Gluten Free Traveling Tips: Podcast

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Gluten Free Traveling Tips

Aaron and I go On the Air to talk about how we make our traveling trips successful! We give you our advice for what works and what hasn’t worked in the past along with great ideas and tips to stay as safe as possible during vacation.

We talk about research, planning, the best travel snacks and more!

Oh yeah, and we get our first live caller! How exciting! See what advice I have for her son who is struggling to find a camp that will accommodate his needs and for her daughter who is struggling with staying gluten-free after a celiac diagnosis!

We also have a little banter back and forth so you can get an idea of our relationship.

Want to wait until later to listen? Pretty Little Celiac is available on iTunes! You can subscribe to my page on iTunes and listen whenever you get the chance. I’ve had some amazing feedback on my podcast show, so please check them out. They have been really beneficial to a lot of people.

Have an idea for my next show? Email me

Enjoy!

 

Living Gluten Free on a Budget – Podcast

Living Gluten-Free on a Budget

In this episode of On The Air with Pretty Little Celiac, I discuss 18 ways you can save money while living gluten free on a budget. I know just as well as you do that it is extremely expensive to live gluten-free but there are ways around spending all that cash. It takes a little bit of planning and creativity, but saving money can be done.

Listen now to the episode and let me know what you think.

The Ignorance about Gluten Free Living.

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Since I started Pretty Little Celiac, I use a RSS feeder to send me articles relating to gluten-free and celiac disease to make sure I stay up to date on current trends and studies, but also to just see what the buzz is in the media. Today I woke up to the usual set of articles about gluten-free living and how the gluten-free “diet” isn’t necessary for most people and others that make it challenging for us to fight the gluten-free battle.

But, one article in particular caught my eye. Titled “Why the Billion-Dollar Gluten-free Industry is Secretly Laughing at All of Us.” I was intrigued. Were these new marketing techniques being used? Are there concerns with labeling I need to know about? Nope. None of these things were even addressed in the article by Dana Baaardsen from iVillage.com

The article started out fine at first talking about celiac and gluten-free popularity and then mentioned a blogger with celiac disease who came out against people eating gluten-free when they don’t have to. But then she went into a few sentences about gluten-free that really upset me. For instance, here is how she ended the article:

Here are some of the more ridiculous gluten-free products we found — mainly because most of them barely had detectable traces of gluten in them to begin with — if at all. Seriously, just eat more veggies:

Ridiculous? Really?

She goes on to identify a few products like sausages, potato chips, fruit snacks, make-up and juice while making outrageous comments like, “you shouldn’t be eating your make up anyway” and “This gluten-free stuff isn’t so hard after all.”

Wait… What? You wrote a 500 word article about gluten-free living, found a few products online that had a “gluten-free” label on them and decided to not only make a mockery about how I (and thousands of others) have to live but that it’s “easy” because you found a few junk food items that had the words “gluten-free” on them?

I am sick and tired of reading articles like this. I am tired of ignorant people writing and saying things when they have no idea what they are talking about.

Gluten-free living is easy? Well guess what Dana, I challenge you to eat gluten-free for 30 consecutive days and see how “easy” it is. Go to parties with your friends and watch them eat and drink while you sit there starving because you can’t have beer or party foods. Go to weddings with your family and eat a Lara bar out of your purse because the only thing to eat at the wedding is filled with breadcrumbs and sauces with gluten. Go to eat where you get poisoned by something that makes you sick for a whole week and disrupts your entire life.

THEN you can write a truthful article about living gluten-free. THEN you might recognize why it’s important to have “gluten-free” labeling on foods so you can easily navigate the grocery store and find things safe for you to eat.

But I guess until then, you CAN have your cake and eat it too.

Rebecca

Comments

  1.  Amy Cox says:

    Are you kidding me? Easy???? Any traces of gluten in ANYTHING makes me sick for weeks! When I found out I had Celiac Disease I was 31 years old. I was mysteriously ill for my entire life before. Hospitalizations, tests, broken bones, organ damage, and even Psych treatment when people could not find what was wrong. I had Osteoporosis from not absorbing Calcium properly in my bones, also all of my teeth are damaged. The Calcium that did not make it to my bones and teeth had collected in the arteries of my kidneys and caused them to almost fail. I have been in terribly painful treatment for the calcification of my kidneys FOR YEARS since. I also had high risk pregnancies and two of the three of my kids have food allergies (no coincidence that kid number three, the one I was gluten free during the pregnancy, is my healthiest with no allergies). This is of course only secondary to the horrid damage to my intestines. I have to work very hard to make sure I absorb vitamins. Eat more veggies? I would LOVE to! I love veggies. Unfortunately when your Gastrointestinal Tract is damaged, raw veggies are not easy to eat. And when you cook them the vitamin content is lowered so you have to eat more. Also, “you shouldn’t be eating your makeup”. Did you pay attention to your Science classes in school??? Read about the skin and how we absorb what we put on it. That sentence alone just shows your unbelievable ignorance. Seriously, basic human anatomy. Pick up a book in the children’s section if the big words confuse you. Read about the intestines and the skin and how we absorb vitamins. Pay special attention to how the intestines are like layers of screens with small holes for vitamins to go into our bodies AND IF INFLAMED…….they don’t. They go to waste and if your kidneys don’t work well…..they stick inside of them. I could go on and on. But the last thing I want to say is, writing an article in an attempt to put down people with a medical condition that you CLEARLY have not even researched is a despicable way to live. And it is one of the biggest problems with this country. Good luck with life! You will attract great people with that kind of attitude! I prefer positive people who offer help and ones who, when they don’t understand something, they don’t assume they do and judge.

