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.

Lose Weight on a Gluten-Free Diet

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“If you want to lose weight go on a gluten-free diet.”

This is something you’ve heard a lot in the media. It’s told to you by celebrities and and it’s told to you by TV doctors, but guess what, that’s not the case. You’ll never guess that I’m not the peak of physical perfection. I’m no Channing Tatum, I’m more of a Jack Black. This is because I am on a gluten-free diet.

I have celiac disease and I’m 100% gluten-free and I still struggle with my weight, and still, on a regular basis how my body looks. I’m not swayed by what the world perceives as ‘sexy’ or ‘chiseled’. I am 100% comfortable with my body, but my weight can get out of control and it’s getting increasingly difficult to fit into my favourite t-shirts. All because I am on a gluten-free diet.

I have a large stomach and on a good dayI have a great set of man-breasts and all while I am on a gluten-free diet. But, I’m sexy as hell.

Guess what? A gluten-free diet is a lot like any other diet and food choice out there. In order to maintain a healthy body or slim down to what you deem as acceptable, you need to work at it. There is no denying that hard work pays off. My Instagram feed is filled with gluten-free people kicking ass and staying healthy. Its a category not limited to athletes or body builders. Nurses and Dads and assistants that are all on a gluten-free diet are doing an awesome job at creating a look that they are comfortable with all while being on a gluten-free diet. Whether its celiac disease or gluten-free for other reasons.

I can do that to.

When I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2008, a lot of  gluten-free food wasn’t the easiest to come by. With my initial diagnosis I lost a bunch of weight as my body started to act normal. Bloating reduced and swelling dropped. I was starting to be the thinnest an lightest weight in my adult life. The one sure fire way that I was able to be thinner and healthier in 2008 when I was first diagnosed with celiac was because no junk food and no snack food was ever, EVER gluten-free. That is a solid fact. I barely knew what gluten was. I knew as much as the next guy. Companies were blind to what gluten was and the huge need for it in the country. In 2008, man it was good that junk food wasn’t gluten-free at all or labelled properly. It helped keep me clear of all that junk.

Currently. I am now dining on gluten-free junk food like it’s going out of style. One of the worst things, was that bakeries were popping up making gluten-free brownies. Potato chip brands were now being labelled as gluten-free. There was a Scrooge McDuck moment of jumping into a pool of Doritos when I initially found out that they were gluten-free in Canada. That was truly a blessed day. But also the worst day.

A few years ago I switched doctors and I was having body issues. My big gut was always sticking out, it was always just there (while I have zero body image problems, I still think I could do something with myself or just be that much better) and I asked the doctor if my stomach was swollen because I had celiac and I was bloated because I wasn’t absorbing the proper nutrients. I used celiac as a scape goat. I just had a big beer belly.

Celiac disease can’t always be a scapegoat to how poorly an individual eats.

I’ve been on many diets.

I attempted to curb my portions to a more manageable size. I tried more physical activity. I have a food problem. I like food, so I eat food. In 2015 alone I started a diet at least three times. Breakfast is my kryptonite and Ketchup flavoured chips are probably my worst enemy. Even on these diets and attempts to become more svelte, I was still large because I am on a gluten-free diet.

Male Pattern Obesity is a thing. This is all because I am on a gluten-free diet and I don’t watch what I eat. Not because celiac disease creates a huge stomach while eating gluten-free. Its because I don’t watch what I eat. I am on a gluten-free diet and I gain weight. And I have a large stomach. I have a dad-bod.

Don’t let others tell you what to eat when it comes to gluten-free. Just because you’re a gluten-free eater doesn’t mean you have to eat clean or healthy. It’s every person’s own prerogative to do what they please with their own bodies, and that includes what you put into it. I am a leader when it comes to eating whatever the hell I want, and I am proud to say that. Just because I am on a diet, a celiac on a gluten-free diet doesn’t mean I’m going to stop eating bacon,there is certified gluten-free bacon. Same with fresh fries and hamburgers and kebobs.

It is widely recommend that if you DON’t have a serious illness like celiac disease then you shouldn’t be on a gluten-free diet. Unless otherwise dictated by a competent medical professional. 

