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I am often asked, “what’s the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance?” The answer is – A LOT! A food allergy is really serious and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s not something like, “oh I’m allergic to milk but if there’s cheese on a sandwich, I’ll be okay,” or, “I’m allergic to peanuts, so I’ll just have one or two.”

One of my biggest pet peeves are people that throw around the word “allergic,” when they have not been properly tested or even assessed by a board-certified allergist. I’ll give you a hint, if your acupuncturist told you to say away from dairy because Mercury is in retrograde – YOU DO NOT HAVE AN ALLERGY. If you ate soy once and it made you break out with acne the week after, you’re not allergic. Please don’t undermine the seriousness of a true food allergy.

What Is a Food Allergy?

A food allergy is a serious condition that can lead to anaphylaxis or death, as an over reaction from your immune system to a otherwise-harmless food. Food allergies are most often brought on by one or more of the eight most common allergic foods – peanuts, tree nuts, milk, wheat (not gluten), soy, egg, fish, and shellfish. A food allergy can be diagnosed through a careful review of past history with foods with a board-certified allergist, including any past issues with foods/reactions, as well as a blood test (IgE) and/or skin prick test. If you consistently eat a food and it doesn’t bother you, you are not allergic to it. You can’t have a mild allergy to something. As FARE puts it, “There are no mild or severe food allergies—only mild to severe reactions.” However, while you may have a positive blood test or positive skin prick test, it’s up to you and your allergist to discuss oral challenge and/or past history eating the offending food to determine if you have a true food allergy. If you have a food allergy, you’ll need to be prepared with an action plan and epinephrine in case of a severe reaction. Learn more about food allergies from FARE.

What Is a Food Intolerance?

A food intolerance is a less-serious reaction to food, after a food allergy has been ruled out. These reactions to food are not based on immune response, they are not always reproducible (doesn’t happen every time you have the food), and not always immediate (KWFA, 2015, Stukus)

There are many tests on the market that supposedly help you find foods that you can’t eat. Don’t trust any of them.

The following is a list of things that cannot test for food intolerances:

  • IgG tests (that’s right, all those “sensitivity tests” don’t really test sensitivity, they test tolerance. IgG does not have clinical relevance and is not validated. Don’t buy them, or rely on them to make any of your food decisions for you.
  • Hair analysis, stool analysis, urine analysis, or saliva tests that are marketed to find food sensitivities.
  • Muscle testing. Anyone that uses muscle testing is a fraud. Really – you hold a piece of bread over you and somehow your body “tells” the doctor that you can’t eat it? Bro, do you even science?
What’s the Best Food Sensitivity Test?

Now, if all these things can’t test for food sensitivities, how do you get tested for food sensitivities? Is there a food sensitivity test that’s valid? What’s the best food sensitivity test? A good, old fashioned elimination diet. That’s right, eliminating a food for a period of time and then reintroducing foods, one at a time, to see if you have any symptoms (stomach upset, skin rashes, brain fog, etc.). Need help with an elimination diet? Seek out a dietitian.

Image Courtesy of National Jewish Health
Is Celiac Disease a Food Allergy?

I’m also asked a lot, “Is celiac a food allergy?” The short answer is no. Celiac disease is a genetic autoimmune disease that is triggered by the consumption of gluten. While it may seem like an allergy, as we are affected by what we eat – and it is sure easier to say that you have an allergy at a restaurant – technically we don’t have a food allergy. However, you still must strictly avoid gluten, as if it were a serious food allergy. Learn more about celiac disease in my article about celiac disease screening and celiac disease testing.


The post What’s the Difference Between a Food Allergy and a Food Intolerance? appeared first on Celiac and the Beast.

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Oats are such a hot topic in our gluten-free community. As you probably know, commercially-grown oats (those not labeled gluten-free and simply stated as “oats” on a label) are not safe for those with celiac disease. Because of cross-contamination in the field and in manufacturing with wheat, commercial oats contain levels of gluten that are unsafe for those with celiac disease, well over 20ppm of gluten.

PIN THIS FOR LATER! What Are Purity Protocol Oats?

In gluten-free products, you’ll see that most brands use gluten-free oats. These can either be certified gluten-free oats, or gluten-free oats made in a certified product, or oats that are tested to be gluten-free for under 20ppm. They use a process of mechanical and optical sorting. Commercially grown oats are sorted via machine to sort out an acceptable amount of gluten-containing grains. However, with this methodology, there can be hot spots – errant grains that make the otherwise under 20ppm product unsafe.

Because of this methodology and their hot spots, a handful of oat growers and manufacturers use oats that are purity protocol. Purity protocol oats are grown in dedicated gluten-free fields away from grains, can use gluten-free trucks to ship the oats, and can use a dedicated gluten-free facility to package. These are truly the safest oats for those with celiac.

