I Want to eat Gluten

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I wrote a short film about two people talking about celiac disease and eating gluten when one of them really should be eating gluten-free but are choosing NOT TOO.

 

 


Download the PDF version of this live action short with THIS LINK —> iwantGluten

You Can Teach Children About Allergies

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With the passing of time, society has slowly started to realize the severity of allergies and the potential in which they can kill. Peanuts have been banned from schools, buses and some public places and followed up with praise from those who require this step to lead a safe life. It’s a step in the right direction to protect the ones that matter the most. The ones that can’t defend themselves and need everybody to watch over them; the children.

And every step taken towards allergy awareness is important.

For the most part, some children don’t understand the fuss that is put over them. It’s both a good an bad thing. If children can be taught about what could kill them, in food form, then they have an easier way to protect them in the future. A smart child coupled with caring adults makes the world of difference.

A good example of the tragedy and triumph of allergies in pop culture is in the television show ‘Freaks and Geeks’ where one character is deathly allergic to peanuts and a bully in the school thinks he is faking and puts peanuts in his sandwich at lunch time. The show was filmed in 1999 but takes place in 1980. Just based on this one series of events, you get a true idea of how far allergy awareness has come. And every step taken towards allergy awareness is important.

Teaching a child at a young age about the food that can harm them is a extremely double edged sword:

One one side, by educating a child, as young as possible that a specific food type could harm them to an scary degree is teaching child to take part in protecting themselves. But, what if knowing to much about what could harm them creates an introvert who refuses to participate in activities? Or creates a little person who is almost ashamed to do anything and doesn’t feel like they will fit in.

On the other side, by not teaching a child about what can harm them and attempting to do it on your own is dangerous. They would have no clue as to what to expect and when/if it happens, it is scary.

“Allergy to peanuts appears to be on the rise in children. According to a FARE-funded study, the number of children in the U.S. with peanut allergy more than tripled between 1997 and 2008.1 Studies in the United Kingdom and Canada also showed a high prevalence of peanut allergy in schoolchildren.” -from the FARE website

No allergy or food intolerance is worse than the other. Each one needs to be taken seriously.

With peanuts taken out of school and the proper care taken in the public, peanut allergy awareness has been elevated to incredible and commendable heights. The awareness surrounding gluten intolerance or celiac disease still needs a lot of work. We can’t be in the classroom with the kids and see what happened when they eat their gluten-free lunch, or say a five year old in kindergarten trying to explain why they can’t share snacks with their desk buddy. Sometimes the misinformed diet (which is also the fad dieter’s gluten-free diet) projects in your family and out onto a your child, which they then repeat to a child who cannot defend themselves when they are made fun of for being gluten-free.

A child with a legitimate and medically diagnosed gluten-free diet can’t share the cupcakes at the school pop and cheap party and shouldn’t really play with the wheat-based plasticine.

It all comes down to the message I received. It broke my heart, and I can’t not think about it.

No allergy or food intolerance is worse than the other. Each one needs to be taken seriously.

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a 4 year old saying this to his mom

If you’re an adult who bad mouths allergies or fad diets, do what you want, just be aware of who is around you. If one child hears it and that information trickles down to a fellow student with deadly food issues… the cycle will never stop.


King Gluten Free is a diagnosed celiac since 2008 and his children don’t have allergies or gluten issues, but his family member do. Sometimes all a 4 year old needs is a role model who can’t eat gluten. I want to be there for him. Find Jordan Middlebrook (AKA King Gluten Free) at Instagram by clicking HERE

I Review Gluten-Free PowerBar ProteinPlus Bars

I was diagnosed with celiac disease (an autoimmune disease where the lower intestine’s ability to absorb the protein ‘gluten’ is practically impossible) in 2008 when I was 27 years old and at that point in my life I was well into being an adult. I had a full time job, I was married, I owned a house and I was getting ready to start a family. In the 27 years leading up to my celiac diagnosis I HAD NEVER EATEN A POWERBAR.

