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Family Story: Annette Marie, Best Life Gluten-Free

Life is Good with Celiac Disease

Annette Marie, Best Life Gluten-FreeLife is good! If you want to make it so, you can! Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity are just bumps in the road. That’s how I look at it and I hope to urge you to feel the same way.

I’m Annette Marie, and as a child I was always suffering with intestinal distress and in our physician’s office probably monthly.  As a young woman at 19 years old, I was diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer, the first of three that I’d have by the time I was 40. No one ever thought of the possibility that it was related to food.

I’m an Italian-American, so you can safely assume that I ate lots of gluten; pasta, pastry, crusty Italian breads, pizzas of every sort, biscotti, cakes…you name it. I must have consumed gluten 5 or 6 times per day in one form or another.  And I suffered as well.

A few years ago, it reached its height in magnitude. I could not leave the house and I knew there must be a serious problem inside me. Why did I wait so long? Suffer so long? I saw a specialist and begged for help!

My gastroenterologist began with a few steps that are generally taken for someone over 50 years of age: a colonoscopy, medication for bacterial infection, etc.  No dice!  I was still sick. No wonder; I was also still consuming gluten! 

On the next visit, we decided to do an endoscopy. Bingo! When I awoke from the light slumber, the doctor proclaimed with a smile, “I know what’s wrong. You have celiac disease.” Blood tests proved it again.

I immediately thought inside my foggy brain, “OK, shoot me now!  Are you serious, I can’t have Fettuccini, I can’t have Cannoli, I can’t have Lasagna?”

Ah, but then I began my journey and searched for products that could closely mimic what my taste buds were accustomed to tasting. And you know what?  It’s not a problem at all. In the end, you can decide to complain and moan about what’s happened to you, or you can decide it isn’t going to beat you. You’re 1 in approximately 141 people who have this.

This year my son and daughter-in-law began living a gluten-free lifestyle, since the facts have come forward that this is more often than not, a hereditary condition. He has suffered with intestinal problems after consuming large amounts of gluten, so he was tested for celiac disease, but was found to have gluten sensitivity.  Their thinking was pro-active! They didn’t want to fool with a health issue, especially when they knew they could master it.  Why wait until intolerance becomes a painful problem?

Being the great supportive wife that she is, my daughter-in-law also prepares her meals gluten-free. That’s certainly a kind gesture, not wanting someone to feel isolated or bothersome. And she says the food tastes great.  So, for those who are questioning their family members’ tummy aches or frequent bathroom breaks, just make a short visit to your physician and put an end to any doubts.

As for me, with my background, I decided to write a blog, since I had been a life-long cook, and perhaps I could help anyone else who was searching or frustrated. Recently, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) has added my blogs and recipes to their staff blog, Celiac Central: Bits and Bites, and perhaps, even more folks will find the gluten-free diet less stressful

If you are careful, watch for cross-contamination, read labels for a living, (HaHa) and make it a pleasant experience, then “life is good!”

- Annette Marie
Best Life Gluten-Free

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