     

  2.  Lisa says:

    This makes me insanely mad! She has not a clue what it’s like and people who just eat gf for the fad don’t either! Unless you are one of the people who gets ridiculously sick for a week and have to miss work, school etc you have no idea. When a cute guy buys you a drink at the bar and you have to ask what’s in it because you don’t want to be sick all night and they look at you like a freak. Or when you go to a restaurant and the waitress asks you “gluten what?” Until you have lived the life of a true celiac then you have NO idea how hard it is. And you go ahead and eat vegetables from the time your 15 until you die, then we’ll talk.

     

  3.  McKenna says:

    Thank you for this. I have been recently diagonosed with Celiac. While some of my family has been supportive and understanding, not all have. I am constantly being told that a little won’t hurt me… Although I am new, I am doing fairly well and don’t really want to take chances, I know a slip up will happen from time to time, but I don’t need my family, friends and co-workers thinking a little won’t hurt or that this isn’t really a problem.

     

  4.  Alexandra Berger says:

    Thank you, Rebecca.
    I’ve had celiacs since i was 3, but didn’t really know about it until i was 26, about 4 years ago. fortunately, most people in my life are very supportive of my “diet” and try to accommodate me as best they can. It is so important to have people talking about our side of the story and the struggles we face everyday. Thank you for your work to broaden people’s understanding of eating gluten-free.
    Alex

     

  5.  Suzanne says:

    This is your very best post. Ever. Thank you

     

  6.  jeanne says:

    How is it that a writer who is clearly clueless can get published. Her arogance and lack of knowledge is pathetic. The funny thing is, it seems to me that she inadvertently made a point she didn’t realize she was making….why is it “special” that meat & potato chips & juice needed to be labeled gluten-free? Um, because too many of these products that should be – often aren’t. It’s ridiculous how food manufacturers use wheat/gluten when its not necessary – its in everything (because of its addictive properties perhaps?). This is torture for those of us living with celiac! I don’t buy the gf fad-diet-thing, there is nothing cool about gf lifestyle. But I do believe the over-use of wheat/gluten is unnatural & causing a problem for countless others who are finding they can’t tolerate gluten – or others, like moms I know who are going gluten-free because their kids are suffering with unexplained health conditions that seem to respond to a gf diet (such as eczema, adhd, migraines, other autoimmune disorders, etc).

     

  7.  Dana Baardsen, Author says:

    Hi Rebecca, I’m including a response to your response! I’ve never done that before, but since you have used a corner of your website to address my article, I figured I would do the same to shed some light on these issues. I think it’s important. Thank you.

    http://danaelisebaardsen.com/5/post/2013/03/gluten-free-a-response.html

    Readers: This is a response to an upset blogger who read one of my fad-diet critiques on iVillage.com. She took the time to blog how she felt about my article on her website, so I am taking the time to kindly answer questions she raised and also provide some insight into who I am as a young journalist.

    Hi Rebecca from Pretty Little Celiac,

    Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my article. I have taken the time to read and respond to yours. I hope you read my response with an open, grudge-free mind, as my writing has really been taken out of context. I know several other readers will take my article out of context as well, so thank you for giving me the opportunity to reply.

    My relationship with celiac disease:

    I do not live gluten-free, nor do I medically have to. I have studied Nutrition and Food Science for four years (this May I obtain my degree) and of course have studied the mechanisms of celiac disease. Not only is it a frustrating lifestyle to adhere to, but also a very serious medical condition. As stated in my article, “Gluten-intolerance (or celiac disease) is a legitimate medical condition and frustrating condition that irritates the small intestine and causes symptoms which range from diarrhea to nutrient malabsorption.” ßThough it is MUCH more than that.

    My response to my article and yours:

    This article posted on iVillage.com was to get people talking about certain studies recently conducted, which brought awareness to the fact that there is a much greater amount of people living gluten-free, compared to the amount of people who are medically diagnosed. In addition, companies may be taking advantage of the fact that there is a market for gluten-free foods.

    When large websites, like iVillage create content, the ideas are run through teams of editors and then assigned to writers, like myself. My content is then filtered through my top editors and then produced onto the website.

    This topic was assigned to me, as was the layout of addressing certain “gluten-free” products, which wouldn’t make sense for a NON-CELIAC to invest in. So of course, for someone who has celiac disease these products are great…but in the context that there are several individuals investing in gluten-free when they don’t necessarily have to, they may need to just make better food choices in general.

