Have you ever met someone who was gluten free? How about someone with Celiac Disease? As the gluten free diet fad fades, Celiac Disease will stay with us. For those living with Celiac Disease, currently the only way to treat it is to eat a completely gluten free diet. It is not a matter of diet preference, but of living with a normal quality of life. According to Celiac.org, “Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that can occur in genetically predisposed people where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine” (2016). This immediate damage can lead to other serious long term health issues. With health issues like this on the line, this is no diet preference.
I really had no idea what “gluten free” or “Celiac” meant prior to 2008. That was the year that everything changed for my family. After years of trying to discover what was wrong with his health, my husband was diagnosed with Celiac disease. This was a enormous learning curve for us! Since he has a severe form of Celiac that also involves a skin reaction referred to as “DH,” we have to be careful of gluten that is hidden away in ingredients other than food. I can still remember crying in a doctor’s office at Mayo Clinic because I thought I had been SO careful to take care of my husband and she looked at me and said “What about your makeup? Is your lipstick gluten free?” What? Is my LIPSTICK gluten free? Who would have ever thought that makeup would have gluten in it! That opened my eyes to the fact that gluten can be hiding in soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, and even envelope glue. Crazy!
Transitioning to a gluten free lifestyle isn’t easy, especially since many people still don’t understand the disease. As a wife to a husband with Celiac Disease and a friend to many others that live with it, here are 3 things I would like to share:
- As someone with an allergy – feel free to take charge and lead the way!! When it comes to going out to eat, I usually let my husband or my Celiac friends choose because they have a better idea of what to be looking for in terms of gluten-free options. I’m more than happy to follow! If a family member wants to suggest something, check out the app Find Me Gluten Free. This app lets you know what restaurants have gluten free options. (If you’re in Minnesota, my favorite local restaurant is Mad Jacks in Vandais Heights, MN. They’ve catered many Norwex events for me and the manager has a passion for safe food for people suffering with a gluten allergy or intolerance.)
- If you invite someone with Celiac to dinner, don’t hesitate to ask what is and isn’t safe for them to eat. It can be scary to cook for someone with a food allergy, but most people are more than happy to give you a few easy tips on what you can do to make the meal safe for them.
- Shop Norwex!! Did you know, the ENTIRE Norwex catalog is gluten-free*? People living with Celiac Disease should take care to use gluten-free personal care products and detergents. It is so much easier to shop when you don’t have to read EVERY label! So check out Norwex!! My favorite products to recommend are the Timeless Organic Shea Butter, Shower Gel, and the Makeup Removal Cloths.
Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for supporting those with Celiac during Celiac Awareness Month!
*as of May 11, 2016, per information from Norwex corporate.