How To Set Up A Shared Gluten Kitchen (Or A 100% Gluten Free One!)

Grab a cozy blanket and a warm cup of tea because this is going to be a long post! There is a lot to know about setting up a kitchen when you're on a strict gluten free diet and today I plan on covering it all. 

Today you'll learn:

  • How to make the decision to have a 100% gluten free kitchen or a shared gluten kitchen.
  • Where gluten hides in your kitchen.
  • How to make your kitchen safe, regardless of the circumstances.
  • What you need to replace and keep separate.

Should I have a shared kitchen or 100% gluten free kitchen?

Whether you've just been diagnosed with celiac disease or are on a gluten free diet and are still having symptoms, it's time reassess your kitchen scenario and ask yourself a few questions. According to a study done by Beyond Celiac more then half of people with celiac disease share a kitchen to some extent. Remember this can vary between having more then half the food in your kitchen be gluten foods and having one box of regular gluten cookies stashed away. So when sharing a kitchen it varies substantially on how much of your kitchen is actually gluten free. 

Questions to ask yourself when making the decision

1. How many people am I sharing a kitchen with and what ages?
The risk of gluten cross contamination is highest in a busy kitchen with young children. If this is your house and it's possible, having a 100% gluten free kitchen is safest for you.  If you're sharing the kitchen with one other adult and they are very knowledgeable about your condition then having a shared kitchen is probably manageable. 

2. How big is the kitchen? Will I have a space on the counter that can be dedicated gluten free?
If you're kitchen is very small and there isn't space for a separate space on the counter then consider making the entire kitchen gluten free. It is possible to share a counter top but crumbs are sneaky.

3. How understanding are those that I live with?
It's important that whoever you're sharing your house with that they are at least open to learning about the gluten free diet. If they are opposed to learning then having a 100% gluten free kitchen is what's best for your health. It's a learning curve for everyone involved, but it's important that those in your household are open to learning what they need to know. If they're understanding and willing to learn how to keep you safe then having a shared kitchen is a possibility. 
 

Shared Kitchen Top Tips:
1. Don't have any gluten flours in your kitchen, not only does flour get everywhere, it's very hard to clean.
2. Have a separate part of the kitchen counter and cabinet for gluten foods, keep every where else strictly gluten free. 
3. Have the top shelf of your refrigerator be gluten free. 
4. Mark all of your gluten free foods (especially jars, condiments, butters, yogurts)  with stickers to make sure they stay gluten free.
5. If it's been several months and you still feel ill consider switching to a 100% gluten free kitchen.
6. Have all of your gluten free pots, pans, spoons and separate items be a different colour to make them easy to tell apart. All of my gluten free items are red to make it easy to tell them apart. 
 

100% Gluten Free Kitchen Top Tips:
1. Throw away items that are opened that could be cross contaminated (like for example baking supplies like sugar and baking soda will most likely have been cross contaminated by double dipping measuring cups and spoons)
2. Instead of throwing away gluten containing foods that are unopened donate them to a food bank.
3. Be appreciative to those in your life. It will be hard for yourself and those you live with so try to keep it positive. 

Setting up a 100% Gluten Free Kitchen 

Setting up a 100% gluten free kitchen means cleaning. It's a bit overwhelming at first but with a few simple steps you can de-gluten your kitchen. If you're anything like me you'll be shedding a tear while throwing out your french bread, cookies and favourite cereals, but know your life is going to be better without it! So get your donation bins and kleenex box ready because it's time to get to work.

What you'll need:

Supplies:
Paper towel or multiple cloths
Vacuum with a detachable vacuum hose
Non toxic multi purpose cleaner
Duster
Broom
Donation box (For any unopened boxed goods)
Trash box (Anything you can't donate/ give away)
Give away box (Anything opened that friends or family could use)

1. Remove

Start by removing anything with gluten in your kitchen. You'll quickly find out that gluten is in some unexpected places. Gather up all of your gluten- containing products, including cereals, crackers, cookies, cakes, breads, flour and anything else that includes wheat, barley or rye in the ingredients list.

You also should get rid of any opened packages of baking supplies, such as sugar and baking soda. Although these might be fine in their unopened state, opened containers probably have some gluten cross contamination from your previous baking activities (did you ever share a spoon between flour and sugar?)

You can donate unopened products to either a food bank or friends and family.

Common Names for Gluten on Labels:

Triticum vulgare (wheat)
Triticale (cross between wheat and rye)
Hordeum vulgare (barley)
Secale cereale (rye)
Triticum spelta
spelt
Wheat protein/hydrolyzed wheat protein
Wheat starch/hydrolyzed wheat starch
Wheat flour/bread flour/bleached flour
Bulgur (a form of wheat)
Malt (made from barley)
Couscous (made from wheat)
Farina (made from wheat)
Pasta (made from wheat unless otherwise indicated)
Seitan (made from wheat gluten and commonly used in vegetarian meals Barley or Wheat Grass (will be cross contaminated)
Wheat germ oil or extract (will be cross contaminated)

2. Clean Clean Clean!

This is some extensive cleaning so make sure you set aside some time to get the job done well. It's important to do a good deep clean because flour and crumbs will have found their way all over your kitchen. Not just on the counters, but in the fridge, the drawers, the cutlery tray, and many other places.

A step by step guide on what to clean:

Cabinet and drawer faces: Wiping off obvious drips and spills from cabinet faces is easy, but over time, a thin layer of grease accumulates on these surfaces, and flour dust can stick to that grease. Wash down with a mild soap solution, rinse, and dry.

Cupboard and drawer handles: Handles are easily contaminated by sticky fingers. Wash every handle carefully.

Floors and counter tops: Also wipe down baseboards and windowsills. Inside all drawers: Silverware drawers, especially, can hang on to crumbs and flour dust. Take all items out of the drawer, run them through the dishwasher or wash them by hand, vacuum the inside of the drawers to get out all the crumbs and then wipe down them down and let it dry.

Sink strainers and sink plugs: These items can hold a lot of gunk from everyday use. In fact, buy a new sink strainer and plug for your disposal. Most hardware stores stock them.

Clean out the microwave and remove the glass and clean that as well. Remove everything from your fridge and wipe down any drawers or shelves.

Clean the stove top and inside the oven. 

Wipe down all the counters after removing everything on top of them. Do this until they're completely clean. 

Remove everything from the fridge and clean the glass. Also wipe down all the drawers. 

Clean the trap in the dishwasher if you have one. 

3. Replace

Unfortunately some of your kitchen items will probably need to be replaced. Anything that's porous or scratched can harbour tiny amounts of gluten in the cracks. Here's what you need to replace and why:

Toaster: Your old toaster is going to be full of crumbs! They have invented bread covers that are supposed to protect your bread in the toaster, but over time the cost of those will be far greater then just buying a new toaster. 

Non Stick Pans : If your non-stick pans are scratched at all (and we all know how easy it is to scratch them), you'll need to buy new ones. That's because the scratches in the non-stick coating can harbor minute amounts of gluten. Yes, it's annoying to replace good cookware, but you really can't avoid it. Look at each one really closely for very small scratches, and if you see even one, out goes that pan.

Cast Iron Pan: Iron is porous, and yes, just like other porous materials, it can harbor gluten. Therefore, if you've ever used your cast iron frying pan to cook pancakes or for frying chicken (or in any other gluten-containing cooking activity, including ones involving gluten-based sauces), you'll need to replace that pan or clean and then re-season it.

Cutting Boards: Used cutting boards have scratches in them and usually lots of them. And like the scratches in other types of cookware, the scratches in your cutting boards can harbor microscopic deposits of gluten.

Spatula: When we bake, most of us use flexible silicone spatulas to scrape the sides of the bowl and make sure we blend every last bit of batter. However, these used spatulas can trap particles of gluten, both in their handles (many have wooden handles) and in scratches on the surface.

Wooden Spoons: Many of us use wooden spoons for cooking, but wood is another porous material that can trap small amounts of gluten. Therefore, you'll need to buy new wooden spoons and other tools.

Setting up a shared kitchen 

Eating in a shared kitchen means you'll have the potential to be in daily close contact with various gluten products ... and their crumbs. It also means you'll need to keep close tabs on everything in the kitchen since it's easy to make a mistake and pick up the wrong item to use or eat.

Sadly, the gluten cross-contamination that can result from a shared kitchen has the potential to slow your recovery and impact your health. Remember, the amount of gluten that can make you sick is small (like a crumb)  and gluten seems to have a way of spreading itself around.

It is possible to share a kitchen if you need to be gluten-free, but both you and everyone else who uses that kitchen will need to follow some strict rules to keep you safe. A shared kitchen will only work if everyone in the household is completely on board with the goal of keeping you healthy and away from gluten

In your new shared kitchen, foods that contain gluten and the cooking tools used with them should occupy one corner and stay in that corner, while the rest of the kitchen is gluten-free. That way, the crumbs and other gluten residue remain in one area of the kitchen, and you can avoid that area.

To make this work, choose an area of the kitchen for the gluten foods that's relatively removed from the rest of the work areas. Ideally, this gluten area would have cabinet space (both for foods and for cooking tools) along with counter space for preparing foods and for countertop appliances, such as a toaster.

Once you've chosen it, make sure everyone in the house understands that they cannot work with gluten foods anywhere but this space. Obviously, they're allowed to bring gluten food on plates to eat at the table, but they also need to watch out for crumbs and clean up after themselves.

1. Clean Clean!

Even though you'll be sharing a kitchen it's important to go a good clean in order to make sure your kitchen is safe. There are going to be crumbs and gluten all over the kitchen so doing a thorough clean and starting from a clean kitchen helps keep you gluten free in the future.

A step by step guide on what to clean:

Cabinet and drawer faces: Wiping off obvious drips and spills from cabinet faces is easy, but over time, a thin layer of grease accumulates on these surfaces, and flour dust can stick to that grease. Wash down with a mild soap solution, rinse, and dry.

Cupboard and drawer handles: Handles are easily contaminated by sticky fingers. Wash every handle carefully.

Floors and counter tops: Also wipe down baseboards and windowsills. Inside all drawers: Silverware drawers, especially, can hang on to crumbs and flour dust. Take all items out of the drawer, run them through the dishwasher or wash them by hand, vacuum the inside of the drawers to get out all the crumbs and then wipe down them down and let it dry.

Sink strainers and sink plugs: These items can hold a lot of gunk from everyday use. 

Clean out the microwave and remove the glass and clean that as well. Remove everything from your fridge and wipe down any drawers or shelves.

Clean the top of your stove top and in thew oven. 

Wipe down all the counters after removing everything on top of them. Do this until they're completely clean. 

Remove everything from the fridge and clean the glass. Also wipe down all the drawers. 

Clean the trap in the dishwasher if you have one. 

2. Buy Doubles

Unfortunately some of your kitchen items that will need to be duplicated. There are certain things that just can't be shared because they are very difficult to clean properly. Some materials are not safe for sharing. Cast iron pots are porous and gluten can become trapped on them even after they are washed. Non-stick pans also inevitably have tiny scratches in them where gluten can hide. Wooden cooking utensils can harbor residual gluten as well. In the end, it’s usually best not to share cooking utensils, pots, and pans.

Here's what you need to have two of:

Toaster: Your old toaster is going to be full of crumbs! You need to have 2 toasters because cross contamination is a guarantee. 

Non Stick Pans : You'll need to have two sets of pans if you use non stick cookware. Having a separate pot for your gluten free foods is smart. Don't share baking sheets or muffin tins. I know the idea of having two pot and pan set seems like a lot, so what you can do is buy one and divide it in half. Where half a gluten and have are gluten free. 

Cutting Boards: Used cutting boards have scratches in them and usually lots of them. And like the scratches in other types of cookware, the scratches in your cutting boards can harbor microscopic deposits of gluten. So having a gluten free cutting board is a must. 

Spatula and wooden spoon: These can all harbour trapped gluten. So having a separate holder with gluten free wooden spoons, flippers, pizza cutters and spatulas is important. 

Plastic Bowls/ tupperware: If you use plastic mixing bowls or storage containers in your kitchen, you'll need to buy some new ones — any scratches pose the same old gluten problem. It's best to replace any plastic/ tupperware with glass because of the toxins in plastic, especially when heated.

Mixers/ food processors : Anything that has lots of scratches and places that are hard to clean like food processors that have several scratches may need to be replaced.

3. Educate

You could know everything there is to know about keeping yourself gluten free in a shared kitchen, but if the people you're sharing the kitchen with don't follow the rules then it doesn't matter.

Make sure you know that everyone you're sharing a kitchen with knows
1. What items are gluten free and need to stay gluten free.
2. That the need to wash their hands after handling gluten food.
3. That they need to keep gluten containing items in specific part of the kitchen.

If you have any questions let me know! I'd be happy to answer 

 

3 Tips for Starting a Gluten Free Diet (The Healthy Way)

Starting a gluten free diet can be very overwhelming so today I wanted to share some tips on getting started on the right foot. Scroll down to check out a video talking more about a healthy gluten free diet! 

Tip #1  Figure out your gluten tolerance

One of the first steps that happens when you go gluten free is figuring how strict your diet has to be. Have you been diagnosed with celiac disease? or gluten sensitivity? Have you been told to go gluten free for other health reasons? Answering this is the first step on your gluten free journey. Remember to get tested for celiac disease before going gluten free because the test could show a false negative if you're already on a gluten free diet. 

Celiac Disease
If you're a celiac you have to be extremely careful. Exactly how much gluten actually makes you sick? There has been quite a bit of research on this topic so we know how much gluten people with celiac disease can actually tolerate. 

One study showed that consuming just 1/5th of a slice of regular bread (about 625 milligrams of gluten) one time is enough to cause severe symptoms and damage to the small intestine. 

Another study showed that many or most people with celiac disease can handle up to 10 milligrams of gluten — the equivalent of 1/8th of a teaspoon of flour, or 1/350th of that slice of bread — in their diets each day without experiencing adverse effects. That's many but not all, some are more sensitive and get symptoms from less. 

