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I'm a Marketing/Advertising pro with 15 years experience in retail, restaurant & cpg industries.  Celiac Disease saved my family and has inspired me to be a student of gluten, an advocate for awareness and eager to help businesses that serve our growing market to DO GLUTEN-FREE RIGHT!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gluten doesn't matter on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving dinner has become my favorite eating holiday! I love the tradition of menu planning with my sisters, breaking bread with my mom, mashing sweet potatoes with my daughter and baking with my son. And wine. Lots of traditions, all surrounding a simple meal.

This year, our Thanksgiving table will be full. With 9 gluten-free eaters and 7 gluten-lovers, us g-free'ers rule the day. But it really shouldn't matter. You see, gluten doesn't matter on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is the one celebratory meal where gluten is really quite unimportant. Two things all us gluten free folks should consider:

1.) if you need to eat gluten-free, almost everything on the traditional thanksgiving table can be easily made gluten-free.

2.) The preparation & cooking is best when it's a group project, it's not hurried and often - there is wine. This is a great time to bond and an even better opportunity to teach your family and friends a thing or two or twenty two about gf living.

 I cringe at the thought of a shared gluten/gluten-free table. It's really not the actual table that irks me, I'm not afraid to sit next to gluten. I afraid of the kitchen the food came from. No matter how hard you try  - kitchens are a busy place on Thanksgiving. Making 2 versions of everything is asking for trouble.  Spoons will double dip. Foil will re-wrapped on the wrong pan.  Someone is bound to sneak a taste with a contaminated fork. Dont do it!

Instead, have a Thanksgiving Sans Gluten Feast (and if you say it with an accent, no one will know what your talking about and just assume you've had too much wine).

Not sure where to start for you Sans Gluten Feast? It's not so hard if you remember these pointers....

* buy a fresh turkey if you can. Be careful, many packaged and frozen turkeys are injected with broth to make it juicy - unless it is labeled gf, assume it is NOT! As for the free one you earn from spending gazillions at the supermarket, you might want to consider donating that one to a local food bank.

*make your own gravy with homemade stock (or buy one if you must - Pacific makes a great gf Turkey Stock), butter and a gf flour/starch mix to thicken. Note that the flour is used to thicken & doesn't affect the flavor at all. Not convinced, toss in some white wine. I find that wine is the secret to Thanksgiving success in countless ways. Moving on

*go farm fresh for your sides. Skip the cans, boxed and frozen packages. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberries and vegis like string beans and brussel sprouts are all naturally gluten free and really, really easy to cook. Simple preparation is key, minimize the ingredients and enjoy the natural flavors

* stuffing can be easily made gf. Think about it, regular stuffing is made with dried out bread cubes. The soft, elastic qualities that make a glutinous bread so awesome are completely wasted in a stuffing. Gluten free bread never had such a perfect purpose! Simply cube up some naturally dry gf bread and let it dry out some more, either overnight or in a 200 degree oven and VOILA perfect stuffing stuff. The great flavors in stuffing come from "add ins" like saut├ęd onions & celery, bacon or sausages or in my house: dried cherries! Did someone say stovetop? No, no, no - no one will miss the stovetop.

I have to admit, there are two places I might compromise with the gluten-lovers (not in my house but I'm not going to be the gluten-police in your house) so I'd bend on:
1. dinner rolls (just keep those soft fluffy bundles of poison far away from your plate) and
2. dessert. I know pie lovers just need that flaky crust, so I would hate to ruin their holiday. Oh, maybe not hate, welcome to my life. The better choice is... homemade gf delicousness. But that's going to take some effort. My sister and I are both making the dessert thing a personal challenge, hoping to nail a few recipes now so that we can complete our gluten-free feast on a high note.  She has already mastered a gf pumpkin-chocolate chip bread and now we are on to pies. Practicing ahead is key. And well, quite enjoyable. I've been experimenting making a (mostly dairy free) pumpkin pie with a store bought gf graham cracker crust & Trader Joes organic pumpkin - it was easy. And awesome! So awesome, my husband bought me another pie crust yesterday and suggested I need to make another to be sure. I'll try to remember to take a picture and post it next time with the recipe, for now, here's my not-so-secret ingredients.
My sister has been experimenting with an apple pie using the new Pilsbury pie crust. Her gluten eating daughter gave it a thumbs up on Instagram, so it must be true.

