Personal Stories and Resources For a Gluten-Free Diet

 

Did you know that going gluten-free can help improve mood, behavioral disorders, foggy thinking, memory, intestinal health, acid reflux, chronic pain, and headaches? Removing gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye) can also boost energy, help with infertility, allow for better absorption of nutrients, and help heal skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema. Going gluten-free is not an end-all-be-all, but it is a large gateway to better health. Several friends of mine that have celiac disease would like to share their stories and the resources they have used to make being gluten-free manageable.

Anthony Radzikowski’s story:

I have been in the pizza industry since 1985. Then, at age 21,  in 1991 I opened Nana’s Pizza on Main Street in Everett. Everything was going great until November of 2008. It was then when  I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Having only made pizzas for a living I was terrified! I thought to myself  “Great! Not only can’t I eat my favorite food anymore, but at age 39 I’m going to have to walk away from the business I have built and figure out a new career?” It seemed like a bad joke- a pizza business owner and I have celiac.

 After making adjustments to my work environment to avoid any air-borne ingestion of gluten, I was able to stay in the business. The main change was switching to a white rice flour on the pizza making station. It allowed us to keep the pizza flavor in tact without compromising my health.

 Then in 2010 we acquired the space next to us and added a beautiful casual dining room. Because it was so difficult to find a really good tasting GF pizza, my wife Gia  & I decided to develop a gluten-free menu to offer now that we had a dining room. We have the crust made at a certified GF facility and I have personally trained my staff in avoiding cross-contamination. It provides customers with gluten intolerance or Celiac much more comfort knowing that the owner of the business has a personal vested interest in making sure every precaution is taken.

 The reviews of our pizza have been nothing short of great since we started. We also offer other GF menu items so that customers can get the full pizzeria experience. We have 4 flavors of wings available; all our salad dressings are GF; and we also carry Redbridge so you can get a pizza and a beer just like everyone else!

 We basically made pizza eating fun again for adults and kids who have the challenge of eating gluten-free.

 Sincerely,

Anthony Radzikowski-Founder/ Owner

Nana’s Pizza, 410 Main St, Everett, MA 02149

617-389-6262 FREE  (NANA)

www. NanasEverett.com

Leona van der Meer’s story:

I was diagnosed with celiac disease about 12 years ago. I have struggled with stomach upset and pain all my life and was misdiagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and a Spastic Colon. It wasn’t until I was extremely symptomatic with chronic anemia, fatigue, severe weight loss and joint pain that I was sent to a gastroenterologist for further testing. He took one look at me and said, “I’m pretty sure you have Celiac Disease.” I had a colonoscopy, intestinal tissue biopsy and Celiac Panel blood testing.  All tests and the damaged villi in the small intestine, confirmed his suspicion. I was to be one of the many suffers of  Celiac Disease in the  United States.  Statistics say that 1 out of every 100 people in the U.S. population has celiac disease.

Since my diagnosis, I have adhered to a strict gluten-free diet which has brought me back to good health. I also make sure that I take vitamin supplements, especially vitamin D and calcium since natural absorption of these vitamins can be especially difficult for those with Celiac Disease.

Living with Celiac Disease has become much easier over the last few years. Many  restaurants  offer gluten-free menus and most grocery stores have whole aisles dedicated to gluten-free products. I truly am thankful to a new awareness and acceptance of the disease that has made life for me, with Celiac Disease, less of a struggle.

Leona van der Meer

Matt Labarre’s story:

Since high school, I had been to many kinds of doctors. I was misdiagnosed with diverticulitis, hiatal hernia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, acid reflux/heart burn and was put on all kinds of medications for those various issues. The best doctor I had at the time was most concerned with my esophagus and the acid reflux. In addition to those diagnoses, I was also taking aspirin daily for arthritis, which made things worse for my acid reflux. All of these things combined were irritating my stomach and this concerned my doctor, who suspected that I had Celiac Disease. He told me that the way to find out was to actually eat a gluten based diet for a period of time and record what happens. I decided that I did not want to undergo this experiment because I already knew what would happen: constant trips to the bathroom, bloating , and pain! So I decided to research on my own and alter my diet. I like to eat chicken and rice,  and vegetables, so I stuck with those basics and started to feel better. I also came across the book written by Elisabeth Hasselbeck, entitled The G Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide. It was all starting to make sense to me, but I wasn’t exactly ready to go all gluten-free.

