USA Today Special Insert on Celiac Disease

The past Friday, May 7, my granddaughter’s birthday, USA Today issued a supplemental insert on celiac disease. If you cannot find a print version of the supplement, you can download it here.

My sincere gratitude and applause to the editors at Media Planet for this comprehensive guide. My only reservation is that, once again, the impression is given that managing the diet is not all that hard, and that when a person sick with celiac disease eliminates the gluten in the diet, perfect health returns. Like a magic wand–wa-la, perfect health and happiness reign.

Reality is not quite like that. Have you seen what happens when you use flour? It goes everywhere!

But the diet is doable, definitely. In fact, if one chooses to eat simply and healthy, it is quite simple indeed. Whole foods–not prepared but from scratch– healthy meat, vegetables, fruits, whole grains such as rice, corn, oats. How many in society actually eat that way? We are dealing with far more than food alone. We are dealing with attitude, convenience, social interaction, and, as my dear gluten-intolerant and witty friend, Dee, has called it: “Food Trauma.”

Take when I recently made a rather sudden trip to visit my mother-in-law. Thankfully it was a driving trip. I have an electric cooler and threw in frozen bread, cookies, a container of turkey, packaged lunch meats. The situation was such that I did not want to have to deal with being ill while away from home–well, all situations are like that. How grateful I am to my sisters-in-law for taking us to Outback Steakhouse during our visit. The Outback has a gluten-free menu! My sisters-in-law watched me, fascinated, as I scarfed up not only a complete steak dinner, but topped off with a Thunder From Down Under, the restaurant’s enormous gluten-free brownie.

For children, the diet is terribly hard. There are all those school parties, lunches, play-dough. Just yesterday I attended my granddaughter’s birthday party. The menu: pizza, birthday cake, and ice cream. Luckily there were no celiac friends, at least not any who knew they had celiac. One of the main things children, and adults, must deal with is the feeling of being different and left out– family get-togethers, dinner parties, church suppers and holy communion. You cannot imagine the anguish to deal with each of these things at the outset of a celiac diagnosis. One is changing an entire lifestyle.

Still, if a person is diagnosed before the age of 21 and recovers on a gluten-free diet, their prognosis is good for full health. If diagnosed after the age of 35, or even worse, at or beyond 50, as I and a majority in the country in the past ten years, there are usually complications of other food allergies and auto-immune diseases. The wonderful saving grace is that once one enters a gluten-free diet, so many body pains and illnesses one thought one had to live with disappear. In the words of a friend who found going gluten-free cured her migraines: “I will never go back to eating gluten.”

In my next post, I will give a glimpse of what celiac disease is like for me on a daily basis. Plus, I really must speak about my upcoming book!

Blessings,

CurtissAnn

5 thoughts on “USA Today Special Insert on Celiac Disease

  1. I’ve been wondering if I should try this diet. How does one find out they have this, Curtiss Ann? Oh, and I sent a fellow blogger to you. Her daughter just found out she has it and she’s planning to do this with her. Her name is Maggie. (Grandma Yellow Hair)
    Brenda

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    • Brenda, I wanted to say thank you for bringing me and Maggie from Grandma Yellow Hair together. She is a jewel! The one thing about the gluten-free diet– it never harms, and for older ones like us is really quite easy.

      CA

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  2. Your grand daughter shares my husband’s birthday!

    I just recently made a three day road trip (each way) to my dad’s home. I spent weeks gathering and preparing food that would be about impossible to find “on the road”. Unsweetened Vanilla Hemp milk, sunflower seed butter, cassava chips, whole teff, gluten free rice cakes and rice crackers.
    Chicken soup with only organic onions, celery, Tuscan kale, and zucchini for veggies. Lamb loaf with celery and onion, shaped into to burger size patties. Homemade gluten free cookies.

    I drove by myself and felt so victorious to be able to make this trip. Food situation aside, it had been over thirty years since I drove that far by myself. God blessed me wonderfully.

    I am still unwilling to make a trip where I would have to stay at any gluten eating friends or in-laws home. Can’t help but think they would just not want to deal with all my food intolerances and/or would not be careful about contamination. My 88 year old dad thought he kept the counter free of bread crumbs, but I was wiping the counter down several times a day. And I was nervous when he made cookies and banana bread using wheat flour, keeping my foods in separate cupboards and well covered if they were out on the counter or stove. I think you are the only person I know who follows gluten free diet. Obviously thousands of other people do, they just aren’t in my circle of friends.

    After three years of being gluten free, I just got a blood test done that showed my iron levels at normal. However, the test didn’t report “iron-binding” levels as it had in the past, so I don’t know if the normal iron level means much.

    Psoriasis had not healed at all, but I’ll continue to follow the strict diet in hopes that good health will follow good blood work eventually.

    I have asked myself whether I would have chosen to follow a GF diet for all these years if I would have been diagnosed as a child. Even with the pain and suffering I’ve gone through to this point, I’m not sure I would have wanted to give up the travel and life experiences I had in order to follow a GF diet twenty, thirty or forty years ago. There are lots of GF baked goods to choose from now if all you have to worry about is staying away from gluten. And many other products are labeled GF now, unlike a few years ago. All that said, it doesn’t make a person’s social life or working life any easier.

    Looking forward to your new release!

    Love and Hugs,
    Denise

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  3. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be on a daily basis. When cousins who have celiac visited, preparing a menu was tricky, since I was clueless. Through the grocery store I went, picking up products and reading label after label. Gluten is “hidden” in so many foods; the weirdest product was ketchup! I always think ketchup is tomatoes and sugar, but NO, lots of hidden ingredients! So many foods are like that; we THINK we know what we are consuming, but I fear often times we really don’t! Hope you are able to adjust your diet successfully and have no long term complications.

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  4. Good morning
    My sister-in-law just left me a message that she is saving the article for me and Christi to read and then I come over here and your talking about it. Funny how things work out.
    So thankful that I have found you on blogland and appreciate you so much already for helping us deal with Celiacs.
    I sent my daughter your blog address also.
    Wish I felt better so I could drive over to College Station and go to a book store and purchase one of your books.
    Looking forward to reading everything you have written.
    Just wanted to say thank you for helping us
    Love
    Maggie

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