Our Stories – GFM podcast episode 1

GF Magazine Podcast

In this podcast:

00:40 – My gluten free story – Andrew
08:52 – My Celiac story – Rebecca
24:16 – Updates – GF Magazine issue #6 just released.
30:25 – Feedback
36:58 – Just starting out? Keep it simple.
38:45 – Get support


Andrew:                Welcome to the GFMagazine Podcast with Andrew Cordova and Rebecca Black. Join us as we discuss how to make living gluten-free just a little bit easier.

Hi there. welcome to the GFMagazine Podcast, episode 1. Andrew Cordova here with my co-host, Rebecca Black. How are you today?

Rebecca:               I’m great. How are you today?

Andrew:                I’m pretty good. I had a rough weekend taking care of my brother. So yeah, I’m excited to get back into my normal routine.

Rebecca:               That’s awesome. I’ve got busy, busy weeks coming up, so this is a nice change of pace for me.

Andrew:                Sounds good. So let’s get straight into the first episode. Today we’re going to be talking about our stories about going gluten-free and three challenges we each face after going gluten-free.

Me, I first went gluten-free back in August 2011. I originally went gluten-free to see what it was like to walk basically like 30 days in my girlfriend’s shoes. She was diagnosed gluten intolerant in 2008 and after years of dealing with different multiple digestive issues, neurological issues, depression, after she went gluten-free, she began to see hear health restored within just a couple of months. I knew the transition was difficult for her at the time and me, I guess, just a few years later, I wanted to see what it was, the difficulties that she faced day to day so I could better understand her lifestyle.

So yeah, I did it for 30 days. After a few weeks of going gluten-free, I felt a noticeable difference in my digestive system. I had eczema basically my whole life. I felt like I was starting to think more clearly too. Like I said, my eczema, I had skin issues, I went to a bunch of doctors since I can remember. I stopped going to them around high school just because I was like nothing was changing. Nothing helped. I went to a bunch of different allergy doctors.

And then I also had some digestive discomfort that started probably in middle school, but peaked while I was living in Madrid, Space. Obviously, I was living off of pasta. I think that probably triggered something. I was having the worst diarrhea and… sweat. Yeah, it was bad.

Rebecca:               You’re talking to the preacher on that one.

Andrew:                Yeah. Yeah, it was weird. It was weird. It was weird. There was a couple of times that I would miss school. My mama was paying for my school and I was going to a private school over there just for – I guess everyone was not from Spain. It was like a Spanish-learning school. So you went there to learn Spanish, about the culture or whatever.

A couple of my teachers would talk to my mom every once in a while on the phone just because for some reason, she want to talk to them. My mom would call me and be like, “Hey, Andrew. I heard you didn’t go to school today” and I felt like I was a little kid or something like that. I’m already in college.

I was like, “Yeah, I didn’t go.”

She said, “Why didn’t you go?”

I was like, “Well, I just didn’t feel good.”

She said, “Well, you’ve got to go to school anyway. I’m paying for your school.” I didn’t want to tell my mom, “Oh yeah, Mom. I have like a really bad diarrhea. I thought I was going to crap my pants on the subway, so I just came back home.”

Rebecca:               My mom has heard so many of those stories.

Andrew:                It was pretty embarrassing. It was embarrassing, but for me, I was more pissed off. I was like, “I want to go to school. I’m over here. I don’t feel like staying home and being sick.” And I got sick a lot while I was over there.

For me, challenges that I faced was accepting that gluten was the cause of my digestive and skin issues. Like I said, I went to the doctor. I went to a bunch of different allergy specialist, a bunch of different doctors and dermatologists. I got tested like a cap of the time. I got scars from biopsies and stuff and they would be like, “Oh, it’s eczema,” another would be like, “Oh, it’s dermatitis,” another guy would say something. They would say, “Oh, put this ointment on” or whatever or use – what is it called? Cortisone. It’s like something over-the-counter. I was like, “No, it doesn’t even work.”

Yeah, it was embarrassing for me personally. I would never wear shorts. I would never wear short sleeves. I’ll get rashes all over my ears, my face, my whole body. It sucked!

So anyways, accepting that it was the issue pissed me off because it was like, “Wow! That’s so simple. Just take something out of your diet and then I could’ve not had to deal with all the stuff forever.”

And also just I really like to hang out, to socialize – you know, going to the bars or going over to a friend’s house for a weekend barbecue. My brother was in Fresno and it’s super hot over there. I would always crack open with a couple of bruise in barbecue.

