Posts Categorized: Celiac disease

#GoBeyondTheGut

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It’s Celiac Awareness Month and the Canadian Celiac Association (CCA) is urging people to #GoBeyondTheGut. When most people think of celiac disease, they think of gut and digestive issues—diarrhea, constipation, bloating, cramps, stomach pain, gas, weight loss. But what about the less obvious signs of celiac disease?

We’re all about the tummy love, but there is so much more to celiac disease than that. Here are some of the atypical signs:

  • anemia
  • bone issues
  • liver disorders
  • neurologic problems
  • reproductive problems
  • short stature

For more detailed information about each one, click here.

According to the CCA, “over 80% of people with celiac disease have yet to be diagnosed.” Is it because they don’t have the classic signs of celiac so it’s not even on their radar? Very possibly. That is why it is so important to be aware of the less common signs. Celiac disease goes beyond the gut—it’s autoimmune, it impacts the whole body. Check out this brilliant infographic from Gluten Dude, showing 84 different symptoms of the disease.

Unfortunately, so many people suffer for years with symptoms that they don’t think are related to celiac. A recent CCA survey of more than 300 people showed that the average time until diagnosis is 10-plus years. This is what else it revealed:

  • 85% of respondents experienced multiple visits to healthcare practitioners before diagnosis
  • 86% had blood work other than for celiac disease
  • 42% had ultrasounds
  • 20% believed their diagnosis was delayed because the test was not covered by OHIP

That’s right, Ontario is the only province that does not cover blood screening of celiac disease! The CCA is advocating for this test to be made free. You can join them by downloading this petition and sending it to the CCA  to your local Member of Provincial Parliament.

 

The Gluten Free Garage muse at every GFG from 2012 to 2017.

 

On a personal note, my daughter, Lily, presented with a lot of tummy trouble (bloating, constipation, pain) and then ultimately throwing up, which is what alerted us to the fact that something serious was going on with her. She was tired all the time, and her blood work revealed very low iron levels; she was on the verge of anemia. (Iron deficiency anemia is one of the most frequent presenting problems in celiac disease.) She was also below the average height for her age; “not thriving,” as the doctor put it. After our second visit to her pediatrician, he suggested we get her tested for celiac disease. He noted that the test wasn’t covered and I would have to pay for it.

Soon after he called to say that Lily had celiac disease.

Within two months of eating gluten free, Lily started to blossom. She wasn’t having stomach aches, her bloated belly basically deflated, and she stopped throwing up. She had so much more energy, her hair started growing, and she started to fill out in all the right places. All because we removed gluten from her diet (which definitely took some trial and error!). We’re so lucky she was diagnosed at the young age of three.

In those early days, the CCA was a big help to our family. I went to a few informative evenings held by our local Toronto chapter, where I learned about different aspects of celiac disease and living gluten free. I didn’t leave my house without the CCA’s pocket dictionary of foods for the gluten-free diet (I still carry a worn-out copy around in my purse!). And when the kids were little our family went each year to the CCA holiday party where everything and everyone was gluten free!

On May 16th the CCA is hosting a free webinar on children and celiac disease. Pediatric gastroenterologist Dr. Dominica Gidrewciz will review the classic and lesser-known signs and symptoms of celiac disease most often seen in children. And registered dietitian Jessica Wu will share how to maintain and improve your child’s health after diagnosis.

To give back to the Canadian Celiac Association and help support the important work it does for and on behalf of people with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, I donate a portion of the proceeds from GFG ticket sales to the organization. From advocacy to  awareness, the CCA provides support, information and resources to people living with celiac disease.

If we spread awareness about celiac disease, my hope is that more people will become aware of the myriad symptoms and will get tested and diagnosed so they don’t have to suffer short- or long-term. I also hope that by sharing stories about this autoimmune disease, people will realize that for more than 1 in 133 people being gluten free is not a choice but a treatment they require to stay healthy. For people with celiac, food literally is medicine. It should be delicious.

On that note, there isn’t a better time to be gluten-free than now. Gluten free has come a long way, baby! Come taste for yourself at Gluten Free Garage on May 27th!

This year the Canadian Celiac Association will have a table at #GFG18!
Say hello to executive director Melissa Secord!

Bring a non-perishable GF food item to GFG!

WIFEY KNOWS BEST: Jessica Danford (aka Gfree Wifey) is on a mission.

Last year Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank saw 990,970 client visits to the 100-plus food programs that it supports. When we consider that 1% of the population requires a gluten-free diet and that celiac disease is becoming one of the fastest-growing autoimmune diseases, access to safe food for all is a growing concern. This issue is often overlooked or not taken into account because most food programs are at capacity or struggling to provide to the clients they have before they can even consider food restrictions.

One of the reasons I started the GfreeWifey Foodbank last year is to use my position as a positive influencer in the gluten-free community to bring greater awareness to celiac disease while advocating for access to safe food. As someone with celiac disease who has used the help of food banks and food programs in my past, I feel passionate about this and am now in a position where I can champion for the cause. In April I donated $1,000 that we raised for the Daily Bread Food Bank!