So why doesn’t every brand use purity protocol oats? It’s expensive, and there’s only so much of it. There is no way that Quaker Oats, Cheerios, and all the other mainstream oat brands with gluten-free products could use purity protocol oats – their products would price themselves out of the marketplace, they’d lose buyers, and we would run out of purity protocol oats. You should always use your best judgement when purchasing products made with mechanically separated oats.

Zego Organic Purity Protocol Oats

But today, I’m going to chat with you about a new brand of purity protocol oats for the celiac community – ZEGO Foods Exceptional Oats. Not only are they purity protocol oats, but they’re raw with live enzymes. It makes your morning oatmeal or any other oat-based recipes a little creamier. This is perfect for creating perfect oatmilk!

ZEGO Exceptional Oats are also organic, non-GMO and tested for glyphosate residue and 400 other pesticides and herbicides. The end product is also certified gluten-free and tested for the top 12 allergens. If you’re looking for the cleanest oats, try ZEGO.

Because these oats are hulless, they have an enzyme that can give these oats a bitter note if you don’t bake or cook with them. Make sure you pour hot water on them or cook them in water before using them in a no-bake recipe.

Creamy Brown Sugar Oatmeal Recipe

I love making my morning oatmeal with full-fat coconut milk – the type you typically find in a can. I typically buy Native Forest (from Edward & Sons) or Thai Kitchen coconut milk in bulk (affiliate link). If you prefer not to use a can, or want something a little lighter, try coconut milk from So Delicious – but always get the unsweetened variety! I find that this makes the absolute creamiest oatmeal around. After it’s done cooking, I add a spoonful of brown sugar and top with fruit!

My Partnership with Zego Foods

I love being an affiliate for ZEGO Foods and promoting their incredible work for the food allergy and gluten-free community. Founder Colleen is a great person, and has always supported the work of Celiac and the Beast. By purchasing products from ZEGO Foods through me, I get a small kickback that I can use to fund my blog and keep Celiac and the Beast running!

I’d love for you to be able to try some of these Exceptional Oats! Enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway Best Gluten-Free Oatmeal Recipes

If you’re looking for gluten-free recipes that you can use along with ZEGO Exceptional Oats, try these out!

My Gluten-Free Kitchen Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

My Gluten-Free Kitchen Peanut Butter Oatmeal Fudge Bars

Gluten-Free Palate Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread

Gluten-Free Palate Gluten-Free Blackberry Crisp

Vegetarian Mamma SunButter Banana Oatmeal

Meaningful Eats Flourless Oatmeal Almond Butter Cookies

PIN MICHELLE’S PIN FOR LATER!

The post ZEGO Exceptional Oats – Gluten-Free Purity Protocol Oats appeared first on Celiac and the Beast.

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I’m so happy to partner with Hilary’s for Celiac Disease Awareness Month because their products are not only high-quality, organic, and delicious – but certified gluten-free. But did you know that Hilary’s is free from the top allergens (and made in a top-12 free facility) as well? That’s why I’m happy to feature them now, during Food Allergy Awareness Week!

Hilary’s makes an entire collection of plant-based veggie options like vegan veggie burgers, veggie medley side dish alternatives, meatless breakfast sausages, and veggie bites – perfect for little hands.

As you know, I’m not a recipe blogger, but I do like putting together easy ideas on how to use packaged products like Hilary’s Spicy Thai Veggie Burgers! Read on to learn more about one of my favorite Hilary’s product, and get an easy way to take your veggie burgers to the next level!

It’s also an exciting time for Hilary’s because they just launched new packaging! These new packages really stand out on the shelf – which is great because the plant-based patty market is fierce! But, as you know, some of these plant-based brands aren’t delicious, and you feel like you’re making a sacrifice by going plant-based. With Hilary’s, you’re not giving anything up. I made these organic Spicy Thai Veggie Burgers, and meat-a-saurus non-GFBF asked if he could have another!

Easy Veggie Burgers with Hilary’s!

It’s easy to keep a few boxes of Hilary’s veggie burgers in my freezer if I’m in need of a quick, healthy, and filling meal. Sometimes, I’ve been working in my office all day and I come out of hibernation for another cup of tea and realize it’s 5pm! Oh no, non-GFBF will be home soon and I have no dinner plans! Frozen meat takes forever to thaw out, but these plant-based burgers are easy to throw onto a pan, and sear to happiness!

To find Hilary’s veggie burgers near me, head to their store locator!

Hilary’s Spicy Thai Veggie Burgers – Best Veggie Burger

These Spicy Thai Veggie Burgers are one of the most interesting flavors from Hilary’s! The mix of mango, jalapeno, and cilantro is right up my Thai-food loving alley! I really like putting mayo on any burger – veggie or meat – but this called for something a little extra. I had a jar of vegan mayo and thought I’d add in some of my favorite Thai spices to the mix!