Okay, so all this advice might work if you are the host. But what if you are an invited guest and already feeling stressed... why not tell your host ahead that you would love to be involved in the plans and prep. Assuming your host knows you have special dietary needs, they are probably more stressed about the meal than you are at this point and would likely welcome the help. No host wants one of there guests running to the bathroom, swelling up like a balloon or passing out after dinner. Okay maybe a quick nap is acceptable in some instances (blame the turkey) but really, no joke - when you've been cleaning, shopping and decorating for days and wake up at 5am to start dinner, you really want your guests to have a good meal and not end up sick from it.  But do be prepared to help, if you offer - be ready to assist in menu planning, shopping and prep work - then it's on you to make it work for you. Oh, and do it NOW, not 2-days before thanksgiving. And bring a dessert. And wine.

So don't stress this Thanksgiving! Make this sans gluten feast a great one, get involved, make memories and actually enjoy a holiday meal for once. Just keep reminding yourself, gluten doesn't matter on Thanksgiving.

Have a favorite dish that's a challenge to make sans gluten? Share it here, maybe together we can find a fix.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Can gluten and gluten-free eaters co-exist in a shared kitchen? I tried it.

A wonderful week long vacation with 22 family members is an annual tradition in my family. OBX is our favorite destination, a gorgeous location with houses big enough for our small army and always a dream kitchen stocked with every convenience.

We do it, all of us, every single year. Except last year. Last summer, my 1 ½ yr old Tommy was terribly ill and the only traveling we did was back and forth to the hospital. So no one went. That’s my family, all for one and one for all – or something like that.  

The day Tommy’s GI specialist confirmed my suspicion Celiac was the cause of his illness, I tore apart my kitchen. That gluten crap that we had so loved nearly killed my baby and it was no longer welcome in my house. Out went ALL the food, the toaster, the spatulas, frying pans, even the placemats. On that kitchen demo day, I informed my husband and the kids that they now lived in a Gluten Free Zone.  We had no idea that we would soon find out that Celiac wasn’t just Tommy’s disease, gluten was our archenemy. My gluten-loving mother made her home gluten free too, eating her morning bagel in the car, even ushering the guest arriving with a pie straight to the backyard. Needless to say, on my list of worries, getting glutened by cross-contamination at home (or at moms) has not been my concern.

Back to paradise. I admit I was nervous about vacation this year. My little family of 5 is exclusively gluten free and my 2 sisters are now gluten-intolerant-gluten-free (you know what I mean, order a hot dog and toss the roll to avoid the migraine or stomach churn). I talked menus for months, researched area supermarkets, family members began reading labels on snacks they planned to bring and new cookie sheets and a colander were packed. We were ready. And when we settled in, the fridge was stocked with healthy eats and the pantry was filled with gluten free treats. The poison, I mean non-gluten-free-food, was kept in a little cabinet on the opposite end of the kitchen.

And on day 1… we were sick. Not super sick. By now we all know our different reactions, and we were reacting.

I suspected the pots and pans could have traces…the hubby and I found a Walmart and picked up a griddle (my new favorite cooking method) a pot and a pan and a few utensils. My sister splurged on a few new knives and extra cutting boards.

On day 2 we feasted with ease, and on day 2….we were still reacting.  This wasn’t fun. 

On day 3 I was exhausted and in tears…. I had taken great care and too much time to prepare our food, I spent our vacation spending money on updating someone else’s kitchen and all I wanted to do was sleep. And I think the rest of the crowd was starting to think I had become the crazy-gluten-lady and surely insane.  None of us were super-sick like getting full-blown glutened but....

I looked 8 months pregnant in the little beach dress that was supposed to look cute (did I mention I dropped 35lbs of gluten-bloat this year)

I was irritable around my relatives, almost as irritable as the hubby was with me.