Gluten Sensitivity
Because there isn't a test for gluten sensitivity it's hard to say how strict the gluten free diet should be. Why? Because there isn't a way to test for damage caused by the gluten like there is with celiac disease. So what can you do? Find your tolerance and stick to it. Do your best to stay as gluten free as you can. Maybe cross contamination is enough to make you sick, maybe not. Since a gluten free diet is your key to health, it only makes sense to eat the smallest amount of gluten possible.  

Gluten free for other reasons
Many are going gluten free who have chronic conditions to find relief from their symptoms. Again there aren't studies showing how much gluten you can have in your diet. Like I mentioned above it's about finding your gluten tolerance. So if you find that gluten cross contamination makes you sick then you need to be that strict. 

#2 Realize there is an unhealthy gluten free 

Not all gluten free is created equal. A common misconception is that gluten free foods are healthier then gluten foods. Obviously when you take the gluten out of a product it makes it healthier for people with problems with gluten simply because the gluten is removed. But and that's a big but, these foods couldn't be further from healthy. Just because a bag of chips or a cake is labelled gluten free doesn't mean it's healthy. Often times it had more unhealthy fats, sugar and salt then it's gluten counterpart and it contains less nutrients. Limiting GF packaged foods or eliminating them and replacing them with a diet in whole foods is so important for your health. 

#3 Take care of your emotions 

When you go gluten free it can be really hard emotionally and this isn't usually talked about. Social events tend to revolve around food, so when you can't eat then it can make you feel separated from the group. It's also an unexpected and large change that isn't fun, so it's to be expected that some negative emotions come up. There are some ways to make the transition to gluten free easier. First realize that as time goes on you'll feel so much better that the inconvenience of gluten free will be more than worth it. You can make gluten free easier by taking care of your emotional health, having fun in ways that don't involve food, hosting celebrations and dinner at your home and bringing food with you when you go out. 

What's the Most Nutritious Dairy Free Milk?

There's a seemly endless amount of dairy free replacements, from soy to nut milk. Which one is best for you? Which tastes the best? How do you know if you can have it? Today I'm going to cover everything you need to know about milk replacements. 

All my recipes are dairy free and I commonly encourage my clients to try going off of dairy if they're concerned about having a food sensitivity, dealing with IBS or eczema. Personally, I've been off of dairy for about 2 years. If you have celiac disease like me it's common to have problems digesting dairy. (Especially at the beginning when you're first diagnosed). 

Reasons to go dairy free  

Milk Allergy Vs.  Lactose Intolerance Vs. Dairy Sensitivity

Milk Allergy
Milk allergy is a food allergy, which is an overreaction of the immune system to a specific food protein. When the food protein is ingested, it can trigger an allergic reaction that may include a range of symptoms from mild symptoms (rashes, hives, itching, swelling, etc.) to severe symptoms (trouble breathing, wheezing, loss of consciousness, etc.). Reactions to milk can be severe and life-threatening. 

Side note- When you have a dairy allergy there's a very high chance that you won't be able to have goat, buffalo or sheep milk because of the similar protein structure. 

Lactose Intolerance  
75 percent of the world's population, including 25 percent of those in North America are lactose intolerant. People who are lactose intolerant are missing the enzyme lactase, which breaks down lactose, a sugar found in milk and dairy products.

Dairy Sensitivity
Sensitivities are a bit more complicated. The immune system isn't triggered like it is with a food allergy and the body isn't missing a specific enzyme like an intolerance. The body itself is still reacting negatively. Even though there isn't a lot of research behind it, some who are neither lactose intolerant nor have a milk allergy feel better without dairy in their diet. 


Two things to watch out for when buying plant based milks alternatives:

1. Lots of added sugar. To make the milk alternatives taste better many companies will add lots of sugar so watch out for sugar content.
2. Additives. When thickeners and additives are added in they give the milk that creamy texture. Making your own or avoiding them can make the milks healthier. Additives like carrageenan have been linked to inflammation and immune suppression.  Additives like xanthan gum have been linked to digestive upset because of its laxative like effect. 

Dairy Free Milks 

Nut Milk
Nut milks include almond, cashew, hazelnut and macadamia. They're made by soaking the nuts in water and then grinding it up. Then it's strained and you have nut milk! If you're allergy to nuts this isn't the best choice obviously but what if you're not? How nutritious is it? 

Eating whole nuts can provide you with many healthy benefits like healthy fats, protein and nutrients. So it's easy to assume that those benefits would transfer over to nut milks, but that's not always the case. It's typically a combination of the nut, water, sweetener, thickener such as carrageenan, and, often, fortified nutrients such as vitamins A, E, and D. 

Almond milk: Doesn't contain much of anything nutrition wise unless it's fortified. It has barely any calories (only 30 a glass). It's low in protein which is a negative, because that's why many drink milk. It's got a light flavour and it one of the more popular milk alternatives. 

Cashew Milk: The great thing about cashew milk is that it’s easy to make the homemade version. Because cashews naturally turn creamy when soaked overnight and blended with water, you don’t have to strain the pulp like you do when you make other varieties of homemade nut milk (just blend the recipe ingredients and drink!). That's a plus because it means you get the benefits of the whole nut and a serving of protein. 

Soy Milk
Soy milk is a bit controversial. Some studies have come out over the last decade showing high amounts of soy to be potentially dangerous because of its estrogen mimicking properties. The key here is high amounts of soy, low amounts of soy don't seem to be harmful. There is another negative, 90% of the soybeans produced are genetically modified in one way or another. Soy milk usually has sugar and additives, so it's not the best. Also with the controversial nature it's probably best to limit this milk in your diet in my opinion. If you're going to drink it make sure it's organic with no added sugar. 

Taste: Has a light beany flavour. I have a severe soy allergy so I've never tried it but that seems to be the general consensus. 

Coconut Milk
Coconut flesh (the white part) is grated and soaked in hot water. The coconut cream rises to the top and can be skimmed off. The remaining liquid is squeezed through a cheesecloth to extract a white liquid that is coconut milk. By repeating this process, the coconut milk becomes thinner.
While coconut milk does contain fat, it’s mostly medium chain saturated fatty acids (MCFAs). 

MCFAs are rapidly metabolised into energy in the liver. It is thought that unlike other saturated fats, MCFAs are used up more quickly by the body and are less likely to be stored as fat. It's still a fat and should be consumed moderately. 

Coconut milk contains many beneficial compounds, such as lauric acid, antimicrobial lipids and capric acid, which have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.

Taste: Light and creamy with a very light natural coconut flavour. Perfect for baking and smoothies. 

Rice Milk
Rice milk is very high in carbohydrates and very low in protein. It's not the best choice as it's usually quite high in sugar. Brown rice milk has B vitamins and some minerals. It's a allergy free choice, but has some downsides. 

Taste: It's a bit gritty but has a light flavour. 

Hemp Milk
Hemp milk contains calcium, potassium, iron, and zinc. Hemp seeds offer a well-balanced ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, and if you're trying to avoid soy, hemp milk is a great alternative. If you have milk allergies, lactose intolerance or soy allergies, hemp beverage can be a great alternative. It's not high in protein but makes for a good allergy free milk alternative. 

Taste: It has a strong flavour that takes some getting used to, but a good texture. 

As you can see there are pros and cons to many of the dairy free alternatives. Finding what works for your body and makes you feel your best is important. Remember to try and find milk alternatives that are organic, free from sugar and free from harmful additives. If you're concerned about calcium and vitamin D you can often find fortified milk alternatives. 

What's your favourite milk alternative? 

Best Natural Beauty Products For Spring 2017 (All Gluten & Allergy Free)

Whenever spring comes I'm always excited to try some new beauty products, but year after year there are some favourites that never change. Having celiac disease and several severe food allergies I need to be careful which products I use. A few times I've just skimmed ingredient lists and paid for it with a lot of hives, so now I'm really careful. If you're avoiding gluten or have allergies it can make finding cosmetics a pain. So I thought I would do a quick overview of where to find allergens in cosmetics and then share my favourites for spring! 

Avoiding gluten or other allergens like soy or nuts is one thing, but what about chemicals and toxins? A study done by the Environmental Working Group found the average person is exposed to 126 chemicals each day, just in personal care products alone. Chemicals from shampoo, to lotion and potions, lipstick and perfume.

Personally, I aim to use mostly all natural, organic and chemical-free products in my home and on my body. But flashback to my teenage years and I was slathering my body in SLS, petroleum and paraben-infused products, to name a few. Honestly the thought that these products may be harmful didn't even cross my mind. Now I know that reducing the amount of toxins that are in your body helps regulate hormones and decrease your toxic load. 

The cosmetics industry largely self-governing, Health Canada does NOT require pre-market testing of chemicals used in cosmetics. So it's up to you, the consumer to decide what's safe.

Harmful Cosmetic Ingredients

1. BHA and BHT
2. Coal tar dyes. 
 listed as "CI" followed by a five digit number.
3. DEA-related ingredients.
4. Dibutyl phthalate
5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives.
6. Parabens.


Avoiding Gluten In Cosmetics 

Common terms gluten is found in cosmetics:

  1. Wheat germ
  2. Hydrolyzed wheat protein
  3. Hydrolyzed vegetable protein
  4. Avena sativa (oats found commonly in lotions)
  5. Triticum aestivum (another name for wheat)

Avoiding Soy In Cosmetics 

Common terms soy is found in cosmetics:

1. Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil,
2. Hydrogenated Soybean Oil
3. Soybean Glycerides
4. Soy Acid


Avoiding Peanuts and Tree Nuts in Cosmetics 

Common terms peanuts and tree nuts are found in cosmetics:

  1.  Almond, bitter – Prunus amara
  2. Almond, sweet (and almond oil) – Prunus dulcis
  3. Brazil nut – Bertholletia excelsa
  4. Cashew – Anacardium occidentale
  5. Hazelnut – Corylus rostrata/americana/avellana
  6. Macadamia nut  – Macadamia ternifolia
  7. Peanut – Arachis hypogaea
  8. Pistachio – Pistacia vera
  9. Walnut – Juglans regia/nigra
  • Remember! Do a patch test before using any product. Place a small amount on the inside of your elbow and wait 48 hours to 72 hours. If you have redness, swelling, itching, or burning, don't use that product.
  • Remember X2 Ingredients change all the time and are different in different countries. So make sure you check the ingredients before purchasing. 

Natural Gluten & Allergy Free Spring Favourites  

#1 Best Natural Mascara

Many natural beauty lovers secretly use a not so natural mascara. Why? Because lots of natural mascaras are lame. With natural beauty products increasing in popularity I have to say they're getting better! Well People Expressionist Mascara is my new favourite. It goes on naturally, but doesn't look clumpy or overly wet. It doesn't smudge which is another common problem with natural mascara. Love it! 

Gluten free ✅
Soy Free ✅
Nut Free ✅
Dairy Free✅
All Natural ✅ 
 


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#1 Natural Shampoo

Calia is my all time favourite natural shampoo! In the warmer months of spring where you're more active (and often more sweaty) this is the perfect shampoo. It's cleans your hair well without drying it or making it greasy.  It contains many organic ingredients and doesn't have any artificial scents. 

Gluten free ✅
Soy Free ✅
Nut Free ✅
Dairy Free✅
All Natural ✅ 
 


#1  Natural Foundation 

Sweet Leilani makes one of my favourite foundations. It's full coverage, but light and natural. I mix a little bit in with Pacifica's BB cream and it makes for a really nice finish for spring. The "no makeup" makeup is trendy for spring so a little bit of this goes a long way. 

Gluten free ✅
Soy Free ✅
Nut Free ✅
Dairy Free✅
All Natural ✅ 
 


#1 Natural Bronzer

If you're anything like me and are getting slightly tired of looking super pale (thanks Irish heritage) then you'll love this bronzer. I don't like using a lot of powders in the spring/ summer because it feels rather heavy so a stick bronzer is where it's at. This one has a bit of simmer without being to sparkly and looks great on different skin tones. 

Gluten free ✅
Soy Free ✅
Nut Free ✅
Dairy Free✅
All Natural ✅ 
 


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#1 Natural Nail Polish 

Painting your nails fun colours when then weather gets nice is fun, but regular nail polish can be filled with harmful and strong chemicals. This colour by Pacifica is called blushing bunnies 🐰 how cute. It's free the major chemicals in nail polish like parabens, phthalates (dibutyl phthalate), toluene, xylene, camphor, formaldehyde and resin. 

Gluten free ✅
Soy Free ✅
Nut Free ✅
Dairy Free✅
All Natural ✅ 
 


#1 Natural BB Cream 

I love using this BB cream as a primer or mixing it with foundation. It looks very natural and doesn't have much coverage (That's why I mix a bit of foundation in). It gives your skin that nice glow and is free of harmful chemicals and allergens. 

Gluten free ✅
Soy Free ✅
Nut Free ✅
Dairy Free✅
All Natural ✅ 
 


#1 Natural Lip Balm 

Now I may be a bit biased here because I make these lip balms. If you didn't know I also have an Etsy shop where I make natural gluten & allergy free products in my shop Westing Wellness. They are made with beeswax, coconut oil, shea butter and cocoa butter so they're super moisturizing. The flavours and scents are all plant based, gluten free and allergy free. 

Gluten free ✅
Soy Free ✅
Nut Free ✅
Dairy Free✅
All Natural ✅ 


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#1 Natural Makeup Wipes 

These wipes are pricey but I love them! They're the only natural makeup remover wipes that work and I've tried many. They're organic, gluten free and allergy free. Bonus! They remove eye makeup completely. 

Gluten free ✅
Soy Free ✅
Nut Free ✅
Dairy Free✅
All Natural ✅ 

 

Those are all my new favourites for spring! Do you have a favourite gluten free or allergy free cosmetics line? If yes, I'd love to hear! 

How To Eat Out On A Gluten Free Diet Without Getting Sick

Eating out at restaurants while on a strict gluten free diet is a bit risky. If you’re particularly sensitive or still struggling with symptoms, then sometimes it’s in the best interest for your health to avoid eating out. That being said...

Eating out is important for your health in a way you might not expect. There is a certain loneliness that comes with not ever eating out. Many people on a strict gluten free diet face social isolation and this can have real affects on your health. So weigh your options and decide what’s best for your health, but there are definitely ways you can safely eat out on a GF diet and that’s what today is all about!