For these, I used some basil (Thai basil is better, but sometimes your story only carries a more Italian variety – that’s okay!), green onions, and cilantro. Finely chop these herbs, and add a little dash of acidity with lime juice, and just a little bit of salt. If you have time, you can also use a food processor to finely integrate these herbs into the mayo. However, you’re going to make a much bigger batch of this cilantro spread than what I just needed for two burgers.

Making The Perfect Veggie Burger!

These burger are great with or without dairy-free cheese, although these are pictured with a gluten-free vegan white cheese. As you probably already know, vegan cheese isn’t the best at melting like dairy-full cheese. So, after the veggie burger was done searing in the pan, I transferred it to a microwave safe plate, added on a layer of vegan cheese, and it took about 20 seconds to achieve a perfect melt. I added this onto toasted BFree Soft White Rolls (another CATB sponsor), and spread the herbed mayo on top! Find BFree Soft White Rolls near me online!

Pair with Thai Basil Mango Lemonade

I paired this with a Honest Organic Mango Lemonade (affiliate link, but I get mine at Whole Foods) with a little sprig of basil on top! Want to really get that Thai feeling in your drink? You can chiffonade basil and muddle it, and add the mango lemonade! If you want to make a cocktail with the mango lemonade, add a jigger of vodka to it!

Stock Up On Hilary’s Eat Well Veggie Burgers!

If you’re looking for what’s next for the best veggie burger, it’s adding a kick to it with Thai-inspired flavors! Check out Hilary’s Eat Well Organic Spicy Thai Veggie Burger! If you’ve tried this vegan veggie burger, tell me your thoughts about it in the comments!

Win Hilary’s Eat Well Free Product Coupons!

Want to win with Celiac and the Beast and Hilary’s Eat Well! Just use the widget below to enter to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks again to Hilary’s for sponsoring Celiac and the Beast!

The post Hilary’s Spicy Thai Veggie Burgers with Cilantro Mayo appeared first on Celiac and the Beast.

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You guys. I am so tired from fighting diet culture from gluten-free groups. This image was posted and it really got my goat. I don’t know who this original poster that is tagged in the image, and I’m not sharing what group this was in, or who posted it (obviously). But the judgement in this little photo – no thanks.

You want to eat cookies and brownies? That’s awesome. Don’t judge people for wanting to eat comfort food that’s gluten-free. Just because we have celiac disease doesn’t mean we automatically wanted to dive head first into restrictive, or “Clean Eating” diet culture BS. We have enough HATRED OF OUR BODIES in the media, I really don’t need that unsolicited shit on Facebook.

Clean Eating, Disordered Eating, and Eating Disorders

If you are a reader of Celiac and the Beast, you probably know that I suffered from an eating disorder. Because of this, I’m highly sensitive to food judgement from online. I have a thick skin, but I’ve also gone through years of counseling to get me to not hate myself, and to see through online diet rhetoric or clean eating masquerading as orthorexia, disordered eating, or plain old anorexia. It’s disgusting. I’m strong enough to power through seeing someone’s bullshit post about how the only way to health is through “clean eating” (aka orthorexia and taking “good” and “bad” foods to an extreme), but what about the millions of others online that haven’t gone through this counseling? What about those young girls looking for support online and only seeing fake Instagram “stars” pushing detox teas that are basically just laxatives.

View this post on Instagram

I’m not sorry @blogher

A post shared by Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamilofficial) on Jan 29, 2019 at 10:13am PST

Diet Culture vs. Anti-Diet Culture

Diet culture rages on in social media, despite the efforts from National Eating Disorder Association, champion anti-diet celebrities like Jameela Jamil and her i weigh organization, and anti-diet HAES (healthy at any size) dietitians. People look to social media for influence, and it’s already been found that social media can affect your mental health and body positivity. But I’m not a 14 year old girl. I’m twice that (okay, a little older), and I keep seeing this kind of stuff posted in groups and I’ve had enough.

But What About Being Healthy?

Look, I love being healthy. I love nourishing my body with better foods, eating my fill of fruits and vegetables, etc. I love being healthy in ways than more than just food – keeping up on healthy sleep habits, working out to treat my body well, emotional health, and stress management. Listen, I’m even not able getting some work done if it makes you feel like the queen that you are. But that’s about what you feel like doing to make you feel good. And what doesn’t feel good is me, going a day without chocolate. Or eating carbs.

You cannot get on your high horse and tell me that eating cookies is why I have autoimmune diseases.

Or that I’m a bad celiac for telling people that they can eat gluten-free cake. Or that I’m killing people (oh yes, some ripe a-hole told me that about how I promote eating packaged foods and cookies). Perhaps you don’t get the message that people are not just eating cookies, cakes, candies and chocolate? We’re not talking about anyone on My 600 Lb. Life that has to request an ambulance ride to get out of bed. Yes, the USA has a poor standard diet, focused on “junk” food and fast food advertising 24/7. But I’m also not talking about that – or even addressing that.

