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 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.

Children with Celiac Disease

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There is no denying that there are children out in the world that are diagnosed with celiac disease. If every one in 133 people has celiac disease then the odds are pretty good that a child has it.

Children have a rough go growing up as it is, and when you throw celiac disease into the mix, you can pretty much imagine what it’s like. As adults, we have a pretty good control of our emotions. As an adult diagnosed with celiac disease, we can hold our own when we feel isolated from a crowd because our celiac disease. Everyone is enjoying a pizza and your avoiding the table because you’re eating a gluten-free salad. There are times that this happens and you are well within your capabilities as a full grown adult to feel sad or left out.

Children are ever changing humans who never become who they’re supposed to be until the age of seven. Throw in celiac disease and a terrible social understanding of what it is and it becomes a ticking time bomb of sitting in the cafeteria and feeling sorry for yourself. Children diagnosed with celiac disease have mentors like their parents and teachers and grand parents and guardians who can stand up and speak for them. The one problem is that they aren’t there all the time.

Children can be cruel. I was a child once and I know what I was capable of and I know what others were capable of. There is already a ‘no peanuts’ rule running through out many social establishments, up to and including schools, arenas, gymnasiums and so on. And it is quite common for children to have deadly peanut allergies, but celiac disease is the frowned upon weird cousin that no one talks about or has any clue why he is the way he is. Gluten is in every food. There is no denying that, and if you’re the one child in a classroom of thirty that has celiac disease and needs to eat 100% gluten-free then there is a true belief that teasing is going to happen. Teasing that is going to create a bigger gap in the way the diagnosed celiac sees their disease and the way others do.

I’m not doctor, but this kind of behaviour from all parties could potentially lead to cheating on a medically needed 100% gluten-free diet.

Children take their cues from adults. As adults we bestow our knowledge of how things work. If there is a child in your child’s classroom that might have celiac disease, let them know what it is. Its not as immediate and deadly as peanut allergy but over time it can cause great pain and complications.

It has to be tough for the parent to see their child feel isolated because of celiac disease. That’s why we ALL need to educate as many people as we can about it. There is wrong information and good information out there that we can bring to light. caregiving adults need to be taught about celiac disease as much as children so that the current information is passed on. Just because one kid can’t play with the play-doh, because its mostly wheat, doesn’t mean that child can’t be awesome.

There are a handful of things a child with celiac disease can’t do but that doesn’t mean they have to suffer for it. Adults and children can learn as much as they can to create an inclusive environment for these children who can often feel left out. I’m an adult diagnosed with celiac disease when I was 27 years old, I know how I feel when I’m left out, so imagine how a five year old does.

All Celiacs Miss Some Kind of Food

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There is always the mega-ultra convenience of fast food. It’s easy to grab on the way home from work. That rainy Saturday afternoon with the family when hamburgers and fries are the perfect pick me up. Late night drive homes from the cottage. Fast food joints have been a staple of our lives for many decades, and have only grown in popularity as our society becomes bogged down with work, family and all the other commitments that stretch into our days and make the amazing convenience of food served fast to be a blessing.

As a diagnosed celiac, this kind of lifestyle proves difficult.

Diagnosed celiacs need to eat 100% gluten-free, and finding gluten-free fast food can/is a challenge.

You can stop off and grab a hash brown and coffee on the way to work or sit with your high school friends at lunch period and share a carton of fries and multi-layer burgers. The odds that any of that is gluten-free are slim to none, and finding that one gluten-free, simple and satisfying alternative is rare to come by.

There is always talk about the hamburgers on the fly. Peeling back the paper wrapper and eating it while you drive to the big game or inhaling it because you missed breakfast. What about all the talk of chicken nuggets? The long lost cousin of the fast food industry. Even in advertisements, the focus always seems to be about beef and beef and beef. Well, a great tasting gluten-free chicken nugget should be found to sate the appetite of those in need: namely me.

The year 1999 was ending (I was still nine years away from being diagnosed with celiac disease), and a few of my closet friends were going to get together and watch Blade on DVD and maybe have a few drinks. One of my boys said as we drove to the party “we should stop at [INSERT LOCAL FAST FOOD PLACE] and buy a pack of 50 chicken nuggets and then we’d always remember that at the turn of the century we had 50 chicken nuggets”. I regret a few things from that night, and not taking him up on that offer is one of them. And in all the years since, him and I never ever bought 50 chicken nuggets together.

Looking back and seeing that him and I currently make jokes about the 50 chicken nuggets so many years later, and even years after my diagnosis of celiac disease where I have to be 100% gluten-free and no fast food restaurant is serving those perfectly browned and tasty morsels, that we all know as chicken nuggets. It’s the one food that him and I always talk about when the mood strikes. The one food that him and I always have a chuckle over. The two major chains in my hometown served them. Respectfully, as teenagers, as dumb teenagers, we called them: chick-nugs and nugs. Yeah, a little stupid, but, food.

Making chicken nuggets at home is one thing, but having that ‘fast food’ flair to the chicken nuggets has always been a food I’d like to relive and recreate as a gluten-free alternative. It’s not about eating healthy, its just about eating.

Every food evokes emotion. What food gives you the feels?I believe food

Gluten and all the Cross Contamination

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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.

Deep Fried Gluten-Free Maple Cookies

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You might know by now that I am a co-host of a local television show, along with the incredibly professional and lovely Jennifer Anderson, in my home town called Georgina Life that airs on Rogers TV. You might also know that I am not a chef of any kind, but like to just make up food as I go along. You can see a lot of that terrible food magic in my Instagram pictures and now, see me work my gluten-free kitchen magic via this great YouTube video provided by Rogers TV.

I used 2 eggs for the wash, XO Baking gluten-free Pancake mix for the coating and Walmart brand maple cookies for the, well, cookies.

-Jordan

 

Gluten-Free Food from a bad Situation

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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one egg is all you need

 

 

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poof
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now try taking a picture with your hand like this
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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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