Celiac Disease is not a Buzz Kill.

posted in: Blog Post | 0

The only person that can make Celiac Disease a negative is you.

If you’re the person going around being sad about being diagnosed with Celiac, then guess what. You’re gonna have a bad day.

What you need to do is just take a step back and pretend you don’t have Celiac and look around. There is that chair you always trip over. There is that pair of pants you never pick up. Now, you’re the same person, only you don’t have Celiac Disease. Put Celiac back into the equation: YOU’RE STILL THE SAME PERSON. Don’t worry about it. Everyone has good days and bad days. Having Celiac doesn’t change that.

If anything, let Celiac Disease change you.

Be the greatest person in any room you’re in. Walk through the door and size up everything. You. Are. Better. Than. Everything. Celiac Disease doesn’t change that. All it does is change that you can’t have gluten. Someone without Celiac might feel sad for you, you don’t have to. I have Celiac and there is no one around to stop me.

In fact…

Celiac Disease helped to define me as a person. It helped set me on a path that would make my  twenty year old version shake his head in disbelief.

When I eventually decided to become King Gluten Free and throw my hair and my unique perspective on Celiac Disease and the gluten-free lifestyle in 2013, I didn’t know what I was doing. I just knew I had something to offer that no one else was. Now, that choice to become a blogger has propelled me in different directions I had only ever dreamed of.

I was once a calendar model (cross that off my bucket list) Gluten Free Gal had put together a 12 months of gluten-free men and I was right there. If I was never diagnosed with Celiac, I never would have became who I am and never had this amazing opportunity.

I always wanted to be on TV. Then out of the blue a local show Mommy Talk asked me to come on and discuss my gluten-free life and Celiac and how it (if any affects my daughter). Never in a thousand years did I think I would be a guest on TV. What a rush.

10382464_10153047445591552_7904352035131294943_n
Me on Mommy Talk on ROGERS tv 2015

 

All because of Celiac Disease was I able to climb out of my little shell and stand in the room and just own everything a round me. Before I was diagnosed with Celiac, I was different. I dealt with anxiety issues, slight depression and a general distaste for people in general. It wasn’t until I was properly diagnosed with Celiac that my life would forever change and the true ‘Jordan’ could come out.

After, my initial guest spot on television, another show called Georgina Life wanted me to come on for a seven minute segment and talk about Celiac Disease and promote my blog kingglutenfree.com. How cool is that? All of a sudden I have had two television appearances in the same year (2015). All because I was diagnosed with Celiac and just wanted to tell my story.

12249879_10153728917626552_6014916760667710684_n
one of my MANY guest appearances on Georgina Life as King Gluten Free in 2015

 

It took a while for me to find a real groove with being King Gluten Free and what it meant to me. I tired my had at reviews and columns like ‘celiac woes/pros’ but they were never really me. Telling my stories about family issues and work issues and the triumphs of Celiac Disease and connecting to my readers and the community and letting every single one of them that THEY AREN’T ALONE is where I found my real purpose as King Gluten Free. True I am still Jordan Middlebrook, but as an personality like the King,  I get to be two people doing the same thing.

Creating awareness for Celiac Disease is important to me. It’s often misunderstood and filled with stigma. I was super duper excited to be asked to speak at a show in August 2015 to talk about being a man with Celiac and attempting to knock down some of those walls and create a little more awareness that men don’t have to be worried about having it.  Because I had Celiac, I was able to cross another thing off my list and speaking at a event about something I was passion about was high.

Then television came knocking again.

2015 turned out to be an incredible year for me. I was speaking at shows, I was on TV I was having an amazing time just talking about what was important to me. Helping others who had Celiac and giving them someone to look up to. I’ve never had the chance to let Celiac Disease get me down. It’s a part of me and it’s something you have to live with and roll with. The first little while after being diagnosed was hard: it changes your life. Looking back at June 2008, I wish I had someone like me on TV and on the internet doing what I am doing. Just talking about it.

