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

Celiac Symptoms Include Beer

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Here is something I bet you didn’t know about me: I’m a beer drinker.

Here is something else I bet you didn’t know about me (unless you know me personally) and that is that my hangovers have been the stuff of legend.

ALL of these stories that you’re about to read was long before I was diagnosed with celiac disease. Do you have the same story?

In fact, the greatest one I ever had was after my bachelor party. I remember bits and pieces of it. I remember there being a lot of non-gluten free beer, cheap red wine, a bottle of Absinthe and pizza (I actually just had to ask my wife if she knew what we ate that night, because for the life of me… I can’t remember). That hangover lasted for two days. And when I did go back to work, the only thing I ate was a personal pizza that you make in the microwave. That was 2005. Three years before I was diagnosed with celiac disease.

With over 200 symptoms of celiac disease, sometimes pin-pointing the real ones from arbitrary ones can be extremely difficult. Not all upset stomachs can lead to an actual diagnosis. But it’s a good idea to get yourself checked out by a medical professional if your symptoms persist or become dangerous.

Now, binge drinking aside; classically made and brewed beer, barley based beer, is quite possibly the worst thing for a diagnosed celiac. One gluten-filled beer on a Friday night begets another and another and another, and then you end up with a hangover that could destroy a country. The thing is; it wasn’t always binge drinking that caused the massive headaches and even worse hangovers. Long before I was diagnosed with celiac disease, I could one time have two beers over the course of a three hour evening with friends or family and still have a hangover the next day. Then on another occasion I might have six gluten-full beers and not have a hangover. It seemed, looking back at those years pre-diagnosis that drinking barley based and gluten-full beer, coupled with celiac disease and the possibility of a hangover was a luck of the draw.

By now you might know that liquid is the best way for your body to absorb things (that’s why making smoothies or juicing is something that is good for your body). Now, imagine Barley based beer? Celiacs can’t have it, so imagine six being drank. The damage it does from head to toe… on top of intoxication.

One of the most tedious things about celiac disease is the contents explanation of alternate gluten-free products. When I tell someone I’m going to go home and have a beer, If they’re new to the game, they always ask “is there gluten-free beer?”. While at the time, it’s a great chance to educate about my disease, but it gets tiresome being asked over and over again. I mean, you know I have celiac disease, so why would I go down to the beer store and get traditionally brewed barley based beer? Of course there is gluten-free beer.

I wish I could tell you that every single symptom of celiac disease is the same. In the long run, in a perfect world, a simple celiac diagnosis based an easy set of small symptoms would be ideal. For any diagnosed celiac, we know that is never the case.

Currently, I avoid Rye. Before I was diagnosed with celiac disease, this was not the case.

At my friend’s 18th birthday was when I first drank. As you can imagine, I drank rye, gin and ate a large pizza. All a full ten years before I was diagnosed with celiac disease, and my hangover was something I will never forget. While I don’t recall how much I drank that night. I know that the combination of all the kinds of gluten-filled products didn’t help me at all in my recovery the next day. Looking back at all the times I had hangovers from a night of drinking, a fair bit of them can be related and traced to my undiagnosed celiac disease and not taking appropriate precautions to drink gluten-free alcohol.

At that time of my life, when I was carefree about the food I ate and what I was putting into my body, I had no clue what celiac disease was, or had even heard the word ‘gluten’ before. It’s funny to look back and think about that because now, it’s something I think about on a daily basis and is a large part of my life.

The damage non-gluten free beer did to my insides, and possibly to the rest of my body, up to and including my mind: I have zero problem telling you that at an early age, I had a tendency to over drink. That drinking caused problems with my body the night after, and at the time, was doing incredibly terrible damage to my insides that I am sure cause potential future issues to who I am today.

Beer that is filled with gluten is one of the worst enemies of a diagnosed celiac.

Before I was diagnosed with celiac, I always thought my body was just against me. At one point, I thought I was allergic to alcohol. Little did I know that it was gluten rearing it’s ugly head and messing me up.

You’re not alone if you have rough morning afters. Like I said, I am a legend in that field. Take a look at what happened to me and my drinking before I was diagnosed with celiac and maybe you’ll reflect back and figure out you might share similarities and you can relate to my story. If you suspect celiac disease GET CHECKED. It can’t hurt and it could be the answer you’ve always been looking for. For me, celiac was the answer to a lot.


See for yourself that every celiac symptom might be different. And that there is no set symptom to be diagnosed. Maybe we share similar stories. If you have celiac disease, you’re not alone. There are a lot of us out there supporting you. We’re all in this together. Follow King Gluten Free on Instagram by clicking HERE or on TWITTER and FACEBOOK.

