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18 May 2007

do you have celiac?

sauteed mushrooms and quinoa

In the car on our way to a dinner of barbecued wild salmon and mushroom risotto with wonderful friends, the Chef and I were stopped at an extra-long stop light. We looked over to watch a little blond-headed boy dance on the sidewalk outside a restaurant. When I glanced up at his mother, sipping a beer and looking slightly pained, I pointed her out to the Chef. "See that woman?" I said. "She has celiac."

"How do you know?" he said, peering at her.

"Look at her face," I said as I gestured. After she lowered her glass of beer to the table, we could both see her splotchy-red face, the pasty-white skin around it, the puffy look, the sleepy eyes. She looked like nearly every photograph of me taken before two years ago.

We had been going through photographs, earlier that afternoon, as preparation for packing. Mostly, it was an excuse to show each other photographs from our past. As we toured through photographs from my childhood, and the awkward early adolescence, the mis-begotten perm of my late-college years, and my time on Vashon and in New York, we were struck by this. In every third photograph I look tired and blotchy, red and slightly hazy. "You must have eaten half an hour before this one," he said of a particularly bad photograph, my face as red and white as wine spilled on a restaurant tablecloth. Even photographs of me at seven look like I'm in the middle of a gluten episode.

"That woman has celiac," he said, after he looked at her for a moment. As we started to drive away, I wished that I could somehow stop, and tell her, "Please put down that beer. You really don't need it."

I have many passions in life. In fact, I have so many passions that it's hard to keep up sometimes. They all spill out here, in one way or another. But I have come to realize, recently, that along with all my passions, I have one clear mission in life:

I want to help everyone who has celiac to be diagnosed, and I want to help them eat well, joyfully.

The last two years have been, without a doubt, the best of my life. It's not just because I met the Chef, or because I have a book coming out in October. Believe me, neither of those life dreams could have happened without my celiac diagnosis. And as much as it has become a truism for the times it has been uttered, the idea is still right at the core: without your health, none of it means that much.

Some of you who write to me let a sentence like this slip in: "Why don't you write more about being gluten-free?" Well, I feel like I am. Instead of testing gluten-free packaged foods or writing about my latest pancake recipe, I'm trying to show here what it is like to be in love with one's life, gluten-free. That's why, on some days, I simply post a photograph of a bowl of food that called to me from across the living room. From food comes stories. I have a lot of stories. And from stories come a life — complex and alive, always changing and never boring. I work on this notion: if the title of the blog is Gluten-Free Girl, then everything within it is gluten-free.

Because I went gluten-free, I found my life. I found real food. I found a deep and growing curiosity about everything to do with food, including the people who make it, the miles it has traveled to my plate, and the ways we can make it. Some days, I spend so much time with great food and the people who make it that I forget that I have a special way of eating. To be honest, I'm so constantly in touch with people who need to eat gluten-free, and spend every day with a man dear enough to make his entire restaurant safe for me to eat in, that I don't feel like I'm suffering with this. At all.

But others are suffering. Perhaps even you.

1 out of 100 Americans, it is estimated, has celiac disease. Only 3% of us have been diagnosed. Now, some of those people have skipped the doctor's visit, the blood test, and the biopsy. They stopped eating gluten and felt so much better that the official diagnosis doesn't matter. They aren't counted in the official statistics. But most of the people with celiac have belly aches or anemia or swollen joints or infertility problems or exhaustion or a multitude of little complaints that they have come to accept. They don't know that they could feel better. They could be reborn.

A surprising number of you have written to me to say that you came to this site to help a friend or family member, and you realized, after reading, that you needed to be tested too. How many people have been diagnosed with celiac because of this little website? I don't know. But I want more.

I'm hoping that the book gets so much exposure that every person who feels lousy at least has celiac in her or his brain, so (s)he can ask her or his doctor.

And so, I'd like to offer two sources.

If you suspect you have celiac, try this quiz at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness: Do I Have Celiac? These folks are smart, energetic, and media savvy. They want what I do: to get everyone diagnosed.

Recently, I was sent a link by Dr. John LaPuma, in California. Dr. LaPuma has co-written two bestselling books, with Dr. Michael Roizen: The Real Age Diet and Cooking the Real Age Way. He also wrote the recipes for You: The Owner's Manual. (You know the one. You probably own it. That one written by the two doctors that are on the Oprah show every fifteen minutes these days.) Dr. LaPuma also has a television show on Lifetime, called ChefMD. You see, he's a trained chef as well as a doctor.

What he was doing writing to me, I don't know. But write he did. And he directed me to this pithy, funny quiz he wrote: Should I be gluten-free?. I'm excited that someone with this many connections in the medical and media worlds is paying attention to celiac. Go over and take a look.

french toast

And if you do have celiac, what do you eat?

Take a look around this site. Every single photograph is gluten-free.

"But what will I eat for breakfast?" people seem to wail, at first.

You could do what we did, the other day. We sauteed mushrooms with grapeseed oil and cilantro, and heated some leftover Incan red quinoa from the night before. Inspired by a recipe in Heidi Swanson's book, Super Natural Cooking, I threw this together in the late morning — you can see it in the top photograph of this post — and topped it with eggs over easy. The Chef wasn't complaining. He can eat gluten.