In the beginning, it was difficult to be like, “Oh, no. No, I don’t want a beer.” And then, it’s like, “Okay, it’s normal to not say you want a beer,” but maybe thirty minutes or an hour later, “Do you want another beer?” and it’s like, “No, no. I don’t want a beer.” And then they’d say, “Okay. Why don’t you want a beer? Do you not want to drink or something?” And then, so I’d have to go into my other challenge, explaining why I was gluten-free to family and friends.

I was not diagnosed with Celiac. I wasn’t diagnosed gluten-sensitive. It’s something that I just found out. Like I said, I was trying to just go 30 days in my girlfriend’s shoes. So I didn’t have an official diagnosis. It was like, “Oh, yeah. Why are you doing that? Did the doctor tell you to do that or a dietitian or something?” I’m just like, “My girlfriend is on it. It helped her and I found out it helped me.”

I actually remember this one story really quick – I’m just going to go off a tangent. I was at my bestfriend’s Dad’s 50th birthday. They’re having a huge party. My bestfriend, he has a twin brother and his twin brother and I always just take shots of each other just joking around.

We’re all drinking and he noticed I hadn’t had a beer all night and I think my friend, I told Nick, he’s like, “Oh, yeah. He’s doing the gluten-free thing or something like that.” He’s like, “Seriously? Are you seriously doing that?”

He’s like, “April told me about it.” That’s his girlfriend and she’s like in nutrition and stuff, so he knows a little about it. He’s just taking shots at me all night and I was so pissed. I don’t want to retaliate. I didn’t feel like saying stuff back to him, so I was like, “Whatever…” Yeah, explaining family and friends.

Then the other thing was figuring out what was gluten-free. When I first went gluten-free, I read whatever I could online. I talked to my girlfriend. I found out that it was something that I had to do myself. As much as I’d like to think there’s a book where you could just open it up and find everything that’s gluten-free, even if there was one, I don’t think I would have it in my back pocket to reference all the time because I feel like I’m stubborn and I want to figure things out myself.

One particular instance that pissed me off was I at a barbecue. It was cousin’s graduation. There was like a bag of Nacho Dorito chips in one – there’s two identical right next to each other and I was reading the label. One said ‘contains wheat and contains dairy’ and then there’s another one right next to it, an exact same one and it doesn’t say it contains wheat, but it said it contains dairy. I was like, “What the hell?”

I looked at them both and I was like, “This is crazy!” I took a picture, I posted it on Facebook and I was like, “Just trippin’ on this.” And then I called Dorito’s right away. I was like, “Oh, you know, I see a package right here. I want to see if it actually contains wheat because I’m gluten-free.” The lady told me that they had changed their formula four months ago to make the Dorito’s Nacho Cheese chips without wheat, but they’re still using the old packaging, so it’s like super confusing.

So I bought probably like close to a thousand dollars worth of this home-testing gluten-test stuff and I just went crazy and I just started testing a crap load of different stuff to find out what was gluten-free and what was not. I kind of found myself feeling almost like a – I don’t know, I felt like, “This is crazy! Do I need to test like every single food that I eat like eating a can of beans and stuff?”

So yeah, I went through that phase. I still have a bunch of tests that I haven’t used, but that was interesting. So that’s my story. Those are my challenges. What’s your story, Rebecca?

Rebecca:               Well I, like you, have struggled with bowel disorder issues my whole life, but I never got embarrassed about it. I thought it was always funny, except I have times when I’d be in the car trying to find a bathroom because I was going to crap my pants driving from somewhere.

But for me, it was always something that I was very open about to people. I could tell you that no man ever dated didn’t know about my bowel problems because it wasn’t something that I could hide and so I just became very comfortable with talking about it, which I realize a lot of people aren’t that comfortable or aren’t willing to do that.

So for me, my stomach was just messed up my whole life. I was coined the irritable bowel disorder diagnosis and was told to stay away from greasy foods and stay away from fattening foods and just those basic generic things that I feel people or doctors use when they don’t know what’s really wrong. They just give you this generic diagnosis and say, “Yeah, try to eat better. Good luck with it. And here’s some prescription for high-strength tums or imodium.”