What we’re talking about average people here that are just trying to live their celiac, gluten-free life with as little drama as possible. Moms who have kids that want cookies like any other kid. Folks with corporate jobs that want to pack a sad cubicle lunch that makes them happy, for five fleeting minutes between board meetings. And they want this with as little judgement as possible. Just trying to stay away from gluten. We didn’t invite this judgement into our home, we didn’t ask for it – we were simply diagnosed with celiac.

Let me have my gluten-free cake and eat it too. After all, gluten-free is not a weight loss diet by any means.

The post Diet Culture, Body Shaming, and Other Bullshit I See on Gluten Free Facebook Groups appeared first on Celiac and the Beast.

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What’s in the gluten-free diet? What is celiac disease? How do I know if I have celiac disease? What do I eat with celiac disease? There are a lot of questions with the gluten-free diet and celiac disease. Can you pass the test? Take the celiac disease quiz!

Scroll carefully! The answers are after the graphic for each question!

Why should you get tested for celiac disease?

A. You could have something else that mimics celiac disease

B. You need follow up biopsies and blood work if diagnosed

C. You can get a tax break on gluten-free food if diagnosed

Answer: All of the above! You should get tested for celiac disease to confirm that you have celiac, and not something else that mimics celiac disease. If you don’t get a biopsy and confirm celiac, you could have another digestive disease like IBS, microscopic colitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, or any other number of diseases that need a biopsy or further testing.

You need follow up biopsies and blood work if diagnosed, to confirm that you are indeed healing on a gluten-free diet. If you don’t have an initial blood work and biopsy, you have no marker to compare, internally, how you are doing on a gluten-free diet. While a follow-up biopsy often happens one or two years after an initial diagnosis, you can use products like Gluten Detective to check your urine or stool to see if you are getting gluten in your diet, and tools like imaware for monitoring your serology on a gluten-free diet, after your biopsy.

And yes, you can get a tax break on gluten-free food if diagnosed. While it’s a complicated process, you can start a tax year and collect all receipts for any gluten-free product, and deduct the difference and apply it to your taxes. Check out the Celiac Disease Foundations post about celiac disease tax deductions.

If you’re confused about getting tested for celiac disease, learn more about how to get tested for celiac disease on Celiac and the Beast.

YES OR NO? Can I get diagnosed with celiac disease from just a blood test?

Answer: No. Right now, the proper way to get tested for celiac disease is with a blood test that acts as a screener. It will tell you and your doctor if you need to move forward with the next step, a small bowel biopsy. Based on those results, a gastroenterologist can diagnose you with celiac disease.

Please keep in mind that you must be eating gluten to get accurate results from both the blood test and the biopsy. Do not stop eating gluten until you’ve been properly tested for celiac disease.

TRUE OR FALSE? You’ll be more likely to get other autoimmune diseases if you have celiac

If I have celiac disease, am I more likely to get other autoimmune diseases?

Answer: True! You are more likely to get another autoimmune disease once you have one. The age you were diagnosed plays a role as well, as the older you are diagnosed (like over 20 years old), the higher the chance for developing another autoimmune disease.

The autoimmune diseases that are related to celiac disease are type 1 diabetes and thyroid disease like Graves’ Disease and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. According to Celiac Disease Foundation, celiac disease is also more frequent in autoimmune diseases like Addison Disease, Arthritis, Autoimmune Hepatitis, Idiopathic Dilated Cardiomyopathy, IgA nepropathy, Multiple Sclerosis, and Sjogren’s Syndrome. It’s also associated with Crohn’s Disease and Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Chronic Pancreatitis, Down Syndrome, Turners Syndrome, Williams Syndrome, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Lupus, Primary Biliary Cirrhosis, Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, Psoriasis, and Scleroderma.

This is why follow-up is so important. If you’re not feeling better, it might be something else related to celiac disease.

TRUE OR FALSE? It’s okay to cheat on the gluten-free diet.

Is it okay to cheat on the gluten-free diet? I, like, really miss pizza. Gluten-free pizza is gross. Help me. Tell me I can at least have pizza every once and a while?

Answer: Absolutely FALSE! It’s never okay to cheat on a gluten-free diet if you have celiac disease. Sure, we all make mistakes and slip up from time to time. A small amount of damage every now and then will not cause long-term damage. But consistently cheating on a gluten-free diet for something as stupid as pizza? No way, not worth it!

If you have celiac disease you can never knowingly cheat on a gluten-free diet.

YES OR NO? Does a celiac disease diagnosis increase my risk for certain kinds of cancers?

Answer: Yes, but not all cancers, and less likely if you stick to a gluten-free diet. There is a risk for certain kinds of cancer for those diagnosed with celiac disease, however, the risk lessens after five years on a gluten-free diet. See, this is why we tell you not to cheat (unless instructed by a doctor for a biopsy).

According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, related cancers include Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, Small Intestinal Adenocarcinoma, Esophageal Carcinoma, Papillary Thyroid Cancer, and Melanoma.

Which of these grains are not gluten-free?

