Living with Celiac Disease

Written by Jamie Holdstock – Research & Development at CANADIAN ORGANIC Spice & Herb Co. Inc.

There it was again. The question everyone always asks when they find out you have Celiac disease. “So how long have you been gluten free?” Honestly, I have quit counting the years because it’s easier to just say since 2009. Ten years?! A decade? Wow.

This is what I have learned from 10 years of gluten free living.

  • Non-Celiac’s Do Not Understand Cross Contamination

    • I was visiting a friend one weekend and she was a fabulous host. She tried very hard to make food that I could eat, however she had no idea about cross contamination. She couldn’t understand why I was concerned about using their crumb filled toaster for my gluten free bread. She made steaks, which are a great gluten free option, however she tried to grill my steak touching others that were dripping with gluten-y BBQ sauce. She cut up bread for home-made croutons, but then attempted to chop veggies on the same cutting board. I get it. There is a lot to think about when you are not used to having a celiac in the house. What we ended up doing was just cooking together and choosing meals that are naturally gluten free. It was the easiest option instead of making a separate gluten free version of the meal.

  • Restaurants Have Made Huge Gains, But They Still Aren’t Perfect

    • I can remember when we found out grandpa had celiac disease. It was a big shock, but it didn’t take him long to commit to a gluten free diet and looking healthier. Grandpa was diagnosed with celiac disease in the late 90’s and at that time the term “Gluten Free” did not exist. It was particularly unheard of in the restaurant industry. Our family had a tradition of getting together for special events and ordering Chinese food take out. My grandpa loved his Chinese food, but getting gluten free Chinese food was a nightmare. Restaurants have really pulled up their socks when it comes to understanding gluten free meals. However, there are still restaurants out there that advertise a meal as gluten free then have a tiny asterisk beside the meal. When you read the fine print at the bottom of the menu it says *May be cooked with items containing gluten*. To all restaurant owners out there please note: any gluten free foods that are cooked in the same deep fryer as gluten containing foods do NOT qualify as gluten free.

  • The Worst Foods That People Don’t Realize Contain Gluten

    • Gluten sneaking up on the label on you? Be sure to check the label of these foods which commonly contain gluten:

      • Worcestershire sauce

      • Soy sauce

      • Imitation crab meat

      • Chicken Soup Stock

      • Beer

      • Hot dogs

  • I Still Get Sick Sometimes

    • Even though I have been living with Celiac Disease for a decade I still sometimes accidentally get poisoned. It happens, even if you are super careful. Reading labels can be exhausting and very time consuming, but it gets easier with time. I have noticed over the years that when I do accidentally ingest gluten my reaction is not as traumatizing as it would have been in the past. If you are super careful and accidentally get poisoned don’t be too hard on yourself it happens to all of us.

Read More On Celiac Disease

What is Celiac Disease?

Celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disease that occurs in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. Two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications. 

Gluten Free Recipes

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