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).


Gluten-free diet = weight-loss diet?

Posted on August 11th, 2010 by Alison | Posted in Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, Publicity | Read 11 Comments - Add Your Own »

I’ve already asked the question: Is the gluten-free diet a fad or here to stay? more than once. Now the Today Show weighs in on whether the gluten-free diet is a fad weight-loss diet…

Thoughts?


I’ve been blogging around

Posted on May 10th, 2010 by Alison | Posted in Blog Events, Publicity | ADD A COMMENT »

For some reason this month, I’ve been busy showing up on other people’s blogs! Here are the other places you can see/read me…


What Caused This Woman’s Asthma and Iron-Deficiency Anemia?
Video interview on Joanne Unleashed

In this video interview, I discuss my symptoms leading to my diagnosis of celiac disease, how I was finally diagnosed, my opinions about gluten sensitivity and more.  Joanne Unleashed is a blog of book reviews and interviews with authors, health educators, and self-educated health seekers. The topics are about health, nutrition, agriculture, and living a vibrant life. This is my first video interview! I think Joanne is a great interviewer and I love her collection of interviews she has on her site – there are some fascinating stories. Even if you don’t want to listen to mine, you’ve got to hear the guy who eats an all-raw-meat-diet! Read What Caused This Woman’s Asthma and Iron-Deficiency Anemia?


Going Gluten-Free, A Perspective
Guest article on Attune Foods Blog

In this guest article I wrote, I tell about what it was like to be diagnosed with a disease I had never heard of, and how difficult it was at first. Now that I have been living gluten-free for many years, I sometimes forget how I felt in the beginning… writing this article brought me back to that overwhelming time. It’s important that we remember the grieving process that people may need to go through when they are first told they must give up gluten for the rest of their lives. Read Going Gluten-Free, A Perspective


30 Days to a Food Revolution – Day 7
Guest article on the W.H.O.L.E. Gang blog

In this guest article, I share my recipe for 3-Ingredient Salad Dressing, my tip for getting your kids to eat more veggies, and I give some opinions too! Diane at the W.H.O.L.E. Gang blog is hosting 30 different bloggers for 30 days, sharing 30 different ways to eat real food. Read 30 Days to a Food Revolution – Day 7


You can make comments there or here!


The G-Free Diet by Elisabeth Hasselbeck – A Review

Posted on April 27th, 2009 by Alison | Posted in Babies & Kids, Books, Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance, News & Research, Publicity | Read 19 Comments - Add Your Own »

The much anticipated book The G-Free Diet: A Gluten-Free Survival Guide by Elisabeth Hasselbeck is being released! Are you wondering whether to read it or not? Perhaps my review can help you decide!

First, what I thought I was going to think…

g-free-diet-hasselbeckI must admit that I had a preconceived notion about what the book was going to be like. My skepticism had nothing to do with her, or her personality, or what she says on the View, or what people think of her, because frankly, I don’t have time to watch TV at 10am or read about her comments on the internet. My preconceived notion was based simply on the title “The G-Free Diet.”

The cutesy title reminded me of an article I wrote in which I pointed out that maybe the reason people couldn’t embrace the gluten-free diet is that the word “gluten” just isn’t cool enough for people and that we need to start calling the gluten-free diet something else. (I jokingly offered “the no g-carb diet” as a solution.) Turns out I might have been right and a celebrity has given it a new name! Elisabeth uses the term “the G-Free Diet” so many times in the book that by the end I actually find myself getting used to it. Another phrase she uses: “G-Full” — referring to foods that are full of gluten. Not bad.

So back to the preconceived notion… the cutesy title and cutesy cover made me think that the book was going to be cutesy too. It wasn’t!

What I thought…

I found this book to be practical and personal. It is practical, with understandable medical and diet information, and personal, with stories meant to illustrate points and make us feel like she is just like us with the same worries and anxiety about the diet that we have (except that she hangs out with Whoopi Goldberg and Prince Charles!). She also maintains a positive but realistic attitude throughout, which is the tone that I also try to convey on this website.

Perhaps I liked this book too because I related to her story. My celiac story is very similar to hers in terms of symptoms and the journey to diagnosis. In fact we were both diagnosed in 2002, after returning from a time away from the United States — she 39 days in Australia for Survivor: Outback, me 25 days in India for my honeymoon. We both were on a gluten-free diet without even realizing it, our bodies repaired themselves, and when we returned to our wheat-laden American culture, our bodies struck back with a vengeance. Another similarity — we both figured it out before doctors did. Our recoveries were similar too. She mentions jokingly that she can’t believe her now-husband continued dating her despite all her health problems — I have also joked that I can’t believe my husband married me! (I was diagnosed 3 months after our wedding!)

I really liked…

The chapter called “What’s Mine is Yours (Well, Sort Of!)” Elisabeth is the only one in her family that eats gluten-free, and she provides helpful information for what she calls the “modified G-free kitchen” where both gluten-free and gluten-containing foods are prepared. If you are new to the diet and haven’t converted your entire family to your way of thinking yet, the information provided in the book will make the shared kitchen seem do-able. Luckily I don’t have to take all of these extra precautions, as my kitchen is completely gluten-free. (My husband eventually adopted my diet because he was feeling so much better when he was gluten-free and I have decided to raise my children gluten-free.) I feel that if you can get your kitchen to be as gluten-free as possible, it makes things so much easier and makes you feel more relaxed — at least you can feel at ease in your own home!