For me since I also have severe life threatening food allergies to soy, peanuts and a few tree nuts as well as having celiac disease so I unfortunately can't eat out. That doesn't mean that you can't! I'll be the first to admit that it can feel like an outsider not being able to go to restaurants. I've spoken to many with celiac disease about their experiences eating out and today I'll share what helped them eat out without getting sick. 

Eating Out Gluten Free Basic Tips

1. Don't eat fast food
While you may have heard some fast food restaurants are safe this simply isn't true. No only do the majority of foods in fast food restaurants contain gluten (burgers, hotdogs, and even french fries) they aren't healthy for you and the cross contamination risk is at an all time high. My opinion is to avoid these fast food restaurants if you're very sensitive to gluten or have celiac disease. 

2. Pick the right restaurant
In general restaurants that are more expensive and are very small tend to fall on the safer side. If at all possible, eating at a 100% gluten free restaurant is the best and safest choice.

3. Stick with the basics of meat and vegetables
When looking at the menu or talking to the server it's safest to stick to plain meat or fish with steamed vegetables. I know that may sound boring but trust me it's better then being sick. 

4. Don't automatically trust a gluten free menu item
It's easy to see a gluten free menu item and think oh i'll just order that and say nothing to the waiter. Unfortunately it's not that simple. Often that's catering to the gluten free trend and there is still a cross contamination risk. So make sure when ordering from a gluten free menu that you clearly state you are a celiac or gluten sensitive and you need the meal to be prepared without cross contamination. Then dig further, if you suspect that they're just being dismissive then ask further questions. 

Eating Out F.A.Q

When is it safe to start eating out?
It's suggested to wait for a while after diagnosis to start eating out. Why? Because you want to make sure you're healing and getting as little cross contamination as possible. When you first go gluten free waiting until you've seen a good improvement of symptoms is key. Waiting until you've mastered the gluten free diet at home and are feeling better can set you up for eating out success. 

Is it even safe to eat out with celiac disease?
This is a tough one. Eating out on a gluten free diet is getting easier and easier. There are more knowledgeable restaurants and staff members and many places will accommodate. That being said remember that just a tiny amount of gluten can make you ill and cause damage if you have celiac disease.  Cross contamination happens really easily so proper steps need to be taken in order to stay safe. If you're still getting symptoms, or were just diagnosed hold off on the restaurants for a while. It really comes down to a personal choice. 

Steps for picking out a restaurant 

First things first!
This all starts well before you walk into a restaurant and sit down. Unfortunately not every restaurant in the world is safe for those of us on a GF diet. So you have to choose carefully.

Where do you start?

1. Find Me Gluten Free- How do you know whether or not it’s a safe place. Well one of my favourite resources is a website/ app called Find Me Gluten Free. One of the best parts is it not only has a database of gluten free restaurants from all around the world, it also has a option that you can click called celiac safe where others with celiac disease can write reviews saying how accommodating/ safe the food and staff were. So if you’re traveling or looking around your city for a safe place to eat that’s is an excellent place to start.

2. Local support groups- In most cities there is a gluten free/ celiac support group and they will be an excellent resource not only in your gluten free journey, but also on who to ask for safe gluten free restaurants. So call them up or email them and see what places the recommend someone on a strict gluten free diet can safely eat from.

3. Look on their website- Have a place in mind? Try looking on their website to see what they say about special diets. Many will have a little bit of info on their gluten free menu choices.

4. Call- If in doubt call. Ask them if they’re familiar with a strict gluten free diet and ask what precautions they take to keep gluten free food strictly gluten free. If the place doesn’t have a gluten free menu that doesn't mean that they aren't accommodating. That’s why it's good to call and get the answers to your questions.

What kind of restaurants are the safest?

American steakhouses are great if you eat meat, just be careful about the seasoning and sauces. Mexican and latin restaurants are corn based and can be a great option. Organic and vegetarian restaurants are usually quite knowledgeable about gluten free. The best of course is a 100% gluten free restaurant.

Bottom line

Do your research, if will save you time and sickness! There are plenty of ways to figure out how gluten free educated a restaurant is.

Next step:

You found a place that’s going to be a safe choice to eat at. What’s next? This is a very important part of the process.

Step one

Go at a quiet time. If the restaurant isn’t busy this is good. It means extra attention can be focused on your meal. If everyone is busy and flustered mistakes can happen much easier. So go in the hours where restaurants are typically quiet like between 2-5.

Step Two

Preferably call before and talk to the manager or chef. I know what you’re thinking, is that really necessary? But I can assure you it makes the process much easier. Ask these questions:
What’s the protocol for handling a special diet?
Will my meal be prepared in a clean pan with clean utensils?
What measures are taken to prevent cross contamination?
Have you had a customer with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity before?

Step Three

Where you sit matters. If you sit furthest away from the server at the table and are trying to yell to them what you need it’s difficult for important details to be shared. Try to sit in a seat that puts you closest to the waiter for a easy conversation.

Step Four

What to say to your server
When you talk to the server make sure you reiterate what you asked the manager earlier. Then make sure to remind them to:
Scrape/ clean the grill before you grill any meat or fish
To prepare the gluten free meal in a area safe area free from gluten and use separate utensils
To slice any gluten free bread with a clean knife and serve on a separate plate or basket then the gluten filled bread.
To prepare any components of the order with clean pans, cutting boards, knives, bowls and again utensils.

Gluten Sensitivity Side Note: 

Even a couple crumbs of cross contamination can make someone with gluten sensitivity sick. Depending on your level of sensitivity treat eating out at a restaurant as seriously as if you had celiac disease and follow the measures above.

Red flags that eating the food may be a bad idea

  • The chef or server is irritated by your questions
  • The server dismisses your questions
  • The server doesn’t indicate that this is your gluten free meal when they serve it t you
  • Something just doesn’t feel right

Trust me better safe than sorry, if you feel at all worried or unsure don’t risk it to be polite.

Once you get the food

Ask the server if the food is gluten free and get assurance from them that is was prepared correctly. If all seems safe, enjoy!

Afterwards

Tip well! There was extra effort involved so be a good tipper. If all goes well and you don’t get sick and loved the food become a regular. Then the staff will get familiar with you and the whole process will become less stressful. 

New to Gluten Free? Here's What to Expect

In the first weeks and months you spend on the gluten-free diet it can feel like a roller coaster ride. From the emotional side you may feel relieved or even happy for your diagnosis of celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, since it explains why you've been having unpleasant symptoms. You may feel angry if it took a long time for you finally to be diagnosed. And you may feel sad as the realities of day-to-day gluten-free living sink in, and you realize you no longer can eat the gluten versions of many of your favorite foods.

From a physical side you may be still some experiencing symptoms while getting relief of others. Many people see a increase in energy quickly but have lingering digestive symptoms. What should you expect as you start your gluten free diet? Everyone is different, there is no one path fits all when it comes to recovering from celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, but there are some common feelings and scenarios that so many of us go through when we are new to gluten free. 

Once the shock wears off the learning curve hits. Suddenly there is a lot to know and think about everyday. You can't just eat whatever your heart desires and everything suddenly needs a plan.

Not sure what to eat

It's really common to get through a period of time where you're so confused on what to eat and scared of food that you aren't eating much of anything. It's a common trap to fall into, a fear of all foods. The uncertainty of not knowing a lot about the gluten free diet coupled with many of your go to foods being eliminated can shrink your diet down to a select few foods. By sticking to a naturally gluten free diet made with all whole foods you can get the variety you need in your diet, with plenty of nutrients that your body needs to recover. When you eat a diet with only natural foods you wont have to worry as much about cross contamination and labeling. This a is great place to start when just beginning a gluten free diet.

You may have strong cravings for gluten foods

Since you quit gluten foods "cold turkey" you may experience withdrawals and strong cravings for you're favourite foods like pizza and pasta. It's common for these cravings to happen so try and eat a healthy gluten free replacement. Don't go out and eat a bunch of gluten free packaged foods because they aren't going to taste nearly as good as their gluten counterpart and they aren't healthy. Know that these cravings will soon turn into just occasionally missing these foods. After a few years you actually end up forgetting what they actually taste like. This also helps gluten free food taste better.

That First Grocery Store Trip

For many people new to the gluten-free diet, their first trip to the grocery store is an exercise in misery, frustration and anger. It's pretty normal to spend several hours in the store, reading labels of foods, but still to walk out with far less than you intended to buy, simply because you couldn't figure out what's gluten-free and what's not.

You suddenly can't cook those meals that you're so used to making, so it's best to find some naturally gluten free recipes and go to the store with a list of everything you need.

Lingering Symptoms

It's very common to have lingering symptoms. If you go gluten free and continue to have symptoms there are a few potential causes.

First you could still be ingesting gluten accidentally, as I'm sure you've realized gluten is hard to stay away from. Second you could be sensitive to other foods like dairy, soy, corn or certain grains.

You could also have a secondary infection, when your intestinal tract is weakened it becomes susceptible to parasites, bacteria, amoeba and yeast that can all infiltrate the small intestine resulting in malabsorption, destruction of the villi and a leaky gut. So if you don't treat these secondary infections you could continue to have many of the same symptoms caused by celiac disease. Going to a naturopath or doctor can help rule out those conditions.

Another cause for continued symptoms is just simply you haven't had enough time to heal. If you've just been gluten free for a short period of time and you have had the condition for several years it's common to continue to have symptoms for a longer period of time. 

Know that mistakes will happen

You'll absolutely make mistakes as you learn to navigate the gluten-free diet, and you'll probably pay the price for them in terms of a day (or two, or three) of symptoms. Unfortunately, once you go gluten-free, your body will be primed to make a big deal out of any little bit of gluten you consume.

It will take some time to learn your individual level of tolerance for gluten cross contamination, and what you can eat without getting symptoms.

It's tempting to beat yourself up for those mistakes mentally especially if you're miserable physically. I've done that plenty of times myself, too. But if you can manage it, try to view them as a learning opportunity, and focus on avoiding making that same mistake twice.

You will come to accept it

I know at the beginning it feels as though it will always be hard and it's overwhelming to think about having to follow this diet for the rest of your life. But I promise after a few months you will come to accept the gluten free diet as a part of your life and it wont feel nearly as hard as it does now. You will find meals you love and restaurants that are accommodating. There will still be fleeting moments of occasional sadness but you will learn to create a life that isn't held back by your gluten free lifestyle. 

What was it like for you when you first went gluten free?

Is It Gluten Free? Myth Vs. Fact Edition

Those with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity become masters at reading labels and understanding ingredients in order to maintain a strict gluten-free diet. That being said there still seems to be some confusion over some ingredients (I know there was for me). So I'm going to uncover the truth about all the ingredients and items you've wondered about.  

Envelop Glue


There is no gluten in envelope glue, according to the international Envelope Manufacturers Association, which represents makers of envelopes and provides public education about envelope making. 

The association's website lists "Is there gluten in envelope adhesives?" as a Frequently Asked Question, and says in answer: "Remoistenable adhesives are derived from corn starch and do not contain wheat or rye gluten."

Wine


There was a rumor going around that wine barrels were lined with wheat paste. This is an old fashioned way of aging wine that's rarely used. There was a test done on wines that were aged in barrels lined with wheat paste, but they were still under 5 ppm.

In almost every case, wine is gluten-free to well below the legal limit of  20 parts per million of gluten. That includes champagne, since champagne is simply sparkling wine. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule for wine.

Side note: Don't you love that in the gluten free world how everything seems to be gluten free but there is always an exception, like gluten can some how sneak into anything.

If the wine in question has any added coloring or flavoring (fruit-flavored dessert wines, for example, often include added ingredients), then it might not be gluten-free — you'll need to contact the manufacturer to make sure.

Spices


I would always look at ingredient lists with suspicion when they would list spices. With the labeling laws in Canada and the USA, any gluten-based product that was used to make the seasoning or spice mix must be indicated on the label.

On their own, pure spices, herbs and seeds do not naturally contain gluten.

It is when two or more spices/herbs are combined together to create blends, that some manufacturers can add anti-caking ingredients.

Silicon dioxide, calcium silicate or sodium aluminum silica can be added to prevent the mixture from clumping. However cornstarch is more commonly used in North America, and most importantly any additional ingredient added to the herbs/spices must be clearly identified on the label - specifically wheat or gluten.

Fillers can sometimes be added by manufacturers to extend their products. Gluten is rarely, if ever used for this purpose anymore, however it is something to keep in mind when buying spices. If it is used then it will say legally in the labeling.

My favourite brand is Epicure because they're all gluten free and nut free! Plus they're made in my hometown of Victoria.

Pain Killers


Ever had a headache or bad pain and wonder about your pain killers? You look the at ingredient list and it says starch, and that's it. Real helpful right? Even though there are plenty of natural remedies I know that sometimes you need to use pain medication.

Unfortunately, it's usually impossible to tell just by reading the packaging in the drug store — manufacturers often include a gluten grain (wheat, usually) as an inert filler or ingredient in both prescription and non-prescription medications, and they're not required to disclose its presence. If it does say starch they don't have to say which kind.

However, calling them and asking usually produces answers. Here in Canada I have yet to see any brands labeled gluten free but do some research on the companies website and call if you still have questions.

(next time you have a head ache, mix 2-3 drops peppermint essential oil with a 1/4 tsp of coconut oil and rub on your temples, works like a dream).

Toothpaste


Those of us who cannot tolerate gluten must watch everything we put in our mouths (even if we're not supposed to swallow it). So yes, we need to worry a little about gluten in toothpaste.

In traditional toothpastes, these are generally corn- or other grain-based starches that can cause problems for those who suffer from celiac disease. So it is possible for there to be gluten in your toothpaste to it's best to do some research before buying.

Fortunately, there's an abundance of gluten-free toothpaste options available — in fact, the odds are good that the one you're using right now is considered gluten-free to the generally accepted limit of 20 parts per million. Most toothpaste manufacturers have information on their gluten-free alternatives posted on their websites, or toll-free numbers on their products with a knowledgeable staff ready to answer your questions and make it easy for you to do the research and decide which gluten-free brand is right for you.

What's something you've wondered whether or not it's gluten free?