Did you get it right? Let’s see! Answer: The follow grains contain gluten and are not gluten free. If you meet these grains in a dark alley, run away!

  • Bulger
  • Durum
  • Einkorn
  • Farro
  • Kamut
  • Spelt
  • Semolina

Unfortunately there are too many “health focused” bloggers and influencers (and good lord, even doctors and naturopaths) that don’t understand exactly what a gluten free diet is. They go around tagging instagram #glutenfree but they’re baking with einkorn. Stick to my Instagram and our pack of gluten-free celiac-friendly bloggers, and we’ll eat celiac-safe grains!

Which of these grains are gluten free?

Did you get it right? Which of these grains are gluten-free and safe for those with celiac disease? Answer:

  • Amaranth
  • Buckwheat (don’t let the name fool you!)
  • Corn
  • Quinoa
  • Millet
  • Rice
  • Sorghum
  • Teff

It’s important to get a varied diet full of healthy gluten-free grains on a gluten-free diet. Don’t stick just to rice flour (especially because of the increase in arsenic rice brings to a gluten-free diet), and explore more whole grains, and unique tastes and textures like millet, quinoa, amaranth, sorghum, and teff. Your tastebuds will thank you!

Did you pass the celiac disease quiz?

It’s okay if you got a few wrong answer, celiac disease and the gluten-free diet takes a while to navigate. It’s not always easy, and there is a lot of misinformation out there from naturopaths or “health coaches” (what even is that?) promoting unsafe and unproven science (like food sensitivity testing, muscle testing, and homeopathy – all that do not work) and bloggers that have their honorary degree from Ask Google university. Make sure you’re getting information from trusted sources, including bloggers that have been around in the celiac community for a long time, and non-profits that focus on research and awareness like Beyond Celiac, Celiac Disease Foundation, National Celiac Association and Gluten Intolerance Group.

The post Take the Celiac Disease Quiz appeared first on Celiac and the Beast.

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This is a sponsored post. Salix Pharmaceuticals compensated me for this post. All opinions are my own. Certain product information has been included to meet regulations.

April is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month, and while it’s not as pretty as other months – say “National Chocolate Month” – it’s just as important. See, most folks don’t know how to talk about their bowels. But, if you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that I’m more than comfortable talking about that. I’d like to share my story this April about irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D). 

My Journey to Diagnosis

My first bout of really bad IBS-D happened in Portland at a blogger retreat. We were in a rented house with limited bathrooms, and of course the worst happened. We were in Portland for only five days, and the first night, I started to have abdominal pain and then felt unwell. It seems like all of a sudden, I knew I had to run to the bathroom. I was trapped in the bathroom (one of the two bathrooms for 10 people), and I couldn’t leave. I was doubled over in pain. It was cramping like a period cramp, but somehow I could tell it was coming from somewhere else. Were these intestinal spasms? I was having really bad cramping, and sometimes I had diarrhea. After 20 minutes and my legs starting to go numb, I thought I could return to life outside the small bathroom. I was wrong. I ran back and forth to the bathroom that first day. I just sat and cried and cried.

What was I going to do? I had five days of jam-packed appointments. I went back and forth about going to the hospital, but I was unfamiliar with the area. I spent the next bout on the toilet looking for urgent care centers. Ultimately, I didn’t go, and by the morning, things were better. However, I knew that I had a long car ride to one of our first appointments. I considered stopping at a drug store and buying adult diapers. While purchasing adult diapers is not something I would normally ever think to pick up at a store, desperate times called for desperate measures. I was afraid to eat at most meals, and always had to know where the bathrooms were along the way to each restaurant. It was scary, and it caused me to distrust my own body. Thankfully, I made it on the (thankfully short) plane ride home without accidents.

As soon as I got home, I booked an appointment with a gastroenterologist (GI). Sadly, this isn’t what most people do. In a survey from the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA), over 60% of  patients wait more than a year after symptoms to talk to their doctor. 

My new GI had no idea what was going on, but she suspected a Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis flare up. However, I didn’t have the classic family history or blood in my stool. I spent weeks under the assumption that I had developed another serious autoimmune disease and couldn’t wait for the colonoscopy to confirm. However, the colonoscopy (and following genetic testing) showed nothing – a perfect scope. Don’t get me wrong, I was so thankful that it wasn’t one of the diseases that can cause irreversible damage to my insides. But I also didn’t understand what was wrong with me. The only other answer was IBS-D. That diagnosis wasn’t surprising. IBS-D is sometimes diagnosed after doctors exclude other diseases.

Struggles with IBS-D

IBS-D can be difficult to live with. Nerves in the bowel may be more sensitive, so it’s not only embarrassing, but also painful. I was always afraid of situations where I wouldn’t be near a bathroom. Or where I was around people that would notice if I went to the bathroom two or three times in the span of an hour. I would evaluate restaurants based on their bathrooms. One stall? Forget about it! Two stalls, okay, let’s go. No bathroom for customers? It’s not even on my list. Life shouldn’t be about where you can find the nearest restroom, or where you can sit down if you’re having intense intestinal cramping. 