It wasn’t that I was ever actively avoiding them, it’s just that there was a never a though too grab one as I was on the go. I knew they existed, the idea of a PowerBar is steeped in pop culture that its hard not to think about PowerBar as THE nutritional, energy and protein bar. As I grew up, movie characters where saying they were going to grab a PowerBar or scenes in television had someone eating one or again, mentioning them. It’s funny how in all those years I never tasted a PowerBar, and now as a 36 year old man, I’m diving in. Head first. Mouth first. Eyes first. Now its just starting to sound weird how many firsts. Welcome to me eating a PowerBar for the first time.

I am no science guy. I understand things and how they work.

In 2016 PowerBar created the entirely gluten-free ProteinPlus Bars: lower sugar, 20 grams of protein and 5 grams of fibre. When all balled up into portable bar form, you get a handy little pick me up.

With celiac disease, any individual like myself needs to eat 100% gluten-free in order to maintain a healthy body and lifestyle.

If there is anything you need to take away from learning about what celiac disease is; its just that, what you read above. Having gluten-free food options is always a plus, and when protein bars like these new PowerBar ones come out and are readily available for us diagnosed celiacs on the go, its a blessing in disguise.

There are two new gluten-free flavours:

Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter is exactly what you think it is. The description of the actual bar ends up being exactly how it tastes. There have been times when you might have a protein bar and there is a subtle, if not heavy taste of chemicals, the gluten-free PowerBar ProteinPlus was no where near that. And judging by how heavy the box was when I picked it up, I had a sense that it would be that way. The opposite is in fact true; the Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter bar could also double as a candy bar in a grocery store. While the bar might feel heavy, it’s perfect in taste.

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make sure you watch the video at the end of this review to see me eating a PowerBar for the first time

If not for the fact that, too much protein would do me in, I could eat a box of these bad boys with no problem. The Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter was a surprise to my taste buds, a good surprise.

I am no science guy. I understand things and how they work. The idea behind protein and energy related to the human boy isn’t lost on me. The PowerBar Trisource blend of three different types of protein kinda blew me away. The blend is designed to digest at different intervals throughout out the day to continue providing energy to your person. Its funny how the simplest answer like sustainable energy for your body via varying breakdown times makes so much sense. Its what you need to keep going.

The new gluten-free PowerBars ProtienPlus did work for me over the few weeks I had a box of them at my side.

The Lemon Poppy Seed by PowerBar was a tough one to wrap my head around. Right off the bat, I’m not a fan of lemon flavoured food. I will avoid it at all costs. I waited until last to try the Lemon Poppy Seed bar because frankly I’m just not keen on it. The front of the box has a loaf of bread to entice you to think of this wheel consuming the new gluten-free bar, and the look of the actual bar, when opened, was exactly like what a loaf of lemon poppy seed would. It was crazy. Taste wise, okay. It was a lighter flavour that I truly expected, which isn’t bad, but I felt it was a little more dry that in should have been. Granted, I may be biased to the fact that its lemon, and it was well enough tasting, it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

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it looks like a loaf of bread put into bar form. I can appreciate the science behind that.

PowerBar was often asked in their products were gluten-free and now they can claim that the two new products, the ProteinPlus bars and it’s two flavours are gluten-free. Formulated to give you energy and work with your body. As a father of a six year old girl who never stops moving. A full time outdoor property maintenance worker. A cartoonist for an international magazine and a television host can mean a lot of meals on the go, and with all those jobs and work, a lot energy needs to be filled. The new gluten-free PowerBars ProtienPlus did work for me over the few weeks I had a box of them at my side. And along with the fact they worked for me, the Creamy Chocolate Peanut Butter tasted great.

 


I was paid for this review and received free product by PowerBar Canada. Make sure you click all the links in the above review to take you to the PowerBar site and find out for yourself how you feel about the ProtienPlus bars by PowerBar.