IMG_3682
Me on ‘Cooking with Cori’ in 2015

 

Because of my gluten-free lifestyle I was able to be a guest on two cooking shows (could you picture me on a cooking show?). On both shows I was able to talk about Celiac Disease and the gluten-free diet and knock down walls about what it was and why it wasn’t as bad as people assume. That was more of a jumping off point for me at the end of 2015.

Now, after all the amazing things I had done in 2015. 2016 started off with a huge bang and I was now a co-host of a television show. I was living my dream. The very same show, Georgina Life that I was being a guest on in 2015, I was now a television co-host. WOW!

Looking at my list of things to do before I die ‘having my own TV show’ is right there. Now, in 2016, I get to do just that. Looking back at how this happened to a 35 year old man, I see that it all started with Celiac Disease. I started blogging to make a difference in some way, and now, weekly, a televise co-host like me gets to sit in the host chair and talk about Celiac Disease and create more awareness and destroy stereotypes. I’m not a woman with Celiac, I’m a man. I can be that figurehead for men who are embarrassed to admit they have it or to scared to get checked out. I get to talk about Celiac Awareness Month on every show through out the course of May. I get to take the passion for Celiac awareness to another platform and break the walls of stigma.

12645119_10153881268621552_7830149625080315920_n
Current. Me as television co-host on Georgina Life in 2016

 

Yes. Initially being diagnosed with Celiac is hard. Your life kind of has this hazy cartoon moment. But, step back and see what I have a accomplished because I have Celiac Disease. Aim for the stars. I did it and I made it, and you can too. Celiac Disease isn’t a buzz kill. If anything its a jet engine, driving you to be different for everyone, BECAUSE YOU ARE DIFFERENT. You’re better than everyone because you’re self aware in the fact that Celiac Disease makes you a better person, better than the one you were before you were diagnosed. I can attest to that.

I have Celiac Disease and I reached my dreams. You can too.


Special thank you to Ronnilyn Pustil of the Gluten Free Garage.

 

No 2 Celiacs are the Same

posted in: Blog Post | 0

We have a saying in my house:

“What works well for our family, doesn’t work well for another.”

The same mentality and ideals can be applied to Celiac Disease and the people diagnosed with it. Not every one has the same symptoms and not everyone treats the disease with the same scope of reference. Some hide it, some wear it and some are all up in your face about it. The one thing that can be said for Celiac Disease and all the people affected by it is that:

No two Celiacs are alike when it comes to diagnosis, treatment and symptoms.

There is never a right or wrong way to talk about Celiac Disease, there is only an individual with it and how they talk about it. We all have varying options and opinions on how to deal and treat our gluten-free lifestyle. Though, the one common truth is that Celiac Disease is misunderstood. It’s misunderstood by the person standing opposite of you. The person who also has the disease and handles it in a differing fashion.

2 celiacs
2 celiacs

The mystery of Celiac is still out there. It’s best to ask questions and it’s best to be honest with how you answer them. Those questions don’t just have to be within the Celiac community, it can be asked by the outside world too. I get asked at least once a week about why I’m gluten-free and what Celiac is.

Somedays celiac disease sucks and somedays having Celiac is an amazing experience. Our daily thoughts are governed by the way food is presented to us and with Celiacs the only ones we can usually trust is ourselves, with our choice of food and the people who handle our food. We read food labels when we walk into a strange kitchen we hammer out questions to the chef at our friend’s house. Celiac is a special kind of beast that forces you to interact.

Maintaining a gluten-free diet and lifestyle is the key importance to a Celiac’s health and sometimes not everybody gets that. That one simple rule really gets lost in transition to those who. Just. Don’t. Get. Celiac. Disease. When presenting Celiac to an outsider, or a rookie on the matter the big picture isn’t seen and we can be labelled as ‘whiners’.

We’re not whiners. Individuals diagnosed with Celiac are just people with options on their food and how they like it and how Celiac has affected their lives. We discuss it, we don’t whine about it.

Which leads me back to how we all handle our Celiac differently and that is the culmination of how NO two diagnosed Celiacs are alike. Both in terms of how they talk about their food and how they care about their food. How the disease affects them personally and how it affects their family and friends.