 

Scared to Travel with Celiac Disease

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There are all kinds of tips and tricks out there for anyone who is looking for ways to travel gluten-free (I have written a blog about it myself). Just by googling for answers you can find Celiac hacks and ways to avoid being glutened on you holidays away from home.

For plane travel, to fly gluten-free, the answer is the easiest: TAKE YOUR OWN SNACKS. It’s a simple rule of thumb for anything you ever do if you want to be gluten-free. Parties, concerts any where you could find yourself without gluten-free food around or provided for you. Especially travel.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way.

I am terrified to travel as a diagnosed Celiac. Not because A) I hate airports or B) I’m not a huge fan of traveling to another to another place without the use of my own power (ie my car). I’m terrified because my gluten-free diet is so specific and traveling takes me out of my comfort zone. My food comfort zone. In the years since I’ve been diagnosed with Celiac Disease I’ve travelled once a year or so, by plane, and those plane rides are never that long (I have been to Hawaii twice since my diagnosis, but those plane rides were always split into feasible timeframes. And now as a frame of reference, I see that you might not know that my home international airport is Pearson Airport in Toronto, Canada). Since the flights aren’t long, I am a functioning adult and can control my temper and attitude in the plane, so being isolated for three or five hours isn’t a big deal. Airlines supply water and cola so I am in capable hands for the short fights (and yes, when I fly I do go prepared). I am not a child who lets his blood sugar get the best of him and flies off into a temper tantrum… I can hold it in.

Speaking of tamtrums. Here is me and my daughter enjoying insane Florida heat on our most recent vacation.
Speaking of tamtrums. Here is me and my daughter enjoying insane Florida heat on our most recent vacation.

Anywhere you travel as a diagnosed Celiac, it’s always best to do some research. Fond out about restaurants and shopping places that can get you what you need in a pinch. There are even apps that can do this for you. It’s all about the research.

I’m scared to travel because no matter how much planning or prep-time I put into a trip, the likely hood of me being glutened is still there. The percentage of it happening falls on a lot of factors. The same factors that reside at home; eating out a home and at gluten-full restaurants. What if there is no place that accommodate my diet? The horror of that makes me worried that I can’t enjoy a night out with my family or the people that I travel with.

What if I do get glutened? Then my comfort zone is a million kilometers away. I’m not a home. I’m possibly in a foreign country or any other kind of different location where I can’t cuddle up in my own bed or use my own toilet. Being a Celiac is one of the biggest excuses I want to use to get out of children’s birthday parties, awkward anniversaries and not taking a vacation with my family. Celiac doesn’t stop me from doing these things, it’s just nice to have something to fall back on.

Just in the past bit, my wife daughter and I all travelled on a family vacay and I was lucky that every restaurant we attened was able to take care of me and my gluten-free diet. Any theme park we travelled to in Florida was able to make sure I had lunch, and even the Walmart down the road had an ample supply of gluten-free eats for me to stock out villa fridge with for the week. At no point did I worry about food. My local Walmart didn’t even have this great selection of gluten-free food. I was able to try new foods and see gf versions of my Canadian counterparts. Food I haven’t had for years.

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Walmart in Florida. Gluten-free for days.

 

I know that traveling as a Celiac is like traveling with a loaded and terrible trigger-guarded gun. It can go off at anytime. It can be unsafe at times and it can be an area of discomfort when surrounded by a different location, one we’re not all comfortable with.

I left Canada with Celiac. Came back with Celiac. Had a great time. I didn’t have to worry as much as I did. But guaranteed, I’ll worry again. I hate to say Celiac Disease has any hold on me, but she’s a part of my life and a big part of what I worry about.

Again, me and the kid: sunglasses and flip flops at our vacation villa.
Again, me and the kid: sunglasses and flip flops at our vacation villa.

Then again, the Walmart in Florida sold gluten-free beer. That was pretty awesome.

Celiac Disease is Like Parenting

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To anyone who is somewhat aware of celiac disease, having and dealing with celiac a daily chore. There is no tip toeing around the fact that the only ‘cure’ for celiac disease is to maintain a fully 100% gluten-free diet. To the outside world, having celiac disease can be a major activity which includes; checking ingredients and calling manufacturers and speaking directly to chefs and double checking the food at Mom’s Easter dinner.

Since I have celiac disease and I have had it since 2008, and since I’ve had my daughter since 2010 I now realize that the best way to describe to anyone what celiac management is: it’s like being a parent.

PREGNANCY: Some people will go a full nine months not wanting to know what the sex of the child will be. It’s an element of surprise that we as individuals we have no control over, so to choose this route is something a lot of people do. I mean, who doesn’t love surprise? I would prefer to know so I can be prepared with the room colour and the type of toys to buy.