It wasn’t until last year, January of last year that I finally got diagnosed. It was an emergency room doctor that actually told me that my bowels were seriously messed up and that I needed to go to a specialist because I was in there for – I thought I was having appendicitis the day after Christmas. It turned out to be a very large ovarian cyst that had burst. And when they were doing the testing to figure out what was causing me the pain, the doctor noticed how inflamed my intestines were for not eating for a couple of days and she suggested that I seek further testing to see if I have some kind of bowel disorder – Crohn’s or something like that.

One of my co-workers when I worked for children services was diagnosed with Celiac disease about five years ago. My symptoms and her symptoms were basically the same thing. She encouraged me all the time to go get tested, to go see a doctor. I was in denial. I don’t want to have that. It was horrible. She couldn’t eat anything and really struggled with it and I didn’t know enough concrete information that I thought that I would have this. I didn’t want this disease. And so I’m like, “No, I don’t really need to get tested.” And then this really hit home for me at the emergency room.

And so I went. Sure enough, I had both of the Celiac genes and all of my blood levels were all messed up. I was deficient in tons of vitamins and nutrients. And then after going gluten-free basically, all my levels went up after about six months. They improved significantly after a year.

I was fortunate, my doctor is not one of the doctors that automatically goes to a biopsy for diagnosis. So once we realized that I had the genes, we did elimination to see if it was helping me by doing further blood testing without having to get the colonoscopy and biopsy. I was grateful for that.

I know there’s a lot of people out there that are struggling with inconclusive results from biopsies. Some of the research that I’m seeing or showing that that’s not the gold standard anymore. So hang in there if you’re trying to get your diagnosis because it’s not always – somebody is going to get it for you. It’s just a matter of how you’re going to get it.

For me, I’m going a year and a half. I really struggled with this disease. I was diagnosed a year before I opened my own business, small business. I really struggled last year with this.

And so that leads me into my three things or challenges. Number one certainly was what I call ‘Celiac sadness’. It’s that point after diagnosis when kind of the – I don’t want to say ‘excitement’, but the relief dies down, the excitement of maybe trying new foods or trying to find new things is down. You realize what this really means.

I think for a while, sometimes we think that it’s maybe a short-term fix like a diet or you just have to eat until you get better. That’s really not the case. It’s the rest of your life. Sometimes when that hits in, it can  cause some emotions that you don’t want to normally have.

And then number two, I just never felt that I was going to get the hang of it. There was always something else. There was always – just when you think you figured out this place, then you went there and had a bad experience or just when you think you found a product that you really liked that it was gluten-free, you find out that the only one flavor is gluten-free, so you buy a couple of things thinking that everything is gluten-free and it’s not.

And so I just found out a couple of months ago that there are certain teas that are not gluten-free. Well, who in the hell would’ve thought the tea was not gluten-free.

And then just trying to figure out the complexities of the disease. After I was diagnosed with Celiac, at the same time, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis – mind you, I’m 30 years old. And then I found out this year in January, I was diagnosed with endometriosis.

So there’s so many complexities with Celiac disease. It’s not just cut-and-dry and navigating between the food and the other things that pop up with your body after your diagnosis. It can be extremely, extremely challenging.

So that’s my story and those are my challenges. That’s it!

Andrew:                When were you diagnosed. You said like a year ago?

Rebecca:               January of 2012.

Andrew:                2012.

Rebecca:               It’s about a year and a half ago.

Andrew:                So how long in between your other diagnoses of the rheumatoid arthritis…?

Rebecca:               Those were all at the same time.

Andrew:                The exact same time? They told you everything at the same time?

Rebecca:               Yeah, because it was all based on my blood work.

Andrew:                And like your joints and everything, you had problems with your joints your whole life too?

Rebecca:               Yeah, I have had knee surgery because my joints were messed up. I had that. I struggled with them getting very – it’s not Carpal Tunnel, but my fingers will get sore very easily, my joints get very weird. My elbows will get sore – just weird things that shouldn’t hurt when you’re 30 hurt for me. So that’s a struggle.

Andrew:                So your joints are so messed up? Do you feel that right now?

Rebecca:               When I do consume gluten if it’s on accident – I mean, it’s only on accident because I don’t cheat on Celiac on purpose. When I do consume it, that’s the first thing that will just really, really bother me. My fingers will swell. The joints start to hurt. That really becomes a problem for me.

Andrew:                Yeah, that sucks. That sucks. It’s like immediate reaction?

