Author Archives: Jennifer Slack

Allergen Detection Service Dogs…Until There’s a Cure! Interview with Ciara Gavin

Allergen Detection Service DogsI was recently connected with Ciara Gavin of Allergen Detection Service Dogs in a joint effort to work together to increase Food Allergy Awareness by holding a conference in Colorado Springs.  While that whole idea is still in the works, I was immediately intrigued by the work being done by Ciara and her team.  I needed to know more!  Lucky for me, she agreed to come to Denver and meet over lunch to discuss the work we both do.  I am honored to share with all of you the amazing services being provided through Allergen Detection Service Dogs!

allergen detection service dogs

Allergendetectionservicedogs.com

First, I have to say that I was lucky enough to meet one of these amazing dogs named Tucker, who is actually a mobility dog, and has a unique set of skills outside of allergen detection.  However, he was in the restaurant with us and was well received, well behaved, and an all around incredible animal.  I was hooked from Read More »

Allergy Eats Answers! New Press Release on Traveling With Food Allergies.

Gluten Free Works Author Jennifer Leeson

* The following post was not written by me, but rather supplied to me by Adrienne Walkowiak at http://www.allergyeats.com/*

AllergyEats Makes Traveling Easier This Spring,

Helps Families Find Food Allergy-Friendly Restaurants Nationwide

AllergyEats, The Most Comprehensive Source for Finding Allergy-Friendly Restaurants,

Offers Free Peer-Based Ratings, Tips & Info-Sharing Forums
BOSTON, MA (March 19, 2012) – Millions of people will travel this season for spring break, school vacation and the Easter/Passover holidays, and for most of them, these trips mean fun, relaxation and wonderful adventures.  But for the 15 million people with food allergies (and their families), traveling can be a source of tremendous anxiety.  Dining in unfamiliar cities and restaurants – which may or may not be able to accommodate their special dietary requirements – can be extremely stressful.  Worrying about a possible allergic reaction compounds the problem.  But the food allergy community can depend on AllergyEats (www.allergyeats.com), the biggest and fastest growing source for finding allergy-friendly restaurants, to help them more comfortably dine out wherever they are – resulting in a more enjoyable, less stressful trip.

“I’ve traveled extensively with my children – who are allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, sesame and dairy –  and have learned Read More »

Interview with Karen Cranford: Denver Celiac Sprue Association Chapter 17 President

Gluten Free Works Author Jennifer Leeson

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Karen Cranford, the president of our very own Celiac Sprue Association (CSA) chapter in Denver. I’ve known Karen now for about 7 months.  We met when I became involved in the chapter and she helped me become the secretary.  However, I feel that during this interview, I got to REALLY meet Karen and get to know her, which was such a joy.  She has been the president of CSA for over two years and has helped, along with her many board members, build such a strong organization that has helped bring Denver to the top of the list in Celiac Awareness.  She has helped the chapter bring the  ‘Incredible Edible Gluten-Free Food Fair™’ to Denver as well as worked hard to get incredibly knowledgable speakers, such as Dr. Ford, Dr. Fasano, and Dr. Wangen, to Denver to educate us all on Celiac disease and gluten intolerance.  We all get the joy of experiencing the hard work she puts in on a volunteer basis to make living gluten free easier on all of us, but now we get the special treat of actually getting to know Karen.

Interview

Jenn: How old were you when you were first diagnosed?

Karen: So it’s been 7 years, when I turned 50.  I’ve always laughed and said “Turn fifty…get celiac disease!”


Jenn:
How long were you having symptoms before receiving a diagnosis?

Karen: Well, it’s easy to look back and say maybe I was having symptoms for a long time.  I started having migraines around 22, and now I wonder if that was a symptom.  But, I was probably really sick for about Read More »

Alicia Woodward: Holiday and Social Event Tips

Gluten Free Works Author Jennifer Leeson

alicia woodward

Alicia Woodward, Editor Living Without Magazine

After getting the opportunity to interview Living Without’s Editor, Alicia Woodward, and learning more about her and the magazine, we went on to discuss Holiday and Social Event tip ideas.  The following is a compilation of Alicia’s tips along with some of my own tips on the how to effectively work through the barriers that might interfere with following through on these suggestions. Enjoy!

Holiday Tips for Social Events

1. A- Communicate.  Call well before the party to alert your host to your food sensitivities.  Be specific about your food “triggers,” clearly explaining what you can (and can’t) eat.

J- Take a deep breath and think about what you would do if you were the host of the situation.  My guess is you would try and do something to accommodate.  Most people, especially people that care about you, don’t want you to get sick and will try their best to help out…or at least let you know ahead of time if there won’t be something safe, so you can eat ahead of time.  If it’s a work event, you might want to talk to the organizer about the Read More »

Interview with Genevieve Fraser: Growing up with a Peanut Allergy

Gluten Free Works Author Jennifer Leeson


Working with people diagnosed with food allergies and Celiac disease has opened my eyes to the world around me.
Prior to this, the only person I knew with severe food allergies was a younger cousin of mine whom I spend very little time with.  But, when you start paying attention, you figure out there are many people living with food allergies, Celiac disease or other food related intolerances or restrictions.