A few days ago, he cut thick slices of the bread I had made the night before, the sandwich bread mix from the Gluten-Free Pantry. Meri and I stood in the kitchen, sipping mimosas and talking, while the Chef combined cocoa powder, eggs, and our favorite new vanilla extract into the best french toast that any of us had ever eaten. Throw in a lamb-garlic sausage and some hot scrambled eggs, and you are living well. Meri can eat gluten. She loved it.

spinach salad with pate

This afternoon, I sat on the patio of the restaurant, writing away. The car was at the mechanics, several hours from being done. I was without lunch. Without my asking, the Chef came out to join me, two plates in his hands. He plunked down this salad in front of me. Spinach salad, house-made pate, Marcona almonds, pecorino fresca, and champagne vinaigrette. And this is suffering?

carrot salad

Late in the afternoon, when you have the munchies, you can nibble on carrot salad. Locally grown baby carrots, with fresh basil, lemon zest, red wine vinegar, and great olive oil, marinated for twenty-four hours. Inspired by a recipe from Chez Panisse, this bite of salad shows that even at the greatest restaurant in the world, you can eat gluten-free.

super lemony ice cream

Or, if you don't feel like being that healthy, you could have a few small scoops of Super Lemony ice cream, from David Lebovitz's book, The Perfect Scoop. (Um, guess which way I went this afternoon.)

fresh wild king salmon from Sitka

Going gluten-free will encourage you to start eating in season, as well. Sure, you could buy salmon all year long from a grocery store. But one look at this fresh, just-caught king salmon from Sitka, Alaska will convince you otherwise.

chocolate mousse

Remain unconvinced? Take a look at this chocolate mousse. Is this deprivation?

Do me a favor. Scan the photographs in this post, without even reading the words. (Some of you may have done that already.) Look at the images before you. Eating this way? Is this suffering, a life without joy? Nonsense. In fact, it's the very opposite. Imagine eating this food while you feel the best you ever have.

Take a few moments to take those quizzes. You never know. Maybe you (or someone you love) have celiac. Taking these quizzes could change your life.


At 9:54 PM, Blogger JLHesse said...

Two words: Bra. Vo.

Thank you! Great post -- I am jumping up and down in agreement. Keep up the great work!

At 11:07 PM, Blogger kat said...

After almost (wow) three months of being wheat free (maybe not perfectly gluten free, but working on it) I did a very bad thing this morning. I ate a scone. After about thirty minutes, I completely regretted it. I haven't been diagnosed as celiac, but I am type 1 diabetic, and after the way i felt today (my blood sugar went bonkers) I know what I won't be eating. But better yet- I know what I Will be eating- the good examples you continue to give. Hoorah for this site and for your passion.

At 4:05 AM, Blogger Kelly said...

What a wonderful post.

I saw a new doctor yesterday and am scheduled for my blood test on Tuesday. I'm ready for some answers and am inspired by your good eats, joyful attitude and lovingly shared knowledge.

At 4:10 AM, Blogger ChupieandJ'smama (Janeen) said...

Great post Shauna! And your photo's are gorgeous gluten free delights. Now I'm hungry! My son is the gluten free one, but I'm the one in the family that most closely follows his diet and I have to say that with all of the choices out there today, and with wonderful cook books and blogs like yours there is no way anyone could or should feel deprived. People shouldn't look at what they are giving up, they should look at all of the health benefits they are getting.

At 4:34 AM, Blogger Kathy G said...

I agree wholeheartedly! When people find out I need to eat gluten-free, they act as if it's being sentenced to a life of sacrifice. No way! It's really quite easy once you get the hang of it.


At 6:10 AM, Blogger Ashleigh said...

I'm being tested this week via a gastroscopy. I was gluten free for two weeks and felt fine. Started eating gluten again this week in preparation for the test and I can barely walk because of joint pain. It's horrible! I'll be visiting my dr to ask for the blood tests too.

At 6:13 AM, Blogger Lynn Barry said...

Hubby did a similar thing recently, he saw a woman with a reddish complexion and made a comment like, "I bet she should not be eating wheat." I was so excited. He gets it, too. And I may not have been diagnosed with celiacs (I had been gluten free for a while when tested, though) but I have so many pics of me with red blotches and itchy red rashes on my face and I don't miss people saying, "Boy, your face is really red!" And to this I would always say, "I flush easily" or something like that out of embarrassment.
Great blog entry...HUGS

At 6:42 AM, Blogger nika said...

excellent post!

i took the long quiz and came out with 16 points - high risk ... just wish i had the weight loss symptom. :-/

Is the CD test high specificity? is it a definitive diagnosis or is it like autoimmune assays where specificity can be iffy.

Will ask my doc. my hugest symptom if pervasive and debilitating fatigue (or is that because i have three kids? *winks*)

thanks for the info.


At 6:44 AM, Blogger nika said...

found this

The specific antibody tests you'll need should include: anti-endomysial antibody (lgA EMA) and anti-gliadin antibody (lgA & IgG), and tissue transglutaminase (tTG IgA). These tests are very sensitive and specific for celiac disease.

At 7:45 AM, Blogger Rebecca said...

Shauna, thank you thank you thank you - I found your site this past month as I've been making rounds of doctor visits trying to determine if years of seemingly unrelated symptoms might be celiac, or at the very least a gluten intolerance. The jury is still out - blood test is negative, but many other signs point in celiac's direction and my doc has me on a gluten free diet to see how things go. Your writing and photography, two passions of my own, make me realize that this is only the beginning of my new life. Life without wheat bread, yes, but also life with energy, health and abundance. I'm just north of you in Abbotsford, BC, so if I find my way to Seattle anytime soon I will make sure to stop in on the Chef and his wonderful restaurant. I met my husband through an online dating service too - Love resides in the most curious of places, sometimes. Keep up the amazing work!

At 7:59 AM, Blogger Dr John said...

Wow, Shauna: thank you for the mention.
In less than 12 hours, nearly 100 people (almost all from this post, I'm sure--and the photos are seductive, by the way) have taken the GlutenFreeQuiz to find out if they should be gluten-free.
I love your commitment to great health and great flavor, and look forward to seeing your work in hardcover, and paperback after that.

At 11:54 AM, Blogger Dianne said...

What an excellent post! I try and do a certain amount of education on my own blog, it all helps. I also try to let people see that I lead a very normal life


At 2:41 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

Very nice post. I am one of those who figured it out myself after feeling great on a low carb diet. 11 years of being told I had an ulcer, IBS, acid reflux that wouldn't respond to meds and 3 doctors that wanted to take out my perfectly fine gall bladder. I spent many nights in pain and even running a fever at times. I think doctors are catching on a bit, but there is a long way to go and many undiagnosed people out there. Thanks for your post and all that you do.

At 3:00 PM, Blogger Nat said...

