Gluten Gluten Everywhere

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Throughout my Celiac Disease journey, I’ve realized that I have to think about more than just the food I am eating. I came to the conclusion that products such as lotions, hair products, makeup, soaps, hand sanitizer, lip balm, etc. all had the possibility of being digested or upsetting my skin. I know there are opposing views on this, but having gluten on my skin, near my eyes and mouth, is not something I am comfortable with.

Most recently, I went through the journey of finding gluten-free lipstick in particular. I’m not a big makeup girl and I definitely don’t wear lipstick often, but one day I thought, I’d like some red lipstick. So I picked up some CoverGirl lipstick and didn’t think more about it. Why would there be gluten in lipstick? I was so wrong!

After doing some research online, I came up with inconclusive, conflicting information. Which made me wonder, what are these companies hiding?

I contacted several of the larger cosmetic companies to find that not one of the companies I spoke with had a comprehensive gluten-free list. Two companies replied by saying that trace amounts of gluten in makeup will not make me react – which is true to an extent. But with a product such as lipstick, I’m not willing to take that chance.

After purchasing two lipsticks I never got to open, I discovered Red Apple Lipstick. I immediately fell in love with this company for multiple reasons:

  • All of their products are 100% gluten-free as well as paraben free, lead free, soy free and free of animal parts (that’s the world we live in)
  • Quality ingredients
  • Safe storage and testing procedures

I also experienced follow-up customer service that made me feel great about choosing this company.

Photo on 12-2-13 at 8.51 PM #2

This is Ravishing  by Red Apple Lipstick.

What are your favorite GF cosmetics?


It’s Okay to Laugh About it

As with anything in life, sometimes laughter really is the best medicine. And it feels good to find humor in even the most stressful of situations. Paying attention to how we deal with every day obstacles can make a tremendous impact on our happiness and success. Although Celiac Disease is obviously extremely serious and nothing to make light of, I sometimes find that making light of things and laughing about it is exactly what I need.

For those of us with Celiac Disease, we know that it is here to stay. There’s nothing anyone can do to change that. Sometimes I do get down about it. And sometimes a solid rant feels amazing. But most of the time, nothing beats the feeling after a good, long laugh. So with this post, I’d like to do just that:

  • One of my favorite places to stop on the web when having a rough GF day is the @gfreeblondie tumblr page called “When I Went Gluten Free.” I have never not laughed until I cried after reading her posts. My favorite thing about it is how relatable her topics are and how it makes me feel like I’m not alone. Here are a few screen shots of her posts:



  • And as we all know, Pinterest is always a gold mine. Search something along the lines of “gluten-free humor.” Here are a few screenshots of what I came up with today:


Laughing yet? If not, here’s a post I discovered today. It should do the trick.

Gluten-Free on the Go (Literally)



Eating gluten-free is pretty straight-forward in the comfort of your own kitchen. But what happens when you’re on the other side of the country or world? Don’t panic. There are a few things you can do to prepare yourself for traveling with Celiac Disease:

  1. Plan Ahead. I cannot stress this enough. When I travel, whether it is short distance or long, I always reserve space in my luggage to bring something for every meal as well as a few snacks for in between. It might seem like a hassle, but it takes a lot of the burden off of your shoulders and helps bring stress levels down. It’s good to know, that no matter what, you have something with you.
  2. Check out the route. For road trips, look for what restaurants are in your path or what hotels offer gluten-free accommodations. You’d be surprised; I’ve experienced amazing gluten-free meals at hotels. Don’t be afraid to even call ahead to restaurants or hotels on your route. 
  3. Utilize your connections. Chances are, someone in your social media network is gluten-free and has traveled to where you’re going. If you’re like me, you follow lots of gluten-free bloggers and accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Reach out to them! There’s nothing more reliable than someone else’s own personal experience.

If you are traveling outside of the U.S., check out a few travel sites that might offer gluten-free help. For example, offers gluten-free itineraries for several different countries. Developers are also creating apps that can help you order food in another language.

It is so important to be prepared before traveling GF, but it is definitely a ‘learn as you go’ process.