My Trip to the Glutenberg Craft Brewery

Everywhere you look there are companies, not just food companies, out there trying to create the idea they operate as a industrious family. And, unless you get a chance to visit the factory of business and it’s buildings, no one ever has the opportunity to know this first hand. I had a chance to see this family atmosphere first hand when I visited the Glutenberg Craft Brewery in December of 2016.

Glutenberg and their story isn’t new to how amazing foodstuffs are created; friends wanted to create a new and great tasting gluten-free beer and through dozens of tests and over a year of trial and error they created an award winning gluten-free beer. It’s what has happened in all those years since the creation of ‘the Gutenberg Blonde’ that sets them apart from all the other beer companies: they care.

They care, not just about making a traditional beer taste with all gluten-free ingredients, but making sure that their brand treats its fans, drinkers and supporters like family.

Read the Glutenberg story directly from their site by clicking HERE.

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December in Montreal, Quebec, Canada? Yes, it was cold.

I was able to visit the Glutenberg Craft Brewery in Montreal, Quebec to tour the facility, see the process in which the gluten-free beer was made and sample some of their amazing beer flavours (most of which aren’t available in my home province of Ontario). I didn’t just get to visit Montreal (which I have never done before), I also got to take a train from Toronto to Montreal (something I also haven’t done). The whole day was filled with amazing firsts. And the tip on that iceberg was visiting the Glutenberg Craft Brewery.

While some flavours of beer I sampled didn’t come out as my favourite in the line, there was still a remarkable taste to every one of them, and every one of the gluten-free beers that Glutenberg makes deserves to be tasted and enjoyed. Glutenberg has attempted AND succeeded in doing what they originally set out to do: make a good gluten-free beer. I have had my share of gluten-free beer because I am a diagnosed celiac, some good some bad some terrible, and I can safely say that Glutenberg has their stuff together. All of their hard work has paid off and it reflects in the end product of the gluten-free beer.

What started out as a small company, Glutenberg still maintains that sense of a small company, even as it expands itself past international borders and still considering themselves a craft brewery. When looking at how in the past, traditional craft breweries where the tastes accommodating and manufactured for the area or local towns, Glutenberg is still a craft brewery, manufacturing small batches in MANY different flavours, and while doesn’t just stick to its own area, it is the craft brewery to the world. Their awards prove that.

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In January 2016, Glutenberg was just available in Ontario after being available in other provinces and territories in Canada for a number of years. Even being available in almost two dozen states in the United Sates of America. I had e-mailed the company to keep me in the loop as to when I could get some of their beer from my local liquor store. As fate would have it, as a blogger, as King Gluten Free, the Glutenberg Craft Brewery was awesome enough to send me four beers to be sampled. I. Fell. In. Love.

I wasn’t able to spend to much time in Montreal when I went to visit the Glutenberg Craft Brewery. I caught the train early in the morning on a Friday and spent five and a half hours on the train listening to music on my phone, writing Christmas cards and texting my wife. All the while anticipating my first trip to Montreal. After the afternoon spent at the brewery I was back at the train station and on my way home to Toronto via the train. It was a long day, a fruitful day and an exciting day.

I have never hidden the fact about how I feel about food and the connection I have to it as a child and even an adult. Finding a gluten-free alternative to something I had as a child now as an adult diagnosed with celiac, really does take an emotional toll on me. I remember the first time as an adult I found out that Post ‘Fruity Pebbles’ were gluten-free and proceeded to eat them as a diagnosed celiac, and all the memories of Saturday morning cartoons came flooding back to me and I wept as I ate. My spirit was filled with love and joy as I could again eat something that connected me to the past. It’s kind of like smelling something that reminded you of your passed on Grandfather…only this time, it was food.