I love the line "Eating this way? Is this suffering, a life without joy?"
I love your photos, Shauna, and this perfectly summarises the way I feel about the way I eat.
I was struck recently by a question I was asked by a doctor during a routine exam: "Is sticking to the Gluten-Free diet difficult for you?"
All I could do was laugh - really, what's hard about not feeling sick, tired, with sharp abdominal pain all the time?

At 4:16 PM, Blogger Gina Perry said...

Great post. Bad to see on an empty stomach though!

I basically self-diagnosed four years ago at age 26 based on my research and knowing a cousin had this also. I'm Irish/Italian and I've been told that Celiac is very common in these 2 heritages. As a side note, Ireland ROCKS for Celiacs. Most restaurants have 'coleiac' dishes listed on all the menus. They know what it means without having to do the whole long explanation.

Celiac symptoms can be VERY sneaky. My only symptom (other than feeling sort of bloated) was that I was losing feeling in my big toe of my right foot around age 24. The neurology reports came back as mild peripheral neuropathy (PN). Once I MADE my doctor give me the blood test after years of my own research and it came back positive I went GF and haven't looked back. My PN did not go away but it has not progressed either and for that I am very thankful.

I love your positive approach. Initially when I started the GF diet I ordered a magazine called "Living Without". Now it was a great magazine, don't get me wrong, but could it be more negative in connotation? Living Without, how terrible! Living With seems to be your style and it's fabulous.

At 9:32 PM, Blogger Olivia said...

This May marks year five of gluten free eating for me (after oh so many years of poor health). I'm glad that you're encouraging people to get diagnosed. Eating gluten free has given me my life back.

At 2:48 AM, Blogger Tassiegal said...

I tended to be tired, bloated and generally lethargic.
After taking an allergy test through the natropath, I recieved the results with all wheat flours and rye highlighted as allergens. Since coming off them I have found myself having more energy, less bloating and generally happier. Your blog gives me ideas and hope....and I LOVE your peanut butter cookies, simple, easy and I have to hide them as everyone else eats them!

At 5:06 AM, Blogger Friendstacy said...

I'm one of the self-diagnosed ones. I don't know if I have celiac, and it doesn't matter, I cannot eat even the tiniest traces of gluten, and I am aware the tests are not very accurate anyway. We eat well enough, what we most miss in our life is the social interaction with other folks. Every now and then, someone will throw a party or bbq and accommodate our diet, but very very rarely. Or we could always go and not eat, or worse, bring our own food (which is always seen as an insult by the hostess).

At 7:31 AM, Blogger Trig said...

They say that 5% of Brits are coeliacs (including my dad), so I suspect that your figure for Americans is too low. People often ask dad how he manages to eat without bread, cakes, pasta, etc. He usually just points to his (ample) stomach. Well done with this post for Coeliac Awareness Week.

At 8:25 AM, Blogger Sandie Law said...

Thank you for this site. I was first introduced to celiac's by a coworker with it. She brought the most amazing homemade foods for lunch each day. Her energy and vitality was amazing. Apparently, in Italy, children are screened for celiac's at a very young age, so she never had to live with the pain many people suffer with before realizing what the problem is.

I love your site for promoting a realistic, delicious, and healthy way to live with celiac's. I love that you don't spend a lot of time looking for gluten free alternatives to traditionally high gluten foods. You spend your time finding ways to eat fantastic foods that make you forget you can't eat something.


At 4:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I gave up gluten, 6 months back, but it hasn't helped all that much. I'm told it can take up to 2 years to recovery and that some people never feel better, even if they do everything needed to address the Celiac's. You were one of the lucky ones. You started to feel better right away, and continued to improve. My Celiac' diagnosis basically broke the camel's back.

Food and I never got on, and being diagnosed with Celiac's, was that last straw. I guess it's a result of years of unintended aversion therapy. I look at food, I remember every time it made me violently ill or sent me to the ER before, and something in my brain whispers, "It's not worth it. Don't even go there." So I don't.

I eat very few things, typically those which have no bad associations, plus power/protien drinks and lots of vitamins. I'm slowly trying to reintroduce a wider variety of foods (gluten free of course!), but it's difficult. Food has been punishing me since the day I was born. The revulsion I feel towards it now . . . even a beautiful picture of it makes me cringe.

I love that you've been able to find delight in eating, to fall in love with food, and write about the experience. I keep reading GFG in hopes that some day I'll fall in love with food again also. So, stay gluten-free and food passionate, and keep writing about your experiences!

At 6:27 PM, Blogger monique-a-licious said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 2:26 AM, Blogger The Patient Connection said...

Coeliac Disease – Its Diagnosis and Treatment – Tell us your story in a New Research Blog

We would like to take this opportunity to invite you a research blog on Coeliac
We are particularly interested in the story of your diagnosis and treatment.

To take part please click this link

Please feel free to post any links to useful resources for other Coeliac sufferers.

The blog is anonymous and easy to use. Instructions are given on the blog so thanks in advance for your help it is much appreciated.

Best wishes

The Patient Connection

PS Please email me if you have any queries about the blog or any of our projects.

At 3:33 AM, Blogger Deborah Dowd said...

Besides opening our eyes to the joy of living and loving, you constantly encourage others to make the lap from enduring a series of seemingly unrelated symptoms to living a gluten-free life! So besides a great writer and photographer, you are a public servant as well!

At 6:36 AM, Blogger Allergic Girl® said...

yay shauna, exactly how i feel, there is no deprvation and the food world is your oyster once you know how to navigate it. beautiful food pix, thank you.

At 5:37 PM, Blogger Hannah said...

Where can I find recipes for the mousse and the carrots? My husband has Celiac, and after almost a year of marriage and learning how to cook for him, I've discovered that "gluten-free" isn't code for "gross!" I'm always looking for recipes, though, and I'd appreciate your help with this one. I'm looking forward to your book!

At 11:08 PM, Blogger Samatakah said...

I have recommended your site to three people who mentioned they were celiacs, none of whom I know very well. I'm not celiac, just allergic to peanuts. (-:

I'm about to send this post to my friend who has suspicious-sounding symptoms.