Peanut Allergy GenevieveOne day, I came into work and a co-worker, Genevieve  Fraser, asked if I was the one with the food allergy therapist magnet on my car. When I said yes, she informed me that she has an anaphylactic allergy to peanuts, and has since she was very young.  Suddenly, it was in my awareness that I had been bringing peanut butter to work almost every day that I am in that office, not even realizing my office neighbor, just across the hall, has to carry an Epipen everywhere she goes because of peanuts!  Boy did that get my attention!

I didn’t stop bringing peanut butter to work at first, but I noticed I felt nervous and worried every time I did, so I finally stopped bringing it.  However, I noticed being concerned about others using her office when she was not around, and wondering if people were taking peanuts in there.  I finally decided that I should learn more about what it is like living as an adult with a severe anaphylactic food allergy, rather than just going off what I read and my own assumptions.

When I asked Genevieve if I could do a feature interview on her, she was so great and willing to share her story. I have to say, this interview was so informative, empowering, emotional, and motivating, that it really helped put some aspects of living with life threatening food allergies into perspective.  Genevieve not only survived her childhood, despite bullying and being different, but has gone on to complete her college degree and is working on her master’s.  She has dedicated herself to helping others overcome challenging obstacles in their lives so that they can live a full life, despite whatever challenges they might be facing.  I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did! Read More »

Dr. Stephen Wangen of the IBS Treatment Center in Seattle: An Inside Look

Gluten Free Works Author Jennifer Leeson

I have had the opportunity to connect with Dr. Stephen Wangen, the founder of the IBS Treatment Center in Seattle, WA.  Awhile back, at a CSA (Celiac Sprue Association) meeting I had the pleasure of helping Dr. Wangen with his book signing.  He had flown in to Denver to speak on his books, Healthier Without Wheat and Irritable Bowel Syndrome Solution. There was a full audience of folks, just like you and I, who were able to ask personal questions and learn more about living with Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance, as well as exploring other areas such as food allergies.

Since that time, Dr. Wangen and I have had the chance to talk about what the IBS Treatment Center does to help people really understand their bodies and how food can be affecting them.  He explores the possibilities of Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance and food allergies and helps people to develop a healthier lifestyle tailored to their specific needs.  At the same time, Dr. Wangen has observed the emotional affects these conditions can have on people and understands that not feeling well emotionally has an affect on how people take care of their physical well being.  What makes his practice so fantastic is the positive nature.  Dr. Wangen helps people view the changes by looking at the benfits and the gains and focusing on what people can have, rather than on what they can’t.  Here is what Dr. Wangen had to say when I asked him about his own experiences. Read More »

National Jewish Health Expert Discusses Psychological Aspect of Living with Life Threatening Food Allergies

Gluten Free Works Author Jennifer Leeson

Mary Klinnert National Jewish Health

Mary Klinnert, PhD at National Jewish Health

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Mary Klinnert, PhD at National Jewish Health. Mary is an expert in child psychology and has numerous previous research studies on the effects of asthma on mental health.  She started her career mostly focusing on asthma, but in recent years, has turned much of her attention to the psychological aspects of living with life threatening food allergies.

While meeting with Mary, she briefed me on a study she is conducting on the psychological aspects of food allergies and how this study differs from the majority of previous studies that mostly focus on quality of life issues related to living with food allergies.  The hope of Mary and the rest of the team is to get to the root of what is happening to families that sometimes contributes to deeper Read More »

Interview with Gina Meagher: Living with Type I Diabetes and Celiac Disease

Gina Meagher Celiac Disease DiabetesI met Gina through the Celiac Sprue Association, Denver Chapter 17.  She helped me get involved in volunteering at last years ‘Incredible Edible Gluten-Free Food Fair™!’  She has been part of CSA for several years and is a member of the Board.  She has a lively personality and is willing to share her thoughts with others.  I am so excited that she was willing to sit down with me and talk about her experiences of living with Type I diabetes and Celiac disease.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.  The overall message I took away, was that neither Diabetes nor Celiac disease define who Gina is, because she is so much more and has never let either one stop her from living the active life she was meant to have!

Interview

 

Jenn: Hi Gina! It’s great to be with you today and to have the opportunity to get to know you better.  So, tell me…how old were you when you were diagnosed with Type I diabetes?

Gina: I was 17 years old.

Jenn: And how old were you when you were diagnosed with Celiac disease? Read More »

Overcoming Gluten Free Social Isolation Part II: Attending a Wedding

Gluten Free Works Author Jennifer Leeson

Gluten free wedding receptionYou receive an invitation in the mail to a good friend’s wedding.  This is something you have been looking forward to for awhile, but now that you have been diagnosed with Celiac disease, you notice that accompanying your excitement is some unwelcomed anxiety about being able to eat at the wedding. 

You already know the cake is a no-go, as are the dinner rolls that will undoubtedly be served.  But what about the Read More »

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