But why? Why IBS-D? Why now? I asked that question a lot, on the toilet. “Why is this happening to me? What have I done to my body to make it treat me like this?” The exact cause of IBS-D is unknown, but it is believed that an imbalance of gut bacteria may be one of the potential causes of IBS-D symptoms. Stress and immunity can also contribute to this – it’s not known how exactly – through possible increased mucosal permeability or psychosocial factors. Check mark! I knew I had a lot to figure out with this diagnosis, and thankfully there are a lot of resources available for IBS-D. 

Facing IBS-D Head On

Eventually, I was put on XIFAXAN® (rifaximin), and went on a low-FODMAP diet and focused on the probiotics I was taking to help repopulate my gut with friendly bacteria. It was a rough go, but I had big relief from that protocol. While I know that this protocol may not last forever, and that IBS-D might return, I do know that I can repeat XIFAXAN up to two times, if necessary. I also know what changes I’ve made in my life to help manage stress, which can contribute to IBS-D symptoms.

INDICATIONS

  • XIFAXAN® (rifaximin) 550 mg tablets are indicated for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D) in adults.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION 

  • XIFAXAN is not for everyone. Do not take XIFAXAN if you have a known hypersensitivity to rifaximin, any of the rifamycin antimicrobial agents, or any of the components in XIFAXAN.

(See additional Important Safety Information below and click here for full Prescribing Information for XIFAXAN®.)

Thankfully, I’ve met with the Salix Pharmaceuticals team at Digestive Disease Week in the past, when I was an editor for a magazine, and got to know the medication even better. Unlike other vendors, I approached my visit with the team more from a personal level. I wanted to thank the team for providing a drug to help with IBS-D, as an actual patient. Also, I really wanted a photo with Gut Guy!

Learn More About IBS-D and XIFAXAN

If you’d like to know more about XIFAXAN, here are more details about XIFAXAN for the treatment of IBS-D. 

  • XIFAXAN is a prescription antibiotic that works mainly in the digestive tract
  • XIFAXAN is the only FDA-approved 2-week treatment for IBS-D in adults
  • XIFAXAN is taken every day for 2 weeks and can provide up to 6 months of relief from IBS-D symptoms. In a clinical trial, relief from IBS-D symptoms ranged from 6 to 24 weeks, with an average of 10 weeks.
  • You can be retreated with XIFAXAN up to two times if symptoms come back
  • XIFAXAN is a short-term treatment, not something you take indefinitely
  • XIFAXAN is the only FDA-approved treatment that alters the bacteria in your gut in IBS-D
  • Visit www.xifaxan.com for more information and learn how you can talk to your prescriber about your IBS-D

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

  • If you take antibiotics, like XIFAXAN, there is a chance you could experience diarrhea caused by an overgrowth of bacteria (C. difficile). This can cause symptoms ranging in severity from mild diarrhea to life-threatening colitis. Contact your healthcare provider if your diarrhea does not improve or worsens.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider before taking XIFAXAN if you have severe hepatic (liver) impairment, as this may cause increased effects of the medicine.”

If you want to learn even more about IBS, check out IFFGD – the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders, a non-profit for education and research. They’re a great team, filled with the latest research. 

Please, take a look at your digestive tract symptoms. Don’t let IBS-D take your life, your happiness, and your freedom away from you. If you are dealing with IBS-D, please talk with your gastroenterologist and don’t be afraid to share your story! While you may not love chatting about digestive issues like I do, you can at least be open and honest with your doctor.

INDICATION

XIFAXAN® (rifaximin) 550 mg tablets are indicated for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome with diarrhea (IBS-D) in adults.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

  • XIFAXAN is not for everyone. Do not take XIFAXAN if you have a known hypersensitivity to rifaximin, any of the rifamycin antimicrobial agents, or any of the components in XIFAXAN.
  • If you take antibiotics, like XIFAXAN, there is a chance you could experience diarrhea caused by an overgrowth of bacteria (C. difficile). This can cause symptoms ranging in severity from mild diarrhea to life-threatening colitis. Contact your healthcare provider if your diarrhea does not improve or worsens.
  • Talk to your healthcare provider before taking XIFAXAN if you have severe hepatic (liver) impairment, as this may cause increased effects of the medicine.
  • Tell your healthcare provider if you are taking drugs called P-glycoprotein and/or OATPs inhibitors (such as cyclosporine) because using these drugs with XIFAXAN may lead to an increase in the amount of XIFAXAN absorbed by your body.
  • In clinical studies, the most common side effects of XIFAXAN in IBS-D were nausea (feeling sick to your stomach) and an increase in liver enzymes.
  • XIFAXAN may affect warfarin activity when taken together. Tell your healthcare provider if you are taking warfarin because the dose of warfarin may need to be adjusted to maintain proper blood-thinning effect.
  • If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or nursing, talk to your healthcare provider before taking XIFAXAN because XIFAXAN may cause harm to an unborn baby or nursing infant.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch/ or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

For product information, adverse event reports, and product complaint reports, please contact:

Salix Product Information Call Center

Phone: 1-800-321-4576

Fax: 1-510-595-8183

Email: salixmc@dlss.com

Please click here for full Prescribing Information.