Rebecca:               Oh, it’s immediate and it lasts for days. So it’s not something I could just willy-nilly. I don’t really want to have a sensitivity because I think that even people who have an intolerance or sensitivity, it’s even harder for them because it’s not as cut-and-dry. For me, I can’t have it. I can’t have it at all. It’s done. But for people who can maybe tolerate a little bit, maybe they always are pushing that threshold a little bit and so you kind of wonder, “Is their body ever really going to heal or are they really going to get the hang of it?” I think that’s more in limbo.

I mean, do you feel that way? Do you feel like you can have a little bit?

Andrew:                Hell, no. I would not do it. Personally, no. I have read too much stuff and listen to too many doctors talk about – you know, I’m not a doctor and you’re not a doctor and this is just us talking back and forth, but from my understanding for me personally like if I go to test it and I’m gluten-sensitive, it’s just the beginning. If I continue to eat gluten or not go back eating gluten, there’s a possibility that I could trigger something that is going to, “Okay, now I have Celiac disease or maybe I have some other autoimmune disease.” I think I can get a doctor to chime in on this in the future.

Yeah, like you said – I don’t know anyone personally close to me that I could say like, “Oh, yeah. This person is this way or anything like that.” But for me personally, I’d say, “Hell, no” like for me, if I get gluten today, I will feel sick not today. I’ll feel it tomorrow and the next few days. Personally, I would like a better quality of life, so I would not ever personally do that on myself and that’s why, for me, personally, I’m careful about what I eat all the time because I know I’m going to feel like crap for the next few days. If I feel like crap for the next few days, it’s like my work stops, my personal life stops, my active life stops. That’s just not worth it for me.

I know also there’s a potential of what if in the future like, “Oh, okay. Now you have fatty liver disease” or something like that or like something’s messed up like rheumatoid arthritis. That’s not even something I want to think about. If I need to be gluten-free to not have to deal with any of those issues, I’m all for it! I do not enjoy – gluten food Is not worth it for me like the taste and whatever. I’d rather just eat gluten-free personally.

So on my side, I would definitely say that I am – I can’t say I’m as cautious as someone with Celiac disease because I don’t have Celiac disease and I don’t know if someone right next to me has Celiac disease, but for me, myself, I am very cautious. If you know anyone around me, my brother, they know that, “He’s not going to eat that” or, “Oh, did you check the label” or something like that.

So I would definitely not say that I eat a little bit of gluten because I can get away with or anything. Hell, no! That’s not worth it for me personally. I just don’t want to feel sick. I would love to live to like 200 years old. I don’t want to live to like 60 years old and be like, “Okay, autopsy. Oh, he actually had Celiac disease, but he was eating gluten his whole life.” No way! That’s something I’m in control of. Well, I have most control over what I eat, so that’s not anything I would ever risk or play with. That’s not worth it for me at all. Purposefully glutening myself, not in a million years. No, way. Hell, no.

Rebecca:               Do you think though going the whole turkey and just saying, “I can’t have any of it?” I would think honestly, it’s easier to trying to navigate what bothers you and what doesn’t bother you. It would be more confusing to me if they said, “Well, you know, you can tolerate this many parts per million” or “You can do a little bit of this…”

Andrew:                Oh, yeah. No, I don’t think they should do that.

Rebecca:               You know, “You can have malt and a bit of barley really bothers you,” I don’t know, I just definitely notice like – okay, I ate a Cliff bar because I didn’t read the label. It was my fault. It was my fault, I just didn’t read the label. I didn’t see that there was maltodextrin in there. I have a different reaction for the maltodextrin stuff than I do if I had flour, but it’s just the way my body reacts. That doesn’t mean that just because I have a more mild reaction with maltodextrin, I’m going to eat it.

But I think that there are people that have the intolerance and just push through it and think they can have a little bit and they just take a Prilosec or a Tums instead of really adhering to cutting it out.

I mean, for me, lactose makes me sick, but I’ve just now become used to – I haven’t cut dairy, but now I drink lactose-free milk or almond milk or coconut milk or something like that when I make my morning shakes for my coffee. Trader Joe’s has this yoghurt cheese that I really like, it’s lactose free. So I’ve just found substitutions that I’ve enjoyed and I haven’t had to completely eliminate things from my diet.


I think it would be harder – now I’m not saying Celiac disease isn’t hard because it’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever been through, but I think it would be harder to try to figure out all the time and what you can’t eat and what you can eat and what makes you sick. It would drive you crazy after a while.