From it’s inception, Glutenberg has been creating great gluten-free beer…

In January 2016 when the Glutenberg Craft Brewery happily supplied me with a few gluten-free ‘Glutenberg Blondes’ I was once again filled with love and the memories that took place when I was a young man who had no clue what celiac disease was and was still years away from being diagnosed with it (I was diagnosed in 2008), Glutenberg tasted like high school. While some people would say it was either the best or worst time of your life, I was taken back to the times me and my buddies would go to the cottage and drinking barley based beers or the time my little sister and I would sit in the back yard (funny enough at my Grandparent’s) and drink those same barely based beers on what we eventually referred to as ‘Fun Friday’. The Glutenberg Blonde reminded me of a beer I once loved (and could not have because of my diagnosed celiac disease) and triggered something in me that has been undying since that very first sip; my love of the Glutenberg brand.

From it’s inception, Glutenberg has been creating great gluten-free beer and expanding to create new and promising ways to help out the other craft breweries around them that need just that little bit of help. A program where the vats at Oshlag (their own non-gluten-free distillery) can be rented out to other craft breweries and make much bigger batches and maximize Glutenberg’s own competition’s profit margin and creating bigger batches of a different craft beer. Or a program that helps to distribute smaller breweries brands and help get those unknown and unnamed craft brews to those who might never get it, and help out the small guy.

Glutenberg has become the big brother to all the craft breweries it works with. I stood in a room filled with all kinds of other cans and bottles of beer and was taken aback at how Glutenberg is always helping out those who need it. Companies that are looking for that outreached hand to get their name out there. Glutenberg not only treats everyone in their brewery like family, but even their competition gets treated as such; FAMILY.

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So many litres of delicious gluten-free beer.

It’s not everyday you get to sample award winning gluten-free beer with the Chief Operating Officer of a brewery, and aside for great tasting drinks, I was treated to amazing conversation in an environment that made me feel at ease. Glutenberg not only supplies gluten-free beer to celiacs all over it does amazing things locally to recycle beer cans, and consistently sending back the spent grain to the providing farmer once Glutenberg has finished extracting the sugar from it. The farmer can then feed his soils with the spent grain. Glutenberg has different technologies to create gluten-free beer with presses and countless ways to create new and innovate products that are all gluten-free and safe for me… a diagnosed celiac.

As for how ALL the beer I tasted: (click HERE to see what they offer) I loved them all. From the Blonde to the IPA (which is one of the best beers I have ever tasted) to the White and I even got to take a stab at tasting the ASAP gluten-free beer which is only avail be in Quebec at the time of my visit. A gluten-free IPA infused with flavours of Pineapple, Simcoe Hops and Peach. All great all unique. Even tasting a gluten-free beer made with olives and another made WITHOUT maple syrup that tasted like maple syrup. All of the beers that Glutenberg allowed me to taste were just great.

While some flavours of beer I sampled didn’t come out as my favourite in the line, there was still a remarkable taste to every one of them…

 

 

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This press squeezes hard to breakdown grains. Glutenberg is the only one to utilize this tech in Quebec.

 

 

It’s not everyday you get to sample award winning gluten-free beer with the Chief Operating Officer of a brewery…

 

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All that gluten-free beer making grains

 

I spent the day travelling to Montreal, Quebec, toured a brewery, sampled gluten-free beer and had great conversations with some amazing people. Glutenberg welcomed me with open arms and if you’re not a fan of gluten-free beer, give Glutenberg a try. And if you’re a fan of drinking beer, give Glutenberg a try.

I thank everyone at the Glutenberg Craft Brewery for taking time out of their day to show me around.


My train ride to and from Toronto, Ontario to Montreal, Quebec was paid for by the friendly people at Glutenberg.

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It was a long day

Undiagnosed Celiac can Create Public Speaking Fears

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There was a time I was in college.

There shouldn’t be any surprises when it comes to my post-secondary education. I also never finished college. I have no problem in admitting that I never made it through one year, or one semester. At the time I never considered that I was a ‘school person’. Sometimes I still think that I’m not one to take instruction from anybody (I can be stubborn that way). Then I look back on my time in the late nineties when I attended college for Art Fundamentals and see that I was partial right, and way way wrong.

FAST FORWARD TO 2017

One day while on set at Georgina Life (the television show I host on Rogers TV) I met with some of the amazing people at the South Shore Toastmasters club and they were riveting me to my seat as they spoke about finding confidence in yourself by finding your voice. A public speaking club which helps you develop better social and public skills and aides in your ability to be present in public speaking.