At 12:43 AM, Blogger shuna fish lydon said...

Every once and a while I read you and I am caught. in my trackes. stilled and moved.

this. this is why blogging is so powerful. your voice. your generosity.

I get it. I have it too. A different disease I can see in people who don't know they have it.

What I try to remember? "we keep what we have by giving it away."

but we also need to remember something-- few people know how to cook the way you and the chef do. many don't have the time, or the knowledge.

but good for you by starting with simplicity. and I love all your links. your blog is an incredible resource!

At 1:27 PM, Blogger Erin M said...

thanks for the test links. People always ask me for something more concrete when I try to describe how other conditions my actually be celiacs masquerading

At 5:13 PM, Blogger I'm Not Carrie Bradshaw said...

I feel so lucky to have eaten that salmon AND the chocolate mousse!

At 4:03 AM, Blogger Friendstacy said...

note to Fiordland Daisy...
take it slow. At six months, I was still having withdrawals from not eating wheat anymore. It took well over a year before I really started feeling better, but long before that I was able to recognize how much worse I would feel after eating any offending food. Keep a food diary, keep track of what you eat and how you feel and see if there are other foods you should avoid. Oats give me a worse reaction than wheat, even the fancy "gluten-free" kind. You very well may still be eating a food that does not agree with you. What do you crave? Cut that out of your diet first, but do it gradually.

At 4:47 AM, Blogger Maya Marie said...

Gosh, your food always looks good. Now I pnder if I should go gluten free! I'm not sure if I have celiac disease, some foods bother me but definetely not gluten filled treats.

keep up the tasty posts!

At 1:29 PM, Blogger Laura said...

I LOVE YOUR BLOG!! Thank you so much for your words and photos. After 20 years of diagnosed multiple autoimmune conditions, I finally hit a health rock bottom and met the right Doctor. She tested me and not only am I gluten intolerant, but allergic to eggs, anything from an udder and pork...(that being interesting as I was taking Armor thyroid meds..made from pig).

Like you I am a food lover and lover of life, which before was such a struggle to celebrate in my own special way, but I am determined to focus on all the beautiful things I can eat and create in my kitchen.

Truly enjoy your blog,

At 9:58 PM, Blogger Karen said...

Thank you for your positive thoughts on being gluten free! I also agree that I do not feel deprived. There are so many wonderful recipes and products out there!

I do, however, SUFFER from celiac disease. I have severe reactions to gluten,and often get glutened once a month, despite my best efforts. I don't think people understand that it's not just about what we can't eat, it's also what happens if gluten sneaks in somewhere.

I am one of "those" bloggers that reviews gluten free products/foods to find the best options out there to eat alone or use in recipes. I need to do this because I am not the best cook and sometimes need some great basics to get me started on a great meal, or shorten the food prep time in my busy schedule.

Thank you for your thoughts and insights, and maybe one day I can recreate some of the chef's gluten free concoctions! That would be great!


At 1:13 PM, Blogger Kelly said...

I am 32 yrs old and have been on a gluten free diet since I was 12. Every month I find I am still discovering hidden gluten. When will it stop! From certain lipsticks, lotions, shampoo, some sodas, the list of hidden gluten never seems to stop. Yesterday I read an article about wheat being in wine! This was news to me. Something about it being used in the wine making process. Can anyone shed some light on this news?

At 12:00 PM, Blogger eddybles said...

Thank you so much for the wonderful post. There are a few people in my life that display the symptoms you discussed and I am going to forward this to them as I believe it just might change their life, or at least get them on the road to a healthier, happier life and in the end, isn't that a changed life? Thank you so much!

At 4:46 AM, Blogger Shannon said...

A-men! Thank you so much for this post. I try to stay possitive, point out all the wonderful foods I can eat. Every once in a while that bread on the restaurant table taunts me, but then I remember the GF Coconut-Lime Cookies I have waiting for me at home, fresh out of the oven. Sure we can't nosh on a croissant, but think about all that we can eat:
ice cream
creme brulee
Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake
pana cotta
Quail and porcini risotto
the list goes on and on...

(can you tell I have a sweet tooth?)

At 9:16 AM, Blogger stillkickin said...

To Daisy: I was diagnosed using the entero lab kit. The results told me that I not only had to be gluten free, but cassein free (no milk, yogurt, cheese, etc) And after eliminating those things I found I can't eat soy either! I still can cook and eat well. My husband is on my diet because he likes what I make. Be patient; I am 53 and recently diagnosed. As a result I also have Chronic Fatigue and other permanant damage, but I am starting to feel better. Good luck!

At 4:19 PM, Blogger Professor Jeff said...

I am a newly diagnosed CD and just trying out this new food stuff. I have to tell you the breads are aweful. I also have other issues, which prohibits me eating acidic foods and milk products. Thank you for all those links you have on your blog. I will have to check them out.

At 6:28 PM, Blogger Celia said...

You know, when I start to tell someone that I can't have wheat they actually start to pity me. I calmy explain to them that staying away from something that makes you suffer is a lot easier than having to give it up by choice.

At 5:46 PM, Blogger scost63 said...

I found your blog shortly after I was diagnosed in Feb 2007 & you made me feel like I was not alone & that I could deal with this new lifestyle I had to educate myself about. June 8th I was at the GIG Conference and was so very excited to see you there. I love how you speak so passionately about food. You made me realize that I too have been taking pictures of food through the years. Although mostly just on holidays & special gatherings & my dad is in most of them doing something silly. But that's how I like to take them. I just wanted to let you know I took a photo of you and put it in an album I posted at the following link:

At 9:47 PM, Blogger Tracy said...

Great post, and I agree, there are so many amazing things to eat that don't involve gluten (and dairy, in my case). Personally, it's been a blessing for me. I eat better now than I ever have! What do I care that I can't go to McDonald's?

My only beef is that there's more to this than celiac disease. Plenty of us aren't celiac, but gluten intolerant. You can't get to celiac without having an autoimmune reaction to gluten; but somehow celiac is the gold standard, and I'm not sure why or how that happened. Just because one's intestinal villi are still intact doesn't mean they should still eat gluten!