The post Real Talk About IBS-D: Irritable Bowel Syndrome with Diarrhea appeared first on Celiac and the Beast.

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Welcome to the 2019 Celiac Disease Awareness Month with Celiac and the Beast! It’s a MONTH-LONG celebration of being celiac – and living a 100% gluten-free life! RSVP to this event and you’ll know about EVERY promotion and giveaway we’re offering for you this month! It will be full of LOTS of blog posts, recipes, and tips for living that best GF life!

Stay tuned for more details about our sponsors and activities happening this May!

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The post Celiac Disease Awareness Month 2019 with Celiac and the Beast appeared first on Celiac and the Beast.

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Check out the brand new Gluten-Free Mother’s Day Gift Guide for 2019 from Celiac and the Beast!

This guide and this post contains affiliate links.

Featuring

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VISIT THE MOTHER’S DAY GIFT GUIDE ONLINE!

The post Gluten-Free Mother’s Day Gift Guide appeared first on Celiac and the Beast.

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There are so many things to call this recipe. Easter bark. The non-religious and sort of also vague Spring bark. Bunny bark. Chocolate covered matzo. Chocolate matzo. But whatever you call it, chocolate covered matzo is delicious and can be made for any occasion, even if you’re not Jewish (looking at y’all making Easter bark). This is a twist on a classic chocolate-only bark. This time, we’ve added our favorite Jewish unleavened bread at the bottom, for a salty/sweet, crispy/melty party in your mouth.

I grew up Catholic (can you tell from my non-stop guilt), believing in the Easter bunny. And Santa and the tooth fairy – but we all know how those turned out. Since I wasn’t gluten free yet, I also grew up eating all of the Easter Whoppers (or what they now call Robin Eggs). My Easter baskets were over the top! But, then, our family slowly transitioned out of the Catholic church, and as I got older my Easter baskets were less and less elaborate and full of gluten-containing candy.

As I transitioned into adulthood, I learned more about my heritage and genetic make-up, I started attended seder services with the other side of my family that is Jewish. By this time, I also knew I had celiac, and avoiding Easter candy (shakes fists at egg-shaped Reeses Peanut Butter Cups). And now I also know that Passover-friendly pre-packaged gluten-free food is bonkers good and should be enjoyed year round! Stock up on gluten-free matzo after Passover and enjoy unleavened bread year round! (Bonus points if you stock up on the Osem pre-packaged shelf-stable pound cakes – one of my favorite Seder classics).

Chocolate Covered Matzo Spring Bark

All you need to make chocolate covered matzo spring bark is a package of gluten-free matzo, a bag of the ever versatile Enjoy Life Foods Dark Chocolate Morsels baking chocolate, a tablespoon of coconut or olive oil, and fun toppings. I slightly prefer Yehuda gluten-free matzo style squares, but Manischewitz is my very close second favorite (okay, so there’s only really two gluten-free matzo brands available).

Directions
  • Place gluten-free matzo next to each other on a rimmed baking sheet. Leaving a little bit of wiggle room towards the edge the baking sheet to loosen it up the bark after it chills.
  • Follow the directions found in our sponsor Enjoy Life Foods chocolate bunny bark recipe to melt the chocolate. I use olive oil in mine, but you can buy flavorless coconut oil that also works without imparting an intense tropical flavor.
  • Drizzle the melted chocolate over the matzo in whatever style you’d like! You can spread it using the back of a spoon for more even coverage.
  • Place fun edible decorations on top. I used a combination of Jelly Belly jellybeans (GF/PNF), and gluten-free Supernatural Sprinkles. If you’re keeping kosher, double check any candy you use!
  • Place in the fridge until solid – it takes less than an hour.
  • Gently lift the chilled matzo off of the pan – it’s okay if it cracks! It’s supposed to!
  • Eat it all in one night and don’t feel guilty about it at all
Jelly Bean Bark

For the jelly bean bark, I used Jelly Belly jellybeans (Minnie Mouse variety pack has really cute spring-y pink and blues) and Supernatural Sprinkles in Rainbow Starfetti.


Peeps Bark

I used Supernatural Sprinkles, and painstakingly sorted through to find all of the yellow, white, and orange sprinkles to match the yellow Peeps. I also dug through a Williams-Sonoma halloween sprinkle mix to find these adorable miniature dried marshmallows. Frankly, Peeps are not my jam, but they are super cute to use on this chocolate covered matzo bark!