Forward this article to someone who doesn’t understand that.

Gluten and all the Cross Contamination

posted in: Blog Post | 0

It’s not very often a personality or celiac/gluten-free writer like myself gets to go out into the world of culinary skills and impart some kind of wisdom. If there is something I am not, it’s a chef or baker or any kind of wizard in the kitchen. I was granted the opportunity to tell a group of individuals about the potential dangers of gluten cross contamination.

There was a time when I wrote an article for a magazine. That article was about how a kitchen was ‘dirty’ with gluten. Gluten in the form of wheat flour and how really, in the grande scheme of things gluten cross contamination was inevitable. That article never saw the light of day because it was decided that no one wanted to infer that restaurant kitchens are dirty. But if anyone was to read the article and look below the surface, the ‘dirt’ being considered was in fact gluten.

If there is ever a time to talk about gluten cross contamination, it is now (actually, its always).

At a time when the celiac and their 100% gluten-free diet can sometimes be held at the same level as someone who doesn’t need to medically be on said diet. Yes, ‘trendy’ and ‘fad’ get thrown around. It’s both a blessing and a curse. Restaurants are now seeing that there is a need to comply with customers like the medically diagnosed gluten free eaters. I have Celiac Disease and I need to eat 100% gluten-free and a crumb the size of a pencil point can harm me. It can throw my whole body out of whack. It could be days, or weeks. That’s the special prize you get with Celiac: you never know what’s going to happen to you when you ingest gluten, and you never know for how long.

I was able to take these new kitchen minds and tell them about my woes at a restaurant and the concerns that Celiacs have when they eat out. Shared food kitchens are common in the dining industry, so someone has to make it known that a gluten-free diet is as important as a person with a peanut allergy. Yes, an individual could possible die from peanuts, and the kitchen staff knows this and takes the precaution to eliminate it from the dish being served.

Since my Celiac Disease isn’t written across my face when I eat gluten, should that make it any less severe than a peanut allergy?

I don’t require medical attention and I don’t go into anaphylaxis when I ingest gluten. The damage done to me on my insides is invisible. It could disrupt my whole digestive system and agitate my stomach. I could be in the bathroom fart, pooping or throwing up and then not spending anytime with my wife an daughter. Because I was given gluten the size of a pen tip, all my plans to spend time with my family has been shot down.

What about work? How do I go to my job when my stomach has been bloated out due to gas build-up? Now I miss time off work.

That ONE LITTLE CRUMB does more than damage my villi, it affects every person down the line. Anyone who might be connected to rely on me.

Celiac Disease isn’t pretty (especially when I talk about farting and pooping), but thats the way it goes. If no one takes the time to tell a rookie chef the potential dangers of disregarding gluten, then, where does it end? If the proper protection and care of a gluten-free meal is given to that one meal, imagine the look on that customer’s face. Imagine how they feel when they can safely eat a meal at a restaurant?

As a father who makes gluten-free pancakes every Sunday, I thrive on having those eating them being satisfied. I have to assume a person, a chef making my meal, my safe gluten-free meal at a restaurant must feel the same when they create, plate and serve.

To the people, students, professionals and chefs that listens to me for an hour. Waxing on about gluten and gluten cross contamination. They are now the people at the fore-front who will take what i told them and pass it on as they continue on their career paths in the kitchen: at home or at work. As long as they got something from me and passed along an iota of the information abut gluten and the potential dangers of cross contamination for Celiacs and the medical diagnosed gluten-free eaters, then, awesome.

What is Celiac Disease?

posted in: Blog Post | 0

What is celiac disease?

Well, the simplest answer is this: celiac is a disease where the small intestine is sensitive to gluten. I think I even googled ‘what is celiac disease’ and the answer was; hyper-sensitive to gluten.

The harder answer: celiac is a disease where the whole body identifies gluten as a poison. A poison that affects the entire body with over 200 symptoms ranging from bloating, nausea and diarrhea to stiff joints, migraines and skin ailments. A whole smorgasbord of complications to the body. Prolonged internal exposer can lead to cancer, malformed cells, chronic pain and even fatal more complicated illnesses.