I'd like food intolerances in general to be more known. In my case, the main symptoms were mental/emotional, in addition to all-over inflammation, cravings, severe constant hunger, weight GAIN, rashes, acne, fatigue, bloating, gas and mild GI issues that wouldn't have even got me a dx of IBS. It's tragic that people have to wait until it progresses to celiac (or fibromyalgia, AS, lupus, arthritis etc) before they find out they have food troubles. Tests should be standard procedure...and more accurate. The blood tests miss far too many of us.

Great blog :)

At 2:40 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

i agree, some parts of ur post r ok, but sometimes it just really makes me upset. while i am celiac, about 8 months now Gluten free, i am also a vegan which makes it harder. i don't eat meat because of the whole cruelty thing...and for dairy too but i am also lactose intolerant which makes it worse. while i think seattle is a good place to be a celiac, i still cry at restrauants trying to find something i can besides a potato and veggies (which i love but it gets old). i miss bread and cannot really afford a lot of the gluten free options out there. i treat myself everynow and then, but it isn't enough. i hardly eat anymore, i find myself more depressed now even tho i feel a million times better.....

At 9:16 AM, Blogger jamie said...

I just moved to Seattle from Seattle and I have had a few depression excursions in the region(regarding being able to eat anything more than a burger minus the bun) and I am curious for local dining and grocery options. I went to the whole foods on Denny and was surprised that it lacked many of my favorite gluten and dairy free options(and I am allergic to casein too). I found your website last year when I was discovering that I might be a celiac. I can't tell you how great it was reading your stories and getting excited to eat again. I was sure that you might have some inside tips for Seattle! I am completely lost so really anything wold be helpful. Thanks!

At 5:36 PM, Blogger pigsndreams said...

That was a really helpful post! Thank you! I have been suffering from symptoms that I could not understand since I was little. I was diagnosed with IBS but no matter what i tried nothing worked. Eventually I just learned to avoid certain things such as Ice Cream, Bread, Pasta and such. But recently a friend of mine told me to look into a wheat allergy because I have been avoiding anything with wheat or flour for years! I never thought or even knew that it could be Celiac Disease...I mean for someone who has never heard of such a thing who could have known that it even existed!

Anyways Thank you and aweosme! Soo going to the doctor for confirmation one way or another! Pretty sure im gluten sensitive though!

At 11:36 AM, Blogger Kim said...

Thank you. Thank you! THANK YOU!! for making this blog! After a year of being lactose intolerant (or so I thought) and having a SEVERE and painful case of dermatitis herpetiformis being misdiagnosed as shingles, I finally figured out it was really Celiac. Sheesh. I've been working my way through trying to revamp my diet...especially cooking and learning how to eat out. Your blog is a GREAT resource! Thanks again!

At 9:25 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Your blog is beautiful and gives me hope. This is day 3 for me of learning to be gluten free. All the random symptoms over the years finaly make sense. At the same time though I am mourning heavily. All I have ever wanted to do was bake for people. I love baking and have been so wrapped up in it I now feel at a loss. It is who I am, how I define myself is my baking. I know in the recess of my mind I will learn to bake this way. I make the BEST cheesecake on the planet, I will learn to bake it gluten free. I will live through this and I will be healthy but right now I mourn. Your blog gives me hope though, thank you.

At 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there!

Thank you so much for this site (and your awesome book) - love both!

Couple of questions (not sure where to post them, so forgive me if this is the TOTALLY wrong place for it...):

1) Do you have a good recipe for making gluten-free pasta? I am fine with buying the type from the store, but REALLY miss making my own...
2) Does anyone out there have trouble with champagne? I don't know WHAT it is, but certain types of champagne absolutely kill me, and make my upper GI tracht completely swell shut. Love the champagne, but would love it even more if I knew what to avoid about it.


At 12:14 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I was just diagnosed with celiac last week. I have had chronic inflammation in my wrists, knees, basically all my joints really for years. I was at the point where holding a toothbrush was agonizing. I have an entire file of lab work that has been done that explored every auto-immune disease out there. Finally - I feel like relief is ahead. This blog is really encouraging. Especially to a person who loves her pasta and bread and cheese (they took me off dairy too). Thanks for the encouragement!

At 7:47 AM, Blogger dawn said...

after having seeing a colon hydrotherapist and her telling me "you sound like you have celiacs" and doing research I know i have it. I saw my doctor and he told me basically because I don't have runs or major weight loss "you probably don't have it." my doctor has never listened to me anyways he couldn't give a crap about anything wrong with me.

At 2:29 PM, Blogger Caroline said...

I just found out that I have CD. When people say they get sick what actually happens?? My doctors have not been helpful at all. I just want some idea what I should be expecting. I dont know when i feel good or when i feel bad. I've been sick for so long I dont understand my body anymore.

At 8:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there, I wondered onto this site after yet another week in agony after meeting friends (and "normally" eating a meal out. Luckily at the dinner table was an aquaintance who I had not seen in a couple of years, she noted my discomfort after eating and told me that she is now a nurse working with osteo patients and the clinic test all patients for coeliac. She told me if I presented to her that she would immediatly send me for tests, I was not convinced as I had become somewhat immune to the bloating, minutes after a meal and over the years had radically reduced bread, pasta and even rice and potatoes, blaming them on my discomfort. That said after I pigged out and had "normal" food I had to leave and spent that night in agony, the twisting of my gut reminiscent to labour pains!! what I (foolishly) did was go gluten free, after 3 days the difference was remarkable, so remarkable that i would rather starve then eat something with gluten in it. After one week I inadvertantly ate a bar of choc with gluten in it (it was deleted from the free list for cross contamination) and within minutes the cramps, reflux and discomfort reappeared, I now eat potatoes and rice with relish, make my food from scratch and the range of gluten free products are on the rise, I could never put a morsel with gluten on my lips again. I have dropped 5k in weight, this though is purely down to the fact that I do not look 6 months pregnant, the comfort is so new again, to be able to eat and sit in with friends after eating a meal without feeling so ill that I have to go home is wonderful. My concern is really that my doctor now wants me to go back on gluten and have the tests done, for me that is my idea of hell, I truly wept when she told me this, to have to go back to the way I was is inconceivable, should I go on as I am, is that safe to do, or if I have to go back, for how long? Thanks for all your help and advice.