Gluten Free Makeup Full List 2016 (Safe For Celiacs)

When you have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity your reaction to gluten found in wheat, barley and rye stems from your digestive tract, not from your skin. Technically if you aren't ingesting your makeup it wouldn't be a problem, but and that's a BIG but, it's very easy to ingest your makeup. Of course your lipstick has to be gluten free because that goes on your lips and it's inevitably swallowed. But what about foundation, blush, mascara, and all other makeup products? It comes down to personal choice, but it's pretty easy to accidently get many of these kinds of makeup in your mouth. If you have celiac disease or are particularly sensitive to gluten consider buying gluten free makeup. It's easy to find now and many brands are affordable and work just as well.

Another bonus for gluten free makeup is many of it is also made with natural ingredients. Below I underlined the healthier, natural and organic options. I suggest switching to brands that are free from harmful ingredients like parabens, SLS, Polyethylene, Aminophenol, Diaminobenzene, Phenylenediamine and BHA.

What Names Does Gluten Hide Under?
Cosmetics companies aren’t required to list wheat as an ingredient on the label, and they aren’t obligated to declare the presence of gluten. Another reason why buying labelled gluten free makeup is a good idea. These are some of the names gluten can hide behind in your cosmetics.

Gluten Free Cosmetic List 2016 (Celiac Safe)

  • Afterglow Cosmetics

Afterglow Cosmetics is certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization, which requires products to meet stringent standards of less than 10 parts per million (ppm) of gluten . None of the company's products contains gluten, and everything is made in a gluten-free facility.
Bottom Line: Safe

  • Alima Pure. (Natural)

Alima Pure makes eco-friendly, mineral-based makeup that's cruelty-free. According to the company: "All of our loose powder products are gluten free, as is our Lip Tint, Velvet Lipstick, and Natural Definition Mascara. However, only our loose powder products are created in a designated gluten free facility." 
The bottom line: You're perfectly safe to use any loose powder products from Alima Pure. If you're on a strict gluten free diet or are very sensitive then use precaution using their other products.

  • Bare Minerals.

This company states that "many of our products do not contain ingredients derived from barley, oats, rye, spelt or wheat, which are commonly known sources of gluten. However, due to the wide range of raw materials and equipment used during the manufacturing of our products, we cannot confirm that our products are free from any traces of gluten. 
The bottom line: Exercise caution, as Bare Minerals does not claim any products are gluten-free.

  • Benecos (Natural)

All Benecos makeup products are 100% Gluten Free, making them the perfect choice for those with Celiac Disease and living a gluten free lifestyle. Certified Natural and made with organic ingredients.
The Bottom Line: Very safe for those with celiac disease)

  • BITE Beauty.

BITE Beauty, which makes only lip products, sells through Sephora. The company also offers BITE Beauty Lip Lab, a shop in SoHo in New York City that will custom blend lip products for you. The company's products are certified gluten-freeThe bottom line: BITE Beauty products are perfectly safe for those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.

  • CoverGirl

Here's the statement from Cover Girl: "If we add gluten, wheat or wheat extract directly to a product, it will be listed in the ingredients on the label. Still, we cannot give a 100% guarantee that trace levels of gluten are not present. Many ingredients used in our products are purchased as a raw material and we do not have information on the make-up of these raw materials or if they have been in contact with other materials before they arrive at the plant.
The bottom line: You'll have to check ingredients carefully on CoverGirl products to make sure gluten grain ingredients aren't present, and there's always the possibility of cross-contamination if you're particularly sensitive.

  • Ecco Bella. (Natural)

This is a safe brand for those of us with celiac or gluten sensitivity. From the company: "There is no gluten or wheat protein in any Ecco Bella product. All our products are safe for customers with celiac sprue." 
The bottom line: I would try anything from Ecco Bella, and use it with confidence.

  • Elate cosmetics (Natural)

Elate cosmetics won't compromise your skin, your lifestyle, or the earth. Beautiful colours, skin loving ingredients, and sustainable packaging. Vegan | Cruelty Free | Toxin Free | Gluten Free | Made in Canada

The Bottom Line:  Safe

  • E.L.F.

This brand uses all gluten-free ingredients, and also does not test on animals or use ingredients derived from animals, according to the company's statement: "Our products do not contain gluten or beeswax. Please be aware, however, that we cannot guarantee that the machinery used to process our products are completely gluten free." 
The bottom line: E.L.F. cosmetics are quite safe.

  • Gabriel Cosmetics. (Natural)

This all-natural, paraben-free line of cosmetics has been certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization, which requires products to include fewer than 10 parts per million of gluten. Gabriel Cosmetics also is vegan (with the exception of its makeup brushes, which are cruelty-free). The bottom line: Anyone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can confidently order and use anything from Gabriel Cosmetics.

  • Lili Lolo.

Lili Lolo offers mineral makeup, including foundation, powder, blush, lip, and eye products. According to the company, everything in the Lili Lolo line is gluten-free except for the BB Cream, which contains wheat germ. 
The bottom line: Definitely skip the BB Cream, but you should be able to use other products in the makeup line safely.

  • L'Oreal (Maybelline, Lancome).

This makeup conglomerate doesn't provide a very satisfying answer when asked if there's any gluten in its various products: "There is no evidence that symptoms associated with Celiac disease can be caused by the topical application of gluten-containing products such as cosmetics, skincare and hair care products.  Scientific research shows that proteins such as gluten are not absorbed through the skin. Most ingredients derived from grain sources are highly refined and retain no traces of gluten proteins. For less refined ingredients from natural sources, L'oreal has established strict limits on the level of potentially allergenic proteins. We believe that this policy minimizes the likelihood of reactions to these proteins in the majority of sensitive individuals. However, since individuals exhibit a wide range of sensitivities to these proteins, if you have any questions or concerns you should discuss with your medical care provider. All the ingredients we use in a product are listed on the package or the label of the product itself. For products too small to accommodate the list, a separate ingredient list is available on the display unit in the store for your convenience. Since some ingredients are known by more than one name, we use the standard industry FDA-recognized names. A review of the ingredients that are listed on all of our products or packages will alert you to the presence of this type of ingredient." The bottom line: If you really want to use a l'Oreal product, you'll have to check ingredients carefully to make sure gluten grain ingredients aren't present, and there's always the possibility of gluten cross-contamination even if you don't spot something that's obviously gluten-y. There are better choices available.

  • Mirabella Beauty

According to Mirabella, all its products except for its skin tint crème are gluten-free (there's wheat protein in the skin tint crème). Mirabella reports that its vendors test ingredients for trace gluten "and are AMAZINGLY thorough." Gluten-free products may be made in a shared facility, but Mirabella takes special care to clean the equipment in between batches. The gluten-containing skin tint crème is not made in the same facility as the other products. Mirabella Beauty does not test on animals ("Amber, our Creative Director, does all the testing on herself"), and the customer service rep told me that "I believe our line is completely devoid of animal products or byproducts."
The bottom line: Mirabella Beauty takes a careful approach to serving the gluten-free community. I wouldn't hesitate to try any product, with the exception of the gluten-containing skin tint crème.
 

  • Nivea.

According to Nivea, gluten-containing ingredients in the company's products include: triticum vulgare (wheat bran), secale cereale (rye seed extract), hordeum vulgare (barley), and avena sativa (oat bran). Nivea urges customers to check labels for these ingredients, and adds: "Although our other products may not contain the above ingredients, it is always possible that there may be traces of gluten since ingredients and products are not manufactured in gluten-free facilities." 
The bottom line: You'll have to check ingredients carefully on Nivea products to make sure gluten grain ingredients aren't present, and there's always the possibility of cross-contamination.

  • Pacifica Skin Care. (Natural)

Pacifica is known as one of the most innovative and sustainable makeup lines on the market today. All Pacifica products are gluten-free, 100% vegan, and cruelty-free.
Bottom Line: Very safe

  • Red Apple Lipstick.

Despite the name, Red Apple Lipstick makes far more than just, well, lipstick. The company boasts lip pencils, lip balm, lip exfoliators, eye shadows and eye liners. All Red Apple products are gluten-free, with rigorous testing (aiming at zero parts per million of gluten) to ensure there's no trace gluten present. The company then follows that up with routine batch lab testing to ensure purity.
The bottom line: Very safe

  • Sweet LeiLani Cosmetics. (Natural)

All natural formulas that treat & benefit the skin. • Canadian •Vegan •Paraben-Free •Gluten-Free •Cruelty-Free •Fragrance-free.
Bottom Line: Very Safe

  • Sappho Cosmetics Organic (Natural)

This cosmetic company is a favorite among celebrity makeup artists in the Vancouver Film Industry and was formulated by Emmy nominated makeup artist Joanne Fowler, founder of Sappho Cosmetics. Free of harmful synthetic preservatives, including parabens, phthalates, gluten, mineral oil, talc and dimethicone.
Bottom Line: Very Safe

 

  • Too Faced Cosmetics.

"Our entire line of cosmetics is formulated to be gluten free with the exception of our Borderline Lip Pencil. Please note, whereas these products are formulated to be gluten free, we cannot guarantee that our manufacturing facilities do not come in contact with gluten. Too Faced Cosmetics is proud to be a completely cruelty free company." The company has an extensive vegan-friendly product list.
The bottom line: I'd feel comfortable using anything from Too Faced Cosmetics with the exception of the Borderline Lip Pencil.

  • Urban Decay.

According to the company, some products do not include gluten-y ingredients, but Urban Decay does not test for trace gluten. 
The bottom line: Urban Decay will tell you which products contain no gluten ingredients if you contact them at (800) 784-8722. We've used these products before, but always be aware of the possibility of gluten cross-contamination.

  • Zuzu Luxe (Natural)

This brand, made by GFCO-certified Gabriel Cosmetics, also is certified gluten-free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization, which tests products to ensure they contain fewer than 10 parts per million of gluten. Most Zuzu Luxe products also are corn-free. The products also are vegan, according to the company. 
The bottom line: Zuzu Luxe products are perfectly safe for people with celiac and gluten sensitivity to use.

9 Gluten Free & Allergy Free Breakfast Recipes Made In 30 Minutes Or Less

I am not a morning person so I'm all about easy breakfast recipes. My requirements for breakfast recipes are 1. They have to be fast 2. they can be made while half asleep 3. they have to be healthy and free from: insert list of foods I can't have here:... gluten, nuts, soy, dairy...

All of these recipes are made in under 30 minutes, are packed with nutrition and will give you energy to throughout the day.  I used to skip breakfast all the time because I usually was sleeping in and was never hungry. Now that i've made it part of my routine I don't even think about it. If you want to be more focused and in a better mood eat breakfast. Even if you have no time these recipes below will inspire you!

 

Cinnamon Plantain Fritters

4 Lessons Learned From 4 Years Gluten Free

4 years ago today I was diagnosed with celiac disease. It's been a bumpy road since that day, there was no miraculous recovery and I still struggle with some of the symptoms. 4 long years later I look back and see that so much of my life has changed. Having celiac disease has brought me a lot of frustrations but also a lot of joy. I say that celiac disease is one of the most important things that has ever happened to me, because that is true.  My disease shapes my each and everyday, and I can truthfully say 4 years later, that it has shaped it for the better. 

I'm celebrating today because getting diagnosed with celiac disease has sent me on a healthier path. Where I can control my symptoms through diet, which at times is frustrating, but I know i'm lucky to be able to control my illness through food and not dangerous medications or painful treatments. I'm also celebrating because I wanted an excuse to make (ok eat) cupcakes. So what have I learned about the gluten free life these past 4 years?

Don't let others make you feel guilty or different
Unfortunately in this world being different sometimes means dealing with hurtful comments. These comments really bothered me at the beginning. I would find myself justifying my diet to almost complete strangers. After going on diet that is even more strict and eliminating most grains and dairy I found that I was met with more ridicule and questions. What i've learned recently was really how to stop caring about what others thought. I think this is something that a lot of young people especially care about is how others see you.

People may tell you, “oh you can eat that” or “just one bite wont hurt you.”  But for me, my response is “yes, one bite actually will hurt me.”

Having your health allows you to be a better friend, better spouse or better co-worker, so don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for making a choice that allows you to be the best possible version of yourself! Stand your ground and let that slice of chocolate cake pass right on by.

Be Consistent
Sadly, I can’t ship my disease off in a suitcase to Antarctica while I go vacation on a tropical island, wouldn't that be awesome! I can’t tell you how many times I have wished that I could just take a day off from celiac disease and stuff my face with any food my little heart desired. 

With celiac disease there are no cheat days or end of the diet so staying 100% consistent is the only way to go. What I mean by staying consistent is with your healthy diet. I know that I feel a lot better when i'm eating a strictly healthy diet but if you follow me on instagram you know that I have major, never seems to die sweet tooth that's rather relentless. So i'm all about having a treat here and there. I always make them myself from scratch and try to use only healthy ingredients. Making daily healthy habits has really given me the freedom to live a healthy happy life.

Focus on joy and remember your emotions
In the past few years i've really tried to focus on positivity.  Having an autoimmune disease or any chronic condition is hard! and the negativity of it all can consume you if you let it. Find things that make you happy like for me cuddling my cat, making home cooked meals, watching the bachelorette (ok this season isn't that good..), and taking bubble baths. Focusing on the little things that bring you joy despite all the hard obstacles that we are all faced with is really the key to better health. Remember to fill your days with happiness, because happy people are healthy people.

Spend time with those you love
Surround yourself with people who love you despite your health condition. Celiac Disease is consuming—constantly reading ingredient lists and thinking about gluten at every meal and also the emotional component. Having people that support and understand what you are going through will help you thrive!  Having people that encourage you when you're feeling stressed or overwhelmed can make all the difference in the world. My boyfriend has supported me though out all of my years of sickness, he eats all my gluten free meals without ever once complaining and he never makes me feel guilty when i'm sick and we have to cancel our plans. I love him dearly for it and am so thankful for his support and love every day! I'll could go on but I won't bore you with our love story. So get out there and tell your story, build your community! Having love in your life will make living with a chronic illness infinitely easier.

I've learned that acceptance comes with time and that there will be good days and bad days but my diagnosis gave me my life back and i'm grateful for that.

What has being gluten free taught you?