In short, if you are diagnosed with celiac disease, you must maintain a 100% gluten-free diet.

And, even more important is that because of these underlying symptoms getting diagnosed by a medical professional as early as possible is of the utmost necessary proportions. If symptoms persist and go unchecked, you can plainly see that it can lead to a life of terrible discomfort.

Remember, celiac disease is hereditary. So make sure any family members who might exhibit symptoms get checked. Or better yet, get checked just to rule out the disease. It really can’t hurt. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Not every person who is diagnosed with celiac disease sufferers in the same way. It’s a nice, but  a gross way to be unique with a disease that affects every 1 out of 133 people across North America.  Some people can develop acne all over their face and through their teenaged years it gets passed off as hormones or your diet (which, when you look back and see that it was indeed your diet. A gluten-free diet was needed when you were an adolescent but you went undiagnosed). I mean, all i ate was Smoky Bacon potato chips and drank Pepsi, so you can imagine how my diet affected my skin, NOT JUST my undiagnosed celiac disease.

Anxiety across the board, going to the movies and always having a plastic bag with you in case you threw up. Fearing you might have social anxiety or some degree of agoraphobia, when it fact it all turns out, was undiagnosed celiac disease. I lived a through a lot of my teenaged and young adult life thinking i was little kooky in the head, a little crazy. I thought I had a terrible mental disorder that prevented me from meeting new people or sweating profusely when I took public transit. It just turns out, it was all related to my undiagnosed celiac disease.

I’ve heard that we are the person we’ll become by the time we are seven years old, undiagnosed celiac at that age and younger and beyond can alter who we are meant to be.

I was diagnosed in 2009 at the age of 27. I thought I was who I was the man I supposed to be.

Then the celiac disease diagnosis came into my life and really turned my world for a loop. In the grand scheme of things it changed my life in a way I could never have imagined. After I cut the poison of gluten out of my diet and my life I was finally able to become who I was meant to be.

So, what is celiac disease?

I’m no doctor. So celiac disease can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. It’s a disease first and foremost but it’s also a state of mind and how you feel about it and apply it to your everyday life. You can sulk and whine about it, ignore it or own it. You handle your celiac disease anyway you want.

But, don’t take my world for it. Click these online links to find out what it really is. Then go and ask your doctor, because, I’m not a doctor. I just play one on TV.

CLICK THESE LINKS FOR CELIAC INFORMATION: WEBMD, CANADIAN CELIAC ASSOCIATION, CELIAC DISEASE FOUNDATION, BEYOND CELIAC, PAM JORDAN and even a handy dandy infographic from GLUTEN DUDE himself:

celiac-disease-symptoms
this image was made by Gluten Dude and I stole it from his site, so go and read his website and see what he has to say about celiac disease as well – Jordan

\


I have always wanted to write a book about celiac awareness, and sometimes I talk about it, and sometimes I keep my mouth shut about it. As a way to get my thoughts out there and to see what my book was about. This article is actually a longer version of a page in my book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating and writing it. -Jordan

 

Celiac Symptoms Include Beer

posted in: Blog Post | 0

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.

 

Gluten-Free Food from a bad Situation

posted in: Blog Post, Recipies | 0

Celiac disease has it’s ups and downs. And lately I feel I am on a real down with my celiac disease. Just today, someone took food set aside for my gluten-free consumption and put it in the same plastic wrap as food that was contaminated with bread crumbs. I know it was contaminated with bread crumbs because I saw it that very morning.

Some days are just harder than others.

There isn’t a rule book for celiac disease. As a person diagnosed with it, you just have to do your best and educate others around you and hope hope HOPE they get the message. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. I think anyone who has celiac disease can attest too that.

In the last week, I’ve seen my gluten-free food get all messed up with bread crumbs and I’ve seen someone make food for the entire family with little consideration for me and my need to be medically 100% gluten-free because of my celiac disease. Days when you come home and someone was epic and made dinner for the whole family… but me. The side comment of “I thought you would just eat the leftovers” might seem legit but the actions are heart breaking.