What They Don’t Tell You About Celiac Disease



Disclaimer: This post is coming from a place inside of me that really resents this disease. I’m not feeling so optimistic today so I thought it would help me personally to shed some light on a few grey areas. Instead of being negative, I’m going to try for the informative approach. So here goes:

When we hear people talk about Celiac Disease, it’s always about physical symptoms and the treatment – a gluten-free diet. Never do I hear about the psychological effects of this disease. Physically, yeah it’s pretty bad when you get glutened. It’s pretty bad when you’re losing weight and getting sick all of the time before you figure out your diagnosis. But that’s just it, it’s physical and it goes away. A few weeks after getting glutened you feel good as new. I remember it being a matter of days that I started feeling normal again after starting a gluten-free diet. For me, the physical symptoms are manageable.

After I was diagnosed, I read all of the right books, I went to a dietitian, I had check-ups with a G.I. and basically did everything you’re supposed to do. I learned what I could eat and what to stay away from. I felt like I had everything under control again. Little did I know, things aren’t as easy as they say.

Not once was there mention of the tolling emotional and psychological effects of this disease. The feeling of panic every time you put something to your mouth. The slight stomach ache after you eat, “am I just full, or is this a reaction?” When you’re the odd man out because you can’t eat where your friends want to go. Holidays and family gatherings consist of bringing a can of soup so you can eat. Traveling means reserving half of your suitcase for food. No, they don’t talk about these things when they teach you how to manage Celiac Disease.

According to Celiac Central, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness:

  • “The Italian longitudinal study found that women with celiac disease on a gluten-free diet reported higher levels of anxiety compared to women in the general population.”
  • “Similarly, a study published in June 2011 found that children with celiac disease following a gluten-free diet had higher rates of anxiety and depression compared to children who did not have celiac disease.”

Celiac Central goes on to explain:

“Like depression, anxiety in individuals with celiac disease is often related to the challenges of disease management. The constant attention to risks of cross-contamination can lead to phobias related to eating or dining out. Others may develop an obsessive compulsive disorder around cleaning surfaces or utensils before eating.”

Celiac Disease is not the worst disease out there. But it’s serious and it’s seriously hard. So give your Celiac friends a hug or if you are a fellow Celiac, give yourself one and stay positive.

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” – Plato

Products and Brands: The Best Of

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Source: (Check out this tumblr page for a refreshing GF laugh)

Being on a gluten-free diet, in many cases, means shelling out money. According to and contributor Teri Gruss, MS, “gluten-free foods, on average, cost a whopping 242% more than regular, gluten containing foods.” Now I’m not here to investigate why this is the way it is, but I would like to help you in the food-buying process.

Being gluten-free can involve wasting lots of money on less than satisfactory products. When I was first diagnosed in January of 2010, I wished I had someone there pointing out which products and brands were the best. I’m sure my wallet would have thanked me and I would have thrown away a lot less food (and money)!

There are a few brands that I always have good luck with:

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The Vanilla Granola is delicious and great for breakfast. I like to mix it with greek yogurt. It costs around $6.50.

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These granola bars are great to pack for snacks throughout the day. I know I always like to find great “purse food.” These yummy treats cost around $5.50.

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I remember the first time I tried these blueberry muffins. I had to double-check that they were actually gluten-free because they were so good! Their cinnamon rolls are also amazing! These cost about $6.00.

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I have yet to find a great GF frozen pizza. So I like to either make or buy the crust and do it at home. The Udi’s crusts are the best I’ve tasted. They bake really well and have a great texture.  They are priced at about $5.00.

  • Schar. I’ve had a lot of great experiences with this brand.

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The Schar Cheese Bites are a delicious snack and good to have on hand. (Another “purse food”!) They are even better than those goldfish I know you miss so much. These cost about $4.50.

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Yes, Schar is my go to brand for bread. While I do venture out with bread and have found some other great brands, the Schar Classic White Bread is what I tend to stick with. It is great toasted or grilled. It runs for about $5.95.

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I was really impressed with these Hot Dog Rolls. They were not dry like you might expect from a gluten-free bread product. While they are on the pricey side for only getting four in a pack, it’s definitely worth it on those special occasions. They cost around $6.50.

  • Enjoy Life. Words cannot describe my love for this company.

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You haven’t lived until you’ve tried these cookies. The Enjoy Life Snickerdoodles are some of the best I’ve had. They are priced at about $4.50.

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Sometimes you just need a great trail mix for on the go. This mix is my favorite. The combination of salty and sweet is perfect. This costs around $4.50.

  • Artisan Bistro. Perfect for the those of us living the fast life. We all know that with a gluten-free lifestyle, its cheaper (and sometimes tastier) to do the cooking and baking at home. But we don’t always have time to make every meal. For these circumstances, I discovered Artisan Bistro.