 

A Twenty Somethings Guide To Gluten Free

If you find yourself having to go gluten free in your 20's it adds a certain.. twist to your life. You may have been sick for many years before going gluten free so your 20's may have looked a little more like laying on the couch then out partying. As you transition to the hustle and bustle of adulthood, adding gluten free living to the mix can make "adulting" that much harder to navigate. Here are a few tips and tricks to embrace the gluten free lifestyle without letting it stop you from achieving all of your dreams and enjoying every aspect of your life. 

Gluten Free Dating


Unless you're dating someone who is also gluten free you will have to tell them about your gluten free diet and what comes along with it. It can feel awkward bringing up a disease or disorder, that more then likely involves digestive troubles, when you're trying to present yourself in the best light. I have to mention that there is a gluten free dating site (I couldn't believe it!) called glutenfreesingles.com.

Best tips

  • Keep it positive! While discussing your diet and focus on what you can do instead of what you can't. If your date sees that you are positive then they will be to.
  • Be patient but tough. It's a learning curve dating anyone who's gluten free so mistakes may be made. It's important they know the seriousness of your condition, but be forgiving when they make a mistake.
  • Find someone who loves you for you. Find someone who's more then willing to be your partner though all the ups and downs of a gluten free lifestyle. Someone who is supportive of your condition and does their best to keep you gluten free and happy.
  • At the beginning plan the dates so you don't find yourself at an unsafe restaurant.
  • Cook together (super romantic)
  • Go out with someone else on a gluten free diet (if we were all only so lucky)
  • Do non food dates like movies, museums, aquariums, walks, or concerts

Kissing
You wouldn't lick the bottom of a bread basket so don't kiss someone who has just eaten a sandwich or any gluten filled meal. Remember, if you're particularly sensitive (like having celiac disease) then something as small as a crumb can make you sick. It can be a bit awkward talking about kissing and gluten so try not to bring it up as they are about to kiss you.

Best tips

  • Have your date wash out their mouth before kissing you
  • If your dates going poorly have them eat gluten so you can use that as an excuse not to kiss them (Jk.. sort of)
  • Convince your date to eat gluten free meals
  • Remember that lipstick and chap stick can have gluten

A Roll in the Gluten Free Hay
Without getting graphic I wanted to cover the some of the common questions about love making and the gluten free diet. Believe it or not in this situation you still need to be thinking about gluten. Here are the common questions and answers:

  • Are birth control pills gluten free?
    Maybe, wheat starch can be used as a filler in some medications. Contact the manufacturer to see as pharmaceutical companies don't have to label gluten in their ingredient lists.
  • Are.. bodily functions gluten free?
    Yes (Believe it or not this is a common question)
  • What other "love making" things could contain gluten?
    Lubricants, body oils and anything of those sorts may have gluten so be careful

Work
Finding your first job and getting settled in comes with it's own set of challenges but adding a gluten free diet can make it even more difficult. Sometimes at work you may find yourself at a meeting filled with doughnuts, mandatory work restaurant outings or dealing with rude coworkers.

Best tips

  • Arrange to have your own gluten free snacks brought in
  • Be on the committee that plans the staff events so you can choose safe places to eat
  • Have a dedicated area in the staff room to prepare your food
  • Own it! Be confident and don't let anyone put you down about your diet
  • On work trips make sure you have a safe place to prepare foods like a kitchenette or safe restaurants.

Socializing
Food and friends go hand-in-hand. You meet friends for a bite to eat, grab drinks to celebrate, and throw dinner parties to catch up. When you're on a gluten free diet eating outside of your house can feel daunting. It's hard to think of a celebration or social outing that doesn't revolve around eating and drinking. Try not to let your diet keep your from socializing, there are things you can do to make your gluten free diet no big deal in social situations. 

Best tips

  • BYOF (Bring your own food)- Bringing your own food places is a great way to feel more included. People seem to ask less questions and feel more comfortable when you're eating with them.
  • Host the meals- If you have the celebrations and meals at your house you can cook gluten free meals and eat with everyone without a problem.
  • Find some gluten free friends- Even though your friends are hopefully supportive of your gluten free diet it can feel so nice to talk to someone who you can relate to. Look for a support group in your area and make some connections.
  • Research restaurants- Eating out on a gluten free diet requires a bit of homework. You can do it safely but planning is a must. Use apps like findmeglutenfree or allergyeats to find safe restaurants.
  • Careful with alcohol- As i'm sure you know by now beer isn't gluten free, but what about everything else? Potato vodka, rum, and tequila are made from ingredients that do not contain gluten and are accepted as safe to drink by those with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. Wine is typically gluten free but the barrels where the wine is aged can be lined with wheat paste. When tested they are usually under 10 ppm, but check with the wine manufacturer to be safe.  

Not going broke
It's no secret that a gluten free diet is more expensive. The cost of gluten free products is often double or triple the cost of regular gluten filled products. Why are they more expensive? Many facilities test their products before shipping them, making the process more expensive. Ingredients may also have have to be sourced from gluten free manufacturers making them more expensive. Plus of course gluten free is a huge trend and they know they can charge more and still get buyers. If you're on a limited budget, which many people in their twenties are, here are some ways to save money on a gluten free diet:

Best Tips

  • Buy in bulk- I don't mean out of a bulk bin, those things are usually full of sneaky gluten. Online they have deals where you can buy your gluten free items in bulk to save a bit of money.
  • Buy natural foods- I'm a firm believer in eating a naturally gluten free diet and avoiding most packaged foods. Gluten free packaged foods are more often then not more unhealthy then their gluten counterparts. So save money and be healthier by sticking to whole unprocessed foods.
  • Shop in season- By buying foods that are in season you can get a good discount because they're readily available. 
  • Coupons & Sales- Keep you eye out every week for deals and coupons and stock up of the foods you eat the most.
  • Make from scratch- Instead of buying pre made foods, which you're paying a premium for, make your meals from scratch.

Traveling


Traveling on a gluten free diet takes some planning ahead. It's common to go exploring around the world in your twenties so here are my best tips for traveling safely on a gluten free diet. Just because you have a restricted diet doesn't mean you can't travel around the world! It's common to do a lot of traveling in your twenties so here are my best tips for doing it safely on a gluten free diet.

Best tips

  • If you are traveling abroad, get dining cards that outline your ­gluten-­free needs in
    the language of the countries you will be visiting. Free cards you can print or get as an app for your iPhone are available at ­celiactravel.com.
  • Pack ­non-­perishable, ­easy-­to-­carry, nutritious items, such as nuts, small bags of dried fruit or granola, or crackers for those times when there really is nothing else to ­eat.
  • Call your hotel to ask if a refrigerator and microwave are available. Check the Internet to find nearby restaurants that can accommodate the GF diet and stores that carry ­gluten-­free ­foods.

How has being gluten free changed your life?

Holistic Treatment Plan For Celiac Disease

 

As man went from a hunter gatherer style diet to learning how to domesticate crops and animals new food groups were added into our diets. Foods previously unknown to us like cows milk, goats milk, eggs and cereal grains were added into our diets. Some adjusted well, others did not, this is when celiac disease was born.

What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. When gluten is eaten damage to the small intestine is done by an immune reaction.  Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley or rye grains. Celiac disease is believed to affect about a little less than 1 percent of all adults. Going on a strict gluten free diet is the only known treatment for celiac disease as of now.

Only about 15 to 17 percent or so of the expected celiac cases are actually known, so roughly 85 percent of those that have celiac disease are not diagnosed(1). Why is this? Two of the main reasons are a lack of awareness from physicians and the fact that celiac disease can have elusive symptoms like headaches or aching joints. 

What are the symptoms of celiac disease?

Remission
When a child is diagnosed with celiac disease and treated with a gluten free diet, many (around 90%) will go into complete remission, where as with adults it's a different story. 30 percent of adults experience complete remission, and the remaining 60-70 percent may have partial remission of their symptoms. What does this mean? 60-70% of adults with celiac disease will continue to have some intestinal inflammation and symptoms after implementing a gluten free diet.

Why is this? It's thought to be because many are still consuming small amounts of gluten causing symptoms or that they have had so many years of damage it takes many years to go into remission.

Holistic Treatment

What does holistic health mean?
Holistic health means looking at health from a whole perceptive. Holistic comes from the word "holism". Holism comes from the Greek work holos. Holos means all, entire, complete. An approach to wellness that includes the mind and body. Focusing on addressing, mental and physical health issues through diet, nutrition, changes in lifestyle and awareness of environmental toxins. The advice is meant to empower and motivate change towards a healthier, happier life.

Holistic Health and Celiac Disease
The only way to treat celiac disease is through a gluten free diet. Going on a strict gluten free diet puts the disease into at least partial remission for most with celiac disease. Going beyond a gluten free diet it's important to keep your gut healthy, reverse nutritional deficiencies, decrease your toxic burden and improve your nutrition. 

Many people with celiac disease continue to experience symptoms on a gluten free diet. Studies and anecdotal evidence indicate that a fairly high percentage of people with celiac, it's not clear exactly how high, but possibly upwards of half, continue to have symptoms even though they believe they're following a strict gluten-free diet. This is most likely because of accidental ingestion of gluten, but there are many associated conditions that may be causing a continuation of symptoms (like parasites, SIBO, bacterial overgrowth).

Since celiac disease is an autoimmune disease there is no cure, but you can minimize symptoms and rebuild the immune system but going on a strict gluten free diet, nourishing your body with nutrient dense foods, and improving your overall health. 

The Holistic Approach

1. Naturally Gluten Free Foods
Eating a lot of processed foods (even if they're labeled "gluten-free") and to many "gluten-free" grain products might lead you to ingest more trace gluten than your body can tolerate. You may need to eat only certified gluten-free products or to avoid most grains, since they tend to be quite contaminated with gluten.

Processed gluten free foods are usually high in sugar, refined flours (like rice flour) and low in nutrients. Eating a diet in naturally gluten free foods, meaning little to no packaged foods, has many benefits. Focusing on fruits, vegetables, some starches, nuts, seeds, fish and some grass fed meats and avoiding excess grains, sugar, processed foods (including gluten free) and vegetable oils is benefical for those with celiac disease. 

Benefits Of Eating A Whole Foods Diet:
1. Decreased chance of gluten exposure
2. Higher intake of nutrients
3. Better immune health
4. Healthier weight
5. Increase intake of fiber

2. Gut Healthy Foods
An imbalance of gut bacteria is common in those with celiac disease. Studies have shown that patients still suffering persistent symptoms on a long-term GFD also show an altered microbiota composition (2). Eat foods that feed the good bacteria and starve out the bad bacteria like fiber rich fruits and vegetables, and fermented foods to support the health of your gut. Drinking bone broth and potentially supplementing with L- glutamine powder can be beneficial for strengthening your gut. 

3. Probiotic Foods
People who have just been diagnosed with celiac disease are 40% more likely to have been prescribed antibiotics shortly before diagnosis. Probiotics are good bacteria that primarily line your gut and are responsible for nutrient absorption and supporting your immune system. Eating foods that contain live probiotics is extremely beneficial for those with celiac disease. Foods high in probiotics are cultured vegetables (like kimchi and sauerkraut), kombucha, coconut kefir and yogurt.

4. Stress
Stress is typically defined as “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.” Short term stress isn't necessarily bad, what you have to worry about it chronic stress.

Many studies have documented a link between symptoms of depression and celiac disease, even in people who have been following the gluten-free diet for a long time. Some researchers have speculated that depression in celiacs may simply stem from having a chronic health problem, in the same way people with chronic health issues such as arthritis and diabetes tend to get depressed.

However, there's some evidence that depression in people with celiac disease is connected to changes in the brain -- potentially changes that are triggered because intestinal damage precludes absorption of certain nutrients that are important for brain function. One recent study involving women with celiac disease found that 37% suffered from clinical depression.

What can be done to reduce stress, anxiety and depression? Follow a strict gluten free diet, correct nutritional deficiencies, practice breathing techniques, try yoga, eat healthy and surround yourself with positivity. Figure out what the stressors are in your life and starting working towards a solution.

If you're suffering from persistent depression despite following the gluten-free diet, talk to your doctor about getting a referral to a mental health expert.

5. Fitness
Exercise is an essential component of a balanced lifestyle. Balance is required to maintain the physical well-being needed to heal. Those with celiac disease need to take special care to heal. Fitness can combat secondary issues that result from celiac disease. Weight fluctuations are common. Prior to diagnosis, one may have lost an unhealthy amount of weight and muscle and exercise can rebuild muscle lost.

Weight training helps achieve a healthy muscle-to-fat ratio. It also helps strengthen bones, which may have been weakened by celiac diseases effect on calcium levels. Osteoporosis and osteopenia (lower than normal bone density) are frequent secondary outcomes of celiac disease. Weight-bearing exercises can help prevent further weakening of bones and joints. 

6. Sleep
A recent study in celiac adults suggests sleep issues are extremely common. The study revealed a 50 percent of newly diagnosed celiacs had sleep disorders, more than twice the rate of study participants without celiac disease.

Some tips for better sleep are:
Try to go to bed and get up at the same time everyday and avoid daytime napping unless/until you are sleeping well at night. Avoid watching television or using the computer in bed (this stimulates the brain). Avoid anything with caffeine (coffee, black tea, soda pop, energy drinks, chocolate) or alcohol at least six hours prior to bedtime. Consider supplementing with melatonin (a natural hormone essential for sleep), magnesium and/or herbal remedies such as valerian root or chamomile, which are available as tea. Meditation, yoga, massage and acupuncture are alternative therapies that can help promote restful sleep.

The main takeaway from this post is to reduce your gluten intake as much as possible, even if it means eliminating processed gluten free foods and not eating out. Increasing your fiber and vegetable intake, finding ways to reduce stress, trying gentle exercise, and practicing better sleep habits will all improve your health for the better.
 

The 7 Best Gluten Free Travel Destinations In The World

As the world becomes more gluten friendly it gets easier for those who are gluten free to travel anywhere in the world. When you're extremely sensitive to small amounts of gluten, it can feel like traveling isn't even an option anymore, but with some careful planning and research you can have the relaxing fun filled vacation you've been dreaming of.

The 7 destinations I chose all have a large selection of gluten free restaurants and are knowledgeable about the gluten free lifestyle. Many of the destinations I have selected have 100% gluten free restaurants, which is perfect for those with on a strict gluten free diet.  