Eat whatever you want, even if you’re on a gluten-free diet and you want to ‘cheat’ and eat gluten, go nuts. I’m not going to tell you no. If you’re a celiac and you’re that stupid to eat gluten, knowing full well what it does to you, then you do whatever you want. That’s just like the way I’ll eat a bag of potato chips in one sitting. We all know the consequences of our food-eating-actions. We make the choices for ourselves. I’ll continue to eat whatever I want; healthy or otherwise (you can too), as long as its gluten-free.

Never let others tell you that a gluten-free diet is a cure-all and the ‘best’ way to lose weight. It isn’t. Diets are based on will power and hard work, proper nutrition, daily activity and mindset that I don’t possess. I commend anyone who can do it, because I struggle with food every day.

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.

I Wish You Had Celiac Disease

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Celiac disease is hereditary.

My daughter has been tested for celiac disease and has been deemed negative.

Being diagnosed with celiac disease isn’t a death sentence. Getting my daughter checked for celiac is a smart move. Catching it early to prevent any problems that could potentially arise in the future. Celiac is hereditary, so having immediate family checked should be on the list of things to do this week.

My mom is a diagnosed celiac. When I was initially diagnosed at 27 years old, i let my mom know about the hereditary nature of the disease and she got checked.

Being the ONLY gluten-free eater in a house of five; there can sometimes be a feeling of being a lone or left out. Many times are family meals are gluten-free, sometimes we might even make gluten-full food and gluten-free food. Then, on days when I’m not a round or out of the house, caution goes out the window and it’s gluten for everyone: ordering take out Chinese food or breaded chicken wings. There is no handbook on how to feel when you have celiac disease, knowing that people can just do what they want with the food in the house can sometimes make you feel like a burden. This is a legitimate feeling that you are allowed to have.

Would you wish celiac disease on someone?

I would. Only to have a buddy.

I wish my wife had celiac disease.

She has stood by me the entire time I have been diagnosed with celiac disease. And even as I travel the world of my current celiac status, she is there with me. Always supporting me and making sure I am looked after. But, the things is, my wife can only empathize with me, she can’t feel what I’m feeling when I sit at a table and everyone gets a grandiose meal and I sit by and have a salad. In moments like that you feel like a complete outsider, and to have my wife experience the same thing could make me sit at ease.

I only wish my wife had celiac, not to have to go through the range of emotions one person might feel, but for selfish reasons: to have a buddy. Someone who lives with me and thinks of food the same way as me and can relate to some of the problems or negatives a diagnosed celiac might have to go through. There aren’t always negatives with celiac disease, more often than not there are amazing wins, and I’d want my wife to know that feeling too. Even is she decided to go gluten-free as an act of faith an solidarity, that personal move still isn’t the same as being diagnosed with an disease like celiac; where the only treatment is a 100% gluten-free diet. It’s not a choice.

It’s just that; celiac disease can really put you down in the dumps sometimes, and having someone go through the same thing in the same house would be an amazing bonus. Kind of like having a support group, right there with me. There is no shame in hoping, or wishing someone had celiac with you. YOU ARE ALLOWED to feel like this. Being alone is a terrible thing, and celiac disease can make you feel alone, even when in a crowded room. Having someone you love and respect by your side makes handling situations like that a lot easier.

I wish my wife had celiac disease only for selfish reasons, but I love that she doesn’t.

No Celiac is Alone

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Knowing that no diagnosed celiac is ever alone is a great thing. Celiac disease isn’t rare, so finding someone who understands anything about it to some degree isn’t very far. In fact, if 1 out of 133 people is has it, then chances are someone in your extended family does, or someone at your work place does, maybe even someone in your school. Just knowing that you’re not the only diagnosed celiac in the world is a good thing. Being equipped with that knowledge can take you far.

It takes some time, and patience to bring about positive awareness to celiac disease. If you’re not doing it for yourself, you’re more than likely doing it for someone you care about. That’s an amazing thing to stand up and tell the world that you have celiac disease or your husband has celiac disease and YOU do the advocating for them. YOU create the awareness by making sure that gluten-free options are available at the company dinner and they are labelled accordingly. It’s that type of selfless act that reminds celiacs that they’re definitely not alone.

Celiacs are never alone. In a world that can be filled with negativity and all you want to do is punctuate that you need to eat 100% gluten-free and that the food has to be 100% non-cross-contaminated with wheat, rye or barley crumbs; that idea can be troublesome. Stretching out your arms and your feelers and letting people know you have celiac is the basic elements for celiac awareness.

One time, many years ago as I was starting to get into this whole King Gluten Free thing, I frequented local shows. I had my booth and sold t-shirts and had a poster that said ‘KING GLUTEN FREE’. In those times, not a lot of people stopped to talk. Not a lot of people were to interested in what I was doing there. No one seemed to really care. I wasn’t selling food, I was selling kingglutenfree.com and no one was biting.

At one show, I stood there. No one came to talk to me, they only talked at me. gluten-free this and gluten-free that. And when I brought up my diagnosed celiac disease and the severity of it, people nodded an walked away. This was late 2013 when I was still just a baby in the celiac awareness game.

At the end of the show something happened.

A kindly old gentleman with worked in hands and a ruffled baseball cap came up to me in my booth and started to look around at my sign and my t-shirts which read ‘gluten free like a boss’ and looked me up and down. He leaned into me and said “at least you’re here bringing awareness to it” and then walked away.

At the time I thought he was just being polite and came over to see me as I stood a lone and no one was truly engaging with me. He left his homemade jam and candle booth to see me and be a gentleman, but as it turns out, I heard through the grapevine, his son was a diagnosed celiac.

While sometimes it might feel that we, as celiacs, are alone in the world, but when we have someone like this old farmer happy to see someone is creating awareness for his son, you know   we’re not alone. No celiac is ever alone, it’s just that maybe sometimes we have to find that one person, or people, who stand with us and support us. That support can come in many forms: love, attention, advocacy but there is never a wrong way to support a fellow celiac or a loved one with celiac.

Lending show of support to a person diagnosed with celiac disease lets them know that they aren’t alone. In a time when celiac disease is shuffled off or often confused with a gluten-free fad diet or fake, made up disease, having a non-diagnosed person in your corner lift you up can be the best thing of all. Acknowledgement can go a long way. And that acknowledgement can stretch as far or as close as a Mom or dad or sister, cousin or cafe owner. Support is support.

No celiac is ever alone, and that one man created my faith in that statement, whether his son knew about it or not.

A Parent, A Child and Celiac Disease

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For the sake of argument, lets say that a child is anyone below the age of being a teenager. It’s much easier to establish a child as a person who needs to be taken care of by their parents or guardians for prolonged periods of time.

There are people out there that do what they can to spread the word about celiac disease. There are individuals out there that advocate about the severity, importance and seriousness about celiac disease. They do that for the people who can’t or won’t do it for themselves. Creating a little celiac disease awareness goes a long way for those who don’t have a voice, and that’s why parents of a child diagnosed with celiac disease are the biggest and BEST celiac advocates out there.

No one cares for their child more than a parent and that’s why they are the best advocates for celiac disease. Children born with celiac disease or diagnosed early in life, need that one person, or two people to get out there in the community and educate those around about the severity of celiac disease; about the dangerousness of what crumbs of bread, a small amount of gluten can do to their child. Parents are the greatest raisers of celiac awareness.

As a parent of a diagnosed celiac, it can be tough to see your child struggle to fit in or attempt to be a part of the crowd when food is being served at a birthday party, but because the parents are the true champions, you know that gluten-free food is being handled and served properly and safely and that the question of celiac disease is being raised with positivity.

There is no shame in telling other people that your child can’t come to a party because you’re concerned about the food and how safe it might not be. The job of any parent is to protect their child and make sure they are safe. Even if it’s from food, or other less-than-diligent parents at parties. It’s also absolutely fine to send your little boy or girl, who has celiac disease, to a party with their own gluten-free food. There is no wrong way to take care of your child who has been diagnosed with celiac disease. As a parent, there is no wrong way to make sure they are safe.

Children teaching children about celiac disease can be daunting. I’m not a child or a parent of a child with celiac, but I know what I was like as a young dude and can attest to the fact that trying to live, grow up, in a world where everything is challenged and looked at with a negative eye, it must be difficult. Bullying, peer pressure, the mob mentality; there is a lot that can go wrong when trying to grow up with celiac disease in a world that still. doesn’t. it.

