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.


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.

*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.


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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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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

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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.

Family vs. Celiac Disease

posted in: Blog Post | 1

You’d like to think that everyone in your family is understanding when it comes to you as an individual. A lot of the time, that isn’t the case. Your Aunt might not always seem to get why you like gore-filled horror movies or your father-in-law can’t get past the fact or understand that you enjoy playing video games until all hours of the night. These are the same facts that make us all different, and everyone IS different and everyone is entitled to do what they like, but the support of a family is sometimes lost when you come at them with your celiac disease and your need to be gluten-free.

Is a question of misunderstanding or do they even care?

Younger family members are influenced by those around them and when the adults put down or discourage gluten-free food, it shows. Teenaged cousins turning their nose up at the gluten-free alternative to turkey stuffing when they haven’t even tried it. Just the idea of gluten-free is enough to turn the stomach… this is all when the diagnosed celiac is sitting across the table. The tried and true method of picking out someone who is uneducated is the family member who sneers and the milk because another person said it was gluten-free. Let me tell you why you look like an idiot:

  1. Milk is naturally gluten-free. You’ve been drinking it all your life.
  2. You’re an idiot.

Having a supportive family member outside your immediate family that understands the severity  of celiac disease and gluten cross contamination is important. It could mean a matter of sickness and health at family barbecues. Because the extended family can sometimes be your worst enemy when it comes to promoting a positive experience with ANY kind of gluten-free food. It’s not bad enough that you have defend celiac disease to others not related, so why does it have to be with blood relatives?

Holidays should be about joy, but sometimes because of celiac and they way others might perceive it, they’re not.

Families not caring about wether the same flipper for the hamburgers was used for the regular buns should at least be a concern as opposed to a passing thought when a diagnosed celiac is at the party. This isn’t a dinner party with unknown people, it’s family. It’s blood. It’s people who have loved and cared for each other for years, decades even. It’s just too bad there might be those few people in the family that ruin holidays for celiacs.

There are incidents when you’ll here people showing their true colours. Having to serve gluten-free food to people who just aren’t willing to accept change is a great indicator of that. Even my daughter is willing to try the potato soup after saying she didn’t like it. If they’re not eating the corn because it’s gluten-free and that’s only because they’ve heard that gluten-free food tastes like cardboard… there is something terribly wrong with the relationship and somewhere down the line they have been grossly misinformed.

Your family knows you have celiac, so why do they have to be so critical?

You want to maintain a healthy relationship, but at every holiday or get together it always seems to be: FAMILY vs. CELIAC. Sometimes you have to just cut the cord and let them know your disease is important and they should at least acknowledge it with a smile, not a sneer. When family members get to the point of just. Not. Caring. it’s time that your diagnosed celiac disease wins the battle.

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