Most of these places are in English speaking parts of the world simply because it's easier to read ingredients and communicate effectively with the restaurant staff. I know many travelers have had success traveling all over the world with the help of restaurant language translation cards like these.

Here are some of the most gluten friendly cities, where to stay and where to eat when you're there:

 Dublin, Ireland:

Ireland isn't just a gluten friendly place to travel, it's also one of the most beautiful and desired travel destinations. Ireland has one of the largest concentrations of people with celiac disease in the world, and its residents are accustomed to catering to gluten-free needs. I chose Dublin Ireland as number one on my list because there is a huge selection of gluten free restaurants and bakeries. Since Coeliac disease (what they call celiac disease) is so common, it's easy to get special accommodations because of your gluten free diet. Traveling gluten free can be stressful but going to Dublin takes many of those stresses away so you can just relax and enjoy yourself!

Where to stay:
Resorts With Kitchenettes:
Green Isle Hotel
Roxford Lodge Hotel
Clarion Hotel Liffey Valley
Leeson Bridge House
 

Best Gluten Free Restaurants:

1. O’Connells Restaurant, Donnybrook

O’Connells aspires to be Dublin’s leading Celiac Friendly Restaurant. They bake there own gluten-free bread and most menu items are gluten-free.

2. La Reserve, Ranelagh

La Réserve Brasserie is an intimate and lively French brasserie. Predominantly serving a modern take on French classics. The menu also shows influences from international cuisine and is provide you great gluten free options.

3. The Exchange Restaurant & Cocktail Bar, The Westin Dublin 2

The Exchange restaurant is situated in the Westin Hotel and serves great gluten free food. The room is flooded with natural light and features a stunning Art Deco style mural, plush leather benches, intimate corners and friendly service.

Antoinette's Bakery 100% Gluten Free
This bakery is 100% gluten free plus bonus it's allergy friendly. On a side note I'm considering ordering a ticket to Dublin right now just to go to this bakery. I've just spent 15 minutes drooling at their menu.

 Maui, Hawaii

Maui has miles of perfect beaches, lush green valleys, and volcanic landscapes, as well as its historic villages, top-notch water sports, and world class restaurants and resorts, have made it an popular tourist destination. I chose Maui for this list because it has a 100% gluten free pizza restaurant (yes please!). Maui has a large amount of vacation rentals and condos for those who want to cook their own meals. There are a few 100% gluten free restaurants and bakeries for those who want dedicated kitchens to eat from. It's a tropical vacation with the added bonus of it being an english speaking destination so it's easy to communicate your dietary needs.   

Resorts With Kitchenettes:
Hana Kai Maui
Aston Mahana Kaanapali
Kaanapali Alii
 

Best Gluten Free Restaurants:
 1. Maui Brick Oven -- 100% Gluten free
Hawaii’s first 100 percent gluten free restaurant. It has a large selection of gluten free pizzas.

2. Maui Sugar Shop-- 100% Gluten Free
Maui Sugar Shop is a dedicated gluten free bakery that's also non-GMO, paleo and vegan friendly.
If you want a safe baked good in Maui this is the place to go!

3. Maka by Mana- 100% Gluten free
Maka by Mana offers a wide selection of raw and vegan dishes, made only from the highest quality ingredients. The entire menu is vegan and gluten-free with a variety of raw dishes as well.

4. Coconuts Fish Cafe
Coconut Fish Cafe isn't a 100% gluten free restaurant but they are very accommodating to those on a gluten free diet. They have many gluten free items on their menu and are knowledgeable about cross contamination and celiac disease.

New York City USA

In New York City is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the world. The city that never sleeps has shopping, Broadway, the empire state building, statue of liberty and lots of foods from around the world. It has a large selection of 100% gluten free restaurants. You won't have any trouble finding places to eat.

Hotels with Kitchenettes
Langham Place, New York, Fifth Avenue
The Sherry-Netherland Hotel
The French Quarters Guest Apartments
Staybridge Suites Times Square - New York City
 

Best Gluten Free Restaurants:
1. Wild

West Village restaurant's menu is entirely gluten-free, from the pizzas to the dessert. Its new Williamsburg location is also gluten-free friendly.

2. Springbone
This Paleo restaurant is, naturally, entirely gluten-free, as well as soy-free and almost entirely dairy-free. The bone broths are the main draw, through sandwiches, bowls and vegan ice cream are also on the menu.

3. Senza Gluten Free
Everything on the menu at this Italian restaurant is 100% gluten-free, from the pizza to the pasta, so you can indulge with confidence.

Auckland, New Zealand

From volcanoes to sailing, to shopping to a bustling dining scene, Auckland has something for everyone. In New Zealand gluten awareness is widespread, there are gluten-free food options virtually everywhere you go, and product labeling for allergens and gluten is excellent. A lot of restaurants and cafés throughout New Zealand offer gluten-free menus or menu options. I chose Auckland because it's the biggest city in New Zealand with the largest selection of gluten free restaurants. 

Resorts With Kitchenettes:
Pullman Auckland
Waldorf Celestion Apartment Hotel
Scenic Hotel Auckland
Heritage Auckland

Best Gluten Free Restaurants:

Little Bird Unbakery
 At Little Bird everything is gluten free, dairy free, soy free, organic, raw, vegan and without any refined cane sugars. So what they serve is both delicious & full of goodness.

Monday's
Monday's restaurant prides itself on being friendly to every kind of diet whether it's gluten-free, dairy-free, glucose-free, vegetarian, vegan or paleo.  They have plenty of gluten free options for those with celiac disease.

The Ancient Mariner - Kiwi As Fish and Chips
If you are in Auckland and longing for fish & chips, this is the place to go. They are very knowledgeable about gluten free, celiac and cross contamination.

Marx Gluten & Wheat Free Bakery
Marx Bakery is New Zealand's first Gluten, Wheat and Dairy Free Bakery catering for those with celiac disease, gluten, wheat & lactose intolerances & other food allergies.
 

Portland, United States:

One of the world's great towns for food, funky neighborhoods, forest hikes and much more. Eating gluten free in Portland Oregon is a dream when you have to avoid gluten. There are gluten free food trucks, bakeries and restaurants.  Portland and its restaurants are known for being very diverse. That's why I chose Portland to put on the list because it has such an interesting and unique gluten free scene. 

Resorts With Kitchenettes:
Residence Inn Portland Downtown/RiverPlace
Courtyard Portland Downtown/Convention Center
The Mark Spencer

Best Gluten Free Restaurants:

1. Adina Restaurant
Adina restaurant has separate gluten free menus, separate prep areas, knowledgeable staff.

2. Gluten Free Gem
100% gluten-free bakery, where everything is delicious and safe to eat. Vegan options available. 

3. Verde Cocina
100% Gluten free Mexican restaurant. The ingredients they cook with are gluten free and we offer fresh, flexible options for Vegan, Carnivore and Paleo-minded alike.

London, England

London has the Big Ben, Tower Bridge, the London Eye, some of the greatest museums and art galleries in the world and a huge restaurant scene. It's is a diverse and exciting city with some of the world's best sights, attractions and activities. The selection of 100% gluten free restaurants seems endless. Anyone with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity will appreciate the ease of vacationing in London.  

Resorts With Kitchenettes:
Plaza on the River - Club and Residence
The Nadler Kensington
Town Hall Hotel

Best Gluten Free Restaurants:

1. La Polenteria
La Polenteria is the first Italian restaurant in London that's 100% Gluten Free. Located in the heart of Soho, at La Polenteria History meets Modernity together with the pure Passion for Good and Healthy food. 

2. Cotto Italian
Cotto Italian is a vegetarian allergy and gluten friendly restaurant. Almost the entire menu is gluten free, the owner is celiac to rest assured that proper measures are made to prevent cross contamination. 

3. Beyond Bread
Beyond bread is a 100% gluten free bakery. Gluten free sandwiches and desserts that all look to die for.

4. Niche Restaurant Bar & Grill
Another 100% gluten free restaurant with a huge amount of menu options.

Disneyland/Disney World USA

I chose to include Disney Land and Disney World because both are extremely accommodating for those who are gluten free and have allergies. Guests with multiple food allergies or celiac diseaseshould contact Walt Disney Resort Special Diets at (Special.Diets@DisneyWorld.comSpecial.Diets@disneyland.com ). The team at Walt Disney can plan dining arrangements for your visit and for least 14 days prior to your arrival. How's that for customer service? Every restaurant in Disneyland can do gluten free options.

Best Gluten Free Restaurants:

1. Carthay Circle: (Disneyland) Looking for the glamour of old Hollywood? As a recreation of the original Hollywood theatre (which was demolished in 1969), this location is breathtaking and has spectacular views of the park. Equally spectacular are the menu offerings for gluten free diners. Offering gluten free bread and a variety of gluten free dishes.

2. Cocina Cucamonga (Disney land): Looking for some authentic Mexican food? Cocina Cucamonga has got you covered with a ton of gluten free option.

3. Tony's Town Square (Disney World) Excellent for gluten free dining. Rice pasta can be substituted for all pasta dishes except the ravioli, but otherwise all dishes can be made gluten free.

 

 

Download Your FREE Gluten Free Travel Cheat Sheet Here!

The Surprising Connection Gluten Has To Your Fertility

Could eating gluten prevent you from getting pregnant? If you have celiac disease the medical research says yes. It's a common myth that celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that causes damage to the small intestine, just affects the digestive tract. Celiac disease can affect almost every system in the body including the reproductive system in both men and women. Celiac disease has been linked to infertility, miscarriage and low birth weight in women and low sperm count in men.

Female Fertility and Celiac Disease
A recent study showed that women with celiac disease have a 3.5 times greater risk of having infertility compared to women without the condition (1) . Several studies have reported miscarriage rates to be substantially higher among women with untreated celiac disease than among healthy women, with one study showing that the likelihood of having at least one complication during pregnancy has been estimated to be at least four times higher in celiac women than in healthy women (2).

Why Does Celiac Disease Cause Infertility in Women?

Lower absorption of nutrients
Celiac disease can cause damage to your small intestine making it difficult for your body to absorb nutrients. Micronutrients such as zinc, selenium or folic acid have been shown to be low in those with celiac disease. Both zinc and selenium deficiencies have been shown to directly affect the hormones that control ovulation.

Interestingly enough in a series of published studies by Collin et al., celiac patients with infertility showed neither severe malnutrition nor signs of trace element deficiency; only two had iron deficiency (3). So vitamin deficiencies may or may not be a contributing factor.

Lower Body Weight
Untreated celiac disease and lack of absorption of the food you're eating can lead to being under weight. Being underweight can affect your chances of becoming pregnant and can cause infertility.

Hormone Dysfunction
Having celiac disease increases the risk of someone having certain hormonal disorders. Thyroid dysfunction is common in those with celiac disease which can disrupt ovarian function.

Male Fertility and Celiac Disease
Infertility isn't just a problem in women with celiac disease but also with men. Italian researchers have noted that male celiac disease patients have a greater risk of infertility and other reproductive issues, as well as a greater incidence of androgen (male hormone) deficiency (4). There has also been documented reduced sperm counts that may be due to nutritional and hormonal deficiencies in men with celiac disease.

Pregnancy
If a woman with undiagnosed celiac disease is able to become pregnant, there can be a negative effect on the baby. A recent study associated celiac disease with significant increases in miscarriage and premature delivery (5). Most of the celiac disease-related pregnancy problems seem to occur in women who have not yet been diagnosed with celiac, or in women who have been diagnosed but who are not following the gluten-free diet.

Is There Still a Risk After Diagnosis?
After a diagnosis of celiac disease and a treatment of a gluten free diet studies have shown fertility to go back to normal. To have a healthy pregnancy tt's important to be as healthy as possible and to make sure you're strictly following a gluten free diet, that your celiac disease symptoms have gone away and that you've resolved any vitamin deficiencies. Discussing your celiac disease and fertility with your OB/GYN is important before trying to conceive.    

Lowering Your Risk
Shelley Case, BSc, RD, a member of the medical advisory boards of the Celiac Disease Foundation and Gluten Intolerance Group in the United States and the professional advisory board of the Canadian Celiac Association says "Although there isn’t a standard optimal waiting period, celiac antibody levels should be normalized. “The best advice I can give is that the woman’s celiac disease should be well controlled and the antibodies returned to normal".

If you have been experiencing symptoms of celiac disease and are struggling with infertility it may be worth talking to your doctor and getting tested. 

7 Ways To Feel Better Fast After Accidentally Eating Gluten

I'm sure you know the feeling, that first sign that you've accidentally ingested gluten. Maybe youstart getting bloating or experience stomach pain, everyone is different. Then suddenly the dread sets in because you know exactly what's coming. For many of us with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity even microscopic amounts of gluten can mean a lot of suffering. Avoiding gluten in our world isn't an easy task, especially if you're sensitive to small amounts. Getting "glutened" as I like to call it, is pretty inevitable from time to time.   

I know with myself I usually get glutened after a long period of feeling ok. I tend to get more relaxed and then I start to try new products and it comes back to bite me. I'm glutened right now and that's what inspired this post. I went a while feeling great and then introduced a bunch of new products all at once and now i'm not sure which one has made me sick! 

So what steps can you take to feel better while your gluten exposure runs its course?

Rest
Feeling tired even if you've had enough rest is a common glutening symptom. For me extreme fatigue is the first symptom I get when I get glutened. I usually end up sleeping for hours, even if it's in the middle of the day. It's also common to feel super fatigued but have insomnia at the same time. Getting proper rest and not pushing yourself can make your glutening easier to bare.

Drink water
Fluids will help flush your system and keep you hydrated if you're vomiting or have diarrhea. In addition to regular water, you can try coconut water, which contains electrolytes that may have been lost through vomiting or diarrhea. 

Eat easy to digest foods and avoid hard to digest foods
Focusing on foods that are easy to digest can help ease digestive symptoms like diarrhea, gas, bloating and heart burn. With an inflamed digestive system you want to avoid anything that could cause irritation.

