Wait…So What is Celiac Disease?

I’ve had this blog for a couple of weeks now and a thought just came to me.  What if people reading this don’t even know what Celiac is?  Maybe some of you reading are just starting your diet or are thinking you may have Celiac.  Well, it would probably make sense to explain what it is!

To start off, Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease.  An autoimmune disorder is when your body “attacks” itself. It can’t tell the difference between something good (which gluten is supposed to be) and pathogens (invaders).  The way Celiac Disease works is after you eat anything containing gluten, your body reacts thinking it is an invader and damages your small intestines.  The little villi in your small intestines are what absorb nutrients, but when they are damaged, they can’t do their job properly.  This is why weight loss is a symptom of Celiac Disease.

You are automatically put at risk if you already have another autoimmune disorder or if you have relatives with any autoimmune disorders.  For example, my mom has Thyroid Disease, which is an AI disorder.  In the summer of 2007, my older brother and my younger brother were each diagnosed with an AI disorder.  They have Type 1 Diabetes and Crohn’s Disease respectively.  I got tested for Thyroid, Diabetes and Crohn’s and I was in the clear….so I thought.  1 year later, in the summer or 2008 I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder of my own!  Strangely enough, my gastroenterologist at the time said I probably had Celiac for a year by the time I was diagnosed.  So, if I were to have been diagnosed right away, all 3 of us got our autoimmune disorders in the same year.  Bizarre, right?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Celiac Disease yet, but there is treatment.  The lovely gluten-free diet. 🙂 This means no barley, rye, malt, or wheat!

If you are having any symptoms like abdominal pain, weight loss, fatigue, or diarrhea, ask your doctor to get tested.  It’s a simple blood test to do.  It took me a few blood tests to figure it out.  I had symptoms like hair loss, fatigue, and abdominal pain.  My mom’s first thought was Thyroid Disease, but it turns out I had extreme anemia (which gave me hair loss and made me tired)  because of Celiac Disease!  There are so many people who go years without finding out the solution to their problems so please, please get tested!  Your poor intestines can only handle so much. 😦

But, on a lighter note, my parents went to my favorite pizza place tonight, Transfer Pizzeria, and they brought me back a pizza!!  Transfer has the absolute best pizza (gluten-free or not) and I highly recommend it to anyone in the Milwaukee area.  This is what they brought back for me!

 This beauty is the only kind of pizza I have had at Transfer and I haven’t had the guts (no pun intended) to try anything else because I love this one so much!  It’s a gluten-free crust with a white garlic (my favorite ingredient on anything) sauce instead of a red sauce, topped with roasted potatoes, chicken, and cheese.  I’m dying inside just remembering it’s in my fridge for tomorrow!  This comes in a non-gluten-free variety as well, so everyone go and try it!  It is the best pizza place that I have been to in my entire life.  Even before I ate gluten-free.  Try it.  You will thank me later.

3 Sites You Must Go to Before You Die

Every once in a while, I go on these crazy gluten-free splurges online.  Well, my mom makes me.  She insists I have enough  fun things to eat just like anyone else.  Obviously, I’m glad to oblige.

Most online places have lots of more variety and cheaper prices than in actual stores.  Here I have my top 3 favorite websites for gluten-free things. 🙂

1. Vitacost.com–This place is awesome.  They do vitamins, supplements, beauty products, and fortunately, gluten-free things!  They have a lot to choose from with absolutely amaaaaazing prices.  The first time I went to their site, I found a ton of things I had never heard of before.  They also have sales on gluten-free things almost all the time.  For instance, right now everything is 15% off, but a few weeks ago I got everything at 30% off because of Celiac Awareness or something along those lines.  If you haven’t ever looked at this site or bought anything from them, you must!

2. Sillyyakbakery.com–I can’t even begin to express my love for this website.  I honestly can’t.  First of all, the name.  Silly Yak.  It took me years to figure it out, but now that I get it, I’m obsessed.  Anyway, they are based out of Madison, WI but they ship all over the Midwest.  Check out this page to see if they ship to your zip code.  There are so many different kinds of bakery to choose from- muffins, scones, donuts, cupcakes, bread, cookies…the list goes on.  But let me stop just to say these cookies are the best gluten-free cookies I have ever put in my face.  Oh my god, are they delicious.  I personally think they are even better than what I remember “normal” cookies tasting like!  Soft, chewy and delicious…ahh, my mouth is just watering just thinking about them.  If they ship to your area, ORDER FROM THEM  RIGHT NOW!  Order lots, and put a bunch in the freezer.  That’s what I do and everything still tastes amazing after being frozen.

I got a text a few weeks ago from my mom saying, “Package arrived. Come home to get it.”  Package? I didn’t order anything…I am absolutely the most impatient person on this planet and everything I order I track like a HOUND.  I didn’t remember ordering anything, but I did as I was told and came home to an unlabeled (HUGE) brown box.  I popped that sucker open and what did I find?  Mountains of bakery!  Mountains, I tell you.  4 different kinds of cookies, a doughnut, a loaf of bread, a coffee cake (!!) and so much more.  It was like Christmas in September.  It was such an amazing surprise to have yummy, yummy food.  One of the reasons I love my mommy. 🙂

3. Olivenation.com–This isn’t a special gluten-free site, but they do have some things to choose from.  I learned about them after my boss was searching for extracts for work, and he came across their gluten-free products.  We make gluten-free cupcakes at work and the previous flour we used absolutely sucked.  It was grainy and made the cakes dense and disgusting.  Then, we decided to try out Olive Nation’s flour and it made them taste so, so, so good!  My favorite blend of flours is rice flour, potato starch, and tapioca starch.  This flour has each of those, plus xanthan gum (!!).  It says on the site that you can swap regular flour right out and substitute this gluten-free blend.  We did that with our carrot cake recipe and it turned out so great!  Good gluten-free flours are really hard to come by, so if you’re still looking for one you like, please give this one a try!  I promise you won’t regret it. 🙂
Do you have any gluten-free sites that you swear by?