There are things that can go wrong, but the parents and guardians are there for the support that every child needs. Parents have every right to flex their muscle (so to speak) when helping their boy/girl get along. No one has to be the same as the other, no child has to fit in anywhere, they just have to be themselves and do whats right. That’s where the supportive and nurturing love of family comes in. By your example, little Billy or June will grow up with a better acceptance of who they are and who they will be as they get older.

No one says parenting is easy. Throw in the barely understood celiac disease and you’ve got an extra hurdle.

If you, as a parent are understanding of their disease, they in turn will be understanding of what life has to offer them. It always starts with the parents. Parents are the people they look up to. Adults are the ones who are supposed to lead them through life. With positive thinking, reinforcement and love, it’s all good. Celiac Disease or not.

A Celiac in the House

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As I sit across from you, why wouldn’t you think that I don’t take my celiac disease seriously?

At no point should the people in your home question the reasons you are gluten-free if you have celiac disease. The ones who reside with you (it can be anyone. Not just partners, but children and sisters and brothers and mothers and sisters) are the ones closest to you and need to know how serious celiac disease is.

The choices diagnosed celiacs make in their home is based on the very simple reason that they need to be healthy. This includes everything from separating the gluten-free food from the regular food or scooping separate jar of peanut butter for later consumption (to avoid cross contamination). Every step taken by a diagnosed celiac has a premeditated plan: STAY HEALTHY.

Aside from having to eat 100% gluten-free, diagnosed celiacs are just regular people. When I say choices made, I don’t mean going out and smoking a whole lot of crack, I mean making sure that the canned kidney beans made in the communal chilli is gluten-free or that regular bread-type crouton aren’t in the teaser salad at the table. The life of a celiac in the home can be great and it can be bad.

There are no rules in the home to follow for celiacs. Some homes are 100% gluten-free and some are shared food homes. It all depends on how you feel. No two celiacs deal with heir disease the same. And thats ok. There is no definite book or rule to live by when you have celiac disease.

Cross contamination happens. Sometimes when the table is filled with various types of food, it happens. That’s why it is extremely important to know what is happening at the table and what is happening with the other plates:

  1. Did the serving spoon touch that guy’s bun?
  2. Did a crumb from that slice of bread fall into the mashed potatoes as they handed it across the table?

Sure, having a 100% gluten-free home could eliminate questions and potential problems like this, but sometimes you can’t always have it that way.

That’s why is important for all the people in your home to understand the severity of cross contamination and what celiac disease is. Shuffling off the crumb in the broccoli as ‘maybe something else’ isn’t the answer. If a diagnosed celiac suspects that that ‘something else’ is in fact a crumb of bread from someone else at the table, believe them. When it comes down to it; it’s not about the food getting eaten or making sure all the food at the table is eaten, its about the health of the celiac.

Cross contamination is real and thats why there is AND should be a huge emphasis on it in shared food households. Everyone in the house has to be on board with what a celiac is putting down. If the others in your home choose to be ignorant to this fact, then there is an issue. Is it trust? Is it neglect? These are questions that you have to ask yourself when your VERY SERIOUS disease is shuffled off at the dinner table. Shuffled off by the people who are supposed to care for you.

Yes a crumb will hurt me. No I won’t just eat around it.

I have celiac disease, understand that this is my life and you have to get on board with it’s severity. Being 100% gluten-free isn’t a fad to me, it’s what i need to actually survive, to be healthy and to ultimately be happy.

All Gluten-Free Food Tastes Bad

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Standing at one side of the yard and minding my own business, is something that happens once in a while. Its actually not very common that celiac disease comes up at all in my work place. Everyone knows I have it and goes on with their life. At no point has in interfered or played a negative role in the day to day operations of my work day.

“I could never be gluten-free”

When those two words are spoke ‘gluten-free’, of course my ears perk up and I start to pay attention. My interest is peaked at where the conversation is going. Two things that ALWAYS go hand in hand are celiac disease and food being gluten-free. It’s just that, what direction would that conversation go: negative or positive?