Foods to eat (if not sensitive to them)
Probiotic Foods like sauerkraut, kimchi and kombucha
chicken breasts
bone broth
bananas
salmon
avocado
ginger


Foods to avoid- These foods are difficult to digest
Dairy
Avoiding dairy when you've just been glutened can help because you can become temporarily lactose intolerant. We digest lactose, a protein in milk, with the ends of the villi in our small intestine. So when you've been glutened your villi may be temperately damaged rendering you unable to digest dairy products.
 
Corn
Corn contains cellulose and it makes it difficult for our bodies to digest. There is even some evidence saying those with celiac disease react poorly to corn(1).

coffee/tea/pop
These are especially a no no if you get heartburn when you're glutened. They can over-relax the esophageal sphincter, which keeps stomach acid confined to the stomach, they also can act as diuretics, which can lead to diarrhea and cramping. The last thing you need more of when you've been glutened!

Junk Food
Foods full of sugar and unhealthy fats are just going to add to the discomfort. You want to stick with anti inflammatory foods.

Don't do anything that is to complicated
Gluten brain fog is a very real thing. Those feelings of fuzziness, mild confusion and fatigue can make completing difficult tasks impossible.

Don't wear tight clothes
Nothing like looking 6 months pregnant from a gluten baby. Gluten bloating can make your stomach look like a beach ball. This maybe isn't the time for skin tight clothes. When you wear something really tight it can just add to the discomfort.

Don't Eat Out
The last thing you need is a double glutening and restaurants are a common place for cross contamination.

Try Gut Soothing Foods
Eating foods and drinks that are easy to digest can help you feel better. Here are some natural remedies for upset digestion.

Bone Broth
Bone Broth is very high in the anti-inflammatory amino acids glycine and proline. The gelatin in bone broth protects and heals the mucosal lining of the digestive tract that may get disrupted by being glutened.

Peppermint Tea
Peppermint tea is an anti spasmodic, meaning it reduces cramping and relieves digestive distress.

Fennel Seeds
Fennel reduces gas and bloating

Slippery elm
Slippery elm contains mucilage, which stimulates nerve endings in the gastrointestinal tract to increase its secretion of mucus. Mucus forms a barrier in the gut to protect it and promote healing.

Marshmallow root
Can help to sooth stomach and gas pain

Being glutened is never any fun, but if you take some time for self care and relax it can make the experience a little bit more bearable. What do you do when you accidentally eat gluten?  

4 Reasons You Need To Stop Eating Gluten Free Packaged Foods Today

Gluten free has become a huge trend in the past few years. More and more people are jumping on the gluten free bandwagon, but is it healthy?

This trend has resulted in so many new gluten free products. Now you can find gluten free anything from cupcakes to trail mix. All of these companies are looking to profit off of the growing trend of gluten free. Is it healthy? A naturally gluten free diet full of whole foods is. A diet high in gluten free bread, pasta and cupcakes is not. I think deep down a lot of us know that. It's just easier, it's convenient and it makes the transition to gluten free a smoother process when we replace our favorite foods. 

It's pretty easy when on a gluten free diet to replace all your packaged foods with their gluten free counterparts. I remember going through the aisles and thinking, "awe I can't have pizza, pasta or cookies anymore, oh thank goodness there's a gluten free version!". After replacing all of my junk food with the gluten free versions I was noticing my health wasn't really improving like it was supposed to be on a gluten free diet. This is when I decided to start eating a diet filled with whole foods and my health drastically improved and this was after being on a gluten free diet for years. It's so much more then all the gluten you cut out. It's what you add in that really makes you as healthy as you can be.

A strict gluten free diet is essential for those of us with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. That also makes us susceptible to consuming many of these gluten free packaged foods. Eating a healthy diet and steering away from these products is essential for healing the damage done and decreasing inflammation in our bodies.

Here are some reason to stop eating gluten free packaged foods

1. Arsenic In Rice
Eating rice and foods high in rice flour (most gluten free packaged foods) can put you at risk for ingesting potentially toxic levels of arsenic. Arsenic is a naturally occurring element that is found in both organic and inorganic forms. It may be present in soil, water, and air. Due to the fact that rice is grown in flooded fields, it absorbs more arsenic from the environment than other crops. The roots of the rice plant take up and store arsenic under these conditions. There are two types inorganic and organic arsenic. Inorganic is what's in rice and is the much more harmful of the two.  Inorganic arsenic is a known carcinogen and ingestion may cause an increased risk of certain cancers.

The concern isn't with those who eat rice or rice products infrequently because their exposure won't be high. It's those eating a diet high in rice like those on a gluten free diet that may have dangerous exposure. Because rice flour is a main ingredient in many gluten free products it's easy for those on a gluten free diet to be eating several servings of rice a day. For example someone could eat rice cereal for breakfast, gluten free bread for lunch and gluten free pasta for dinner.

Long-term studies about the health impact of chronic low doses of arsenic are just beginning. Given the lack of data on acceptable levels of arsenic in food and potential long-term effects, there are no widely agreed-upon recommendations for “safe” amounts or overall intake quantity.  It isn't necessary to completely cut all rice products out of your diet but it is wise to limit them.  An easy and healthy way to do this is limit you packaged gluten free foods, especially those high in rice flour.

Tips For Avoiding Arsenic and Rice

-- Limit your rice consumption
Organically-grown and conventional rice both contain arsenic. But arsenic concentrations in rice appear to vary based on the variety and the region where it is grown. White rice -- particularly basmati, jasmine and pre-cooked “instant” rice -- tends to have lower concentrations of arsenic than brown rice because arsenic accumulates in rice bran. Rice varieties grown in California or imported from Southeast Asia are often lower in arsenic than rice grown in other parts of the U.S.

"Consumer Reports suggested that adults eat no more than one to three servings of rice or rice-based foods per week, depending on the food type. It recommended that children eat a maximum of 1.25 servings of rice, rice pasta, rice breakfast cereal or rice pasta per week or one small serving of rice-based infant cereal per day." (from EWG.com)

-- Dont use rice milk as a substitute (Try coconut or nut milks)

-- Rinse your rice
Rinsing rice before cooking may reduce arsenic content to some extent. Some research indicates that the amount of arsenic in rice can be cut by as much as 40 percent if the rice is boiled in a large volume of water like pasta and excess water discarded.

2. Calorie dense nutrient poor
To make gluten free packaged food taste better manufacturers will add extra fat, sugar and salt. Many foods that contain gluten like bread, pasta and flour are enriched. What does this mean? It means that vitamins and minerals are added into the food like enriched flour with added B vitamins. Gluten free packaged foods aren't usually enriched meaning when you switch to the gluten free counterpart you could be losing vitamins you were getting from the enriched gluten version. So basically what this means is gluten free foods are usually high in calories and fat and lower in nutrients.

If you have celiac disease chances are you have nutrient deficiencies because of malabsorption from the damage to your small intestine. People recently diagnosed with celiac disease are commonly deficient in iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, folate, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B 12, and vitamin D. The vitamins that are missing in gluten free foods are usually the ones that are commonly low in people with celiac disease to begin with. So if you keep your diet low in these nutrients by eating a lot of gluten free packaged foods then you will continue to suffer from the effects of the deficiency. 

3. Cost
Those on a gluten free diet know it isn't cheap! Gluten free bread where I live is around 7$ a loaf and that loaf seems to be getting smaller and smaller. A study conducted by University of Wollongong researchers in New South Wales recently found that people were paying up to 500 per cent more for some gluten-free items. Ouch!

To save money switching to a whole foods diet and avoid buying these high cost items that aren't doing your health any good and let's be honest many of them aren't to tasty either.

Here's a quick comparison of gluten free vs gluten products

Brownie Mix

Regular version: $0.08 per serving

Gluten-free: $0.28 per serving

Wheat Thins

Regular version: $0.31 per serving

Gluten-free: $0.57 per serving

Frozen Pizza

Regular version: $1.38 per serving

Gluten-free: $2.50 per serving

Why Is Gluten-Free So Expensive?

Several different factors play into this answer. Food manufacturers will claim that they must charge more for gluten-free products to meet certification and labeling regulations and because many gluten-free foods are made in smaller batch sizes.

4. Small amounts of gluten
Did you know that gluten free foods technically aren't free of all gluten? Legally in Canada gluten free labelled foods must be under 20 parts per million. But Lots of people react to trace gluten in foods that don't seem to have gluten ingredients, or even those that are specifically labeled "gluten-free". Most products marketed as gluten-free still contain a tiny bit of gluten, some more than others. People with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity can have very different reactions (or no reaction at all) to these trace amounts of gluten in our foods. If you find you're still getting sick or mystery glutenenings then eliminating your gluten free processed foods can help.

Easy ways to make the switch from gluten free packaged foods to whole foods:

1. Find healthy recipes you actually enjoy
You'll be way more likely to spend the time cooking if you enjoy the food. If you don't like a recipe simply move on and try something new!

2. Batch cook
Don't have time and that's why you find yourself reaching for the packaged foods? Learn some easy GF batch cooking recipes and make them on a day off. That way you'll have already prepared meals for the week that just need heating up.

3. Take a cooking class
Getting better in the kitchen will help you cook faster and tastier meals. You'll find yourself reaching for those GF products less and less. Look online for local classes in your area or online.

4. Learn your labels
Not all gluten free packaged foods are created equal. While the majority are unhealthy there are healthy options out there. Learn to read labels not just for finding gluten but for overall health.

All of this is not to say never eat another packaged gluten free product again. It's just to try and reduce the number of unhealthy gluten free processed foods you're consuming. Eating a variety of whole foods is so important for the long term health of your body and immune system. 
 

How To Go Gluten Free And Still Have A Social Life

Whether you have just started a gluten free diet or have been on it for a while you may have noticed sometimes It can feel a bit lonely. There has been links between celiac disease and a feelings of isolation(1) . That being said a gluten free diet doesn't have to be a negative burden. A little bit of prep and the right attitude can go a long way on improving your social life. Many if not all social events revolve around food so when you can't eat there are some new challenges, but nothing a few tips and tricks can't solve.

When you first go gluten free it's going to seem really easy to avoid situations. Avoiding trips, dinner invites and other social gatherings can seem tempting. Suddenly going out is a lot more work then it was before. Whether it means planning out which restaurant is safe or pre making all your own meals. After some time and practice though it really does get easier, you start to become a better cook and get better at dining out gluten free. Remember that even though you have restrictions it's so important for your happiness to make that extra effort to join in. If others make comments or judge you unfairly try not to let it effect you. (I know easier said then done). 

I'll be the first to admit that a celiac diagnosis has made my life challenging at times. Especially when I was first diagnosed I felt very isolated. Being so ill before my diagnosis my social life had sadly already dissipated to almost nothing. As I was recovering I found myself still avoiding social events. Why? I didn't want to be seen as different. I didn't want to be the weird one who brought her own food.  I made it a bigger deal in my head then it had to be. What I didn't realize is that most people don't care and the ones who do shouldn't bother me. I'm a pretty sensitive person so maybe others on the gluten free diet never let it get in the way but statistics say that for many it does.

Eating Out (carefully)
This a tricky one. When someone else is preparing your food it presents special challenges to those on a gluten free diet. Eating out at restaurants is a bit of a risky move, but there are several steps you can take to eat out successfully.  Sometimes if the restaurant isn't accommodating it's still nice to go and just visit with friends and family and not eat.   

Tips for eating out successfully:
Call ahead- Call ahead to make sure the restaurant can properly accommodate your gluten free diet.

Avoid Busy Eating Times- By avoiding the busy times the staff will be able to give you extra attention and the kitchen staff will have more time to carefully prepare the meal.

Ask the right questions- Ask how and where the meal is prepared. If there is any chance for cross contamination and how they prevent it from happening.

Using dining cards- Having a card with what you can and cannot eat along with where to pay attention to cross contamination can be super helpful for the chef. Also if there is any language barrier then having a card in their language describing your gluten free diet can be helpful.

*If you're getting sick frequently or are just getting the hang of a gluten free diet then avoiding eating out may be best for now.

Find others who understand
Finding friends or a support group for those on a gluten free diet can feel so good. There is just another level of understanding that can really make you feel at ease when you talk to someone who knows what it's like. Finding that connection and friendship can help you really feel less alone. If their aren't any support groups in your city or town there are many places online to get support. Also you can make your own! Post on social media and see if there are other gluten freers in your area. I'm sure there are others where you live on a gluten free diet who would love the chance to make a connection.

Prepare Meals and bring them
When my family or friends have dinners i'll make a meal before and eat it while everyone else eats. I really resisted doing this at first because it felt like a really weird thing to do. When actually i've found that it makes me and the others eating more comfortable. I usually get a few questions but for the most part people get it. It can also help you from sadly drooling over all the delicious food everyone else is eating!

Surround yourself with supportive people
Having supportive friends and family that easily accept and adapt to your gluten free diet is ideal. Sometimes though others won't understand your new diet. A poll done by the Canadian Celiac Association showed that even after 5 years an surprising 40 percent still had trouble with family members or friends thinking “just a little” gluten wouldn’t be harmful. It's all about finding a balance between standing up for yourself and realizing that sometimes people might just not get it. Finding and spending time with friends and family members who do get it can make gluten free socializing easier.

Step out of your comfort zone
The first few times you bring your own meal somewhere or eat out it feels scary. It's new territory when you have a food restriction. I still find myself sometimes worrying right before I go out to eat or to an event where I don't know a lot of people. Usually it goes really well and people are very accommodating. It can be easy to want to stay home and eat gluten free snacks and watch netflix but stepping outside of your comfort zone and being social is important for your happiness.  

Plan Plan Plan!
Planning a trip? Do you research. Find out if any local hotels have kitchenettes or safe gluten free restaurants. Going out for dinner? Call and ask if they can accommodate someone with a serious food restriction if not go with a few snacks and socialize. Invited to a dinner? Make your own food and bring it. Always have snacks on hand for when all else fails and you have nothing to eat. It takes some extra effort but once it becomes

Host Get Togethers
Having friends and family over to your place where you do all the cooking is the best of both worlds. What you're eating is safe plus you get to socialize with everyone is a totally comfortable environment. Make it a regular thing like a once or more a month. This way you stay social and it becomes a fun thing for friends and family.

Being on any restrictive diet can make socializing different then before. Different may mean a little more effort or planning ahead but it's certainly worth it! How do you stay social on a gluten free diet?