Andrew:                Ever since I’ve gone gluten-free, I took the initiative to connect with other people online that either has Celiac disease or they say they’re gluten-sensitive, they’re gluten-intolerant or they just avoid gluten. I have yet meet someone that says, “Oh, yeah. I eat a little bit of gluten. My doctor said I could have like 50 parts/million” or – I don’t know, just like, “A little bit is sometimes okay.”

I personally have not met anyone. On Twitter, I have like this search things, like a pre-filled search and it says like ‘gluten-free sucks’. Go every once in a while and read what people think about like what – gluten-free sucks or whatever. People will say, I’ve read, “Yeah, I’ve cheated on my gluten-free diet” they kind of say or whatever.

Rebecca:               Oh, yeah. I hear it all the time.

Andrew:                And so I know that people cheat on it, but I personally haven’t had a conversation with anyone or read that’s saying like, “Oh, you know, I can eat a little bit and then I’m okay.” I honestly have not read anything or talk to anyone, so I don’t know about that. And like I said, no one around me has like gluten-free anything, so I couldn’t say that they eat a little bit and they are okay. So I don’t know about that side. Yeah, that’s just me.

Yeah, so that’s our stories. Like I said, I want to bring on a doctor probably in the future to talk about the different autoimmune disease and stuff.

Rebecca:               Oh, that’d be great, yeah.

Andrew:                So let’s get into the news and update section. I just published the sixth issue of GFMagazine and I’m super stoked that Dr. Vikki Petersen is now an official contributor to the magazine.

I first met her back in October at the Gluten-Sensitivity and Celiac Forum in Palo Alto. She put together an event. I think it was the second one. She had a bunch of heavy-hitters – Dr. Thomas O’Bryan, Dr. Stephen Wager, Dr. Vikki Petersen is obviously there, and then Rick Petersen and also, Dr. Rodney Ford from New Zealand. It was like the first time I met him. I guess he was like on my email or something like that. He sent me a few emails before like, “I like what you’re doing and stuff.” So when I met him, I was super stoked.

So yeah, that’s my news and updates.

Rebecca:               Well, that’s exciting.

Andrew:                Yeah, have you got any news or updates.

Rebecca:               I do! [Inaudible 00:25:08] and May is Celiac Awareness Month, so that’s big news for me. My blog, prettylittleceliac.com focuses a lot mostly on Celiac Disease stuff, but I also post gluten-free recipes and just different things. I’m also a fitness expert. I own my own gym. And so I try to mix it up a little bit and not bore everyone with the same stuff all the time.

But I’m going to be speaking at the Celiac Awareness Tour, which is in Philadelphia on May 18th this year, 2013. And I’m at 9:30 in the morning. Tickets are about $10 to get in and it’s at the – oh, shoot! Franklin Institute? Don’t hold me to that. Go to celiacawarenesstour.com if you are interested in coming. So I’m pretty excited about that!

And then I have my podcast, which is Pretty Little Celiac, which again focuses primarily on all Celiac stuff and all sorts of fun things like that. So those are a couple of things that I have going on right now, but nothing else than that.

Andrew:                Cool! Have you spoken before at events? Are you like a speaker?

Rebecca:               Uh-huh. I have done three other events with the Celiac Awareness Tour. I consult and spoke with one of our largest local grocery store chains, Kroger. I spoke to their natural food managers about Celiac disease and the importance of gluten-free and how to help their customers that come in and things like that.

I was one of the featured bloggers for the Gluten-Free & Allergen-Free Expo. Those are awesome events if anyone gets a chance to go there. It’s not only just Celiac, it’s all gluten-free, allergen-free stuff. I was really impressed. It was a 2-day event. They had over a hundred vendors. I’ve met so many incredible people and found so many really cool products there that I wouldn’t necessarily find here in Ohio.

I like to do the speaking events. I’ve spoken a lot for fitness here on Ohio. I used to work for children services and I did some speaking engagements for them and trained all the new staff coming in and had my own team there. So I enjoy teaching and coaching and all those things. So this is a natural fit for me to just add Celiac to my repertoire.

Andrew:                That’s cool. That’s really cool.

Rebecca:               Yeah!

Andrew:                One day, I won’t say I want to be a speaker, but I would like to address people from the stage. I think that’s just something like one of my goals. I guess I get pretty nervous talking around people, like a lot of people. I think that would be like a milestone for me or something.