My first question is; why couldn’t you be gluten-free? If you were diagnosed with celiac disease you’d have to be gluten-free to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“The food tastes terrible”

Before I was diagnosed with celiac disease I never liked hot cross buns. To this date, I still don’t like them. There are always varying kinds of food out there that no one likes. Regardless of whether or not they are gluten-free. There are many kinds of brands of foods out there ON BOTH SIDES of the gluten-food spectrum. Yes some taste terrible, and others taste awesome and others taste okay. Lumping all the gluten-free food into the ‘terrible tasting’ category shows how closed minded people are to what is out there and available in the gluten-free variety. by automatically thinking that all gluten-free food tastes bad shows ignorance to what you know about food and what a diagnosed celiac has to go through when A) eating gluten-free food B) finding good tasting gluten-free food and C) explaining what celiac disease is.

Purveying the myth that all gluten-free food tastes bad is not just a dis-service to diagnosed celiacs, but to the individual who feels that way. That type of thinking reveals their ignorance.

Some of those with lactose intolerance can take a pill to help them digest the lactose and go about eating their favourite dairy products. Some of them don’t have to have the lactose free ice cream or cheese and opt to have the real stuff. Celiacs don’t get that choice.

I’ve said it before that the education of celiac disease and gluten-free go hand in hand. One always begets the other, and when you witness it happen first hand, you truly see why it’s needed. As a diagnosed celiac, I know that there is terrible tasting gluten-free food. I don;t need to be reminded of it overtime I talk about it. In fact, before I was diagnosed with celiac disease, i remember there being some terrible tasting gluten-filled food too.

See. Bad tasting food on both sides. I know, because i’ve lived bon both sides.

No one asked you to go gluten-free, so if you don’t want to be gluten-free, don’t be. I am a firm believer that everyone does what they want. Do what makes you happy, and I have to reason or place to tell you how to live your life. My opinion is that, if you don’t have celiac disease or have been instructed by a medical profession, like a PhD carrying doctor, there is no need for any individual to be on a gluten-free diet.

If someone is being a turd and turns up their nose because you’re serving apparently bad tasting gluten-free gravy at the Thanksgiving table. Remind them that the mashed potatoes in front of them are gluten-free and so is the chocolate milk in their glass.

Not all gluten-free food tastes bad. You’re just being unreasonable.

Celiac Disease Made Me

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It can take years to be properly diagnosed with celiac disease. It can be common for tests upon tests to be done and check to get to the final answer of celiac disease. What you have to remember, if you ARE diagnosed with celiac disease, then it will be the best thing to ever happen to you. Some people might not agree with that statement, but when you look at home you might have been over the years NOT being diagnosed with celiac, you’ll come to realize that your body and your mind are finally coming together to a place where they should be.

Being diagnosed with celiac disease and turning your everyday diet into a 100% gluten-free one, allows your body to heal itself from many years of going undiagnosed. All the symptoms of celiac disease can start to disappear and you can start to live a life you were meant to.

I was diagnosed with celiac disease when I was 27 years old, in 2008, and up until the point I was all over the map with who I was. But, by being diagnosed with celiac disease, I was able to shuck off a lot of my past issues and become who i am today. This thing with living with undiagnosed celiac disease for 27 years is that, a lot of what I was doing was because of my body constantly attacking itself and constantly wanting to just curl up in a corner and die. Because of issues created in my first 27 years, those traits have continued on, way past my diagnosis and into my current celiac & gluten-free life.

In the mid to late 90’s I spent a lot of time at the movie theatre. I was always watching movies like Blade and Fight Club and X-Men. I was lucky enough to be able to see Independence Day in theatres and even all of the original Scream movies starring Neve Campbell. At the time, I had crazy social anxiety. I didn’t like sitting in the middle of the row of a theatre and because of a crazy incident, I left a theatre twice to use the washroom and missed fun, scary and important parts in certain movies (incidents I still kick myself about). Back in those times I used to carry a plastic shopping bag with me in the sleeve of my jacket or in the pocket of my pants. I was always on the ready to vomit or my butt was always just 10 seconds away from pooping my pants. At the time it was just me. Something I lived with. Being diagnosed with celiac disease corrected all those problems and helped me become who I am today.

The thing is…

Because, all those times I peed and pooped right before a movie, and sat at the end of the row of seats in an aisle and carried a plastic bag with me ‘just in case’ came with me after I was diagnosed with celiac. Those traits followed me after my diagnosis. So when I tell you that celiac disease made me the person I am today, I can provide you with examples. All those things I did growing up, most of them followed me into my later years: I still sit at the end of the aisle and I still pee before a movie. All of these used to be ‘just in case I had to run to the bathroom or avoid a panic attack’ but now its my tick or Classic Jordan. It’s just who I am.