    Let me just give you an example of how these things work. I had inserted a line, which read, “So before letting the green flow out of your pocket, let it flow onto your plate (in the form of fresh veggies) and see how your body responds, before investing in a full-fledged gluten-free diet plan.”

    ^This line appeared right before the listing of gluten-free products, which a non-celiac may not benefit from investing in if it’s just processed foods in general which are making them feel down.

    However, one of my top-editors removed that line and inserted: “Here are some of the more ridiculous gluten-free products we found — mainly because most of them barely had detectable traces of gluten in them to begin with — if at all. Seriously, just eat more veggies:”

    I am responsible for this line, as it is under my name and so I am apologizing for the part of your response where you reference this line and include, “But then she went into a few sentences about gluten-free that really upset me.”

    I do not like upsetting anyone. EVER! If you read any blog post directly posted by me…it is always written with knowledge, love, and health in mind. I work with editors who edit like this too! However, especially for media-driven websites, my posts are given a certain personality. My diet-critic posts on iVillage tend to be written with research, but also with opinion, and sarcasm…which is normally turned up a notch (or few) by top-editors. I know it is bound to make people ANGRY.

    For example, I wrote an article regarding a diet, which originated in Britain. While I was brainstorming different words to describe a British individual, the term “Brits” popped into my head. Before I used it, I researched it and found that it can actually be considered racist, so I purposely didn’t include it. However, after the article was filtered through my editors, the term was inserted and there were people commenting how I’m borderline racist. The worst feeling ever!

    I work for iVillage though. If I said writing diet-critiques was my favorite thing to do, I’d be lying! I don’t like to criticize anyone, but I handle the assignment to the best of my ability. For iVillage, I’ve written lovely beauty and health articles, which I treasure… and I also work for iVillage by producing other writer’s content onto the site. I never turn down an assignment they give me, because I value my position there. Overall, iVillage is an amazing resource for women.

    I am sorry you have struggled with celiac disease, and you feel there are OTHER writers out there who ignorantly bash the condition. That’s unfair. You are doing a great service with your website by spreading knowledge about celiac disease.

    As far as your challenge is concerned: I have challenged myself with restricted food-choices, like vegetarianism for one year after eating meat my whole life, but never would I subject myself to gluten-free living if I didn’t have to. I know it’s hard. But believe me, I am a journalist at heart, and if any editor ever asked me to live gluten-free for 30 days and document it, I would! I’ve pitched to do it with a juice-only diet for 30 days over a year ago, but the interest wasn’t high enough. That’s the type of reporting I would really love to do.

    I’ve heard of those with celiac disease who like that gluten-free is gaining awareness, because it offers more food choices for them. I’ve also heard others with celiac disease who can’t stand that the trend has gained popularity because it is making their products more expensive, and restaurants don’t take it as seriously because they just want to fit into the “trend”…so some people feel they are more likely to get sick eating out from contamination.

    One more note I’ve made for you: You addressed my article, “Why the Billion-Dollar Gluten-free Industry is Secretly Laughing at All of Us,” and you continue to share, “I was intrigued. Were these new marketing techniques being used? Are there concerns with labeling I need to know about? Nope. None of these things were even addressed in the article by Dana Baaardsen from iVillage.com”

    The FDA better not be mislabeling gluten-free! If it is labeled gluten-free, it SHOULD be. I have read about factories/companies producing foods with and without gluten within the same factory, but fears of cross-contamination shouldn’t rest within the realms of labeling. That fear, as you know, should stick to eating out at restaurants. (Right now, my labeling fears reside with GMO and the new politics regarding Monsanto…ugh!).

    But to follow up with you, (within the limited time) I was given to write the article, I interviewed a Food Scientist about the cost of gluten-free foods. (This was also cut by my top-editors)

    An excerpt from my first submission:

    Food Scientist, Dr. John Specchio adds, “Costs of gluten-free foods are higher than regular food products because there is a demand for it.” He continues, “If something is popular, there will be a market for it, which is why they can increase the costs on those products. In addition to that, the food product needs to be reformulated, since they are removing the Gluten. There is a lot of research that goes into creating a product which meets public demand… that costs money too.”

    Discussing Dr. Specchio’s insight on gluten-free food pricing, was to draw light to the fact that these foods tend to be pricier…so if you’re not medically diagnosed, why subject yourself to that?

    I can tell by your response, you had written and posted it with frustration and anger, and I never meant to stimulate that reaction within my readers. The least I could do was offer you (and others) a little insight into who I am, where I come from as a human being and freelancer, the possibility that a brain may be floating around somewhere in my skull, and to remind you why these articles are produced in such a way and that a lot of planning and editing actually goes into them.

    What have I done for the gluten-free community?

    Last year, I worked with a pizzeria in New Jersey to use and continue using gluten free pizza crust and offer gluten-free pasta (even though it’s more expensive and the chefs had a hard time because it takes longer to cook than regular pasta!)

    I also run a women’s health newsletter, and we are working on a gluten-free awareness newsletter right now, and I have run gluten-free awareness articles in the past under that newsletter, all authored by a gluten-free writer.

