My TV debut speaking about gluten and food allergies!

Posted on October 10th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Celiac Disease, Food Allergies, Publicity, Sure Foods Living News | Read 14 Comments - Add Your Own »

I am so lucky — I got to talk about celiac disease and food allergies on TV! It makes me happy that over the past 9 years I have been able to share my story in so many ways — through my blog, in newspaper and magazine, in person, in groups and now on television. Cheryl Jennings of ABC 7 in San Francisco was as nice as can be, as was everyone I met at the studio. I also enjoyed meeting and listening to the others interviewed for this segment. I have already received some emails from those who saw it, so I know it has reached some people out there! 🙂

I hope you will watch the whole show, but if you are short on time, my interview starts at 18:18 (I’m the last 4 minutes of the show).


What’s for gluten-free breakfast?

Posted on July 21st, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Celiac Disease, Food Ideas, Gluten Intolerance, Products | Comments Off on What’s for gluten-free breakfast?

Did you know that breakfast cereal was invented only a little over 100 years ago? What was intended as a health food has become, for most Americans, a meal of sugary processed grains devoid of real nutrition. Bright unnatural colors, marshmallow or chocolate bits and prizes are Happy Breakfastwhat define our boxed cereals of today. Even choosing healthy, natural cereals can mean a lot of gluten, as most cereals are made from wheat, and if you are one of the 7% of Americans who have celiac disease or are gluten intolerant (some doctors suspect the number is closer to 30%!), this big dose of gluten at the beginning of the day can really affect the rest of your day.

So, what are your breakfast options if you need to be on a gluten-free diet? Don’t worry – there are many! Head over to Attune Foods, the makers of Erewhon cereal, to read my list of gluten-free breakfast ideas, and add your own in the comments!


The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness

Posted on May 31st, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Celiac Disease, NFCA | Read 1 Comment - Add Your Own »

nfcaIf you are not yet familiar with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA), it’s time to get acquainted! Founded by Alice Bast in 2003 after her own struggle with obtaining a diagnosis of celiac disease, the NFCA’s primary goal has been to raise awareness of celiac disease and gluten intolerance among the general public and the healthcare community.

The NFCA website has excellent resources, such as:

I am happy that I was chosen for NFCA’s “Blogger-A-Day The Gluten-Free Way” during the Celiac Awareness Month of May. I am the final blogger profiled, but you can read about all the other bloggers and see links to their favorite posts by going to the NFCA’s Celiac Central blog.

Thanks to the NFCA for raising awareness!


How I react to gluten… what happens to you?

Posted on May 29th, 2011 by Alison | Posted in Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Symptoms | Read 354 Comments - Add Your Own »

Wonder what happens when a girl with celiac disease eats gluten? Read on!

There was actually a time that I wanted to eat gluten just to see what would happen to me. I had been gluten-free for many years, and I didn’t know how my body would react. I also thought it would make for a good blog post! Well, here it is, but not intentionally. I have been “glutened” three times in the past year. I’m not talking about a tiny bit of cross-contamination — I accidentally ate gluten. And paid for it.

First there was the muffin incident, and although there was no obvious gluten, there is no doubt in my mind that there was a significant amount of it in that muffin.

One bite of glutenMonths later came a lunch out with colleagues to an Italian restaurant. One of my colleagues ordered the “gluten-free pasta” that turned out to be not gluten-free. Oops. I found out after I had eaten one bite of her pasta. Just one bite.

And the last time was a few weeks ago, when I ate gluten at lunch. The owner of the restaurant believed something to be gluten-free, but it turned out to be an appetizer made of semolina (which is wheat). This time I ate with my colleague and nutritionist Sheila Wagner, who is gluten-intolerant, so it was interesting to note the differences in our reactions.

In all three instances I reacted almost the same way:

  • Anywhere from one to four hours after ingesting the gluten, I began to feel nauseous and my stomach started hurting.
  • The nausea got gradually worse until I ended up vomiting and having diarrhea.
  • After that I was practically comatose. I could barely walk and had an uncontrollable need to lay down and either zone out (I caught myself staring out the window and I had no idea how long I had been doing it), or go to sleep as though I have been drinking alcohol and need to pass out for a while until I sober up.
  • I fluctuated between feeling hot and clammy to feeling chilled and shivering. This combined with achy muscles made me feel as though I had the flu.
  • After sleeping, I came to and felt sober again, although one of the times I remained spacy for hours after, and even a little bit the next day.

Sheila reacted in a totally different way when we ate the same meal:

  • She had a headache by the time we left the restaurant and began to feel bloating that she has not felt in a decade.
  • She awoke at 3:30 am that night with a “blaring” headache, stomach ache, a little nausea and an elevated heart rate (like she drank a bottle of booze).
  • She couldn’t go back to sleep and the headache got much worse. Her brain felt very slow, her bowels were also slow, and she had a low back ache and left neck pain.
  • She also had phlegm in her throat and sinuses.
  • She continued to have soft tissue and joint pain the entire next day and her headache persisted for about 24 hours.

All this from gluten!

In a way I feel lucky that my body gets rid of the gluten right away, so my symptoms don’t persist into the next day like Sheila’s did. I have heard from some of you who feel it for days, even weeks. If you’ve been gluten-free for a while, it would be interesting to hear what happens to you if you accidentally (or on purpose!) eat gluten.

How do you react to gluten?