Showing people the positive side of celiac disease is tough when your own life has recently been filled with a few food moves that don’t play well with the gluten-free life.

Out of the negative though, does come the positive.

I am a true believer in ‘everything happens for a reason’ and I think the dinner not being made for me was a sign that I was to create something amazing.

Food.

A true gluten-free food that only I could make.

INGREDIENTS

1 CHICKEN BREAST

1 EGG

1/2 CUP OF ENJOY LIFE ALL PURPOSE GLUTEN-FREE FLOUR

1/2 CUP OF COLD MAPLE SYRUP

2 TBSP SESAME SEED OIL

No I’m not the master of making anything in the kitchen. If you follow anything I do on Instagram or Twitter then you know I I have the kitchen prowess of a can of paint. If it isn’t gluten-free pancakes or eggs; I’m lost.

CRACK CRACK CRACK the egg into a bowl and mix it all up.

CUT the chicken into pieces on a cutting board and drop them into the bowl of egg. Then place the whole slurry of chicken and eggs back onto the cutting board. Spread them out so it’s all flat and you can see every piece.

DROP the entire 1/2 cup of Enjoy Life gluten-free flour on the chicken. Make sure you make a ‘poof’ noise when you do. It adds to the ambience.

MIX it all together with your hands. Get real dirty. If the flour isn’t sticking to your hands and you’re not cursing that it is, then you’re doing it wrong.

In a heated small pan (thats on LOW heat) already coated with the sesame seed oil, PLACE the chicken in the middle and let it cook.

When the visible chicken has started to turn white and cook POUR maple syrup in the pan. The cooking will slow because of the coolness of the maple syrup, but rest assured, it’s doing what it’s supposed to.

IMG_3090
I say half a cup. But really, just add as much as you want.

 

COOK the remainder of the chicken for 10 minutes or until the maple syrup has been reduced and bubbling.

TAKE off heat and prepare a bed of spinach or fries or gluten-free bread or a pancake or whatever you want.

PUT the chicken on top of your bed of food. ENJOY.

Out of the terrible feelings I had because gluten-free food was purposely not prepared for me, this amazing conception came out of it. I was the only one at the table who got to eat it, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I let my five year old daughter have a piece of chicken and she was sad I didn’t make any for her. And I smirked the whole time I let my wife have a piece, because I knew that this was the best chicken that has ever been made. THAT is a solid fact.

IMG_3093
This is the food dreams are made of

 

Enjoy Life (click HERE for their website) has made a line of baking mixes, and they were awesome to provide me with some of them to try and blog about. This did happen to be the first time I used the gluten-free all purpose flour and it came out and worked well for me. It has a great lecture when utilized with the egg and really held the flavour of all the crazy ingredients I used. It’s top eight allergen free and I would recommend this to someone who might be looking for a product like this. You can’t go wrong.

IMG_3097

You can’t screw up flour.

I was never sure what I would eventually use it for if not for this whole thing with my need for gluten-free food being overlooked. I was just downright upset when the whole thing transpired, but after eating the amazing food that I created, I knew everything was going to be alright. Having celiac disease and needing to be gluten-free is never anyone else responsibility. I’m an adult and I can handle it on my own. Sometimes there are just bumps in the road that remind you that you are a little different than everyone else.

Its all apart of life. I get it. Celiac disease or not.


 

more pictures below

IMG_3075
one egg is all you need

 

 

IMG_3080
poof
IMG_3084
now try taking a picture with your hand like this
IMG_3092
I wish I could crawl into this meal and live there

I have to be honest, I’m not sure I could ever recreate this meal again. I’m the kind of guy that just grabs random things from the fridge and makes dinner out of it.

 

 

 

 

A Celiac at Thanksgiving and Beyond

posted in: Blog Post | 0

Don’t always expect your family dinners are going to go terribly.

I have celiac disease and have to be 100% gluten-free. So you can imagine what it’s like to have to share a Thanksgiving meal with over twenty people at every family function that has a giant dinner. Granted I’m not the only person who has to eat gluten-free at any of my large family functions, but I was one of the first to have to be gluten-free and one of the two people diagnosed with celiac disease.

