Celiac Awareness Month

May is National Celiac Awareness Month and sadly it is coming to a close in just a few days. There have been so many great people raising awareness this month including, but definitely not limited to, Erica of Celiac and the Beast, Brandy Wendler (Mrs. Northwest) of A Spoonful of Wellness, National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, Rebecca of Pretty Little Celiac, Mr. Dude of Gluten Dude, and EA of The Spicy RD. Again these are just a few of the wonderful bloggers and organizations out there that have shared delicious recipes, informative posts, and have been advocates for Celiac Disease not just during the month of May but all year-long.

There is so much that I wanted to accomplish on CCGF this month but sadly, life got in the way. I finished up another trimester of school and now only have one year left! I was awarded The Feinstein “Enriching America Award” for the community service that I completed while doing my internship and AmeriCorps, from The Feinstein Community Service Department at JWU. Our club, Sans Gluten was awarded Best New Club of the Year – there were 11 new clubs this year, and we have over 60 members with bi-weekly production meetings that consist of recipe research and development. I also completed my AmeriCoprs Scholarship For Service and in addition to that was awarded the Founders Award from JWU (with a lovely 5,000.00 scholarship!!!), and was inducted into the Alpha Beta Kappa National Honor Society. Plus, B graduated from law school!! So on top of final exams, the award ceremonies, and family in town for his graduation this month just got away from me. With that said, I do have some wonderful products and cookbooks that I will be reviewing and posting about soon – I promise!

Every year I stress out so much on how I am going to pay for school for the following year but thankfully I don’t have to do that this year. I was awarded over $20,000.00 in scholarships and grants for next year alone! This is possible by some very generous people and my hard work and dedication. Some of my favorite quotes that have gotten me through all the stress, long hours, and sacrifices (not seeing family much) are:

“Your dream is not big enough if it doesn’t scare you.” (Matthias Schmelz)

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. “(E. Roosevelt)

“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” (Harriet van Horne)

“Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.” (Buddha)

With all of that going on, I still wanted to raise awareness this month especially as an Udi’s Campus Ambassador. In order to do so I had to incorporate it into my school schedule so for my term projects for Anatomy & Physiology and Technical Writing, I presented about…you guessed it…Celiac Disease! Both projects included a written paper and a PowerPoint presentation. In one PowerPoint I included an amazing infographic on celiac disease symptoms that Gluten Dude posted – everyone in the class thought it was great (well done Gluten Dude!). For the A&P project we had to research a disorder, discuss which systems of the body it affected, signs, symptoms, treatments, etc. and then do a 5 minute PowerPoint presentation to the class. My Technical Writing project was a bit more intense. My project was on Celiac Disease vs. Wheat Allergy. The final project was a total of 37 pages and included 2 appendices one of which was a sample menu to be used in our culinary labs on campus that lists the top eight major allergens plus gluten and also included resources for substitutions.  In addition to the 37 written pages I also had to present a 15 minute PowerPoint Presentation to the class. I also handed out samples of Udi’s Gluten Free Granola and Red Apple Lipstick to my classmates.

I will also be volunteering at Hasbro Children’s Hospital with one of my professors in the Allergy and GI clinic. My professor asked for me to send her my research report on Celiac Disease vs. Wheat allergy and we will be going over it and refining it over the summer while we are working together.

Also, back in April I was asked along with the former President of our Sans Gluten Club and one of our Chef Advisers to film some gluten-free segments for the cooking show that JWU does called Cooking With Class (Check your local listings). I was BEYOND nervous to do this and on top of it my seasonal allergies kicked in and I had almost no voice but I did it anyway. You can view it online (please ignore the credit information – it is incorrect and they were supposed to be fixing this. This is my original recipe that I shared). Below are the links to all five our of segments for Celiac Week which aired the first week of May. Chef Lavornia does not have Celiac Disease however his wife and children do and has been creating delicious gluten-free recipes for years. We hope to do more videos for next year’s awareness month and will be hosting cooking demos for local families who have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease.

Island Coconut Shrimp by Chef Michelle: http://www.turnto10.com/story/22171946/island-coconut-shrimp

Sweet and Spicy Chicken by Chef Jenny: http://www.turnto10.com/story/22171995/sweet-and-spicy-chicken

Raspberry Crumble Bars by Chef Lavornia: http://www.turnto10.com/story/22172217/raspberry-crumble-bars

Lemon Pound Cake by Chef Lavornia: http://www.turnto10.com/story/22172258/lemon-pound-cake

Dinner Rolls by Chef Lavornia: http://www.turnto10.com/story/22172063/gluten-free-dinner-rolls

You can also view my video below (Thanks to B for putting my site on there):

Cooking with Class from Jenny Manseau on Vimeo.

What have you done this month? Please feel free to share your stories below!

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Special Report on Celiac Disease – USA Today!!

It’s here!!!  Pick up your copy of USA Today or download the report from The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness website.

USAToday.CD.May2010 – pdf version

Faces of Celiac Disease

Another Gluten Free Blogger – Heidi of Adventures of A Gluten Free Mom posted this on Facebook yesterday…when you have a chance please check out this video and her blog!

I was diagnosed almost two years ago now with Celiac Disease. “Celiac disease is a digestive condition triggered by consumption of the protein gluten, which is found in bread, pasta, cookies, pizza crust and many other foods containing wheat, barley or rye. If you have celiac disease and eat foods containing gluten, an immune reaction occurs in your small intestine, causing damage to the surface of your small intestine and an inability to absorb certain nutrients.”  The exact cause of celiac disease is unknown, but it’s often inherited. If someone in your immediate family has it, chances are 5 to 15 percent that you may as well.”

Since I was about ten years old (if not younger) I always had problems with being sick especially after eating.  Around that time I was diagnosed with being lactose intolerant.  For many years I went dairy free but still was getting sick…ALL THE TIME.  Little did I or my doctors realize that it wasn’t the dairy making me sick, it was everything I would eat with it.   At fifteen years old I was diagnosed with both IBS and Fibromyalgia.  The Fibromyalgia was very uncommon for someone my age at the time and still is.  The IBS was no surprise because many of my family member either have that or  Crohn’s Disease.

After twenty six years of eating pretty much anything I wanted: Pasta, Breads, Pizza, Chinese Food, Soy Sauce etc it was a hard change for me to switch my lifestyle to be completely gluten free.  I’m not going to lie its a challenge, but honestly having a good attitude about it, a great support system of friends (none of which are gluten free but made every effort to cook/bake gluten free so I can enjoy it also) and being forced to be creative with my cooking (hence my blog name) it hasn’t been that bad.  There are a few days where I miss the texture of real Italian/French bread but besides that, the joy and feeling of not being sick all the time is truly amazing.  I can enjoy almost all the food I truly love with out fear of getting sick.  I cook at home most of the time and have learned to recreate my favorite gluten filled meals to be gluten free with all the taste that one could hope for.  These past two years have been a journey for sure and I’m sure all the years to come will be even better.  I have an amazing boyfriend who is willing to eat gluten free meals (he can go out and get real food, but at home it will be all gluten free).  He is extremely well at looking out for me and reading labels on products.   I’m very thankful for him.

May is Celiac Awareness Month and I would strongly encourage you to get tested if you have symptoms of Celiac Disease (especially if someone in your family has Celiac!-hint hint to my family members)

Thanks Heidi for posting this.