CELIAC: You get bloated and you get sick? Any you have no clue whats going on with your body. All you know is that you want it out. A poop or a fart or vomit, whatever it is that is making you so uncomfortable. When you go to the doctor and they get to an eventual diagnosis and its celiac, you have no clue what that is. What is gluten? Where can I find it? Who makes gluten? What’s a good gluten-free bread? It’s best to be prepared with what celiac disease actually is before you go out and start eating again. What foods to eat, what restaurants to frequent, what colour to paint the bedroom.

FIRST DAY BACK FROM THE HOSPITAL WITH THE NEW BABY: After a few days at the hospital, it’s time to start a new routine with the baby. The only problem is, after all the reading you still have no clue what to do the first night, ad why the baby just won’t. Stop. Crying.

FIRST DAY IN YOUR KITCHEN AFTER THE CELIAC DIAGNOSIS: You just stand there with your pantry open and think “what the hell do I do now?”. Then you stand in the open refrigerator and wonder if you can still drink milk? No one seems to have prepared you for celiac disease.

 

BABY’S FIRSTS: The joy it is to see junior walking across the living room, grabbing each piece of furniture it can as they acclimate to this new way of moving. Watching this as a parent is amazing because you’ve been coaching her along. Then when she starts talking, the communication is opened to ways you never knew about. You want to tell the world all about it. So you post your first video to Facebook while junior gabs away.

CELIAC’S FIRST: Finding out that a Twix candy bar will just plain kill you is enough to know that any celiac can indulge in a bag of Lay’s Doritos. There is no shortage of telling the world. Your Facebook status lights up with ‘I can eat Doritos!!! YAH!!!’. Then when it comes to the Easter dinner and everyone stares in awe as you pour floods of gravy on the mashed potatoes and you look them dead in the eyes and tell them all it’s made with gluten-free flour. Being able to show everyone that a gluten-free diet is just as easy as talking is a satisfying feeling.

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FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL: Seeing your kid off to the unknown is scary. You don’t really know if all the doors lock when the first bell rings. There is a lot of terrible things reported in the news about schools. What if your little girl is to scared to go pee by herself? Will the teacher yell?

AT A RESTAURANT: Fear of the unknown is what strikes you when you step into a shared kitchen diner. What if they boil my gluten-free past in the same water as regular pasta? Will they clean the knife? IS IT THE SAME CUTTING AREA?!? What if I have a gluten attack and need to use the washroom? I need to know where the washroom is at all times?

YOUR CHILD’S FIRST BOYFRIEND: When he/she starts dating, it can be a stressful time. You never know who exactly is taking your daughter out for a date (unless of course they are the kid of an old family friend and you know the history of this little boy inside and out). Seeing your daughter hand in hand heading towards a car and driving off is gut-wrenching and you now realize, for sure, that your daughter is grown up.

CELIAC’S BEER: The news of a gluten-free beer is an ideal one, as you always heard that beer wasn’t GF. There is always a gluten-free alternative to something and when you are staring at a six pack of gluten-free beer, something you always knew would come, you suddenly realize that you’re grown up. You only wanted a good gluten-free beer with your meal instead of ten gluten-full beers and your only goal is to get hammered, like when you were back in high school (and back in high school you weren’t diagnosed with celiac, you just got real drunk and had terrible hangovers… all due to celiac).

Parenting is a lot like celiac disease. No one ever does it the same way. The way one person handles bed times for their toddler isn’t the same way that another parent or guardian might. And that holds true for anyone with celiac disease. Not one person diagnosed with celiac disease tolerates or embraces their celiac the same way. One might use a shared toaster for their morning bread and one might own their own, just to use with the gluten-free alternative.

What works for one person, doesn’t always work for another.

Also, blaming bad hangovers on undiagnosed celiac disease is a solid gold move. 🙂

 


 

Gluten-Free Food Tastes Good

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One of the best misconceptions about the gluten-free way of life is that all of the gluten-free food tastes terrible. There usually isn’t a few months that go by when someone mentions this apparent fact. Then, of course, whenever I inform an individual of my celiac diagnosis, they ask me if it’s true that gluten-free food tastes bad.

When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease in 2008 the amount of GF food available was small/ Not just small in terms as to what is being manufactured by companies, but what was available to me in my own small Ontario, Canada town. Let me tell you, the quality of gluten-free food at that time wasn’t the greatest. There were of course companies that made good tasting GF food, but it was always few and far between. Nothing like what we have today. As a diagnosed celiac who has to eat 100% gluten-free and had to endure the cardboard flavour and dirt texture of 2008 gluten-free food, I would be the first guy to tell you that yes, gluten-free food tastes horrible.