    If I ever do a gluten-free challenge, you will be the first to know.

    With love,

    Dana

     

  8.  Jess says:

    Here is my response to Dana which iVillage would not let me post:
    “You have done a huge disservice to the 6-8% of American with non celiac gluten sensitivity, in addition to the 1% of us who have Celiac Disease. Although you quote the Univ. of Chicago Center for Celiac Disease’s website, there have been several studies in the last 2 yrs showing that the incidence of non celiac gluten sensitivity is higher than 2-3% (check out Dr. Fasano on http://www.pubmed.gov). There are many with gluten sensitivity, who, due to activation of the innate immune system, have severe reactions to traces of gluten (including a few of my own family members). In addition, it was difficult not to take offense to your comment regarding gluten free cosmetics. Any mother of a child with Celiac Disease or gluten sensitivity needs to be extremely careful that her lipstick is gluten free.”
    Jess recently posted…Sun Dogs, Celiac, and GratitudeMy Profile

     

  9.  Becky says:

    The post in iVillage is certainly a Passive Aggressive buck shot to the Gluten-free community. The key identifies are as follows:
    1. Address the intended audience as if you have no clue who they might be
    Title suggests the food industry while the article addresses those with celiac’s disease/ gluten intolerant and those who choose to follow this diet without any medical indication of having this condition. The article’s lack of focus jumps from one view point to another leaving the reader with little information.
    2. Use of anthropomorphism
    “Gluten, the protein-complex mainly found in wheat products, has become a recent villain”
    “deflecting our ailments on to poor ol’ gluten”
    3. Stating the obvious
    “We are not discounting that.” This refers to the legitimate medical condition to which the article gives permission for those inflicted to pursue a gluten-free diet.
    4. Suggest highly improbable consequences
    “When someone cuts out “gluten-containing” foods, they experience feeling cleaner, more energized and healthier…but was it really the gluten that was getting them down?” Yes, it is.
    “You were not really eating sausages if your sausages had gluten in them” I suggest you read the labels of the foods you eat and research the different ways gluten is labeled.
    “You shouldn’t be eating your makeup, anyway.” Gluten in eye makeup causes immediate tears and welts after I’ve accidentally used the wrong brand.
    5. Suggests a solution to the problem that patronizes the reader
    “So why in the world would a non-celiac subject themselves to such torture?” Every medical test I’ve had for celiac’s disease has been negative. Yet, on a gluten-free diet I thrive.
    “people keep getting hoodwinked” You suggest consumers are subject to media hype and can not make decisions for food.
    “Seriously, just eat more veggies”

    If the iVillage editors deleted, substituted segments of your article, then may I suggest you post your original article on your website to clear up any misunderstandings towards you. As it stands, this article is inflammatory aimed to ‘anger’ the audience to which you have agreed to participate.

     

  10.  Becky says:

    The post in iVillage is certainly a Passive Aggressive buck shot to the Gluten-free community. The key identifies are as follows:
    1. Address the intended audience as if you have no clue who they might be
    Title suggests the food industry while the article addresses those with celiac’s disease/ gluten intolerant and those who choose to follow this diet without any medical indication of having this condition. The article’s lack of focus jumps from one view point to another leaving the reader with little information.
    2. Use of anthropomorphism
    “Gluten, the protein-complex mainly found in wheat products, has become a recent villain”
    “deflecting our ailments on to poor ol’ gluten”
    3. Stating the obvious
    “We are not discounting that.” This refers to the legitimate medical condition to which the article gives permission for those inflicted to pursue a gluten-free diet.
    4. Suggest highly improbable consequences
    “When someone cuts out “gluten-containing” foods, they experience feeling cleaner, more energized and healthier…but was it really the gluten that was getting them down?” Yes, it is.
    “You were not really eating sausages if your sausages had gluten in them” I suggest you read the labels of the foods you eat and research the different ways gluten is labeled.
    “You shouldn’t be eating your makeup, anyway.” Gluten in eye makeup causes immediate tears and welts after I’ve accidentally used the wrong brand.
    5. Suggests a solution to the problem that patronizes the reader
    “So why in the world would a non-celiac subject themselves to such torture?” Every medical test I’ve had for celiac’s disease has been negative. Yet, on a gluten-free diet I thrive.
    “people keep getting hoodwinked” You suggest consumers are subject to media hype and can not make decisions for food.
    “Seriously, just eat more veggies”

    If the iVillage editors deleted, substituted segments of your article, then may I suggest you post your original article on your website to clear up any misunderstandings towards you. As it stands, this article is inflammatory aimed to ‘anger’ the audience to which you have agreed to participate.

     

  11.  Dave says:

    Easy-yeah sure . when the family stops at krispy kreme for a few and you just watch or vistiing family in a small town usa. cant really eat out with others must prepare , bring or ???

     

  12.  Alex Kinsella says:

    I do a lot of event planning for my job. Since my diagnosis, I make sure to have the caterers include gluten free food and beverage options – not just for myself, but for other celiacs too. Makes a world of difference.

