Lifestyle

I’m deficient, You’re deficient, We’re all deficient? (Part 1)

I was recently reading a press release from Nature’s Path Organic about two of their new cereals. The press release made a familiar argument: the cereals “provide gluten avoiders with whole grains… unlike many gluten-free cereals which forfeit nutritional benefits…” The implication is that many gluten-free cereals (and other gluten-free processed foods, by extension) are more highly processed in order to improve taste and texture. But they do so by sacrificing nutritional quality.

There is some truth to this logic. Foods made from whole grains are inherently healthier than heavily processed foods, and I’ll use our good old enemy – wheat – to demonstrate. I compared whole grain wheat flour (less processed) with white, unenriched wheat flour (more processed) across a range of nutrient measures. Not surprisingly, the wheat underwent a profound loss in 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 »

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 »

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 »

Interview with Richard ‘Wez’ Wearing about touring gluten-free

Anne_steib

Recently, I had the pleasure to interview award-winning production manager, Richard ‘Wez’ Wearing. Living in the UK, Wez has worked with hundreds of bands such as Mika, Take That, Scissor Sisters, Sex Pistols, PIL, Iron Maiden, Manic Street Preachers, Celtic Thunder and Sarah Brightman. He has a demanding career that takes him around the world, working non-stop on a tight schedule.

Richard "Wez" Wearing, Suggs of Madness, Andy Rourke former bassist of The Smiths

Richard Wez Wearing, Suggs of Madness, Andy Rourke former bassist of The Smiths

Diagnosed with celiac in 2007, this added an additional level of challenges to an already hectic lifestyle, but he doesn’t let that inhibit him in any way.

Wez was recently in Chicago this past October with Mika at the Riveria.

Q – Were you already touring when you were diagnosed? If so, how did it immediately change your outlook on touring?

A – I was already touring, it was a great relief to find out why I was so run down all the time, but it took time for it to completely sink in. Read More »

iPHONE App scandal Rocks the Gluten-free Community

I reported this week on a new iPHONE application, My Grocery Master, which allows users to locate gluten-free foods and brands according to zip code. The application claimed to not only allow users to locate gluten-free and lactose-free food items in popular grocery stores nationwide, but it also claimed to help users locate the product via detailed driving directions, all for an annual fee of $4.99.

While this iPHONE application (also available for iPAD and iTOUCH) purported to aide gluten-free consumers in their quest for all things allergen-free, it seems the app isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Read More »

Is brown rice syrup really gluten-free?

Brown rice syrup is the go-to for many gluten-free bakers.  Gluten-free recipes everywhere call for the stuff and indeed, it lends a perfectly sweet flavor to cakes, cookies, muffins, and scones.  But the syrup is controversial in the world of gluten intolerance and Celiac Disease because in some cases, it contains gluten.

Some, though not all, brown rice syrup is actually fermented in a process that employs barley.   Read More »

It’s Almost Time for Summer Salads

Summer is coming and fresh vegetables — in the stores, at the farmer’s markets and in your garden — will be plentiful. It’s time for summer salads.

Try this delicious salad as a side dish or even as a main. It’s light and satisfying.

Use the ingredients list as a guide. If you don’t have peppers, use what is on hand. If you don’t like cilantro, it’s fine not to use it at all; many people don’t like it. Use any lettuce, even finely sliced cabbage. See the tip below for how to make your red onion a little mellower. Or see what’s in your fridge, open a can of black beans, defrost some corn, and you have a delicious salad great for lunch or a party. Enjoy! Read More »

Keeping Holidays Healthy & Gluten-Free

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the next few weeks are likely to be filled with many treats of the food and drink variety.  Following the gluten-free diet can be helpful in avoiding some of those treats; don’t view having to avoid these gluten-filled treats as a bad thing – view it as avoiding excess calories and fat and treat yourself to something that is gluten-free and worth a small indulgence.  Those small indulgences can be a glass of red wine with dinner, a small serving of dark chocolate or even something non-food related like a new workout top, a book that has been on your “must read” list or some new tunes for your workout playlist.

If Holiday treats are unavoidable, try to practice smart portion control and Read More »

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