I was sad changing my Tommy’s diaper which had that trademark glutened scent (be thankful if you don’t know what I’m talking about).

Sad for my hubby that he spent the morning in the bathroom.

Mad at the hubby for sleeping away the rest of what would be the last sunny beach day.

Sad for my 7 yr old son whose mood swung up and down all day.

Even sadder when the cousins overreacted about the 2 year old needing a diaper change, when it was the big boy whose “I’ve-been-glutened-poopy-problems” were stinking up the room.

 Mad at the world when my beautiful little 6yr old girl emerged in her tankini, covered in her “looks-like-I’ve been-beaten” but really “I’ve-been-glutened” Black & Blues.

I cried that night. Not for us. For the others I’ve read about or tweeted with who struggle with celiac because their family doesn’t get it and their kitchens aren’t safe. My family GOT IT and it didn’t matter.

 And on Day 4, I took control.  Paper plates. Paper cups. Plastic knives, forks & spoons. Special GF sponges. Oh, and I took over the cooking.  Almost all of the cooking. And just about all of the rest of the food shopping. For 22 people.  Good cooking too – we are on vacation but I’m feeding an army kinda-food. Blueberry pancakes. Ribs & BBQ chicken (brand new grill thankfully). Taco salad. Filet de Beef. Rice. Roasted Potatoes. Two gluten free birthday cakes. And a LOT of fresh fruit. With the exception of an occasional donut spotting or slice of bread, we all ate gluten-free. And we ate well. Really well.  Oh, I squeezed in a little crabbing (man those 3 crabs we caught were good – I cooked them too) and a little jet skiing.

 
But mostly I cooked. Or shopped.  My family members were afraid, very afraid of coming near the kitchen and ask me for permission with everything they touched. 

And by the last day of vacation, we were all good. And I was exhausted. If only we had 1 more week.

What did I learn? A shared kitchen is hard. Really hard. Way harder than going gluten-free. Cross-contamination is ridiculously hard to avoid.

If you have to be gluten-free and have to share a kitchen with a gluten-eater or 22, here are some tips:

Step 1 - get a big kitchen if you can

Step 2- separate your FOOD

Shop like you are shopping for twins. Buy 2 of everything. One for you, one for everyone else.

Label it. Fancy labels are awesome. A sharpie works too.

Keep a dedicated gluten free space.  Designate a drawer in the fridge and a food cabinet all yours.

Keep your open package sealed shut. Use GF storage containers, bags or tape ‘em up.

In other words: Your butter is not their butter, make it clear. Invest in your own jars like peanut butter and mayo and sketch out some skull and cross bones or a simple DO NOT TOUCH message, wrap them in duct tape, then hide them really well.

Step 3: Separate EVERYTHING else in NECESSARY too (this step may require a second job, one at Williams -Sonoma would work well).
Use your own pots, pans, cookie sheets, colanders, utensils, cutting boards & potholders too.
Use your own dishes, knives, forks and spoons too.  It may seem radical but I suspect dishes or forks cleaned in an over-crowded or less-than-perfect dishwasher are an issue. If you must share a bowl or silverware, wash and clean everything meticulously. Or do as I did and go plastic. But the environmentalist in me says that’s a bad long-term plan.  Do be sure to use a dedicated sponge with a scrubber on the back (bonus points if you can find a way to label your sponge).  

Step 4: Take control of your food, or be sure that the person in control of the food knows what they are doing. Educate, educate, educate - resources are endless and this is essential. You can’t ever heal if you keep getting sick. 

Step 5: Man up. Be ready to deal with temptation. Sure a gluten free pizza is okay but Oh man a steaming hot “normal” pizza is tempting. Can’t you just hear that little devil on your shoulder saying “what would 1 bite hurt”  HA! I know better, I’d never. But I had to knock my husband over the head with a frying pan to keep him away from the Krispy Kremes. Fortunately, it was a new gf frying pan!
 

Friday, May 24, 2013

where's the facts...

Straight talk tonight.