At 9:21 AM, Blogger Shauna said...


I don't know what to tell you other than I hear this all the time. Half the people I meet in this work feel they need the diagnosis, the official line, just to make sure they stay on the diet. The other half say, "i know my body. Forget it." You have to listen to your heart on this one.

But congratulations on figuring it out!

At 7:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

After ten years of suffering with joint pain, infertility, severe abdominal pain, headaches, fatigue and multiple miscarriages, I have discovered that I have Celiac Disease. I had never heard of it before and although it's difficult to process right now, I'm so thankful to finally understand what is wrong with me!

Thank God, through all of the pain and suffering of the past ten years, my husband and I are blessed with three children. A miracle! However, trying to learn about new foods, find obscure ingredients and cook new recipes is so hard to do when three little boys, ages five and under, are needing my constant attention.

I live in the suburbs of Philly and don't have as many of the specialty shops that you have nearby. I wish I had the time, money and resources available to me so that I can eat as wonderfully as you!

I am currently reading your book and I love it. I love your writing style and your joy of life - it's contagious. I am trying not to get discouraged since I won't be able to embrace it all until the kids are a little older. For now, I'm making homemade soups in the crock pot and buying gluten-free flour mixes so that I can save some time when making my carrot bread or pancakes.

I'm overwhelmed now but I know that if I just hang in there and keep my chin up, things will be better soon. In fact, I'm already feeling much better after only two months gluten-free.

Thanks for all of your encouragement. Keep up the good work - I have something to look forward to as time goes by and I get the hang of this.

At 7:25 AM, Blogger Anita (Married... with dinner) said...

Congrats on winning Best Post on the well fad food blog awards. :)

At 7:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW! I found your book on amazon while searching for Christmas gifts for other great people in my life. Gluten free girl was my present to myself. In three days I have it devoured even though I'm a postmaster and this was my busiest week of the year! I know I've had the disease for over 20 years now as I almost died before being diagnosed. You have inspired this old postmaster to try new foods and new combinations. I'm itching to have time in my kitchen to create new gluten free meals with more zest and appeal than I am used to eating! BRAVO!!! I put a STAMP of approval on your book! I love it! AND, I usually read and then sell my books on ebay but not this one. I will keep it forever and a day. Blessings...

At 10:57 PM, Blogger I Depend On Miracles said...

Jeri said: I had been treated for Iritable bowel syndrome and colitis my entire life. I can't believe all the colonoscopys,biopsys, and other miserable tests and showed nothing. Finally about two years ago a doctor in a small town in Texas diagnosed celiac disease. I immediately changed my diet and feel great.I lost major inches from my waistline,my tummy became flatter. Its worth eating healthy food.

At 4:23 PM, Blogger princess_panda said...

Great Post - I too am coeliac, and totally recognise what you said about looking red and blotchy and puffy on every photo since i was about 11 - I've suffered from bad somachs and acne for 14 years before I saw a nutritionist last year, who diagnosed me. I can honestly say that since being gluten-free, I haven't looked back. My skin is clearer, no bad tummies anymore and I even lost a little bit of weight (not really helped by not being able to eat out in many places). I get so sick of manufacturers 'sneaking' flour into the most innoccuous of foods, even mashed potato for god's sake, so it's great to read so may others' stories. Thanks!

At 8:30 AM, Blogger Gwenivere said...

This is such a wonderful post! My oldest son has Celiac and even with as sick as he was I was the one who had to suggest to the doctor that it might be Celiac. Our family has been gluten free for over a year now, and he finally has a childhood. I am so glad to have found your site, it is so inspirational!

At 12:38 PM, Blogger Vittoria said...

It's great to see so many people who, like myself, don't see their celiac as a deprivation, just part of who they are. I'm going to check out your book, and post a link to it on my own blog. Keep up the good work!

At 8:59 AM, Blogger Elizabeth Orchard said...

This blog is fabulous! I am a naturopathic medical student and recommend about 75% of my patients avoid gluten, even if they do not have CD. I have observed gluten to be such an inflammatory food that most people feel and look better when they avoid it. So, I will be sending future patients here, to your fabulous blog, for ideas, recipes, and inspiration.

Vishen Health Guru

At 9:26 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I was officially diagnosed today; even though I have been Gluten Free for almost two weeks (knowing what I was being tested for). I can't express the amount of happiness I have. Everyone around me feels bad, because "I can't eat what they eat” and I keep saying "Knowing this is a blessing." My friend got me your book, for my B-day, yesterday, and I can't stop reading. You are such an inspiration and I cherish all you have done and then taught. I can not thank you enough. I don't feel crazy anymore. :)

At 11:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great work...
I respect you.
Please keep up it!!

Have a great weekend^^
Cheers from Japan

At 3:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you are a stunning example of incorrigible enthusiasm and zest for life (that we all want to tap into!).

Leading by example is the most potent method of communication. You illustrate this beautifully with your talented prose and mouth watering recipes.

I wish you every success Shauna.

Susan Jane Murray
Nutritionist & cook

At 11:04 PM, Blogger nikibeanster said...

My boyfriend has Celiac, and I love cooking for him. He's also lactose-intolerant, so we get really creative. It's great to see you raising awareness for everyone.

I also wanted to call your attention to an awesome gluten-free bakery that is amazing, called Azna- they are the reason my bf and I could share my birthday cake this year. Their stuff is amazing, and I think you'd like it:

In any case, thank you for this blog. I will certainly be following it!

At 2:13 AM, Blogger ttelroc said...

I came here through a link from someone elses blog - I have seen gluten free products before, but never thought much about it. I took both quizes & I scored WAY HIGH on both. My jaw is almost hitting the floor.