I do short-burst fundraising for local food banks and food programs to provide safe gluten-free food to people in our communities. If there is an organization you know of that needs support with access to safe food—whether it’s a food bank, before-or-after school program, soup kitchen, breakfast club or other food support system—please let me know. I will gladly learn about what they do and find the best way to support them.

I will be at Gluten Free Garage on May 27th to meet everyone and collect non-perishable gluten-free food items for The Canadian Red Cross. The Red Cross provides emergency relief hampers with 3-4 days’ worth of food every two weeks to people who are in a vulnerable position and have been referred to the program by a professional. This is one of many organizations that have expressed they are at capacity and staggering to keep up with the demand, let alone provide safe food to people with dietary restrictions like gluten intolerance and celiac.

I invite you to open your cupboards and bring a non-perishable
gluten-free food item to Gluten Free Garage!

There will be a collection bin at registration. If you forget your item at home, you can  “buy two, donate one” at the event—it’s also a terrific way to support your favourite gluten-free vendors who will be there!

Many people struggle to afford food—and we know how costly gluten-free food can be! A gluten-free diet is a necessity for 2 in 100 people. It is not a trendy lifestyle choice. It is mandatory in order for people with celiac to recover and maintain their health. Let’s work together to END HUNGER close to home.

Please join me in providing access to safe gluten-free food by donating something from your pantry that’s on this most-wanted gluten-free grocery list:

  • crackers
  • flour blends
  • rice
  • pasta
  • canned beans and vegetables
  • soup
  • soy sauce and condiments
  • pancake and muffin mixes

For more information about me and the Gfreewifey Foodbank, please go to www.gfreewifey.com

—Jessica Danford

guest speaker: GFG muse Lily Eklove

Lily is the reason that Gluten Free Garage exists. Here she is with her fave gluten-free cupcakes from Almond Butterfly Bake Shop.

 

Ever since the early days of Gluten Free Garage, my daughter Lily has been asking to be a guest speaker. Since Gluten Free Garage is essentially a big party for Lily—and, by extension, other people with celiac disease and those with gluten intolerance—it only makes sense that the guest of honour gets to speak. Now, eight years after she was diagnosed with celiac disease, at 11 years old, Lily is going to take the stage at Gluten Free Garage and share the top 10 things she has learned from having celiac disease.

Come for the talk and stay for the cupcakes! After Lily does her top 10, gluten-free Almond Butterfly Bake Shop will join her to host a Cupcake Decorating Extravaganza! Bring your children to decorate gluten-free and dairy-free chocolate and vanilla cupcakes with colourful frosting, organic all-natural sprinkles, organic gummy bears, dairy-free chocolate chips, cookie crumbs, brownie bites, and more! Almond Butterfly does not use any artificial colours or sweeteners in any of its baking. The kids are sure to enjoy this yummy hands-on speaker session!

Here are a few of Lily’s favourite things:
Book:
Percy Jackson
TV show: Gilmore Girls
Movie: The Wizard of Oz
Song: “Scars to Your Beautiful” by Alessia Cara
Hobbies: reading, swimming, dancing, playing basketball, drawing

Lily Eklove will be speaking at #GFG17 on Sunday May 28 at 2:30 pm in The Stop,
followed by a Cupcake Decorating Extravaganza with Almond Butterfly Bake Shop.

guest speaker: Katherine Kremblewski, ND

Dr. Katherine Kremblewski is a licensed naturopathic doctor with a private practice in Toronto.

 

You’re in for some serious tummy love at Gluten Free Garage!

Aside from all the delicious gluten-free food you’ll be filling up on, guest speaker Dr. Katherine Kremblewski, ND, is going to talk about gut health in “Love Your Microbiome.” The gut is at the crux of our immune, digestive and even mental/emotional health, which is why we need to ensure that we’re doing all we can to take care of it! Dr. Kat will share tips and tricks to help you maneuver your way through the somewhat-confusing field of digestion, including what to look for in pre- and probiotics.

She will also touch on fermented foods, as they play a huge role in maintaining proper gut health. Fermented foods help to feed the good bacteria in the gut and work to allow the resident bacteria to flourish and the transient flora to survive even longer to do their jobs!

Here are Dr. Kat’s top 5 fave fermented foods (some of which you’ll find at Gluten Free Garage!):

1. Miso: I love miso because it tastes good and it’s easy to add to any recipe.
2. Greek yogurt and/or kefir: Delicious, full of protein, calcium and good fats—this one is a no-brainer. Unless, of course, you’re lactose intolerant, in which case coconut-based yogurt products are great alternatives. Kefir has higher concentrations of bacteria per serving than yogurt so it’s good to mix it up and incorporate both into your diet.
3. Kombucha: Kombucha is a refreshing way to drink your little pets (aka healthy bacteria). Just make sure it’s not loaded with sugar!
4. Sourdough: Although I have trouble personally growing my own, sourdough is a MUST ingredient for me when buying bread. It helps to digest the other grains in the recipe!
5. Sauerkraut: Or, as my husband’s Polish family calls it, kapusta. Fermented cabbage is super easy to make at home and can be incorporated into any recipe without adding an overwhelming taste.

Dr. Katherine Kremblewski, ND, will be speaking at #GFG17 on Sunday May 28 at 1 pm in The Stop.
Her talk is sponsored by Genuine Health.