It overwhelmingly frustrating to advocate for a cause that doesn't have it's facts straight. 

Those of us who advocate for Celiac Disease have lots of facts, but everyone is using different facts.

Here's what I mean....

 

The # of people with Celiac Disease in the US is:

1 in 100 people
or
1 in 133 people
or
1 in 141 people
or
1% of the population
or
1.8 million people
or
2 million people
or
3 million people
or better yet...
according to Wikipedia "the condition is thought to affect between 1 in 1,750 and 1 in 105 people in the United States"

 

The % of people who have celiac disease but have not yet been diagnosed is:

95%
or
90%
or
85%
or
80%

And don't even get me started on the ancestry & demographic discussion.

Why are the facts so confusing and inconsistent? 
Should we care?
I think so. It is confusing enough to explain a complex disease such as Celiac without having inconsistent facts and figures to sort-of back us up. I hate to think this but it seems to highlight how unimportant knowing the facts and true diagnosis is to the medical community.

Celiac Disease is a life-altering disease with a food-based cure (if you catch it before it causes too much long-term damage) and somewhere between 80 and 95% of the people living with it don't know it. That should be an embarrassment in 2013.

Maybe we should pick one at random and make it the standard that everyone quotes.
Maybe we should raise a little hell with the research institutions.
Maybe we need to raise some money for a study.
Maybe the pharmaceuticals will do some research while developing their celiac drug. 
But I think maybe we'd have the most luck calling on the Consumer Packaged Goods Industry to take the lead. The food companies will be the greatest financial benefactors to an increase in diagnosis.

My rant for the night is complete.


 _____________________________________________________________________________

Thursday, May 23, 2013

What I've learned during Celiac Awareness Month

Today is May 23rd. The 23rd day of Celiac Awareness Month.

I was so pumped on May 1st, imagining real media coverage about Celiac Disease, intelligent discussions about the danger of gluten for some and awareness that actually improved the pathetic diagnosis numbers - 90% undiagnosed with any condition that can be screened with a blood test is absolutely unacceptable in today's day and age.

Well, as I reflect on the month,  I've learned a lot. Celiac/gluten-related issues have gotten some attention. Not the attention I imagined. Thanks to the Disney debacle, it's gotten attention (if you don't know what I'm referencing, see Gluten Dude who has covered every detail superbly).

Apparently, Celiac and gluten-issues are funny. It's a good joke. People who can't tolerate gluten are whiners. Complainers. Even douches.  Hmm.

Today I stumbled upon a mom on twitter. A smart mom, vocal & worried. She has a beautiful baby diagnosed with Failure To Thrive. At 8 months old, he hasn't grown out of his 0-3 months clothes. She's struggled with multiple miscarriages. Depression. Bipolar. She has another child on the Autism Spectrum. Her family has discussed trying gluten-free. But doctors, no - no mention of Celiac as a possibility. WHAT THE HELL?! I am in no way a medical expert, but when a young family exhibits a collection of medical issues that are all known to be related to Celiac and child's life is at risk - why has not one doctor suggested Celiac as a possibility? Why is it that she needs to hear from a stranger on twitter that she needs to push for a celiac test?  All I know is that that stranger (aka me) lived through the hell of watching my baby fading away while doctors were telling me to be patient, he had a virus and to follow up in a month, which was all WRONG.  Now, maybe celiac isn't the reason for her family's health issues but it most certainly should be considered as a possibility. I'm not laughing.

A mind-blowing before & after story was put together by Debbie Simpson of Adam's Gluten Free Surprise, this blog is a must read. The most startling part to me is the part that is always startling to me... years of suffering for adults before diagnosis, children diagnosed by parents before doctors. I'm still not laughing.

A $70 Million investment was made into Celiac Research this month. Research on causes? No. Research on improving diagnosis? No. Research on celiac connection to 300+ other illnesses? No. AbbVie & Alvine Pharmaceuticals are spending $70,000,000 on phase 2 research for a pill to make Celiac more convenient. Learn about it here. I haven't encountered one person living with Celiac who wants a pill, an antidote, they'd rather just have safe food. Would I buy a pet cobra just because there was anti-venom available at CVS? Not laughing.