Rebecca:               Oh, I love it!

Andrew:                Yeah.

Rebecca:               I love it! The more, the merrier.

Andrew:                So yeah, that’s cool. Oh, yeah! I went to the Gluten-Free & Allergen-Free Expo – I think that’s what it’s called – in San Francisco here and yeah, it was really cool. I met a couple of people that have contributed to the magazine before. It was cool to see them in person these people that I have just spoken with over on line and [inaudible 00:28:22]. So yeah, that was cool.

I would definitely recommend anyone that has something like that going around in their town or even within driving distance to check it out. It’s cool to just meet people that are like you and yeah, taste a bunch of different foods.

Rebecca:               And I think the Gluten-Free & Allergen-Free Expo’s next stop is in New Jersey in September and then they’ll be in Dallas in October. And then the Celiac Awareness Tour is primarily on the East Coast, so the cities coming up are Philly, Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati and then I do believe that they’ll be in San Francisco coming up sometime this year.

Andrew:                I’ll check it out.

Rebecca:               That’s a smaller show. It’s not as big as the 2-day Gluten-Free & Allergen-Free Expo.

Andrew:                Yeah, it’s still pretty good.

Rebecca:               But it’s still a good show and the people that you get to meet. They have really good chefs that come and talk about gluten-free cooking and do demos. There’s a couple of other – I’m trying to think of who, I don’t know who else is speaking with my Philadelphia. Usually I know.

Andrew:                You’re the only celebrity?

Rebecca:               Yeah, right. I’m the only Celiac celebrity there.

Andrew:                That’s cool.

Rebecca:               No, I’m the only one with the courage with Celiac and talk about diarrhea on a stage.

Andrew:                That’s gross.

Rebecca:               I know, but that’s why I can stand up there and talk about it because I don’t care.

Andrew:                Yeah, I would not be talking about diarrhea when I go on-stage. I’m going to talk about cooking or something, something that I like.

Rebecca:               People will be like, “Oh, look at this little lady who’s going to get up there and talk about Celiac disease” and I’m going to talk about having to run to the bathroom every minute.

Andrew:                Yeah. Well, people can relate to that, so…

Rebecca:               They can relate. They might not want to talk about it, but they can certainly relate to it for sure.

Andrew:                So next is the listener feedback, so I don’t have any feedback yet. But Rebecca and I would love to hear your feedback. If you like this episode, you can do us a huge favor. Head on over to iTunes and leave us an honest review and rate this probably five stars. Post a comment on the website. If you go to GFMagazine.com/1, you’ll be forwarded to this episode and you can leave us a comment in the comment section. And yeah, we’ll announce them in the next episode.

So next up is the quote section. My quote is:

‘Tis a lesson you should heed: try, try, try again. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.

It’s by William Edward Hickinson. If you’re new to gluten-free lifestyle, you might feel eager to feel better and stop feeling so terrible and unfortunately, it’s not a 100% easy road whether you’re going to deal with accidental glutening from cross-contamination or maybe in your own house, finding a safe place to eat, a restaurant or finding out something as small as like – soy sauce has wheat in it, miso soup has wheat in it. I think it’s wheat, miso soup. I know it’s not gluten-free. And also, a bunch of different chicken bouillons contain gluten.

So you’re bound to make a mistake, but basically just keep your eye on healing – healing your gut, overall betterment of your health. It’s just important to not get down on yourself when making mistakes. Just like anything in life, the path to your end goal is not a straight line. It’s going to be zig-zags. So yeah, just don’t get down on yourself.

Rebecca:               I like that.

Andrew:                Don’t get down on yourself. Keep your head up.

Rebecca:               Yeah, I like that. I mean, that’s a lot of the things that I see on my blog or on my Facebook page – people getting mad at themselves when they do get gluten’d. I really think that it’s just a learning curve and it’s just a reminder for us to be more aggressive in keeping our bodies safe and be more educated and just learn it for the next time. That’s all you can do.

Andrew:                Yeah. And actually I’m going to jump in one more time.

Rebecca:               Go ahead.

Andrew:                Another quote that just randomly popped to my head.

It’s okay if you make mistakes as long as they’re new ones.

So yeah, I can’t remember where I read that. It was on a billboard or something. But yeah, it’s okay to make a mistake, just don’t make it again, just to remember. And yeah, I think this all ties into the last one.

What’s your quote, Rebecca?