A few days before the Canadian Thanksgiving dinner I was all revved up about gluten and families and cross contamination. There was a lot flying around in the public and media with this whole Cheerios/gluten-free thing and it was causing a huge muddle in my mind as I worked myself up to another large family dinner: specifically the Canadian Thanksgiving. I was ready to fire off into someone who wanted to be negative or attempt to bring me down. I was ready to stand up and take a major stand in the house, and at the table, ready to just slam the gluten jokes or rifle back at the placed direction of gluten-aggression. I. Was. Fired. Up.

Ever since I was diagnosed with celiac disease, I have heard it all and internalized all the pain; and this past Canadian Thanksgiving I was ready to set the record straight: just because I have celiac disease and just because my Mom does and just because there are others in the family that need to eat gluten-free doesn’t make us any less than any other person in the house: we just have to eat a little bit different. That very day I was incredibly pumped to just scream and roar like a fucking lion.

It never happened.

I was pleasantly surprised.

I am incredibly grateful.

I’m not sure if it’s because my family has matured on the subject or if society as a whole has really just let us be who we want to be, and that of course trickles down to the people in my family who are closest to the others who eat gluten-free in said family. The gluten-free eaters and the celiacs are just people too, and the mentality had finally roosted in the family. An idea that my specific diet was accepted is a weight off my shoulders. A family meal has never gone by without a hint of a joke about the gluten-free gravy, this time was different. This time I looked at everyone and understand something… we’re family.

IMG_1018
Moment I was talking about celiac disease and blogging. Awesome time with family. with Victory Lane News and Bored Games and Co.

I shouldn’t have had to rev myself up to be a monster about celiac disease, I should have let them make their jokes and then educated that they are wrong in their negativity. What I do have to be thankful for is that none of this had to happen. Had my advocating of celiac disease even worked? Has my family finally gotten the picture? I had a great conversation about diabetes and celiac and comparing the two. No one teases the guy who has to watch his sugar and carbohydrate intake, so why am I different?

The fight is never over when it comes to family and celiac. It just takes time, and if that time is now, then I’m happy. But if we as a collective of relatives needs more time, I will work with everyone more and more. I won’t get myself all fired up, I’m be calm and advocate with patience and ease.

Super Great Tips for Gluten-Free Travel

posted in: Blog Post | 0

Open your pantry and look around, all the shelves, and see what is the best option for your own personal gluten-free snack. Now, take that option and take it on a plane with you. That’s how you create a celiac’s travel meal.

When you look at it. It’s really a simple thing to make and create your own gluten-free travel pack. When I say travel pack I don’t mean a toothbrush or deodorant. I mean your gluten-free food. But, when you are attempting to create a gluten-free travel/care package for yourself, look at what mode of transportation you’re taking and for how long. Both these factors should weigh heavily on your choices.

Traveling by car is fairly simple. You can stop at places where fruits and drinks are available. You can make your own sandwiches and put them in a cooler in the back seat. Water, pop, energy drinks and coffee can all be bought ‘on the road’ or stored in the cooler with all your food.

allthatpacking
Gluten-free food is ESSENTIAL for a celiac traveling, like me. But packing clothes for a Florida trip is also important. I only own two pairs of shorts.

The tricky part of being a celiac is traveling by plane.

Options on board any kind of aircraft aren’t usually gluten-free, so any celiac, most celiacs are left with a few hours crammed beside a dude who has to pee every 20 minutes. Yes, by utilizing a little bit of research you can fly a provider who might be able to serve you a GF snack or meal. I’ve experienced it first hand where requests like a gluten-free meal get lost in the pipeline and the communication for a gluten-free meal on a five hour flight gets lost (as a rule of thumb ALWAYS have back up food).

A simple three hour isn’t anything to worry about. If you were flying from Toronto to Orlando (which is a three hour flight) then you need to be prepared for the bumps that may lie ahead. Remember, airport terminals and gates usually have small convenience stores and restaurants that may provide you with the gluten-free food/fuel you’ll need for a short jaunt in the air. The snack bars are usually packed with protein bars and fruit and from what I have seen, gluten-free turkey sandwiches. It’s a new world for gluten-free travelers.