The chapter “Out on the Town” about dining out. There are some very good restaurant tips and the section called “Deciphering the Menu: The G-Free Detective” defines menu terms that are helpful for everyone to read. Don’t expect to find recipes or many menu ideas in this book. There are a couple Italian recipes from her mother, but this is not a recipe book.

The chapter called “Throw Me a Bagel!” about living with someone who is gluten-free. Rarely have I seen tips for the person who lives with a gluten-free person (“GFG” she calls it, for Gluten-Free Gal or Guy). There is some great advice addressing such things as compassion, adaptability, preparedness, cleanliness and selflessness.

The section “Translating Ingredients” for understanding how to read cosmetics and personal care product labels. This is something that often gets overlooked by people on a gluten-free diet.

I really didn’t like…

The fact that there is a chapter named “G-Free and Slim As Can Be!” which sounds like the whole chapter is promoting the use of the gluten-free diet for weight loss. The chapter is actually not about that at all and points out that once people are on a gluten-free diet and are forced to read labels, they become aware of what they are putting into their bodies and generally become healthier eaters overall. The chapter is more about nutrition and awareness of food. There are only a few sentences that refer to the fact that people might try the diet to lose weight — it’s unfortunate that the title doesn’t reflect the real content of the chapter.

I beg to differ…

In the chapter “How Not to Be A Party Pooper,” Elisabeth recommends that if someone asks about your diet while at a party, “briskly change the subject!” and “Whatever you do, do not let people dwell on your diet — it’s just no way to enjoy your night out.” She definitely has a point — if you don’t want to talk about it, by all means, you shouldn’t have to. I have a different approach though. I mention my diet and then I wait. If I sense that people aren’t interested, I go ahead and change the subject or they will anyway, but I don’t mind talking about it, and I have found that these times open a door for people to ask you questions and voice their concerns about their own health. In fact, sometimes I feel like a magnet for people with health problems. But really, it’s because I open the door for them… and invite them in.

I’m glad she included…

The foreword by Dr. Peter Green. Also, I’m glad that in the foreword, Dr. Green talks about non-celiac gluten sensitivity and states, “Those with gluten sensitivity in the absence of celiac disease have a great difficulty getting satisfaction from the medical community. Without an abnormal biopsy, there is difficulty among many physicians accepting such a diagnosis. I, however, regard the diagnosis as valid, providing that celiac disease is excluded.” This is a different take than he had in the past when he referred to the gluten-free diet as unnecessary torture without a diagnosis of celiac disease. If you are a regular reader of mine, you know by now that I think outside the celiac box, so I was glad to see that gluten intolerance has been acknowledged in the book by both Dr. Green and Elisabeth.

And in her last chapter, Elisabeth tackles the connection between Autism and the Gluten-Free Casein-Free (GFCF) Diet. I believe that she did it well, citing studies and quoting doctors to support the idea that a diet change could be beneficial for some autistic kids. She made the connection understandable and at the end of the chapter, points out (and I wholeheartedly agree) “If eliminating gluten and casein from your child’s diet can even slightly reduce the severity of his ASD, why not talk to a physician who could help you make this change?”

Some picky notes (I couldn’t just let these go!)…

Blue Cheese
Elisabeth recommends staying away from blue cheese, but there are many brands that are gluten-free. See Is blue cheese gluten-free? for a list.

Glucose Syrup
Although it can be made from wheat, studies have shown that it is gluten-free. See Is glucose syrup gluten-free? for more information.

Sticky Rice
The book says that the sticky rice in sushi might contain added gluten. I know a lot of you enjoy sushi, so don’t freak out! The sticky rice (also called glutinous rice) does not contain gluten itself, despite its misleading name, and I have never heard of gluten being added to it. Things that are added to sticky rice are sugar, salt, rice wine and rice vinegar, all of which are gluten-free. There are other foods to watch out for when eating sushi (soy sauce, imitation crab, sauces, roe, miso, tempura, tea), but the sticky rice is not one of them!

Online Stores
I wasn’t impressed with the online stores resource list in this book. I understand that websites and stores change a lot, but there were some basic “oopsies” that I found. In the middle of the book (p.74) she recommended www.glutenfreegrocer.com as an online store — well, it’s just someone’s Amazon store, like I have here. Also, in the resources list at the end of the book, she recommends www.glutenfreemarket.com, which is a domain name that’s for sale (you can make an offer!) Given that few resources were even listed, it seems like they should have been checked before going to print.

Overall…

I think this is a really good guide for someone who has just been diagnosed with celiac disease or is just starting a gluten-free diet, or even for those that have been on a gluten-free diet for a while but haven’t completely mastered it yet. I am surprised I liked it so much. I may even start saying I am “G-Free!” Or maybe not.


Celebrity Apprentice’s charity is food allergies

Posted on March 25th, 2008 by Alison | Posted in Food Allergies, Publicity | Read 1 Comment - Add Your Own »

I admit it, I used to watch The Apprentice years ago. And I liked it. (Yes, I was a Survivor fan too!)

It’s been a while since I have tuned in, but this Thursday, March 27, I might just have to watch The Celebrity Apprentice to see if Trace Adkins, country singing star, wins in the finale. If he does, his chosen charity, The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), will receive a check for $250,000. It’s great that he is raising awareness about food allergies!

Watch this video to see why he is personally motivated to win the challenge: