Thursday, May 7, 2009

Elisabeth Hasselbeck Explains Her Gluten-Free Lifestyle

I am always astounded at how gluten-free living is becoming more common. Elisabeth Hasselbeck is co-host of “The View” and has been diagnosed with Celiac disease. Her new cookbook “The G-Free Diet” came out this week and this is an excerpt from it.

My G- Free Journey

I learned about gluten the hard way. I wrote this book so you don't have to. Most people with celiac disease, like me, have a story to tell. My hope is that in reading mine, and the pages that follow, you will be able to begin your journey to a better body and a better self—without all the heartache (and bellyache!) that I endured for far too long.

The trouble began in early 1997, during the spring of my sophomore year of college. I went on two big trips that spring. The first, over winter break, was a three-week-long immersion/teaching trip to the village of Red Bank and the city of Dangriga in Belize. The second, a spring training trip, was within the United States, with my Boston College softball team. I had been feeling a little under the weather since Belize, and shortly after I returned from the softball trip, I was diagnosed with a severe bacterial intestinal infection—residue, the doctor said, from my trip to Central America. I landed in the school infirmary for nearly a week, with an immensely distended belly and a 103- to 104-degree fever. My memories of that week are hazy at best: I can recall little more than opening my eyes to see my mom standing over the bed. And Tim, my college sweetheart and now husband, looking more than concerned.

Once the initial infection had subsided, I was incredibly relieved, thinking I was finally in the clear. As an athlete, I couldn't bear the thought of being "off my game" for more than a day or two. Little did I suspect that my game was going to be significantly "off" for quite some time...
After leaving the infirmary, I was eager to get my body back on track again, but my digestive system was seemingly shot. My efforts to regain some of the muscle mass I had lost during my convalescence went nowhere. And though I felt ravenously hungry all the time, the only dining hall option that looked even remotely appetizing to me was soft-serve vanilla frozen yogurt with Rice Krispies mixed in. Food just didn't appeal to me like it had before.

Regardless, I continued to eat, though nothing satisfied my hunger—and everything seemed to throw my stomach into a frenzy. Each meal left me bloated and gassy, with sharp, explosive pains in my abdomen. No matter what I ate, I would soon be doubled over with cramps, awful indigestion, diarrhea—or all of the above simultaneously. I soon became all too familiar with the location of any and all bathrooms. Half an hour later, I would be too lethargic to move.
What on earth was happening to me? I had always been filled with energy before, and now I wanted to crawl back into bed five times a day. I was always in pain, always uncomfortable—especially around mealtimes.

An Open Letter from the Executive Director of the Celiac Disease Foundation

Wednesday May 6, 2009
Elaine Monarch, Founder and Executive Director of the Celiac Disease Foundation, tonight sent the following open letter to the celiac community:
Celiac Colleagues:
I am writing to call your attention to the current publicity surrounding the new book, The G-free Diet, A Gluten-Free Survival Guide, by Elisabeth Hassselbeck, co-host of The View. While it is important to call attention to celiac disease, the information must be accurate – the inaccuracies in this book are potentially dangerous and detrimental to celiacs and to those yet to be diagnosed if people self diagnose and start eating GF. Our mission is to assist in getting people accurately diagnosed and the message in this book could defeat this mission. It appears that this book is being marketed as a fitness diet – eat g-free and feel so much better. Celiac is incorrectly referred to as an allergy not an autoimmune disease.
The GF diet is the medically mediated prescription that controls the condition for a diagnosed celiac. Several items in the book are misleading and inaccurate and place further limitations on the GF diet. The gluten-free lifestyle is a lifelong commitment for the diagnosed celiac, not an option, not a fad diet – adhering to the GF lifestyle requires patience and persistence. This lifestyle can not be trivialized.
Elisabeth will be interviewed on Larry King Live this evening on CNN. PLEASE take the time to call in to the show or send an email to Larry King Live to help correct some of this misinformation.
Email Larry King Live at: The phone number for call-ins to the show is 1-800-676-2100.
Thank you.
Elaine Monarch

Sick But Thankful

It has been three days since I have known what it felt like not to have a headache. If I leave home I feel a lot better so therefore we believe it may be something in the house but we can’t figure out what. I am so thankful that we don’t own this house; it would be awful to own a home and find out that you were allergic to something it was made of and couldn’t live in it. Last summer I was sick a lot also and Steve thought that it was the allergy shots. This summer I asked for a break from the shots because I was getting sick after everyone and I didn’t want to deal with it all summer long. Now I wonder if I’ve made a mistake, maybe it wasn’t the shots after all, maybe it was something in this house.

Happy Mother's Dad to all you Mom's out there!!!!!
God Bless