I recalled my memories of how in college; there was a seminar class, where I would have to spend the entire semester creating and building a subject and then presenting and hour long seminar about my topic.

I went to the first class, and no class past that. I dropped out of college.

Public speaking was frightening.

Even high school presentations I had my issues. Even to this day I still get extremely nervous at the idea of doing it. It’s all something that followed me from those days as a teenager and those days as an undiagnosed celiac.

I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2008 and I was well into being the person I was meant to be and It was hard to change a lot of who I was. The diet was fairly easy. Switching from gluten rich foods to an all, 100% gluten-free diet was easier than I though, and now in 2017 it’s second nature.

NOW, I see that my fear of public speaking was partially because of my undiagnosed celiac and wasn’t always a figment of my imagination. I see that those times I buckled under the pressure of someone watching me talk was because the toll gluten was doing to my insides and ultimately affecting my mental state. Of course this revelation took almost two decades to figure out, but if I was diagnosed with celiac disease at an earlier age, I could have finished college and become the visual artist I intended to be or finished college and became a world renowned motivational speaker.

But I didn’t.

Here’s what happened.

I was diagnosed with celiac disease when I was 27 and then almost nine years later I became the host of a television show (speaking to the possibility of more that 10,000 people live) and a lot of my fear disappeared. Not before I was diagnosed with celiac and straighten out my shit. But, because I am now eating gluten-free I can maybe function the way I was meant too and not someone in constant pain due to the improper foods. Now, because I was diagnosed with a disease that is so invisible, I wasn’t diagnosed until I reached the pinnacle of my sickness.

My story isn’t new. But it can help someone to see what the potential of celiac can do.

Not only have I gone on to speak LIVE on a television show. I’ve also spoken about my celiac journey for the GLUTEN FREE GARAGE, GLUTEN FREE WELLNESS EVENT and the GEORGINA HOME & LIFESTYLE SHOW. All public speaking forums and all ways to motivate others that just because I was once terribly frightened by public speaking, a little bit of diagnosis and bravery can go a long way. Remembering that I still get butterflies and sweaty and gross when I have to go and speak publicly, but now it’s not crippling and now I recognize the possible reasons why.

If you suspect celiac disease GET CHECKED.

If your medical practitioner won’t check you of it. FIND ONE THAT WILL.

If being diagnosed with celiac disease and eating 100% gluten-free ends up corrections those things that were always written off as ‘shy’ or ‘mousy’, then why not take a stab at getting properly diagnosed?

It can’t hurt.

It can’t hurt you or your future.


Find Jordan Middlebrook updating DAILY on Instagram by clicking HERE and creating cartoon for Gluten-Free Living Magazine all through 2017.

Celiac Action Duo and Time Machine

January2017

Keep coming back on the 15th of every month for all of 2017 and The Celiac Action Duo will be sure to entertain and surprise and advocate celiac disease on the sly and fight bad guys like you’ve never seen.

Celiac Disease is Normal

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As a diagnosed celiac, I don’t consider myself abnormal. There is nothing different about me that should change the way I feel about myself. YES I have to eat 100% gluten-free to maintain a healthy life and body, but thats normal.

Labels can be hurtful, and when diagnosed celiacs start to be called something the opposite of ‘normal’ then we have a problem.

What someone eats shouldn’t be a defining feature of a person’s ability to be normal.

It comes down, not to diagnosed celiacs calling themselves ‘not normal’ but others doing it. We all know it can be tough to see a child struggle to fit in with their class at a special occasion where a bunch of cupcakes come in to celebrate a birthday or a new case of Play-doh has just arrived. A child diagnosed with celiac disease needs to stay away from these things and there is an inherent responsibility from the parents to the teachers to the child themselves to know that.

It can be tough to install that in all partiers involved.