Four years ago, I happened to visit a bed and breakfast with my wife. Upon looking at the menu, I noticed mostly gluten-free options and after having a conversation with the owner, she told me that she has Celiac disease. I thought about what she said for about a year.

One year later, my wife and I attended a wedding and sat at the table with another person who suffers from Celiac and told me about the gluten-free diet. So I decided to try the gluten-free diet for a week. I actually knew in a matter of days that I had Celiac Disease and the gluten-free diet was working. My digestion was better and I had no more pain!

So now I live a gluten-free diet and I feel so much better. My gluten-free diet is very basic: chicken, rice, vegetables, and salad. The biggest challenge is going to other people’s houses to eat because I do not want to make them adjust what they make just for me, so it is not often that I do. If I am invited to a party, I eat ahead of time, and just socialize. My only weakness is icecream, but if I decide to indulge, I do it at home where I can make the trips to the bathroom without causing any worry from my family and friends.

Matt Labarre

Other resources:

Nourishing Meals

Nourishing Meals

 

For more information and over 300 delicious recipes, check out this new book: Nourishing Meals: Healthy Gluten-Free Recipes For The Whole Family by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre MS, CN . You’ll find easy-to-make gluten-free bread recipes using nutritious ingredients, healthy breakfast options, vegan and non-vegan main dish recipes, plenty of ways to add more vegetables to your diet, and of course many amazing dessert recipes!

A new website that was recommended by one of my friends, Craig Sherman, from the Gluten-Free Boston Facebook Group is Celiac Now: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Another website I have found is National Foundation for Celiac Awareness

 

 

If you are aware of any other resources, or you’d like to share your own personal story, please let me know and I will add it to this post. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed, and for all of you readers for spreading gluten-free awareness!

Renee Sullivan,

Your Resident Health Nut

 

8 Responses to Personal Stories and Resources For a Gluten-Free Diet
  1. Leona
    December 7, 2012 | 10:11 am

    Sweet blog! I found these stories very inspiring, especially your friend, Leona (mostly because she has the same name as me!). I have celiac disease myself and learned what to eat by trial and error. It would have been helpful when I was going through this in the beginning to have some resources like this. Thank goodness there is more awareness now!
    Leona

    • reneesullivan
      December 9, 2012 | 3:46 am

      Leona,
      Thanks for commenting. I’m glad this post inspired you. It is easier to be gluten-free now that there is more awareness. What was the hardest thing for you to deal with when figuring out what was going on with you?
      Renee

  2. Nora
    December 7, 2012 | 11:13 am

    Great information. I will be trying some recipes from the book you mentioned.

    • reneesullivan
      December 9, 2012 | 3:37 am

      Hi Nora,
      I have had several friends recommend this book, and I am giving it to a few people I know that have Celiac Disease for Christmas. Does someone you know have Celiac?
      Thank you for commenting.
      Renee

  3. Wilburn
    December 21, 2012 | 7:40 am

    Thank you for the resources. Your site offers quality based content and additional information. I haven’t come into contact with many sites that offer the quality you do. Did you get training?

    • reneesullivan
      December 23, 2012 | 9:36 pm

      Wilburn,
      Thanks for visiting my site and for your comments. I really didn’t know what I was doing when I first started blogging. My goal has always been to provide good content and resources. After struggling on my own, I did decide to find a web strategist. He helped me with my website and trained me on social media etiquette and how to write quality content. Then I just started getting more into the social media outlets and learned a lot by just exploring.

      Now I’m enjoying sharing what I learned with others. It’s like a “pay it forward” kind of thing.
      Renee

  4. Jess Weagle
    January 28, 2013 | 1:22 pm

    So many people have a gluten sensitivity that don’t even know it. And a lot of the time it will show up as a chronic pain condition.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • reneesullivan
      January 28, 2013 | 4:29 pm

      Jess,
      Most of the people I know have said that the pain they get is abdominal, mostly bloating. One friend of mine used to spend hours in the bathroom in pain, until she decided to look at her diet and research on her own. That’s when she told her doctor that she thought she has Celiac Disease and the doctor confirmed it. Luckily now there is more awareness, resources and restaurants are beginning to add gluten-free options on their menu.

      Thanks for your comments Jess.
      Renee

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