 

10 Celiac Disease Myths You Probably Still Believe

Celiac Disease is a condition in which eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye, causes damage in your small intestine. People who have celiac disease lack absorption of nutrients from their food, and the condition can lead to complications, such as malnutrition, osteoporosis, infertility, and even cancer. It's May and that means it's celiac awareness month! So in honor of that I thought I'd share some common myths that many still believe about celiac disease.

#1 All People with Celiac Disease Get Sick From The Same Amount Of Gluten
People with celiac disease seem to have dramatically varying degrees of sensitivity to trace levels of gluten. Some people can eat foods manufactured on machinery also used for gluten foods without getting gluten symptoms, while others get symptoms from almost every processed food, especially from grain products, which are at high risk for gluten cross-contamination.

How much actual gluten exposure can cause damage varies but just a tiny bit can make you ill. Studies have found symptoms along with increasing intestinal inflammation in people who consumed just 24 to 30 milligrams of gluten, about 1/145th of a slice of conventional bread (otherwise known as a crumb). (1)

It's been shown that consuming just 1/5th of a slice of regular bread (about 625 milligrams of gluten) one time is enough to cause severe symptoms, including diarrhea and vomiting, and increase villous atrophy in your small intestine in almost everyone with celiac disease.

#2 When You Get "Glutened" It's From Something You Just Ate
It's a myth that all people with celiac disease get symptoms when ingesting gluten. For some people even after a diagnosis can accidentally eat gluten and still feel well. Of course this isn't a reason to eat gluten! There will still be damage happening in your intestinal tract. You should still be extremely vigilant or else you are putting yourself as risk serious health conditions in the future.

Although ingesting gluten when you have celiac disease triggers your immune system and leads to damage in your intestine, this isn't instantaneous. For some people is can takes days, weeks or months before damage becomes severe enough to cause symptoms. For others they get symptoms with in a few minutes or hours. 

So it really depends on who you are. Some people with celiac disease can eat gluten and not experience symptoms, some have to be exposed over a long period of time and others notice very quickly they've been exposed.

#3 The Rise In Gluten Related Disorders is Due To A Change In Wheat
There are many theories as to why celiac disease is becoming more and more prevalent. One of those theories is that wheat has been bred to contain higher amounts of gluten. That has been proven false. Another theory is that GMO wheat is to blame. This is also false because GMO wheat isn't actually being grown commercially yet. It could be that the consumption of wheat has dramatically increased but no one knows for sure why there was been an increase in Celiac Disease.

#4 Everyone Who Has Diagnosed Celiac Disease Has Digestive Symptoms
In the past it was thought that almost everyone with celiac disease had diarrhea, but that's not true. There are more than 100 potential symptoms of celiac disease (like anemia, depression, joint pain ex.), and most of them don't involve your gastrointestinal tract at all. For example, a recent study in Ireland found that 40% of people listed diarrhea as their main symptom. However, another 34% said they didn't have any digestive symptoms at all. (2) The study also found that women with celiac disease were less likely to have gastrointestinal symptoms than men with the condition.

#5 You'll Feel Better Right Away
Some people with celiac disease feel better quickly, but that's not the case for everyone. Although you should start to feel a little better quickly, it takes most people who were very sick prior to diagnosis a long time, (weeks or months) to feel completely "normal" again.  If you continue to see gradual improvement, you're going in the right direction. However, if you don't feel as if you're making enough progress, talk to your doctor about your ongoing symptoms.

#6 Gluten Free Products Are Healthier
Packaged gluten free foods like donuts, pizzas and even "healthy" looking foods like whole grain GF breads and crackers are usually lower in nutrients and higher in salt, sugar and fats. These foods can be seriously lacking in critical nutrients such as fiber, iron, zinc, folate, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, vitamin B12 and phosphorus. Not to mention most people with celiac disease feel better not eating these products. Sticking to a whole foods diet and limiting your gluten free packaged foods it what's best for you health. Plus who wants to spend 7$ on a loaf of bread with a ton of holes (i'm talking to you Udi's).

#7 You Don't Need Gluten Free Skin/ Hair Care
When you have celiac disease your reaction to the gluten is in your digestive tract, not from your skin. Therefore, makeup and skin care products that you use on your skin but don't ingest shouldn't, in theory, be an issue unless you're using them on your lips. That's what many experts on celiac and gluten sensitivity will tell you.

BUT , the problem with this answer is that it's difficult or impossible to apply makeup or other skin care products without risking ingesting a tiny bit, either as you're spreading the product on your face, or later, because you got some on your hands or under your fingernails and didn't wash it off thoroughly enough. It's important to avoid products that have gluten in them for that reason.

Click here for a good list of ingredients that are in skin care that contain gluten

#8 You Can Eat At Friends and Families Homes
When you are at another persons house it's tempting to eat foods prepared in their kitchen that look safe. Unfortunately it should be avoided. Even when people have the best intentions to keep you safe and cook you something gluten free, be wary. It's your call, but cross contamination is likely unless proper measures have been taken or the kitchen is gluten free.  The gluten-free diet has too steep a learning curve for anyone to master it in one afternoon. Bring your own food to social events.

#9 Over Weight People Can't Have Celiac Disease
Celiac disease causes malabsorption, meaning nutrients and calories you eat aren't being absorbed in your body. This is why some people are underweight when they have celiac disease. It's a myth that that's everyone, many people with celiac disease are over weight. Why? Because the majority of people with celiac disease are actually absorbing some of the nutrients and calories they are consuming. They often do have some malabsorption but, like many in our society today, are over eating which results in weight gain. Another reason someone can be overweight is that they were substantially overweight before getting celiac disease and have lost weight because of the malabsorbtion but are still carrying around excess weight from before.   

#10 Gluten Free Labelled Foods At 100% Gluten Free
Most people assume that something labeled "gluten-free" is completely free of gluten but that's not true. By law depending on your country your gluten free foods have to be kept under 20 parts per million. Most, but not all people with celiac have been shown to be able to ingest that amount and not have any damage or symptoms, but others react even to that tiny amount. In addition, the more of these foods you eat, the more gluten you're consuming and the greater your chance of having a reaction.

Celiac Disease In Your 20's-- What it's Really Like

I wanted to share my story of what it's like to have Celiac Disease as someone in their 20's. This article is for all of those other Celiacs out there feeling like they're are alone in their experience. Maybe my story and how I cope will give inspiration and hope to those out there struggling.

Before the Diagnosis
When I was about 15 I started getting symptoms after bout of food poisoning I had on vacation down in Florida. All of a sudden I lost a ton of weight. I remember the comments on my weight and the near constant assumptions that I had an eating disorder. I would turn down trips to the beach and would dread summer because that meant showing more skin. I could no longer hide my weight through layers of clothes. I spent many years going to the doctor in tears begging her to listen to me, that something was wrong. I was told I had anxiety, or was depressed. I remember like it was yesterday, a locum doctor was telling me that I had an eating disorder. Yelling at me to tell her what i'd eaten over the past few days I was caught off guard and couldn't answer. I left almost every one of my doctors visits embarrassed that i'd gone back again. I started to think, maybe they're right. Maybe I am a hypochondriac.

Fast Fact
"45% of autoimmune suffers are labelled a hypochondriac in the early stages of their illness" 

All my hair started falling out and my nails would chip apart. My bones were frail and I was under developed for my age. It was like slowly watching myself fall apart and turn into a chronically ill person one day at a time. One of the most difficult things about being sick when you're young is having having no one to relate to. All your friends are in the height of their lives, having fun and being adventurous. It can be very isolating being chronically ill. Many of the time your peers and even friends and family can't fully understand the daily struggle.

 I would only speak up on days I was very ill. All other days I would hide it. Why? I was usually met with eye rolls and dismissive comments. I would be out with friends, family, on vacation, at school and I would be so ill I would have to go home and rest. The severe nausea and bloating I had started to control my life. All I did was stay at home alone. At the beginning people are understanding but after a while no one wants to hang out with the sick girl anymore. Right before the diagnosis I was so ill I weighted about 103 pounds and i'm 5'7. I was vomiting most days which didn't help the eating disorder assumptions. Finally after about 6 years of sickness and doctors visits I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.

 

After the diagnosis/ treatment
After my diagnosis I was eager to go on a gluten free diet. I thought yes! I was right. There was something wrong. Well now i'll go on a gluten free diet and it will be smooth sailing from here. Unfortunately my health didn't improve. I was still eating a lot of packaged gluten free foods. Gluten free cookies, pizzas, crackers, and cakes. I didn't realize that packaged gluten free foods were even worse for you then their gluten counterparts. For some reason I didn't realize that my body needed help healing from all the damage that Celiac Disease had done. My health continued to deteriorate over a period of 2 more years. My immune system was so weak I ended up with a viral infection that lead to swelling in my brain and permanent damage. That was the wake up call I needed. It was time to get real with myself and step out of denial. I needed to change. I was now 23 and had lost almost ten years of my life to feeling ill, missing out, and living in a world of self pity.

A Change For The Better

As much as I don't want to admit this healing scared me. Being sick took some responsibility away from me. I always had others to care for me. If I got better then it was time to really grow up and I truly believe that stalled improvements in my health. Eventually it got to a point when I realized that it was time to grow up and not let the fear control my life.

I knew I needed to change. But where do to start? After a visit to a gastroenterologist where I was told that I was being to careful and my recent rise in numbers on my blood panel were nothing to worry about I decided to try a holistic approach. Now i'll be honest here because that's what this whole story is about. I thought holistic medicine was made up of a bunch of snake oil salesman trying to sell me supplements that didn't work. Little did I know a holistic lifestyle would completely change my life. Yes I still struggle with the effects of my autoimmune disease and brain damage, but it's at a place where I can live my life. Isn't that what all of us with chronic illness want? Just to live, to be free from the shackles of our disease?

Through an extensive elimination diet and implementing the autoimmune protocol it was like the colour was back in my world for the first time in forever. I went from laying in bed unable to live like I wanted, to feeling free. Like my disease no longer controlled my life and that was such a good feeling. I started working towards focusing on improving the quality of my diet, I starting going on walks and improving all aspects of my self care. 

Silver Lining
As much as Celiac Disease has taken away from me, the experience has given me so much. The perspective chronic illness gave me has forced me to grow as a person. There is something about being taken long past your breaking point to change the way you see every aspect of your life. It really helps you quickly see what's important and what's not.

I want to show others out there with Celiac Disease who are still suffering with symptoms that there is more you can do to change your life. Don't let anything hold you back from living your life. Accomplish those dreams, conquer those fears, and know that the power is in your hands and that better health is ahead. 

One of my goals is to help give back and support to Beyond Celiac. I want to do my part to help find a cure and help get proper info and support to those with Celiac Disease. Click Here to Donate!

If you're Canadian you can donate to the Canadian Celiac Association here!

How did your chronic illness change your life?

How to Use Yoga to Live Well With Autoimmune Disease

After years of struggling to stay well, even after a Celiac diagnosis and a gluten free diet I decided to turn to a holistic approach. That meant improving my health though my mind, body and spirit. In a holistic approach to medicine, there is the belief that our well-being relies not just on what is going on in our body physically in terms of illness or disease, but also on the close inter-relation of this with our psychological, emotional, spiritual and environmental state.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autoimmune diseases affect approximately 8% of the population, 78% of whom are women. Western medicine has very little information as to what can cause, treat and prevent autoimmunity. We must take better care of ourselves, be mindful of what we eat and how we live and use our bodies. Yoga is an amazing way to get low impact movement, connect our mind and body and learn to love ourselves with chronic illness.

Practicing yoga gives you a sense of calm and well-being that lowers the body’s production of physical and mental stressors that compromise the immune system. Yoga is about learning how to be with your body and notice what it needs and is capable of in this moment. That process translates really well into learning how to manage a chronic illness.

Getting Low Impact Exercise 

For many with autoimmune disease or chronic illness it can seem like an impossible feat getting regular exercise. With pain, fatigue, stiffness and brain fog who wants to go workout? That's where yoga is amazing. It varies from beginner to advanced so you can easily just do a few minutes a day. Personally I just do a lot of stretching and chair yoga. I find it's the perfect amount of fitness for my abilities.

Exercise when you have an autoimmune conditions is about maintaining muscle function and improving overall health and well-being, including decreasing or minimizing pain. Low impact exercise has been proven to help reduce symptoms of chronic conditions. It can seem overwhelming so starting slow can make it more manageable.

Yoga’s physical and mental benefits for autoimmunity were illustrated by a small study published in the medical journal Alternative Therapies. Twenty women with rheumatoid arthritis enrolled in the study. Half the women did nothing. The other half took a 10-week hatha yoga course. Those women met with an instructor three times a week for 75 minutes. Each class began with 5 minutes of breathing exercises, moved through a series of traditional asanas, and ended with a short meditation. After 10 weeks, the women in the yoga group not only reported better balance and functioning and less pain but also experienced less depression than those in the control group.

Mind Body Connection

The word "yoga" comes from the Sanskrit root "yuj", which means "to yoke" the spirit and physical body together.

Yoga demands that you concentrate and focus on what your body is telling you – to notice your breathing pattern, concentrate on any aches and pains you might feel and calm the mind to simply concentrate on yourself. Moreover, this entire practice does not over stimulate the body and mind – making you calmer and more poised. Apart from that the deep breathing also helps you focus more efficiently, making you better in all aspects of your life.  A big part of yoga and meditation practice is learning how to choose the focus of your attention, choosing what sensations in the body are worth attending to, and how to let go of the rest. Which is ideal for anyone living with chronic illness, making you better able to cope naturally with the symptoms of your disease.

Yoga isn't cure by any means, but it can give you the tools to take care of yourself on your health journey. Using a holistic practice like yoga regularly in your life has infinite benefits for you and your wellbeing while managing a life with chronic illness. 

How to put it into practice? 

Depending on your ability or condition it varies on what yoga you could start with. Hatha yoga, Iyengar yoga, and Kripalu yoga are the most gentle. You can contact your local studios and let them know of your limitations and see if they can accommodate. 

I love doing yoga at home because it's free, and convenient. Here's the yoga routine I do if you're interested! Chair yoga's wonderful if you have any neurological symptoms, pain, stiffness or are a beginner. (Remember to listen to your body and don't push yourself to far).