     

 

 

I’m a WeGo Health Activist Finalist for Rookie of the Year Award 2012!!!

I’m a finalist for the Rookie of the Year Award!
I’m a finalist for the Rookie of the Year Award!

I am SO excited that I’m just smiling ear to ear today after hearing I am a finalist for the Rookie of the Year award by the WeGo Health website! Click on the link to see the other finalists and share or comment on the post!

What does the WeGo Health program do?

WEGO Health is a different kind of social network, built from the ground up for the community leaders, bloggers and tweeters who are actively involved in health online. WEGO Health is a platform for committed health advocates to foster new relationships, gain access to helpful resources, and to grow their communities. And it’s free.

Our goal is to equip our network with opportunities designed for the active contributor, relevant content, powerful educational resources and shareable interactive media. We hope that the bloggers, tweeters, and community leaders that we call Health Activists will find inspiration, strength and support here.

All I can say is THANK YOU to my followers and the gluten free and celiac community for opening your arms to me and bringing me into your world.

 

xo

Rebecca

Do you suffer from Celiac Sadness?

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If you have celiac disease or think you have celiac disease, you can’t help but go through denial at some point in this journey. For me, it was both before I was diagnosed when I had a million different health issues and then about 6 months post diagnosis when it really hit me what this meant.

In a quick internet search on denial, of course Wikipedia was the top search result but it also was the thing that hit home the most – specifically the term abnegation:

Denial, in ordinary English usage, is asserting that a statement or allegation is not true.[1] The same word, and also abnegation, is used for a psychologicaldefense mechanism postulated by Sigmund Freud, in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence.

Turns out, it wasn’t denial after all. It was abnegation.

I’ve never heard of this term before but man does it hit the nail on the head. Let me explain…

You see there was always a suspicion in the back of my mind that I might have celiac after a coworker was diagnosed who was having the exact same symptoms as me. I didn’t want to have celiac and I didn’t believe that was the case. I said things to myself like “it’s such a rare disease” or “but I don’t get sick when I eat bread.” She repeatedly would tell me I should go and get tested but I never did.  I didn’t want to.

There I was going from doctor to doctor trying to find an answer. Trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Continuing to hear from my friends and family that I was a “hypochondriac” or “always had something wrong with me.” The answer was right in front of me for years, yet I didn’t want to believe it.

The first few months after diagnosis were a struggle. I ate the same foods every day because I knew they were safe but I was so busy opening my business that it worked out well that way for a few months. But after the shock of diagnosis ended and my business calmed down a little, the denial and abnegation reared its ugly head again.

It really hit home for me that I would never eat the foods I loved ever again.

That I could never eat a delicious piece of sourdough bread at my favorite restaurant.

That I wouldn’t be able to grab a bite to eat just anywhere anymore.

That I couldn’t enjoy foods with friends the way it used to be.

That eating fruit and cheese at weddings was my new reality.

That celiac was my new reality.

I was sad, angry, anxious, depressed and in denial.

Maybe I didn’t have this life long disease. It was a wrong diagnosis. I should find another doctor and get a second opinion. maybe I could have gluten a little bit, every once in a while. Maybe I could just do what I’ve always been doing and hope for the best in the long run.

Yup, all of these thoughts ran through my mind. I was sad for about 2 months. I’m lying – I was depressed. July and August of 2012 were just awful for me. I started blogging September 1st and after starting to find all of you online, that’s when I realized I wasn’t alone and my life wasn’t over. I could turn this into something positive and wonderful.

I want you to know it is totally ok to go through these emotions and have these feelings. A few weeks or months is ok, if you are finding it lasting longer than this, it is ok to seek professional help to get over the celiac sadness. <– This is a real thing. It never really goes away.

Celiac Sadness: The temporary feeling of sadness when you encounter any of these scenarios:

  1. You get glutened.
  2. You realize at a social event there is nothing for you to eat.
  3. You make an awesome recipe only to find out it’s disgusting and you spent $75 on ingredients.
  4. You get upset when you see someone make fun or mock gluten-free anything.
  5. You go to dinner with a friend and they constantly make comments about how you order, what you are eating or how delicious their own meal tastes.
  6. You hit your third grocery store to get all the brands of gluten-free foods you enjoy.
  7. You are on a road trip looking for a Wendy’s or Outback Steakhouse but settle for almonds and a bag of kettle chips at the gas station.
  8. You get angry when another dumb ass celebrity says they are going “gluten-free to be more healthy.”
  9. You realize how many years you spent sick because our medical doctors aren’t properly educated on celiac disease.
  10. You finally come to terms with yourself that this is your life now, you can never go back and you will be okay.

Do you ever have Celiac Sadness? Post below!!

Rebecca

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5 Tips for Trying New Gluten-Free Products – Guest post by G-Free Laura!

5 Tips for Trying New Gluten-Free Products

One of the difficult things about the gluten-free diet is testing out new gluten-free foods and brands. There have been many times when I’ve gotten excited about a new product on the shelf at the grocery store and purchased the product, only to get home and find out that it tastes like junk.

So how can you prevent yourself from wasting money on gluten-free products that aren’t worth it? The below 5 tips will help you to happily try new products without any regret!

Tip 1: Ask the Blogosphere

The online gluten-free community is HUGE. It is an invaluable resource for those on the gluten-free diet. There are tons of gluten-free blogs out there that are run by people just like you! Everyone is in the same boat when it comes to trying new products: we don’t know how it will taste until we taste it, and we don’t have the money to waste on things that taste like cardboard.

Before you pick up your next box of new gluten-free crackers, or a loaf of gluten-free bread from an unfamiliar brand, go home and Google the product to see what people have to say. Chances are that someone has written a review on the product. Utilize this online ‘support group’ before you commit a new product to your pocketbook.

Tip 2: Go on Twitter or Facebook

Odds are if you’re gluten-free and semi-in tune with the whole social media thing, you follow a few gluten-free people on Facebook or Twitter. If you have a question about a product and want to find out if your favorite blogger or social influencer has tried it, just ask them!

The great thing about normal, down-to-earth people with gluten-free blog-personalities is that they are right there with you. If someone sends me a message, or asks a question on Twitter, I respond as quickly as possible and to the best of my ability. If I don’t know the answer to their question, I try to figure it out, or point them in the right direction. I don’t want my followers wasting their time or money on products that aren’t worth it!

If you’re wondering whether or not to spend the $6.99 on those frozen gluten-free pizza crusts, or the $4.99 for that box of gluten-free crackers, ask someone if you should!

Tip #3: Utilize New Resources

Another great way to try new products is to literally get them delivered to your door step. There are new gluten-free companies popping up left and right that want to help the gluten-free community with their journey. I’m not going to lie, I’m jealous they weren’t around when I went gluten-free! It would have made the process slightly easier.

I recently learned about a company called Taste Guru that sends monthly boxes filled with gluten-free products. How awesome is that? A box delivered to your doorstep filled with gluten-free goodies. I so wish I had this service when I went gluten-free four years ago – It would have been the highlight of my month!

The BEST thing about utilizing resources like Taste Guru is that you get a lot more bang for your buck! The cost of one month’s box is $24.99, yet the value of the box is between $75 -$100. That’s like gluten-free gold. The company also prides itself on the fact that the boxes don’t just contain gluten-free food, but they contain GOOD gluten-free food. There’s none of that hard, questionable looking, bird-food stuff.

Tip #4: Keep a List

Have you ever tried a product, fell in love with it, then when you went to buy it again, you couldn’t remember the brand name for the life of you?!

When my family first went gluten-free, we would tear off the name on the box of crackers, or keep the bag it came in, so we would not only know the name, but also what the packaging looked like. We ended up having a somewhat large stack of package scraps but it sure was worth it! I’d rather have a pile of brand names to spark my memory than lose the chance to have my favorite product again.

A more efficient method than ours might be to start an excel spreadsheet (yes, the nerd in me is coming out now). Have a column for food type, brand name, link to website, and where you purchased the product at. This can help you to stay organized, know which store carries which brand, and make your shopping experience more efficient!

Tip #5: Believe in the Little Guy

Sometimes the best products are from start-up companies. Why? Because these people have a passion for gluten-free living and they oftentimes create the product for themselves or a loved one to eat. Who doesn’t want to eat food that is literally baked with love?

So give the ma and pa shops a little g-free love when you see them promoting themselves at the gluten-free expo, Celiac tour, or just at your local grocery store! I bet you won’t be sorry!

Laura Hanley, known as G-Free Laura, has been gluten-free since 2009 and reviews products, restaurants, posts simple recipes, and writes about gluten-free experiences on www.gfreelaura.com. Laura’s passion for spreading g-free love has led her to become a contributor for sites such as the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, Rudi’s Gluten-Free ‘Baked on the Bright Side‘ blog, and SwimUtopia. Visit Laura on FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedIn, and Google+.

Why gluten-free menus are worthless…

…because very few restaurants educate their staff on gluten and how to protect customers.

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I’d like to say I’ve mastered the art of eating out with celiac disease but that would be a huge lie. I could say I’ve mastered the ability to order my meal but certainly not of educating each and every server I encounter.

We are all too familiar with bad restaurants, especially when it comes to gluten-free. The reviews are all over the internet and we keep speaking out but it seems no one is listening.

A while ago, I wrote a post about successfully eating out gluten-free but the more I experience it, the more I realize we have no control over what we actually eat in a restaurant. You see the reality is some servers will really care about you, take their time with you and make sure you have an amazing meal. But, even a server with the best intentions forgets things and gets busy leaving us with a stomach ache.

The only true way to stay  completely gluten-free is to make all your own meals, all the time. Sounds great right?