Rebecca:               Mine is:

One should eat to live, not live to eat ~Moliere

I think this is so important. It’s something that I preach at my gym in Columbus, at Bexa Body Fitness. Food is fuel. Please don’t get it twisted that I’m perfect and I don’t eat poorly occasionally – I just had ribs yesterday or Sunday at the zoo – but for me, it’s all about moderation.

I think what we find – and I also fell into this trap – when we have so many things eliminated from our diet, it’s we go to what’s easy and we go to what we know and so for a long time, all I ate was gluten-free mac & cheese because I knew it was quick, I knew it was easy, it was relatively inexpensive and I liked it, so I ate it pretty much every single night, which didn’t really helped my waistline too much. And so it’s all about moderation.

And what I say, I tell a lot of my clients in fitness is if the ingredients look like they should be on a shampoo bottle, they probably shouldn’t go in your mouth. I mean, no one’s going to eat their shampoo. Look for quality ingredients in your food. While you’re looking for things like maltodextrine and wheat and barley and all the other things that come in the ingredients that could contain gluten, spend a second or two and say, “Are these actually foods or things that I’m eating or they’re chemically produced products that are just put in here as fillers to make things taste better.”

So that’s my quote and I think it’s so important. I think it’s one of the biggest things that everyone that goes gluten-free gets caught up. It’s this gluten-free junk food trap where they feel like they have to replace every single thing that they ever ate to live a normal life and that’s not true.

And I’ll tell you right now. I’ve tried every single gluten-free organic Oreo replica you could find and it’s still not an Oreo. You’ll never find another Oreo. They’re gone. You just can’t have an Oreo again. So there’s no point $6 or $7 on a container of gluten-free Oreos when they’re not even close to the same thing. They don’t dip as well my milk, my lactose-free milk and they don’t twist and I can’t lick the cream out of them, so why waste my money on that?

So it’s kind of been an adventure to find new things that I liked and new places to go and try and just start over again basically.

Andrew:                Yeah, I would definitely agree. I don’t eat too much packaged food, but like you said, I’m not perfect. I eat junk food sometimes. But yeah, I basically look at what I’m doing today and what is the food that I need that’s going to get me through the day. If I eat junk food or just a bunch of package, like gluten-free food, I know I’m not going to be ready for the end of the day if I’m going to go to the gym or even just something as simple as like reading a book or something like that. It still feels like – I don’t know if it’s a sugar high or something and then tapering off from that, but that night or something like that, every once in a while, I’ll have some junk food, but most of the time, I’m trying to eat to live, not live – err, what did you say? Live to eat?

Rebecca:               Eat to live, not live to eat.

Andrew:                Yeah, exactly. So yeah, that was a good quote.

And next, we have a lifestyle tip for you.  My advice if you’re just  starting out is just to keep it super simple and only eat foods that you can be like 100% sure are gluten-free. Maybe you’re diagnosed with Celiac disease today, just eat like literally fruit and vegetables and eat some protein.

I would say, for me personally, I didn’t do that, but I think that would probably be the easiest way…

Rebecca:               …and cheapest.

Andrew:                Yeah, and also cheapest. You’re not going to spend a bunch of money. And also I think it just takes a big headache away from me because then you’re going to be like searching through, “I’ve got to go buy a gluten-free book to find out what is gluten-free or not. I’m going to download a hundred apps on my iPhone to like scan everything to see if it’s actually gluten-free and when did these people update their stuff, their database to find out if it’s exactly gluten-free.

I would probably give yourself at least a month and then just eat just all-natural gluten-free. And once you then start seeing, “Okay, I’m going to go look for a gluten-free cookie, whatever… cookie or bread or something like that,” I would hold that off as long as possible.

And also because if you start to eat the gluten-free replacement foods right away, you’re going to be like, “Wow! This stuff tastes like – it’s horrible. It doesn’t even taste like what it’s supposed to taste like because you’re already going to know right away like, “Yesterday, I was eating gluten’d foo and today, I have to eat gluten-free. It’s going to be so horrible!”

So a part of me, you feel super depressed about, like you just said, the Oreos are never going to taste like a regular Oreos. So hold that off for a while. Save your checkbook and also just the emotional side of just realizing that the food is not going to taste exactly like the way you want it to taste.

I’m not saying all the food is bad because it’s not. I just have this really gluten-free bread company send me some bread and it’s really good.

So yeah, I would say just avoid the packaged stuff for a while.

