IS THIS A JAIL SENTENCE?

No, it’s not!One of the most confusing parts of being diagnosed with Celiac Sprue is sorting through the myriad of sources of information on the disease. The doctors and nutritionists aren’t really sure what’s ok and what isn’t. Some people with the disease will tell you it’s ok to eat the cheese off the top of a pizza or take the meat off a sandwich made with gluten filled bread. Unfortunately, activities like that will keep your antibodies high and slow your body’s much needed recovery. But how do you know who to trust? I received a list of “forbidden” items from my incredibly capable Gastroenterologist that included “distilled vinegar” “millet” “quinoa” “amaranth” and “teff” – all of which have been deemed safe on a gluten free diet. Then there is the debate about oats. Which ones are safe? Are any safe? What can I do?

In the last two years the public, the medical community and those living with celiac have received more and better information. However, the general US population and restaurant community have little understanding about the seriousness of the condition and the affect that a mere crumb from a crouton can have on someone living with celiac. I was still shocked upon my diagnosis to find that some people refused to ever eat outside of their home. How could I work? I was traveling almost every week for work – was I going to have to give up my job to survive without gluten? What kind of life is it to never be able to eat out with friends or go to a dinner party? Was I going to be trapped in my apartment for the rest of my life? What kind of a life would that be?

Well I knew one thing for sure. I was a problem solver. I was on the math team in junior high. I could figure this out. It took some time, and I am always in search of new products and techniques, but there is a way and you shouldn’t give up.

Since being diagnosed, I have: traveled to Amsterdam to visit my best friend, been to Scotland for 10 days with my beautiful Mom, gone to London for work and play. I have traveled extensively for business and fun: Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington DC to name a few. I have “de-glutened” my own and my mother’s kitchens. I have thrown “gluten free” dinner and dessert parties where some guests had no idea that I had any sort of “allergy.” I hope these tips will help you to relish the beauty of finding a new recipe or discovering a way around the challenge. After all, isn’t life more fun when you have to figure things out?

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