Members of the celiac community have been very active this month! Great recipes, information blogs, cool videos, recaps of a huge celiac awareness event, good stuff. Really good stuff. The kind of stuff that has gotten me and my family through the difficult transition to a gluten-free celiac life this year. Inspiring. Empowering. Yet, I hate to say it... the only people paying attention and reading, listening and learning are those of us who already care because they are personally affected by Celiac Disease. The health experts, the news media, the people with power to reach the masses - they aren't listening. To the handful that are reading (Chelsea Handler perhaps) turns out, they are mocking (yes, another Gluten Dude reference)!  Not even a chuckle.

My mother is awesome. She's a super-gluten-addict who turned her home gluten-free. For me. She now eats her morning bakery roll in her car so that not one crumb will drop in her house because she wants my family to always feel welcome. She is very accepting. She's seen our hardships, she knows all of my stories, she's taken in my kids at 2am when the baby was sick & we would run him to the ER because I worried he was so dehydrated he may not see morning, she's seen me drop 30lbs and grow real finger nails for the first time in my life, she's seen my daughters bruises disappear, I could go on & on... she's lived through it all with me.   But she doesn't understand it. She can't understand it. She tries but it doesn't seem logical to her that suddenly, out of the blue, the bagel I always ate will now make me sick for days. She thinks I'm obsessed and worries that my kids will develop a fear of food.  Well, the truth is... yes I am obsessed and yes, I've realized that we should all be more than a little fearful of some of the food we eat.

Celiac is still new to me and my family. One year ago - hadn't a clue. We were a mess. Life was a mess. I knew we had problems but NEVER did I think it had something to do with pizza. Really?!  Since I'm a celiac-newbie, I'm still able to take a step back - look at the "situation" the way everyone else does. See it with my mom's kind but baffled eyes.

And yes.... it does seems ridiculous that moms (myself included) would complain to Disney because of a pancake joke.  It seems ridiculous that I can't eat an egg fried on the same grill as that pancake. It seems ridiculous that a cookie could land my son in the hospital for 3 days with an inflamed appendix.  It seems ridiculous that cross-contamination at a restaurant can cause my belly to swell up like a basketball within minutes and that a week later, my husband and my son are still in pain because of it. It seems ridiculous that my husband's issue with compulsive gambling disappeared along with his bipolar disorder, simply by eating food without gluten.
My challenge to others in the Celiac community it to take a step back and see it from the eyes of your former self.

This celiac disease is unlike any other disease. None of our symptoms are exactly the same. Most doctors do not recognize it and do not understand it. The celiac community is unbelievably active and supportive because those of us living with it are looking to each other for insight and answers.

It's so ridiculous, it's almost laughable.

But I can't laugh. The food choices I make for my family impact every aspect of our lives. And my children will have to grow up with the knowledge to handle this and to face bullying from people who are nothing but ignorant. 

But the good news is... they have a disease that is controlled by food, they will grow up, they will be healthy, they will be strong and they will not be suffering without a clue as to why. I wish I could say that for the countless others that aren't so lucky.

We have 8 days left in our Celiac Awareness Month. May doesn't have to end with Celiac being the joke of the month. I still have hope. And I could really use a good laugh.


  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Time to embrace the fad & LEAD

I'm a student of the gluten-free world and am obsessed.

My studies began when my baby was ill for two very long months. Countless doctors insisted it was a virus that plagued him with constant diarrhea and vomiting. He had undergone countless tests, cat scans, ultrasounds, xrays (including a celiac panel of which the positive results got overlooked)  and I was told to load him with calories, allow him to eat an entire loaf of fresh bread, go for the fast-food nuggets and fries... eat as much as he could. And he did. And he got worse.  Finally, during one of my endless nights I found myself on the website celiac.com and was blown away. The symptoms, the answers, it was all there! I tried a gluten-free diet the very next day (after a phone call to the pediatric gi specialists office, where they assured me that his issue was viral and he did not have celiac disease) and within hours he dramatic showed signs of improvement.