Welcome to 2015. A time, light years from just making food with quinoa and corn. Manufactured gluten-free food has made such progress that the gluten-full crowd has started to switch to the GF brand (I’m not stats genius, but this could also be due to the fact that many of the gluten-free utilize non-GMOs in their products. Though, Im not here to argue that case. Today we be talkin’ about flavour).

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I forgot to take a picture of the produce section of my local Walmart, so I took one from Wikipedia, and it’s of a Brazilian store.

 

When the statement of wether or not gluten-free food tastes good is brought up, a lot of people seem to forget that fruits and vegetables are naturally gluten-free. Nothing like a salad tossed with a GF vinaigrette. The idea that gluten-free has to be ‘manufactured’ is a notion that a lot of people think. Fresh produce is the best kind of gluten-free food and exactly what the body needs. In terms of proper nutrients and minerals, celiac disease or not. Our choice as humans, humans with celiac disease is to eat cookies, or ice cream, bags of chips or salty snacks because they taste good. Even body builders have cheat days. There is no difference in regular people too (though my cheat day is everyday and everyday I over indulge on whatever unhealthy food I can get my hands on). That choice to eat like that isn’t a matter of health, it’s a matter of finally getting good tasting gluten-free food. The companies have caught on to the need for GF food with producing complete gluten-free, modifying ingredients to be gluten-free and using labeling to make it easier for celiacs to find gluten-free food.

I love Ketchup flavoured potato chips.
I love Ketchup flavoured potato chips.

Not every person has the same taste buds and it completely normal for one person to love a food and another to hate it. I like to pile all of my food in the middle of my plate and eat it like a pig might eat slop, my wife is 100% against that. Her food has to be separate and can’t touch (I also see my daughter starting to aqquire this trait from her mother). I might not like the gluten-free ancient grain pancake mix, but my mom (who also has celiac) might like them. The same goes for any food out there and any person who eats food. Just because I HAVE to eat gluten-free food doesn’t mean I have to like gluten-free food. Gluten-free beer is a great example. The brand I like, no one else seems to think the same way I do.

*on a side note, for some weird reason, I have no problem wth drinking a soda pop at room temperature. Not a lot of people like that. It has to be cold… sorry, just something I thought of*

It’s always inevitable that if something is going to continue on an upward swing, the technology to make it better will be there, just look at Apple and their products. That same reasoning applies to gluten-free food. It’s a great time to be a celiac, what with all the choices out there for great tasting gluten-free food. Yes, gluten-free food gets a bad rep for tasting like sawdust, but that isn’t the case anymore. You can ask anyone who has to eat gluten-free this and they will agree with me. It’s just the uneducated people who seem to be left behind in the old days of dried-up-maple-leaf-compressed-into-a-granola-bar when gluten-free food wasn’t the greatest. They just need to be shown the way and be given a few samples of the best stuff out there.

Seems, education of gluten-free food and it’s apparent negative light needs to be turned  around to be shown as the exact opposite as much as celiac disease needs to be advocated more to the public. Rock, meat Hard Place. 🙂

How Do You Escape Gluten?

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Simple answer. You can’t.

There are times when celiacs look around and see gluten, gluten and more gluten. The old saying is that everything comes in threes. So chances are that if you encounter gluten (due to cross contamination, terrible labelling or you’re just an idiot) it’s going to happen two more times. Karma has a way of biting you in the ass.

As a diagnosed celiac gluten it’s a huge problem, not just the damage it does to your insides and the subsequent insanity it adds to the rest of your body, but gluten is everywhere and as far as I can tell: in everything as well.

Yes, gluten hides in bacon. Be aware.
Yes, gluten hides in bacon. Be aware.

Food is the obvious answer as to where gluten can be hiding. Gluten is essentially food.  Or at least started out as a food. It is in fact derived from a plant which is mainly used for food. Celiacs can avoid the food aspect of what gluten is, but what about when it lies in all the non-food items? Like your lipstick or makeup? Yes yes yes. There are companies that provide gluten-free options for such a thing. Gluten-free lipstick is a reality.

I received a pretty awesome gift the other day, an amazing polymer-laced sand that stays together while you play with it, and from what I gather, the only answer to why it does that is because of magic. While it doesn’t say so on the box, I was just happening to look it up online and how it worked and the sand is actually billed as ‘gluten-free’. It’s phenomenal how far the gluten-free world has come. It is almost common knowledge to the respectful world that gluten is a killer of the insidey parts of your body, but the idea that its also a skin irritant still baffles some, and seeing that sand labelled as GF is a testament to where the GF community is headed: in the right direction.