The severity of celiac is never apparent because it’s an invisible disease and the teachers might not see the effects when the child gets home. And the parent might not know a child has ingested gluten because the child is to scared or ashamed to admit that they did it.

CELIAC DISEASE HAS A LEARNING CURVE.

No one is perfect, but we all have to learn to live with it.

By telling children that they’re not normal because they have celiac disease or they can’t eat gluten and therefore can’t have the birthday cake is just wrong. A child with celiac disease is just as normal as the next, they just can’t have gluten. What someone eats shouldn’t be a defining feature of a person’s ability to be normal.

Its troubling when you hear a parent say “my little boy/girl wishes they could be normal and participate in a birthday in class”. Negativity is learned and who ever is creating that low opinion of a child diagnosed with celiac disease needs to stop. As with children, friends have to stop telling their diagnosed celiac friends that they’re not normal. It’s a trickle down effect that is the opposite of what celiac awareness is.

I have to eat 100% gluten-free to maintain a healthy life and body, but thats normal. Normal for me you ask? Yes, but I also have to eat fruit and veggies and get the proper vitamins and minerals as much as any other person without celiac disease. I just happen to not be able to digest gluten.

Telling someone they’re not normal because they eat differently just breeds contempt and anger. Children can grow up with a skewed sense of self and impose that on their everyday goings-on and adults can take that information and lash out with anger and create an entire different set of problems for themselves. Not just emotionally, but externally and create a bubble that diagnosed celiacs don’t need.

Diagnosed celiacs need to stick together, no matter what age, and correct those who might call them ‘not normal’. We are normal. We just have to eat gluten-free. Thats it.

If someone says you’re not normal, just correct them.

YOU. ARE. NORMAL.

Celiac Disease in your Home

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Gluten is hidden in every kind of food you can imagine. When you look at it, the list is gigantic. Not just food, but beauty products and deodorants and even in glue for the crafts with the kids.

Gluten, gluten gluten. Saying those words and people get caught up in the ‘fad’ that is the gluten-free diet. Individuals that are on the gluten-free diet for non-medical reasons never have to worry about cross contamination. And that’s where it is.

Cross contamination.

The cross contamination of ONE crumb of gluten. One speck; the size of a pencil point, of an average type wheat based bread can send the body of a diagnosed celiac into a frenzy and trigger over 200 symptoms (ranging from mad poops, brain fog and even acne). Cross contamination is the second thing that diagnosed celiacs have to worry about, the first being whether the food we’re eating is actually gluten-free. If celiac’s aren’t worried about the food in front of them, they’re usually worrying about the food around them. It can be a vicious cycle.

That mentality is something that a lot of people don’t understand. That’s why celiac awareness is so important. Educating the public about celiac disease and informing those who live with us about the harmful effects of cross contamination and intentional/accidental gluten ingestion.

It’s a fact that some diagnosed celiacs live in shared food households. Situations like that can’t be avoided for reasons that aren’t anyone’s business, but when issues of cross contamination and constantly dodging bread crumbs on the kitchen counter become a daily problem; switching to an ALL gluten-free household might be the next logical step.

‘Never having to say you’re sorry’ is a great little saying to throw around when it comes to the people that you live with. But, have you ever considered saying ‘never having to ask someone to use a separate utensil to spread the sour cream’?

A simple and effective way to avoid gluten cross contamination is by using different utensils every time you dip into the peanut butter or the mayonnaise. When one person in the house has celiac disease, a very serious illness, that can only be treated with gluten-free food, this path to maintain a healthy life is very easy too do. After laying out the rules and the  ground work for this procedure the percentage of gluten cross contamination diminishes.

By being a diagnosed celiac in a shared food house hold, you become your own mega-advocate and spout off what should be done about gluten-free food, your symptoms and the dire effects of ingesting gluten is like due to cross contamination. It’s when this simple rule isn’t followed that the blood boils. Witnessing someone across the table use the same spoon to spread sour cream on a flour based tortilla shell and place the spoon back in the container like there was no care in the world. Ignoring the ONE SIMPLE RULE in place to protect you.

