Living With Celiac

Living With Celiac

Are you a foodie? I am. When my health allows, I love to cook.

Food is such an important part of life. Families and friends gathered around the table sharing a meal, laughter and company. Holidays, special occasions from large to small.

For years I’ve had intestinal issues but attributed it to the extreme stress I was under. Later on I learned about some of my family background. In 2014 I was diagnosed with Celiac. This answered some of the problems.

You can’t make positive changes unless you know what the problem is. For those of you who may not know, Celiac is not a mild allergy. If it isn’t diagnosed and you aren’t on a gluten free diet, you can die. If enough of the villi in the small intestine break off, you will starve to death. So please, be respectful to people who have Celiac and are gluten sensitive.

I’m mostly Scottish and English with Irish and Welsh tossed in for good measure. So, I have the right ancestry. For those interested in the type of test used, this information comes from Tissue Transglutaminase Antibodies (tTG-IgA) – The tTG-IgA test will be positive in about 98% of patients with celiac disease who are on a gluten-containing diet. Before you have the test done the doctor will have you eat gluten for a week, then the test is done and sent off to a lab. At least here in the United States that’s how it’s done.

People who are gluten sensitive can have similar symptoms as those with Celiac. This explanation comes from Gluten Free Living “Scientists from the Center for Celiac Research have also found that gluten sensitivity is a bona fide condition, distinct from celiac disease, with its own intestinal response to gluten. Although gluten-sensitive patients have the diarrhea, abdominal pain and other symptoms suffered by those with celiac disease, they do not have the intestinal inflammation, flattening of the absorbing villi or long-term damage to small intestine that characterizes untreated celiac disease.

Researchers found differences between celiac disease and gluten sensitivity in intestinal permeability and genes regulating the immune response in the gut. (Intestinal permeability is the ability of the mucosal layer of the digestive tract to prevent bacteria, antigens, and undigested food proteins from seeping through the gastro-intestinal barrier. Those who have celiac disease often have a high degree of permeability, sometimes called a leaky gut, but the study found that was not the case in those who are gluten sensitive.)”

Another issue has reared up.

I don’t know if this problem comes with having Celiac or if my body is a quirky mess.

I used to be able to eat chicken and turkey, or the occasional piece of beef. Beef was the worst as far as digestion goes. It felt like a brick in my stomach and it made my stomach hurt while bringing nausea along for the ride.

From what I’ve figured out, it seems it takes too much energy for my body to digest meat. I’ve gone back to ovo-lacto vegetarianism. My stomach and intestines appear happier with this decision.


For a time I was studying the Paleo diet, but with this no meat development it won’t work going all Paleo. All isn’t lost though; there are a number of recipes which are gluten free and adaptable. Yay! This makes me happy. A foodie needs choices. If you’re on Pinterest, stop by and check out my boards on Gluten Free, Paleo, DIY projects and my books. Pinterest has lots of places for a foodie to roam.

I know I’m not the only one who deals with more than one chronic health issue. Having the energy to make something from scratch doesn’t happen often. Even using a box mix can be more than my body can handle.

Some days it’s a major victory to open a can of soup and heat it up. The bad days consist of peanut butter (peanut paste across the pond) spread on a piece of bread. When you have a horrid day you don’t eat at all. This isn’t a statement for drama purposes. This is a reality many deal with more frequently than anyone knows.

Depression can wiggle in and make itself at home. Don’t let it become comfortable. You do the best you can where you are health-wise. Use what you have to work with.

Look for the blessings.


What’s a foodie to do with all these dietary restrictions? Get creative! Think outside the box and do some research. Choose to have a positive attitude. Experiment if you can and keep the joy cooking alive.

God Bless the companies offering quality bread, crackers, pasta and cookies giving us more possibilities and options.

Remember when cooking no one is perfect and not every recipe will turn out either. Sometimes we stumble upon something we deem a mistake and it isn’t. Also, it isn’t the end of the world because a dish didn’t turn out. Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you’re new to cooking give yourself a chance to learn.

Here are a couple of the books on my cooking bookshelf you might find helpful:

Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise G. Roberts

The Gradual Vegetarian by Lisa Tracy

The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas (not sure if this one is still in print, hope so!)

The internet (blogs, Pinterest, websites), the bookstore and Food Networks are all places to discover great vegetarian, gluten free, vegan and Paleo recipes. It’s all about eating good food that feeds your body and soul.

Some of these people you may recognize and others who may be new to you. Check out what they have to offer. I’m inspired by Jamie Oliver. I love his recipes and his approach to food. Jamie Oliver

Miyoko Schinner is amazing! I can’t wait to try her brown rice-mushroom burgers. Miyoko says they freeze well, too. She also creates vegan cheese that taste as good as dairy cheese. Miyoko’s Kitchen

Nicole Hunn of Gluten Free on a Shoestring has quickly become a favorite place of mine. Her books are on my to-be-bought-list. Gluten Free on a Shoestring

If you haven’t tried Uncle Jerry’s Kitchen, go and see all the lovely recipes he has on his site. There’s a mixture of recipes containing gluten and some gluten free like Jamie’s, but there’s always something good. Uncle Jerry’s Kitchen

I hope this post offers some insight on living with Celiac as well as giving you some exciting places to explore. Having a disease like Celiac means you have to adjust to what your normal is and fearlessly create what works for you. As a foodie living with Celiac, life is good. Very good.

If you’re a foodie living with health issues, what have you done to adjust? I’m looking forward to hearing your solutions.

All the best to you!

Tambra Nicole