We can’t even get companies and the government to regulate ingredients labels so we know what we are consuming, why would we think the restaurant business cares about gluten? And why would we expect them to educate their staff on gluten related issues, even when they offer a gluten-free menu.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – higher end restaurants with chefs not cooks are going to be your best bet. Those places care about bad reviews and bad experiences. Their servers typically make more money and provider a higher quality of service. Please don’t think I’m stereotyping cheap restaurants because I’m sure in our world out there some little chains really know what they are doing and get it right, but the girl working at Taco Hut or The Burger Shack making $7.50/hour are less likely to care about gluten.

I mean how many times have you looked up a place to eat online, selected your option only to get there and find out they don’t carry half the items on the gluten-free menu posted by corporate online?

Or how many times have you eaten out only to have food brought out still with croutons, breadcrumbs or something else incorrect?

Or how many times have you eaten off the gluten-free menu only to poop your pants and have a migraine for 3 days?

It happens. It happens probably more often than we think. But, until the government and FDA take gluten seriously, we can’t expect to be treated the same as someone with a nut allergy.

So, what we can do about this?

Advocate for food label changes. Educate ourselves about menus prior to going to restaurants. Read reviews online to see if people have difficult experiences there. Write reviews about our experiences both positive and negative. Don’t beat yourself up if you get sick after eating out. Learn to cook more gluten free meals at home. And lastly, remember you aren’t the only one going through this….

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How to bust a rut and re-energize your life in 5 simple steps!!!

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This is day 3 of our girls vacation to San Antonio. I don’t want to curse it but it’s been so far so good! I did eat a Cliff bar at the airport that had malt in it and I didn’t realize but it actually didn’t do anything to me so I guess I can say I lucked out on that one.

Yesterday we went to eat at Canyon Cafe. It was really good. I ordered tilapia tacos and they came with a slaw, black beans, rice and a wonderful sauce. I caved and ate corn. They tasted great and I didn’t have any stomach aches what so ever. I’m starting to wonder if my weight gain and the problems I was having was from the endometriosis and not corn. I actually feel amazing these past few days. I even went running in this beautiful Texas weather. (Ok full disclosure it was a run/jog for 3.5 miles but it felt great!)

I’m not sure if it’s the beautiful weather, the fact that I’m on vacation or that I’m healing but I’m high on life right now and loving it.

When’s the last time you had an “Ah-Ha moment” where life just felt great?

Sometimes I think we get caught up in the routine of gluten blah blah, celiac whatever and fail to stop and look around to see how lucky we are that we can go through all these things and hopefully end up on top. It’s wonderful to know I’m getting this gluten-free gig to be pretty manageable, can go on vacation without stressing out and am on my way to getting my health and fitness back.

Do you feel like you are in a rut or you can’t catch a break? I’ve been thinking about ways to bust the rut back in Ohio, especially with this crappy weather and here’s what I’ve come up with!

1. Limit TV watching. Whenever I travel, I very rarely watch television. I might be on the computer doing work but I’m not laying on the couch watching TV. I’m going to really try to focus on watching TV only a few times a week to bust out of that horrible rut.

2. Get back into working out now that I feel so much better. For me I know exactly what I need to do to get back into my routine at the gym. This laparoscopy was the best thing I could have done because I feel on top of the world. Are you new to fitness or looking for a new routine?

3. Plan some more trips. I know they can be expensive but they don’t have to be. Plan some time with your family, loved ones or friends and just take an overnight adventure somewhere. I love traveling and have been several places in the last few months. I find that they energize me and make me much more efficient after I get back. Take a tour of a new city or find a beautiful bed and breakfast for a romantic getaway. Sometimes we forget how important it is to sit back and relax.

4. Shut down your cell phone. Mine is always glued to my hand!! How do you think I can keep in contact with all of your beautiful PLC’s?? Between social media, games and email, I find myself constantly looking at the screen. When you are with your family, shut it down and spend time with them. Maybe even open a book!

5. Find a new hobby or renew your love or an old one. I might start swimming laps again or pick up cooking (to add recipes to this blog of course. With all the free time from electronics, I will have plenty of time for all these things.

How do you shut it down and re-energize yourself? 

Do I have celiac diease? Preparation and questions for your first doctor’s appointment.

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So, you’ve read my post about finding a doctor and now you are ready to make your first appointment! Congrats, that is the first step in getting answers for whatever has been plaguing you for years. I am not a medical doctor and do not understand the complexities of testing and diagnosis for celiac disease on the back end, so I am not going to post what type of medical tests you should ask for or have done. I will post links at the bottom of the post from other credible websites for you to review.

Here are my suggestions and tips for getting the most out of your initial doctor’s appointment for gluten intolerance and/or celiac disease.

Before making an appointment:

1. Find out if your doctor actually has experience treating and diagnosing celiac disease or other gluten related problems. There is no point in going to see a doctor who doesn’t specialize or isn’t familiar with these issues. You are just wasting time on getting answers.

2. Ask how long you will have for your first appointment. My doctor allows 30 minutes for a first appointment and 15 for follow ups. Don’t waste your time with the doctor chit chatting!

3. Prior to your appointment, write down all of your symptoms and chronicle your medical history. This will be much easier to show your doctor and review than sitting there trying to think of them all and realizing you didn’t bring up important ones after you already left.