Rebecca:               Well, my advice is don’t be afraid to ask for help or find an online support. That was something that I struggled with after my diagnosis. I really felt that a lot of the other bloggers and websites really focused on either recipes or replacement foods, you know, how to make this food that you use to love into this thing. I didn’t cook before I had Celiac and I don’t want to cook now. So I’m not interested in finding the best flour for pies or anything else.

I just wanted to know that being depressed was normal. I wanted to know that going through and having all these weird ailments, that someone else is having them too. I just wanted to know that I’m not the only one that thought, “I could have gluten once in a while and be totally find.” I don’t even understand what the disease was when I was diagnosed and I was desperate for answers and I couldn’t really get anybody who was truly talking about it, who was genuinely out there, putting themselves out there, putting their story out there for everyone to learn from and understand and feel okay.

That’s really how Pretty Little Celiac, my blog, came about. I just started talking about what was going on in my life and people gravitated towards it. It’s just been incredible. It’s been incredible how many people I’ve been able to reach in the last eight months. I mean, it was September 1st  that I started this blog and this month, I’ll probably hit a hundred thousand page views. It’s incredible.

That’s how many people are out there looking for health, so you’re not the only one – I’m not the only one, you’re not the only one – who is going through this, who’s struggling, who just got a new diagnosis and walked out of the doctor’s office and said, “Well now, what do I do?

So there are places or resources. Obviously, my blog is a great resource and Andrew’s Facebook page has tons of recipes, right? What’s the URL For your Facebook page?

Andrew:                So you just type in ‘gluten-free recipes’ into like the search bar on Facebook. It should be number one, it’s the Gluten Free Recipes for Celiacs. Or you can go to Facebook/glutenfreerecipes and yeah, there’s a ton of recipes there.

I would even say there’s a bunch of even like little stories. Like you said, people are just asking questions. Maybe there’s a bunch of questions that you might have already that you could just scroll through. I think it’s like ‘post by others’ or something like that. I always see people commenting from days’ or months’ past post and people are just saying, “Oh, yeah. Thanks for posting this” or leaving a comment on something else. So it’s like an ongoing thread, but it’s a Facebook page.

But yeah, definitely. I can totally relate to you saying don’t be afraid to seek out support just like anything in your own life especially with Celiac disease or going gluten-free. You’re probably the only person unless you have a family that’s already been diagnosed and you’re the next person to get diagnosed and you finally get your diagnosis. A lot of people, I would say most people are alone.

It sucks to be alone with anything. This is totally off-topic, but I like to play soccer. If I was the only person I knew that played soccer, I guess I would play with myself against the wall all the time, but I want to find other people to play with or in this case, talk with or discuss the things that I’m going through. So I couldn’t imagine just being alone on this road.

So don’t be afraid. Check out Rebecca’s blog, her Facebook page and continue listening to our podcast or other podcasts that are out there and making the initiative to seek out support and help.

And also, there’s a website called meetup.com. I think you can probably search Celiac or gluten-free. I think there’s a few groups around the U.S. that meet-up on a regular basis so you can go and find some support.

I think that’s about it. That’s a wrap for the first episode of GFMagazine Podcast. Thank you so much for listening. We really do appreciate your time. We will see you guys next time. Bye!

This has been another episode of the GFMagazine Podcast with Andrew Cordova and Rebecca Black. For more tips and advice on how to make living gluten-free more enjoyable, visit GFMagazine.com. And join the newsletter, it’s free!

  • Michelle

    I really enjoyed your podcast! I have had digestive issues when eating wheat. I will be getting tests done next week. I’ve stopped eating gluten for 3 days and have noticed that my stomach feels better. I have also noticed that my skin/face is clearing up. I am really curious to find out what my test results will be. This podcast was very informative!

    • Andrew Cordova

      I’m glad you enjoyed the podcast. Let us know what turns up in those tests.

      • Michelle

        My blood tests turned out negative. But I still feel awful when I eat gluten. Stomach issues and also I’ve noticed my arm starts itching and a localized rash will usually occur. Anyhow, I still plan on working on being gluten free :)

        • Andrew Cordova

          Interesting. What blood tests did you take and what were your numbers?

  • Amy

    I recently learned I cannot have gluten. This was an awesome podcast! I live in Cincinnati, and now my husband and I will be going to the tour. Keep these coming!

    • Andrew Cordova

      Glad to hear you’re enjoying the podcast :)