The past few months my feet have been so tender - just by touching them they hurt like crazy. I have been majorly stressed lately, so I just attributed it to that - and when things calm down (soon!) then I was just sure my feet would go back to normal. (this is just one example)

I now realize that I have been eating more bread & gluten products in the past few months than I ever have. My whole diet has just gone downhill. Could this be??

I want to Thank You for having such a blog where I can get some quickie info - info that I would have never ever thought of before today.

Thank You - I will be making an appt. with my doctor in the morning.

Have a great day,

At 11:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever you do - don't give in to cinco de mayo and test the water with a few coronas! After being on my gluten-free diet for a few weeks and only drinking sorghum beer, i got cocky and dove into the crisp corona bbqing afternoon. I had just cut some grass, it was a beautiful day, and the grill was smoking. I yearned for that light tasting beer that gluten-free beers just cannot mimick. Big mistake. I've never noticed until now how bad the stuff was for me. I blew up like Violet from Willy Wonka, and started getting the milky taste in my mouth that caused me to get tested for gluten allergy in the first place. I don't know if this is common, but it's what happens to me and it's definitely caused by beer.
The day after cinco de mayo, i didn't want to get out of bed. I was so incredibly irritable, no amount of coffee helped, and it wasn't a hangover! It felt like I swallowed a rock that was camping out in my stomach, and i also had the sore throat to match. There were physical and emotional symptoms, and it was too early in my cycle for pms. I almost think that women with what seems like bad pre-menstrual issues, should get tested. You are what you eat!

At 12:23 PM, Blogger I am a Tornado ~ proven fact! said...

You are a stunning LADY! I love the blog; your insite, the level at which you care about health and wellness! I think I may know someone who is sick from gluten - I will recommend your site to them! THANKS for your dedication and I'm going to purchase your book right now!

I LOVE this site!

At 3:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, going to share my story now too. My mom and I were diagnosed as gluten intolerant when I was 17but we both ignored it becuase we were also both diagnosed with a myriad of other food sensitivities, and figured it was just like the rest of them. Our doctor didn't stress to us how important it was to eat gluten free or anything, so we just figured whatever. My nephew was recently diagnosed with gluten intolerance, so my mom, sister and I decided to go gluten free for him. After a severe bout of abdominal cramping after eating spelt noodles(I thought it was an acceptable alternative to wheat) and feeling like what I can only imagine what labor feels like, I decided it was time to give up gluten. I'm now 25 and and have been gluten free for 6 months and I feel a million times better. I was sort of in denial for years, but now that I feel so much better, I know it's worth it. Your blog makes me realize that gluten intolerance and celiac disease doesn't mean giving up your favorite foods. I think I'll use your gluten free pie crust recipe and bake an apple pie tonight :)

At 4:16 PM, Blogger ☮️ Marianna ☮️ said...

Hi, first off I love your blog.

I have been diagnosed with celiac however I've been getting very conflicting information, starting from my doctor. I follow my diet strictly but I'm also one of those people who hates to put everyone out and because of that I sometimes let gluten in my body.

I am over two months pregnant and yesterday I had a veggie burger at a bbq because the people forgot I couldn't eat the bun and I didn't want to be singled out. I have been feeling very guilty since and now I'm worried about my baby. Is there a risk for having done that?

thanks for your time.

At 7:39 AM, Blogger Barbara Silvan Maniscalco said...

Thank you for your wonderful site. I am 53 and was diagnosed three months ago with Celiac after two years of feeling awful and trips to 8 different doctors who all told me I had everything from "nothing wrong" to acid reflux to normal menopausal symptoms. Although I was ready to give up, my husband convinced me to see one more doctor who decided to do an endoscopy due to the acid reflux diagnosis. To his surprise, I had significant damage to my villi and was diagnosed with full blown celiac disease which subsequent blood work also confirmed. Because of the hereditary nature of the disease, he suggested my 17 year old daughter be tested as well. She has been suffering for 4 years with anemia which her pediatrician could never get under control. Her celiac panel blood work came back last week and confirmed that she also has celiac disease, with numbers worse than mine. It is completely frustrating to see so many doctors that don't even think about testing for celiac, and it makes me want to cry when I think of all the needless suffering that I and my daughter went through and thousands of others go through every day. We are now going to become a gluten-free household which will make it easier for everyone, and I was excited to see the wonderful food you showcase. I'm not feeling better yet as my doctor said it could take six months to a year for my body to repair itself, but I really don't miss the gluten as I truly think of it as the enemy, and all of the fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and chicken as my friends.

At 9:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was wondering if anyone can help me here. All while growing up I have had periods where I have stomach trouble, finally a few years back I was diagnosed w/ IBS, it seemed like stress would tend to make things worse. My Dr told me to increase my Fiber intake but I found I had more trouble when I did that, so I kind of had come to the conclusion that these periods of stomach problems, constipation, bloating, tiredness, ect were all just something I had to learn to deal w/.... But then recently my younger sister has been officially diagnosed w/ Celiac disease. My mom called me and told me she had told her Dr some of the symptoms I have had over the years and her Dr said I should be tested as well. My question is, a few years back I had a colonoscopy and endoscopy done and I think they had taken a biopsy, but apparently didn't find anything of concern. I don't know that I was specifically tested for CD, but I was wondering if they had done just a general endoscopy, does anyone know if CD would show up on that?....I have a Dr appt next month and was planning on discussing it w/ her, but some of the post I am reading online make me wonder if I should t/w my Dr sooner...Thank you! any help is greatly appreciated.

At 7:56 PM, Blogger Tapia said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I diagnosed myself as having a gluten intolerance last Spring (since the U.S. doesn't have an acceptable healthcare system that's as far as I can go with it). My body has been so much happier since giving up gluten foods; my stomach doesn't hurt as much and my skin doesn't break out as badly. I am so excited to try out the recipes you post on you blog as well stop in to Impromptu on our next trip to Seattle (we're in AK). I also can't wait to read your book. Congrats on your babe and thanks for your contribution to the GF crowd. Peace.