I was angry. But encouraged. Thank God for the world wide web. There is so much to discover, so little truly known about the effects of gluten from science but so much to learn from other people - books to websites, bloggers and online news outlets.  There is plethora of gluten-free information, unbelievable stories and then there is the news, so much of it.... is crap!

The big news of the moment in the gluten-free community is that NPD research found that 30 percent of adults, one in every three adults, claimed to cut down on or avoid gluten completely in January 2013.  That's big news. One that's caught the attention of the media and online news organizations. And much of the news is harsh. There is a lot of celebrity name dropping. But most offensive to me is the constant reference to gluten-free as a trend or a fad.

Right off the bat, let me say... if someone is buying gluten-free pretzels instead of regular pretzels because Hannah Montana said it's cool.... count these people out. Don't even bother. It's pointless.

But let's get serious...
1 in 100 or maybe 133 (depending on the source you read) people suffer from celiac disease.
About 90% of the people suffering from celiac disease DO NOT KNOW that they have celiac disease.
A significant portion of the population (sources vary, somewhere between 6% and 30%) have some degree of gluten-intolerance. And most of these people DO NOT KNOW that they have a gluten-intolerance. How could they? The medical community can't seem to figure out the celiac thing, gluten-intolerance is miles off the radar.

Or maybe they, the suffering, are figuring it out! Dr. Oz has been talking about gluten quite a bit and cluing his audience in.  It's been mentioned on the Biggest Loser. And Dr. William Davis has gotten a lot of media coverage (look him up if you want to know why).  And this is just a smattering.  But it's a powerful smattering.  I have a friend who owns an Italian Restaurant and she told me that the weekend after Dr. Oz's show about gluten-intolerance... a dozen people asked if they offered gluten-free pasta.  That's up from just 1 (aka ME).  Truth be told, there is a lot of confusion and misinformation being spewed by some of these professionals, but the conversation is happening.

My point... awareness is building. And people who feel awful for no known reason, want to know... could food be the solution? They are in on the fad.

This fad conversation isn't just about belly aches and weight loss myths. A gluten-free diet seems to be the key to other medical conditions. I'm am very sorry to be anxiously pointing this out to the gluten-free bloggers who I've come to twitter follow and love (some of who have may have even followed me back) but the celiac community DOES NOT own the rights to the gluten-free diet. They had it first. But it is spiraling out of their control - it's growing rapidly - and it's not necessarily catering to them. 

Why...
as I have immersed myself in gluten information over the past few months it has become clear that apparently gluten is a culprit in countless conditions including diabetes, ibs, autism, add, adhd, neurological disorders, psychological disorders, other autoimmune disorders, skin conditions like acne and eczema, migraines... the list goes on and on and on.  People looking for a solution to one of these conditions with a gluten-free diet, they are in on the fad.

I've met (or facebook chatted with) countless moms who are at their wits end trying to solve their child's unsolvable medical mystery - of which there are so many these day it's mind blowing.  They are left with the choice of medicating their children or trying another way. They are in on the fad.

In the 1930s, research showed that gluten was related to schizophrenia.  Today, studies has show that a significant number of schizophrenic patients actually recovered on a gluten-free diet. And yet, how often do you think a gluten-free diet is an attempted course of action for a diagnosed patient?  Gluten has been shown to impact depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and other mental health issues - for both celiac and non-celiac patients - but how often is food considered as a trial treatment before drugs? My husband battled bipolar disorder for years and it wasn't until celiac entered the picture and he went gluten-free that the mania began to dissipate, quickly. People are figuring this out, people who are suffering are giving gluten-free a go in hopes of a stable mind, they are in on the fad.

So what if it's a fad! Many will drop of the gluten-free diet overnight, while others will adopt the lifestyle for real-reasons. I am saddened that some of these people are in the 90% of "undiagnosed-celiacs" but in the long run, if they do gluten free right, then they are on the right track.