This is a small showing of what undiagnosed celiac did to me for 27 years and my eventual diagnosis of the disease.

Going many years undiagnosed can cause a lot of damage to an individual. A lot worse things than my own movie going-things-I-do. That’s why its always important that if you suspect celiac disease yo seek medical attention AND GET CHECKED.

When I say celiac disease made me the man I am today, made me the person I am today, I’m not lying. A lot of what happened before my diagnosis carried over into my daily celiac and gluten-free life. It’s not a bad thing, it’s what makes me, me and what makes me unique.

Celiac Disease and Gluten-Free are Connected

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No one has ever said that creating awareness for celiac disease was ever easy.

I like to preface celiac disease by including it in the gluten-free food category, and it all flows from there. By combining the two subjects of celiac and gluten-free you’re able to create more of a dialogue and create a wider awareness as to why diagnosed celiacs need to be gluten-free and what gluten really is. You can establish the difference between what the gluten-free fad dieter is and why a diagnosed celiac needs to be 100% gluten-free.

There is no real way to let the public know about celiac disease. You could stand on a mountain and scream at the top of your lungs and there would still be those who lump in gluten-free food with terrible taste and expensive ways, not once regarding it’s significance to celiac disease. It’s frustrating when family members or those closest to us (the diagnosed celiac) brush off the disease like a burned to THEM and not the person affected. A lot of times there is no empathy with a diagnosed celiac, and that can be frustrating. Often times its the celiac/gluten-free community that becomes the support to lean on for each other. Sometimes our Aunts or cousins can be difficult and don’t offer any real back-up or support to someone who needs it.

Celiac disease awareness can be difficult and can often be frustrating.

Because gluten-free is as much apart of ‘celiac disease’ as constant awareness is, it’s important for them to be mentioned or at least related to in the same vein. Celiacs aren’t avoiding gluten to be a pain in the ass or to be difficult. Diagnosed celiacs are avoiding gluten because they need to. They avoid gluten in order to live as healthy as everyone else, and a gluten-free diet is the ONLY thing that can facilitate that.

To my face:

I was once lucky enough to get free gluten-free food from a really nice lady. Her son was a broker for all kinds of food in the area and was kind enough to give me a small box filled with some amazing gluten-free foods: pasta, cookies, crackers. All different brands, all with unique flavours. It was nice treat for a Thursday afternoon. This lady was Italian and went on and on about pasta and feeding her family and when the topic of gluten-free pasta came up, she looked me straight in the eye and referred to the gluten-free pasta as poison and asked how I could it it?

There is one thing to say you don’t like food, but calling the very food I need to survive poison? That just shows there are kilometres to go when it comes to breaking down the communication barrier for why diagnosed celiacs need gluten-free food and that by back-handing in the face at every turn, really enforces the fact that there is little knowledge of the GREAT tasting gluten-free food.

On my TV:

There is no shortage of people on morning television getting up there and making gluten-free food. Sometimes it’s for celiac awareness. Sometimes its just an alternative food lifestyle. Either way, someone is always trying to bring a little difference to the world by introducing new gluten-free food recipes to the morning audience. It’s to bad that there are times that ignorance takes hold when gluten-free food comes up in conversation, and on live television one guest was joking about calling child services on a dad who was feeding his child gluten-free food.

What. The. Hell?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

It’s comments like that, and on a grand stage like a popular morning television show, that CONTINUE to make it okay to create negative stigmas around gluten-free food, which in turns affects the very people who need it to survive, the diagnosed celiacs.. The very fact that individuals can be so, nonchalant about their thinking and slinging terrible comments abut children and child services, shows that there has to be more awareness for the combination of the connection between life saving and medically needed gluten-free food and celiac disease.

No one has ever said that celiac disease awareness is easy. Its something that we have to fight for everyday. Sometimes, to make it easier for people to understand, connecting the dots between gluten-free food and celiac, the general public could get to a place of general acceptance and understanding.

Celiac disease affects 1 in every 133 people and they all need to be 100% gluten-free.

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