4. Get your medical records from your other doctors sent over to the new one. You will need to sign a medical release of information and might have to pay a fee but it will be worth it for the new doctor to have all your information in one spot.

5. Know and chart your family medical history. Again much easier than trying to remember it all in a 30 minute appointment.

6. Write down every single prescription medication, over the counter medication, supplement and vitamin that you take. Include all the doses and schedule for each of them. Even ones you might be embarrassed you take like an over the counter weight loss pill.

7. Write down why you think you have celiac disease or problems with gluten.

8. DO NOT change anything about your diet or lifestyle prior to going to the doctor and having tests done. This is essential for finding out what is really going on. You have to get an accurate picture of your body condition in order to diagnose.

9. Understand there is no pill or medication for celiac disease if you do in fact have the autoimmune disease. The only way to manage it is with a gluten free diet.

10. Don’t panic or come to your own conclusions prior to going to your appointment. Be educated on your history, your body and yourself to provide the doctor with the exact picture of what is going on. This is the BEST way to get an accurate diagnosis of whatever is upsetting your body.

Questions for your doctor at your first appointment:

1. How do you diagnose celiac disease? What blood tests do you run? Do you test for the celiac genes? Will you want me to get a bowel biopsy? This past year I’ve realized doctors have so many different ideas of diagnosis. I’ve heard one speak about biopies being the only way to tell and others say genetic presence with condition improvement upon removing gluten are just as acceptable. It’s important to understand your doctor’s beliefs and thinking on the diagnosis component.

2. How quickly does you lab turn around results and when can you make your next appointment.

3. Do you provide aftercare, follow up blood tests, recommendations for support groups in the area and additional help?

4. If I don’t have celiac disease, what other conditions could I have with the symptoms I’m experiencing?

5. Can you refer me to a registered dietician specializing in celiac disease?

6. How often will I follow up with you after my original test results?

7. If I have nutrient deficiencies, what is you protocol for treatment?

8. What other tests should be run along with the celiac disease testing?

You know I love your feedback – Post below for others to see if you thought of things I missed!!

Websites for celiac medical tests:

 

http://www.csaceliacs.info/diagnosis_of_celiac_disease.jsp

http://www.cureceliacdisease.org/living-with-celiac/guide/diagnosis

http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/celiac/

 

How to find a doctor for gluten intolerance and celiac disease

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It’s hard for me to imagine 1 year ago this week I was sitting at Dr. Aukerman’s seminar thinking to myself, “maybe I do have a problem with gluten.”

After 20+ years of having issues, could this finally be the answer I was looking for that would solve all my bowel problems? Would this doctor really be able to finally solve the mystery? As a matter of fact, he did but only because I persisted in looking for answers.

I started Pretty Little Celiac a little over 4 months ago and I couldn’t honestly believe how fast it picked up in the gluten-free/celiac community. I’ve met hundreds of people struggling with the same exact symptoms but are unable to find their “Dr. Aukerman.” I get question after question from readers wanting to know how I finally was able to figure it all out and who helped me get there.

Let me give you my suggestions on how to go about this journey based on my own experience.

1. Don’t ever let someone tell you nothing is wrong if you believe otherwise. One of the most frustrating appointments I’ve had to date was with an allergist trying to find something wrong. There had to be something making me sick in my food so I went to get allergy tested. 100 back pricks later with NO results. Nothing! Not one thing came up as a problem during my test results. That doctor recommended I go to see a GI doctor but also told me that they really wouldn’t be able to figure out intolerances unless I went on a complete food restriction diet and then added foods in slowly. Well, I’d already been to several gastrointestinal doctors and just figured it was a wash.

2. Referrals – And when I say referrals I mean from friends and family that have had simliar problems and went to a doctor who they trust and finally helped them out. Doctors can refer to other doctors but do those doctors listen to their patients? Do those doctors actually take the time to spend with you so you know what is wrong? Do those doctors know about the bedside manner of their colleagues? All of these things are important. I knew my friend went to Dr. Aukerman and trusted him with her care. She also felt incredible since her diagnosis so of course I was going to check him out.

3. Google Searches – Make sure you look for several different terms when you are searching and you include a 50 mile radius for your search. Gluten intolerance doctor, celiac specialist, celiac gastrointestinal are some terms I would start with when researching online. Often these doctors have been reviewed online as well by other patients so that even cuts down on some stress of finding a new doctor.

4. Check with local gluten free or celiac support groups as to what doctors they like seeing and have helped them. Other people suffering from the same problems is the perfect way to start!

5. See if your local University has a celiac center or doctor specializing in the disease at the school. Specialists are often found at large medical centers like Universities because they can get money for research so they stick with places that will pay for those types of things.

**Do NOT take gluten out of your diet if you are going to be tested for celiac disease or gluten intolerance**

You need to keep everything the same prior to seeing any doctor so the tests can be done. If you start changing things prior to testing, it can seriously affect the ability to find out what is actually wrong.

How did you find your doctor? Leave a comment with a tip so others can get the help they need!