At 4:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just happened on your blog and have to say I'm geeked. Several weeks ago I stopped eating wheat. I was diagnosed with an allergy several years ago, but didn't do anything about it until now. It's tough, especially since I'm Italian and bread is a big part of our lives. I feel great and have even lost a few pounds. Unfortunately, I always seem to be hungry, never feeling quite "full". Any suggestions for the novice? I've read a few recipes for wheat/gluten free breads that left me a bit leary on trying them.

At 1:40 PM, Blogger Qristina said...

I have been gluten-free (or trying) for over a year now, but I'm still suffering from some complaints. I love your blog and especially this post. I must admit I find having time and money to prepare my own gluten-free food... difficult. It's okay if you have both aplenty. But, I don't--and prepackaged stuff is SO expensive as are decent ingredients (ie: any kind of gluten-free flour). It's especially depressing going out to eat anywhere AT ALL.

I am inspired by this site though and am going to keep reading and maybe I'll be able to be as... joyous... someday....


At 8:53 AM, Blogger ~ Marie ~ said...

Greetings All,

Thank you so much for the inspirations Gluten-free Girl!

As for's my understanding that gluten tests are not conclusive. If you are positive you are but if negative that 'the only true test is to stop eating it and see if you feel better' - Per Physician my spouse spoke with. He stopped and never started again except for a few 'oops'.

PS My tummy is full your yummy potato pancakes...and we are still recovering from the best gravy I ever made (your recipe with Bob's flour mix instead of rice flour). Yippy skippy!

At 2:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have recently decided to get tested for Celiac after a long period of hesitation. I am 23 years old and feel as though all my symptoms line up, but I've been experiencing them my whole life. I figured it was something I just had to live with. I was more concerned that if I found out I did need to start eating gluten-free, I would starve! What could I possibly eat. Looking at your blog and getting all these amazing ideas, I am no longer worried about that! Thank you so much.

At 7:39 PM, Blogger Sarah R said...

Though I was apparently tested for celiac a couple years back, I've been exhibiting symptoms of the condition for the past few years (especially severe in the past few months or so). Unfortunately I also have allergies to dairy, egg yolks and animal protein, as well as a fat intolerance. I'm totally at a loss as to what to make myself for breakfast while I experiment on a GF diet - I've been mostly wheat free for a year or so but I've been eating puffed Kamut and oatmeal, both of which have gluten.

I'm resigned to brown rice, white fish, beans and veggies for the next few weeks while I'm on the "elimination" phase, but it'll take some experimentation... your site is a Godsend. Thanks, Shauna, and best New Years wishes to you and your family!

At 3:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hello fellow gluten free friends! i have a question. i dont have celic but i have mild intolerance to gluten(just subtle stomachache and constipation). but eating bread is inevitable for me thus im wondering if my tolerance to gluten would improve if i introduce it into my diet every day since my symptom is pretty tolerable. but just in case i take glutenzyme pill if it helps in any way. would it be bad decision? i'd love to hear anyone's advice or opinion. Thank you!

At 3:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a new Celiac Camp that is starting this summer twenty minutes from Austin.

Celiac Camp Texas at the Beautiful Fairhaven Stables in Red Rock, Texas welcomes all campers ages 8-17, with dietary restrictions related to Celiac's Disease, Dermatitis Herpetiformis, and Gluten Intolerance, to come and spend June 29-July 12 on a Gluten Getaway.

The camp is on a working horse farm that will inspire kids to learn responsibility, teamwork, patience and have plain old fun. Each day campers will get a horse back riding lesson and lessons in horse care. Campers will also participate in art classes, Bocce ball, swimming, archery, Journaling and other fun activities.

For more info:

At 3:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a new Celiac Camp that is starting this summer twenty minutes from Austin.

Celiac Camp Texas at the Beautiful Fairhaven Stables in Red Rock, Texas welcomes all campers ages 8-17, with dietary restrictions related to Celiac's Disease, Dermatitis Herpetiformis, and Gluten Intolerance, to come and spend June 29-July 12 on a Gluten Getaway.

The camp is on a working horse farm that will inspire kids to learn responsibility, teamwork, patience and have plain old fun. Each day campers will get a horse back riding lesson and lessons in horse care. Campers will also participate in art classes, Bocce ball, swimming, archery, Journaling and other fun activities.

For more info:

At 8:11 AM, Blogger Taylor said...

My mom and I do the "Look, that person has celiac!" thing ALL the time. I even have my husband doing it! My friends think I am crazy. I think most of them should be gluten free, too.

All beautifully said!

Taylor Smith

At 5:42 PM, Anonymous Deb said...

I am having a tantrum today---feeling so blue, so left out, like the world is having a party and I'm not invited: football parties, fall Harvest events (sure I'll just have an apple please) Happy Hour, co-worker treats, neighborhood get-togethers, visiting relatives for the weekend. I want to stamp my feet because it all just seems so hard sometimes!!! In addition to being gluten free, I am also trying to be sugar free, preservative free (no aspartame) and for sure ... MSG free-- which is nearly impossible when eating outside of my home. I'm so tired of working AND shopping AND having to cook. The only thing that keeps me going is that I feel so much better being gluten and MSG free. When I get blue I come HERE to get happy. Thanks!

At 11:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gluten has a habit of making you irritable.
I had problems for the last 5 years and a negative biopsy even though many of my family members including my dad have celiac. Finally went to a Derm and he told me I have the skin reaction (dermatitis herptaformaris) I went GF right away. That was 5 months ago. My fibromyalgia, IBS, arthritis, headaches, insomnia and other problems went away. I saw one of the top Celiac experts in Baltimore yesterday. He told me "you have the symptoms and elimination has proven you have it" at this point he told me there is no point in making me miserable and having a gluten challenge. Just make sure I am eating right. I had years and years of Dr's telling me it was other things and that I had acne...I always knew the DH was triggerd by food, never knew which I do. I would not eat gluten for money, that's how much better I feel.

At 11:36 AM, Blogger eitana friedman-nathan said...

omg! amazing advice! i am being tested for celiac and this is a real comfort


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