/blue-bloods-actress-jennifer-esposito-suspended-1.4141858 http://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/blogs/jennifer-esposito-slams-cbs-over-celiac-disease-struggles
Celiac.com 12/14/2012 - In the latest celebrity gluten-free news, actress and comedian Fran Drescher has joined stars like Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus, and athletes like Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, in adopting a gluten-free diet. Moreover, Drescher is going one step further and making her gluten-free diet a vegan one. However, it's not a desire to shed pounds that led Drescher to join the nearly 3 million people with celiac disease, and numerous others, in making her diet gluten-free. Rather, she was looking for a way to deal with exhaustion. When a doctor suggested prescription medications, Drescher decided that overhauling her diet sounded like a better place to start. So, she resolved to cut gluten, alcohol and animal products from her life. She has since lost 15 pounds, and her results have included more energy, and, she claims, better looking skin. Talking with host Wendy Williams on Thursday, Drescher said that changes were not easy to make. "I wasn’t able to knock off that kind of weight in years. I just decided that I wasn’t feeling well… and I went to a bunch of doctors, and everybody had different prescriptions for all my symptoms" said Drescher, "and I just decided, ‘No more, I’m gonna do alternative. I’m gonna to switch up my act, eat differently, clean up my act.’ And so I cut out alcohol… so that went, and I became gluten-free and vegan." Stay tuned to see how this and other celebrity gluten-free diets turn out… Read more and see the video at Examiner.com.