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The Ginger Chicken meal is my favorite. You can cook it in the microwave and you’d never know that it was a frozen meal, made in the microwave.  All of their ingredients are organic and unprocessed. The cost is about $5.50.

I could go on and on all night about my favorite products and brands. There are so many! What are your favorite GF products?

Surviving the Restaurant


In my humble opinion, eating out with Celiac Disease can be an adventure filled with anxiety of the unknown. Eating out safely with food restrictions is a learning process and in my case, a painful one. You learn pretty quickly which types of restaurants and staff you can trust and how to explain your food requirements. It is so important for Celiacs to feel comfortable navigating gluten-free menus and asking the right questions in order to create positive dining experiences free of glutening.

I’ve found a few things that have helped me feel comfortable eating out:

  • Gluten-free menu. Be careful with these. Although I usually will not eat at a restaurant without a gluten-free menu, some of these are not always safe. The gluten-free diet has become popular with many people who do not have Celiac Disease or an intolerance. Some restaurants are cashing in on this and their staff is not properly trained to cook for an allergy or their kitchens are not properly equipped. Even if a restaurant has a gluten-free menu, make sure to do your research beforehand.
  • Calling Ahead. There is nothing wrong with calling a restaurant before deciding to eat there. When I’m unsure of how a gluten-free menu is handled, I call ahead and ask. It doesn’t hurt and it saves the embarrassment of leaving once you get there and discover you can’t dine safely. When I call ahead, I like to make sure I’m talking to a manager or someone who is more informed.
  • Asking the right questions. When I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I wasn’t tough enough with the questions I asked when eating out. That resulted in some terrible reactions. You need to be clear and firm with your dietary needs. I like to ask how they do things in kitchen: do they have a separate area, fryer, etc. Does the staff switch their gloves or is everyone trained on what to do? If it’s a slow time of the day, there’s also nothing wrong with asking to speak with the chef if you have additional worries. Being forward and asking these types of questions not only lets the staff know how serious my dietary needs are, it makes me feel more comfortable.
  • Following up. When the waiter or waitress brings my food, I always like to follow up about my meal being gluten-free. I like to ask if he or she made sure to tell the kitchen staff of my needs. I think doing this is a great added precaution.
  • Technology. Lately I’ve been using apps to find gluten-free menu and restaurant options. One that I recommend is called: Find Me Gluten Free.

It takes awhile to test the waters when it comes to finding the “safe” restaurants to eat at. But it’s definitely worth it. Although I still always get a little nervous before eating out, it feels great being able to comfortably enjoy the same restaurants as friends. Food is a social thing, after all. Cheers!



So You Can’t Eat What?

Celiac Disease. The name surely doesn’t give anything away as to what the disease is all about. As Celiacs, we struggle daily when friends, family and coworkers ask even the simplest questions. How detailed do we really need to be? It becomes a small dilemma in our everyday lives.


Source: Scientific American

As difficult as it may sometimes feel, educating family and friends makes living gluten-free a lot easier in the long-term. If the people you surround yourself with understand your dietary needs, a more stress-free environment is created. You’ll hear less of those annoying comments and questions. “Can’t you just have a little?” is one that gets me every time.

This is how I like to answer a few common questions that family and friends ask about Celiac Disease:

  • What is Celiac Disease? Celiac Disease is hard to sum up in a sentence or two. I usually like to explain that it is a hereditary autoimmune disease. When I eat foods containing gluten, my body attacks it as it would an invader causing a range of awful symptoms.
  • What is gluten? This one is easy. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and oats.
  • What happens when you eat gluten? I really despise this question. While I want to tell people what really happens when I get glutened, I will normally generalize my response. I’ll say something  along the lines of being in pain for hours and getting physically sick. I also like to add that the effects of getting glutened will stick with me for a few weeks. It depends on personal preference and who you are talking to as to how you might answer this question. The most important thing is that the seriousness of a reaction is relayed.
  •  So what CAN you eat? Every Celiac has been asked this question, even by the most empathetic person. I sometimes get frustrated when people ask me this question. Depending on what type of mood I’m in, I’ll either make a joke out of it or explain that I do a lot of cooking at home. It is important for people to understand that we don’t just eat fruits and vegetables.

I’ve noticed that it takes awhile for friends and family to fully understand what Celiac Disease is and how frustrating a gluten-free diet can be. The most important thing is to be patient with people or you’ll start to become slightly crazy.


Source: Uberdish

How have you helped family and friends understand your dietary needs?