Booze as a gluten-free treat, is here. That is no surprise. Distilled liquors are usually safe. You can’t go wrong with vodka or tequila, but always avoid the flavoured stuff. By researching the company online you can find out if vodka is GF or not, but flavoured vodkas always carry a secret (they’re dumb and gluten hides in the natural flavours used to create the flavoured liquor). Recently, I heard a rumour that a whiskey brand uses a specific type of glue for it’s barrels and the gluten content of the glue has come into question. Therefore making the gluten-free whiskey, not gluten-free. It’s like a complicated puzzle of where gluten might be hiding next.

You can not escape gluten.

Drywall. Erasers. Paint. Play-Dough. Crayons.

I’m not sure about that list at all. A little research goes a long way. It’s just an idea of where you can find yourself in a heap of trouble due to gluten and the sneaky places that it hides. Everyday object you might never have considered.

Gluten is out there.

Gluten is everywhere, you can’t escape it, but it can be avoided. Just look at your home? If you’re a celiac and share a home with a gluten-full family like I do. Watch where things go. Shared utensils (GET RID OF ALL THE WOODEN KITCHEN TOOLS) and even shared pantry space. Keep those baking goods separate. Holy cow! Could you imagine if Granny used wheat flour instead of the coconut flour to make cookies? She might not know the difference when she looks at an unmarked bag. You have to do the work to keep yourself safe.

Get a strictly gluten-free toaster. Treat it like your baby and guard it with your life. My gluten-free flour sits away from all the other food and is hidden so only I can get it (or at least where my wife knows, because lets face it, she’s the only one that does the baking). I don’t even toast bread next to the regular toaster. Keep the gluten-full crumbs away.

Guess where the hidden gluten is here: bread crumbs in the peanut butter.
Guess where the hidden gluten is here: bread crumbs in the peanut butter.

Your home is supposed to be the safest place for you. As celiacs this has to be true. So safeguard your house as best you can to keep the gluten at bay, and far far away.

Gluten is our enemy and sometimes that little bastard sneaks into our lives. Looking at our gluten-free past and our gluten-free future, I think we all know that gluten will find a way to get us. The only real way to avoid gluten: vacate our lives and become hermits, live off the land in a forest or a tropical island away from all civilization. make our own food and maybe, just maybe we will never escape all the gluten.

What are the chances that any of us will ever be able to do something like that? The closest thing that might compare to that is owning a farm and having all your food right there at your back door.

Gluten will never go away, and we will never be able to escape it.

But we can avoid it.

The Stomach Stress of a Celiac

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Is it because I have Celiac Disease, and I went undiagnosed for 28 years that my damaged insides are even more damaged and more irritated when I eat certain foods (not including gluten packed food)? I’m not lactose intolerant, I’m not allergic to anything, all I have is a serious case of Celiac Disease.

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Are my insides so messed up, that two steaks on a Saturday night out with the bros and over a blazing hot camp fire made it feel like I was giving birth to a ten pound kid AND a Chestburster from Alien? What about 10+ times going to the washroom in one day? I’ll tell you, as I age, it seems that my system isn’t as strong as it used to be, and that’s all thanks to Celiac Disease.

Soda pop used to eat away at my stomach like battery acid, it hasn’t done that in years. Is that because I no longer have stomach lining? Now, beer, it’s looking like beer has become a major stress on my already fragile insides. Maybe I never truly bounced back from my diagnosis of Celiac Disease in 2008. Maybe I think I need another scope to get a peek at what I look like. It’s what’s inside that counts.

Blogger Janine Fournier at Whole Nine Health says that your skin is an indicator of what is happening on the inside and I’m relatively good on that front. Acne, sores, cold sores, rashes could all be indicators that something isn’t quite right  on the inside, I’ve never woken up with a face full of zits after a night of drinking. There are also the fan favourite Dermatitis Herpetiformis. I don’t have that, nor do I get anything that really indicates that I have been glutened, other than the usual bloated stomach, a case of the hershey squirts and gas gas GAS!

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picture from Steak University

What are stressors on my system? Beer. Red meat. As far as I know that’s all I know of. And I only figured that out after my wife pointed out to me how I get after eating and drinking. My body just goes into defence mode and wants the food out and does what it can to protect itself. So I guess barfing is the right response.

It takes close to a year for the body to readjust after a Celiac diagnosis and after a year of a strict gluten-free diet. Maybe my body is just too slow. Or maybe my body just doesn’t like beer and steak anymore.

Damn I hope not.