If you love this chocolate covered matzo spring bark, and I know you will, make sure you visit your stores after Passover and Easter to score these products at a discount!

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This post is sponsored by Enjoy Life Foods – an incredible supporter of Celiac and the Beast, those with celiac disease and those with food allergies. Thank you Enjoy Life Foods!

This page contains affiliate links to the ingredients that help make this recipe super. If you purchase through an affiliate link on my posts, I’m able to keep the lights on and the cats fed.

The post Gluten-Free Chocolate Covered Matzo Spring Bark appeared first on Celiac and the Beast.

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I’m an affiliate for imaware, that manufactures an at-home celiac disease testing platform. I can’t wait to share more about how to use imaware for at-home celiac disease testing.

Why Choose imaware?

Obviously, my first choice for celiac disease testing is with a celiac-knowledgeable provider. In a perfect world, you’d have a knowledgeable provider like a gastroenterologist for a blood test to check for celiac disease markers, and then move forward with a small intestine biopsy. But we all know that this isn’t a perfect world.

Look at my mom. She’s genetically related to me (even thought I painstakingly look like a carbon copy of my father), so she has a higher chance of having celiac disease because I do. But year after year, her provider refuses to test her for celiac disease because she doesn’t display “classic” symptoms. And he doesn’t seem to care that I’m celiac and how that affects her chances of also having the disease or being a carrier. And he doesn’t seem to care that she had a positive genetic test using 23andMe. While it bums me out that he doesn’t seem to care – I have to realize that much of the population is not proactive about their health, and/or they don’t have providers that are proactive about their health.

imaware at-home sample collection kit

Since I was already tested for celiac disease, I wanted to use my one opportunity as a beta tester for imaware (in partnership with Beyond Celiac) wisely. I had my mom come over and we used the imaware kit to screen her for celiac disease. Because she is a first-degree relative with someone with celiac disease (that’s me), she has up to a 40% risk of developing celiac disease.

I made sure that she was eating gluten (as she does normally) and that she was hydrated (even though it’s only a small amount of blood). We used the included products to take a small sample of blood and shipped it off to the lab. The included blood collection process takes a small amount of capillary blood that can be completed in about 5 minutes.

imaware Test Results

At the lab, they use their technology to screen your blood sample for celiac disease biomarkers. All results are reviewed by an in-house physician, and the reports are then uploaded online. Below is an actual report based on a serological sample sent to imaware.

Based on tTG IgA (what celiac.org describes as the best way to test for celiac disease), tTG IgG, DGP IgA and DGP IgG (tests to double check with false positives and false negatives) – all levels were normal. It also takes into consideration that she has a first degree relative with celiac, and she’s also been eating gluten (a lot of it – because she really likes bread, but I didn’t tell imaware that). She also does not have pre-existing conditions (Down Syndrome, Turner Syndrome, T1D, Hashimotos or psoriasis) based on information that we sent along with the blood screener. Based on all of this, she was given an 18% chance of developing celiac disease. That falls under the “less likely” category for those between 2%-25% likelihood of developing celiac. There is also “detailed results” available for physicians to see the exact blood test results for each biomarker.

Remember, serology testing – testing for celiac disease using blood – is only a screening. To be diagnosed with celiac disease, you must have a small bowel biopsy.

For $99, this type of peace of mind is what I needed. I can’t imagine I’m the only one with a parent, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin (etc.) that has a doctor that is flippant about celiac disease testing. While I would love to scream from the mountain top about screening first and second degree family members for celiac – it would just go unheard. Celiac is a blip on most physician’s radar. Even with gastroenterologists, everyone has a specialty. How many of us were diagnosed with IBS first instead of celiac disease? I am not blaming doctors – the medical system here in America is flawed at best. I know that doctors have us – the patient – first and foremost in their thoughts. But everyone is busy, and celiac was once thought of as a rare disease, not the 1:100 that we’re seeing today. Sadly, not every doctor is screener happy when it comes to celiac. And for those patients with doctors like that – I’m happy imaware exists.

imaware strives to provide results back within 5 days to help speed up your path to diagnosis. As recommended, you would take this test to your provider and ask for additional testing, like the biopsy, that should be covered under your insurance.

Based on that biopsy, along with results from this blood screen, and any genetic screening, your provider can diagnose you with (or exclude you from) celiac disease.

About imaware

Available online at imaware.health for $99.00 (affiliate link), imaware is a convenient and reliable at-home blood testing solution. Easy-to-use collection kits and accurate online results empower you to take control of your health.

imaware.health

Currently, imaware offers celiac disease at-home testing, as well as celiac disease at-home monitoring. imaware currently offers a rheumatoid arthritis screening test as well. In the future, they are set to release a heart disease test and a prostate cancer screening test.

I am an affiliate for imaware health, and was a beta tester for their celiac disease test before available on the market.

The post imaware At-Home Testing for Celiac Disease appeared first on Celiac and the Beast.

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