It can be expensive to buy an apple from the airport, and customs isn’t going to let you bring one from home, so what are you going to do?

Nut bars. protein bars. And lots of them.

For short trips, inflight drinks are there to keep you perked up and alive. The snacks they provide, not so much. So, just bring along a little bag of something with protein. Nuts are the simplest thing to bring. No denying. One thing that would be cool, and something I have never tried, is a peanut butter sandwich. Make one or two and cover them in plastic wrap and eat them just before you get on the plane. By eating it before you get on the plane, it gives the nutrients time to get to where they need to be in your body and your three hour flight will be a breeze.

travelfood
Gluten-free nut bars are a great way to give you that extra boost on plane travel.

Another great rule for traveling by plane: eat a meal before you go.

In the past, my family has typically traveled in the early morning hours. Combine a short sleep with no food, plus a drive to the airport and a plane trip with no food, you can imagine what kind of personal Hell you’re setting yourself up with (now imagine doing that with another adult who hasn’t eaten and a small child who, while has eaten, is still a child, and, well, children). A hearty meal is always a safe bet to get you through your travel. Especially if it’s a morning flight. Just take the time to have some eggs and bacon. You’ll thank me in the future.

I’ve never had a terrible time traveling in a plane as a celiac. I have had stories to tell about it, but never a life changing moment where I felt an airline disrespected me. The need to travel gluten-free is all a matter of how prepared you are. Just make sure you check the local rules as to what you can and can’t bring on a plane.

Somehow I think a boiled egg is a no-go on a plane. If you’re the person bringing a boiled egg on a plane, that’s not cool.


There really isn’t any shortage of gluten-free travel blogs. Even I have more than just this one. Click HERE and HERE and HERE for a few that I’ve written. Or even the guest post that Pam Jordan (imaceliac.com) did for me by clicking HERE.

How a Gluten-Free Diet Affects Children

posted in: Blog Post | 4

I don’t have a child that needs to eat gluten-free. I know that there are many children out there that need to eat gluten-free. By need I mean 100% gluten-free for medical reasons. In all my years of being diagnosed, it’s amazing to think I have never seen nor met one of these children. I know they exist. Ignoring the fact that they do is naive and pretty stupid. Individuals can be diagnosed with celiac disease at incredibly young ages, and with a parent being a carrier of the disease the potential for an offspring (up to 22% for the immediate relative SOURCE) having celiac is right there in your face.

I’ve never met a child that needed to eat gluten-free until the day my three year old nephew needed to be like me. Not diagnosed with celiac disease, but needing to eat 100% gluten-free. Not until he avoided gluten did he start to gain weight, become less nauseous and finally have a solid bowel movement (or poop, if you prefer). His mom, my sister, already has to avoid gluten due to an intolerance, so the apple doesn’t fall from the tree.

Seeing my nephew struggle with a gluten-free diet doesn’t mirror my own life, he is young enough to not know what the taste of a Subway sandwich is like. But seeing him live a better and healthier life is all worth it. Only recently did the idea of what a gluten-free diet and lifestyle means to a three year old child really hit home.

Allow me to set up the scene:

Our whole family had gathered at my sister’s house for a birthday party for an adult and since four of us (my Mom, sister, nephew and I) have to eat gluten-free, my sister made a GF cake for everyone to partake in. There was no ‘other’ cake in any attempt to include the other dozen people there. Only one gluten-free cake was made and the person who’s birthday it was has no need to eat gluten-free. But what I saw was my nephew shying away from the cake.

I witnessed a three year old boy not want cake; and the reason is more heartbreaking than I could ever imagine. My nephew thought it would make him sick, he thought that the cake was made with wheat flour and NOT gluten-free and would render him as sick as the days before he was on the medically needed GF diet. Me, as a diagnosed celiac would just say ‘No thank you’ and go on with my life, but a little boy did have fear and uncertainty in his eyes OVER FOOD.