In these types of homes celiac advocacy is important as much as it is in the public. Start locally and move on to the world. A diagnosed adult can speak for them selves, but a child with celiac might not be able to stand up and say that kind of behaviour isn’t right. A simple rule like using a different spoon can mean the difference between having a great day, or spending the next few hours in the washroom with mega-poops and the next week feeling weak, sore and tired, possibly missing work or school or social gatherings or family functions.

Is it ignorance? Forgetfulness? Sometimes, the truth is never known.

Shared food households are common and they do work. Sometimes they need a little work. No one is perfect and what works well for one family might not work for the next. As long as there is someone in the home who supports and aides in the food rules like a wife, husband, sister or mother then the ride with celiac disease and shared food households goes a lot smoother.

Everything takes time, patience and practice. Even with celiac disease. Especially with celiac disease.

Celiac Disease is Here Everyday

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When I tell you I have celiac disease, don’t stand there and stare at me like I just told you a joke. As far as some individuals know; celiac disease is something a lot of people made up and are using as a scapegoat to squeak by in life. The big joke, the big cosmic joke is that celiac disease exists. I don’t have a serious or deadly peanut allergy or an urgent shellfish allergy and so, I don’t look sick or like I’m dying when I ingest gluten. But rest assured, my disease is potentially just as serious.

I don’t look sick because I eat properly. I eat 100% gluten-free. It’s the only way to keep my diagnosed celiac disease, and every other person diagnosed, in check.

I AM sick, I do have celiac disease, it’s just all in order now. I was only diagnosed in 2008 and was eating all the WRONG food. I don’t eat the wrong food anymore and I check/watch/read every label and after years of maintaining a proper gluten-free diet, I am a lot healthier.

For a diagnosed celiac; celiac disease isn’t just about one month of awareness (which is MAY of every year), it’s a daily defending of a disease that not a lot of people take seriously. Celiac disease isn’t just a conference at the end of the week or every month, it’s a gathering of like-minded and like-bodied people sharing new ideas and new discoveries with a lifestyle the general public sometimes views as inferior. It’s a not a disease that was created by pesticides or GMO’s, it’s been around since long before you or I were born.

It’s not about throwing it in everyones face, its just about positive reinforcement that celiacs are normal, happy and amazing people, regardless of what the media or popular culture says.

Celiac is an invisible disease and those people with it have to constantly defend it. Almost constantly having to point out the reasons they need to maintain a gluten-free diet. It’s a bout health, not fad diets or food ridicule. Media stars are out there telling an audience that it’s trendy to have celiac, making it harder and harder to for us to have said celiac. We have to stand on the highest rooftop and own celiac like a boss and tell them all the deal, the real deal. Celiac disease affects every gender and can possibly affect anyone without them knowing it.

No, having celiac disease isn’t just about food, but it’s a big part of who we are as individuals and a big part of how we try to be accepted as regular people attempting to adapt into regular food-type situations: parties, restaurants and dinners are all the same public missions that celiacs handle weekly and internalize privately. Celiac disease is an every day thing that can be a hard struggle for those who don’t have those around them who support them. That’s why celiac disease is an everyday thing, celiac advocacy is an everyday thing.

Celiac disease is misunderstood at the best of times and only through constant promotion of how normal we are and how unusual our disease is can we create the kind of positive awareness that ALL celiacs deserve. Yes we need to eat 100% gluten-free, but we can also be 100% fun and normal, the only thing different about a celiac is that gluten is a poison to our bodies and we need to stick to a specific kind of diet to stay healthy.

If every 1 out of 133 people has celiac disease, then the understanding of this disease could probably be just a little better and more accepted. Support for it could stretch past those who already have it and those who are directly affected by it, like family and friends, so take the awareness seriously. It’s not about throwing it in everyones face, its just about positive reinforcement that celiacs are normal, happy and amazing people, regardless of what the media or popular culture says.