But back to my beloved celiac-community... 
It's time to stop fighting the fad, stop fighting the non-celiac invaders on our lifestyle.
G-free might be good for them too.
And good for them that they might not have to worry about cross-contamination.

BUT WE DO.
It is time to START FIGHTING THE FIGHT FOR FOOD MANUFACTURERS and RESTAURANTS to DO GLUTEN-FREE RIGHT!

The demand is skyrocketing and the world of food is answering the call.  Control & Standards are basically non-existent.  Waiting for government regulations on labeling has become ridiculous, and even if they pass, they aren't good enough.

THE TIME IS NOW for the CELIAC COMMUNITY to SET THE STANDARD. DEMAND IT. SCREAM IT. TELL OUR STORIES ABOUT THE INTENSE SUFFERING WE EXPERIENCE when they do gluten-free wrong.

The celiac community might not own the rights to gluten-free but with greatest wisdom and knowledge of the subject, it is our RIGHT AND RESPONSIBILITY to LEAD.

If we don't speak out and force action now, our food will NEVER be safe. 






Thursday, March 28, 2013

MY G-FREE OBSESSION

Hello my name is Jeanne and I have an obsession with GLUTEN.

I didn't know it... but I used to lust after it.

I didn't know what it was...but I couldn't live without it.

I was addicted to GLUTEN.

I despise GLUTEN.


What the heck is it? 

Wikipedia gives a thorough definition you many want to read.
Basically, it's the stuff in wheat/rye/barley that makes pizza irresistible, a crusty loaf of french bread delectable and a cherry danish orgasmic. It makes you crave gravy, a gooey box of orange mac'n cheese and probably why you end up eating the entire bag of Twizzlers!
 
Gluten is EVERYWHERE. Expect it in bread, pasta and pie-crusts. Then look further and find it in salad dressing, cooking stock, even ice-cream.
 
Gluten is ADDICTIVE.  Often discussed as a wheat addiction.  It has opiate-like effect. And withdrawl symptoms can be similar to Heroine withdrawl for some.  Like my husband. Saw it. Lived it. Fear it.

 

I didn't know it but

...gluten was the cause of my weight issues, swollen santa-like beer belly, frequent migraines, my short nasty nails and even dandruff
 
...gluten was the reason my husband spent hours in the bathroom daily, was told by a GI Doc at 35yrs old after a colonoscopy that he had the colon of a healthy 90 year old man, the reason he suffered bipolar manic/depressive issues that cost him friendships and almost ending our marriage.
 
...gluten was the reason my little boy had uncharacteristic temper outbursts, random rashes that came and went, was a regular in the school nurse's office and was living with a constant tummy ache that he didn't know wasn't normal
 
...gluten was the reason my little girl often had swollen bags under her eyes and big bruises all over her legs and body after going out to play
 
...gluten came days away from KILLING my amazingly wonderful 1 1/2 year old baby boy

THIS IS OUR TOMMY June 2012     
 
   :-( OUR STARVING TOMMY Aug 2012, breaks my heart
It was my determination looking for the cause (and ignoring medical advice)

THAT SAVED HIS LIFE.

It was my baby's illness that saved us all.

It is CELIAC DISEASE.

It is the only DISEASE completely controllable BY DIET. 

 A GLUTEN-FREE DIET

 

It was the obliviousness of countless doctors at a prestigious teaching Children's Hospital (and 10+ years of missed-diagnosis by my husband's various doctors)  that made me realize that...

MOST OF THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY IS DECADES BEHIND ON AWARENESS OF GLUTEN-RELATED ISSUES

It has been 7 months since we learned how celiac affected our family and almost
all of our health problems noted above have DISAPEARED
(with the occassional re-emergence when we Do G-Free Wrong).
In some ways, our discovery has been miraculous but the journey isn't over - there is so much to learn, my husband and I struggle with other health issues that only became apparent after going gluten-free, but everything is clearer now and
 

Thank God, our Tommy is a happy, healthy 2 year old, sledding in the snow and trying his best to be big like his bro & climb trees!

 


 

AWARENESS IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THOSE WHO LIVE IT, KNOW IT, OBSESS IT!