The whine in his voice and the cowering from the fork of cake is something I’ll never forget. No child should feel like this. This is why early diagnosis of anything is important. And if celiac or other gluten issues is suspected you need to get it checked. Especially in children who might not be meeting milestones or having difficulties with body functions.

My sister said to him “Look, Uncle Jordan is eating the cake” when in fact I was, because my nephew knows that I am like him and he is like me. We both need to eat gluten-free, so in his eyes, I’m the food tipping point.

IMG_2248
Me and my nephew enjoying a nice gluten-free snack together.

 

It’s important to remember that minds this young are impressionable.

A boy of three knows what gluten-does to his body and will in fact avoid it.

It’s the people in any room where these young minds are, who say things along the lines of ‘this needs more gluten’ or ‘where is the gluten in this cake?’ are the ones who facilitate this fear of food for young children. A three year old doesn’t understand that you’re joking and is still years away from even pronouncing the word ‘sarcasm‘. All these comments do is hurt the already vulnerable and piss off the people around that are attempting to teach the child that there is no need to fear food.

While children might not understand the idea of a joke, even saying things like this to adults who are diagnosed with celiac disease can become an endless pain in the ass. Joking about a food needing gluten can be insulting to many. There is no time when it rolls of a celiac’s back, it’s just another reminder that a person making the joke can’t understand the pain/anguish/turmoil/aggravation/pick a negative feeling we go through. Jokes do hurt. Especially when it’s your health.

My nephew is smart, and he’ll figure out eventually that his mother and father would never hurt him when it comes to food, but when there is such a commotion surrounding him at events where gluten-full people make jokes about it; learning can be harder.

He is why I want to advocate. He is why I want more people to know about celiac disease and the medically needed gluten-free diet.

There are no Small Celiac Advocates

posted in: Blog Post | 2

THINK LOCAL ACT GLOBAL

Sometimes we forget that little phrase that they taught us in grade school. This mentality also applies for celiac disease as well. Spreading a little awareness can make all the difference in someone’s life. Whether its a family who needs a shout out, or a little child who has just been diagnosed. There is no such thing as ‘not enough advocacy’. That’s true across the board. We might never believe that statement when we’re told, but I bet if you look back to any recent event where you (even if you have to eat a specific diet or not) said something or did something to aide a food sensitive person.

You’re not just one person alone, fighting for the food eating rights of others. This is a new era and a new time period in humanity where we are all accepted as equals and unique individuals. Having different diets can be the same as preferring a different colour of sweater to wear. Just because you might be one person trying to make a difference, remember, you ARE making a difference. You might not ever see it, or you might not realize you’re even doing it, but that one step you take to make sure someone gets a gluten-free cookie or a peanut-free sandwich, is the right step to brightening someone’s day.

As a diagnosed celiac, I see people going out of their way to ensure that I can have a safe and gluten-free meal at family gatherings. That’s not just for me; with three others in my immediate family that need to be gluten-free, seeing friends and family take extra care to provide a meal or to avoid contamination is a game changer. And the one small small small gesture means the world.

As small as using a different set of tongs on the BBQ.

As small as using gf/vegan margarine for the brownies.

As small as leaning in and saying ‘I got your back’.

serrena
My sister-in-law advocated more than she realized.

 

Having a food sensitivity has it’s bad days and good days. It has it supporters and naysayers. Celiac disease has all kinds of people out there fighting for each one of us, and they all do a good job at it, no matter how they do it. Even you, maybe a reader who isn’t a blogger or advocate. By putting ‘celiac since 2007’ on your Twitter profile or something to that effect on your Facebook status, you’re doing the exact same job that I do. Getting the word out there and opening up the doors for others to ask about it.

Pass the knowledge, no matter how small. It’s like a pebble in the pond. That ripple gets bigger and bigger as it stretches out to the shore. There is no such thing as too little of a celiac advocate.

Small gestures like a person behind the counter getting your ice cream order safe for a peanut allergy. No matter how small, you’re doing it right.

1 2 3 4 5 6