Celiac disease is going to be around a lot longer than you or I; as much as it’s been around before you or I. So lets say ‘hello’ to celiac and give it a high five. And we’ll use everyday of EVERY month to celebrate our celiac awareness.

I have celiac disease, ask me about it. You might just learn something.

Celiac Disease and Memories

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As diagnosed celiacs, we’ve all gone back and forth with ourselves and even with one another as to what that one gluten-filled food is that we miss. After being diagnosed with celiac disease, sometimes our tastebuds and attachments to food draw us back to something we had a child and now we can’t because we have celiac disease and have to eat 100% gluten-free.

I have been diagnosed with celiac disease since the middle of 2008 and in all the years that  have followed, I have found amazing gluten-free food and gluten-free food that is comparable to food I used to eat before my diagnosis and I have found some of my favourite childhood foods have always been gluten-free. Having celiac disease and eating food is always an intense roller coaster of emotion. In all the years of being diagnosed with celiac disease I have an deep emotional connection to food. Sometimes people talk about smells that trigger memories; mine are usually food related.

The smell of black pepper on cooking eggs reminds me of my grandmother.

The smell of steak cooking on a bbq reminds me of my grandfather.

Minute Rice; my mom.

So on and so on. Everyone has those kinds of stories and feelings. Looking at this short list (which is just the tip of the iceberg), any of these can be made gluten-free, and are in fact gluten-free. So, these memories can always be recreated, but what about those that are kind of lost in the transition of the mind. Sweet memories that can’t be unlocked anytime soon?

Having celiac disease can present a host of negatives. Mainly food negatives. But sometimes they can never be helped.

This is my story…

Many many moons ago, years an years before my diagnosis of celiac disease. Actually, i’m not even sure I was in my 20’s at this point. My father and I had spent a little while at my grandmother’s house because she had recently passed away. It was a difficult time for some of us, but in someways brought us a little close together. One particular night, my dad had went to the closest McDonald’s for dinner and got himself some food. In a time before constant cellphone usage and the word ‘text’ barely existed the way it does now, my dad purchased me a Big Mac meal.

I wasn’t around with him at the house when he got it, nor was I around when he ate it. I was just up the street with my aunt and cousin doing aunt and cousins things. Maybe watching a movie or talking; point is, dad got me dinner. He called the house and said he left it for me in the microwave.

When I got home, to my grandmother’s house later that night, the Big Mac meals was in the microwave waiting for me. Dad was a sleep, and he had gone out of his way to buy me dinner when I wasn’t there and put it aside for me to eat later. It was late at night and I still ate it.

One thing I have found is that celiac disease outs a lot of my food choices into perspective. There is an old saying “A moment on there lips. A lifetime on the hips” and with celiac,  you could say something like “Gluten past the lips, gives you a case of the shits”. So, the choices I currently make as a dedicated 100% gluten-free eater are all in perspective. I wouldn’t go out and eat a Big Mac now; it’s not gluten-free. I wouldn’t eat whole wheat bread again because its easier to get and cheaper. The diet is perspective. I eat 100% gluten-free because it keeps me healthy, some don’t get that. A little bit of gluten WILL harm you. If you have celiac disease, its best to be positive about it and eat 100% gluten-free.

The smell of an hours old reheated McDonald’s Big Mac meal, coupled with the taste and memory of me eating at the table in the kitchen, alone, at night, reminds me of a time when my father and I bonded and spent time together and had a good time, regardless of how tragic it was. I have a healthy emotional connection to memories that are coupled with food. I could have a Big Mac meal and reclaim the memories that I shared with my dad. I won’t have one because that choice will put me in a category of bodily harm and cause serious damage to my insides and possibly prevent me from operating like a member of society. Celiac disease took my ability to relive this. There isn’t a time in all these years that I haven’t thought of that memory and the Big Mac moment hasn’t been a huge part of it.

Having celiac disease isn’t voluntary. Maintaining a gluten-free diet, even when it’s absolutely necessary, is. Looking back at the relationship between food and memories can be tough knowing that your celiac disease hampers the ability to truly relive them.

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