I Wish You Had Celiac Disease

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Celiac disease is hereditary.

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

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

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

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

Would you wish celiac disease on someone?

I would. Only to have a buddy.

I wish my wife had celiac disease.

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

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

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

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

No Celiac is Alone

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

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

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

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

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

At the end of the show something happened.

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

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

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

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

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

A Parent, A Child and Celiac Disease

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Celiac in the House

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Review Mary’s Gone Crackers Gluten-Free Crackers

When someone gets diagnosed with celiac disease they often talk about that one food that they happen to miss. The one gluten-filled food that they can’t find as a delicious and unique gluten-free alternative. What’s really funny, is that at the same time I started the process with MARY’S GONE CRACKERS to review their own gluten-free food I happened across a Facebook post on one of the forums I’m apart of, and the person who wrote it was saying that they missed regular gluten-full crackers and that the MARY’S GONE CRACKERS filled that gap.

While preparing for my review, this Facebook post gave me hope that I would be coming in hot with an amazing tasting gluten-free product.

I was right.

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My MARY’S GONE CRACKERS story starts a little different than most kinds of reviews; instead of the company sending me a box of pre-selected food, I had the unique ability to go and pick out exactly what I wanted from the store. My own flavours and my own way. Just like I would be able to do if I was shopping. It added a really cool element to how I was going to tackle this review.

There was no end to what I could pick from and that opens to door to a lot of what I could do; Herb crackers, black pepper crackers, super seed and onion. The list was pretty big, because it went into Thins and cookies and a lot more product that I honestly didn’t realize MARY’S GONE CRACKERS carried. I was pleasantly surprised.

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*side note* Due to an unfortunate goofball incident on my part, I wasn’t able to review three of the five products I got. But, I will add a special review of something I bought with my own money as a mega ultra fun time review. *side note over*

 

Gluten-free crackers. Gluten-free MARY’S GONE CRACKERS Black Pepper and Original and all of them are just great. All produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility and never once did I feel like I was being left out of an flavour when eating them. You’ll find that I tend to eat with my heart and eating food is an emotional experience for me and the Black Pepper crackers reminded me of the pepper you would put on tomato soup when I was younger. There was distinctive smell and subtle taste of my childhood that I really dug. The crackers them selfs are gluten-free and vegan and organic and they are fairly hard. It’s not a soft cracker by any means, but the rigidness of them is a perfect plate/spoon/scoop for all kinds of fun things.

Like…

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My daughter was dipping Mary’s Gone Crackers in ketchup.

 

I love putting weird stuff on my food. I douse all my food in maple syrup, or put ketchup in my mashed potatoes and the MARY’S GONE CRACKERS gluten-free crackers were a perfect opportunity for me to flex my creative food muscles. Yes. I know they are good crackers and yes I wanted too find fun ways to eat them as opposed to just adding cheese to the top. So, I got me some cream cheese with a dollop of bbq sauce. Yes, bbq sauce. And I’ll tell you. I dare you to come up with a better and more simple food topping than that.

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Cracker, cream cheese and bbq sauce.

 

But, while I was out and buying all these awesome gluten-free treats, my daughter wanted to get some gluten-free chocolate chip cookies to share with me (she doesn’t need to eat gluten-free, but I do, due to my diagnosed celiac disease) and by coincidence MARY’S GONE CRACKERS makes such a thing. I like them. They’re perfectly bite sized and the right amount of chocolate and because they are a special gluten-free treat I can share with my daughter, I send one to school with her as a reminder of the treat we share and the time we went to the store to buy it.

MARY’S GONE CRACKERS gluten-free crackers were fun and a surprising treat. I found myself  eating them for dessert after dinner, which says a lot about a food product. You NEVER have to take my word for the flavour value of a food, just go out and get your own box and see for yourself. Then get back to me.


I was not paid in anyway for this food review. I was only provided with free food coupons to provide to the grocer for my review. I did get a cool tote for all my shopping needs. All thoughts, ideas and opinions are my own.

You can also come and find me do my celiac disease thing and gluten-free shenanigans on twitter-logoInstagram_App_Large_May2016_200

 

All Gluten-Free Food Tastes Bad

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

“I could never be gluten-free”

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

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

“The food tastes terrible”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celiac Disease Made Me

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

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

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

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

The thing is…

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

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

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

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

Celiac Disease and Gluten-Free are Connected

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

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

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

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

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

To my face:

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

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

On my TV:

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Celiac Disease is not a Buzz Kill.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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