Archive for category Related Disorders

You Asked and We Answered! Hold The Gluten Podcast Episode 43

The latest episode of Hold The Gluten Podcast is now live!

Episode 43 “You Asked and We Answered!” Features:

Read the blog. Listen to the podcast. Educate yourself.

Rock on Celiacs!

Subscribe to the podcast using iTunes (or whatever media player you use) at

Click the player below to listen to the show now!

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Infertility and Undiagnosed Celiac Disease – Hold The Gluten Podcast Episode 40

The latest episode of Hold The Gluten Podcast is now live!

Episode 40 “Infertility and Undiagnosed Celiac Disease ” Features:

Read the blog. Listen to the podcast. Educate yourself.

Rock on Celiacs!

Click the player below to listen to the show! Subscribe to the podcast using iTunes (or whatever media player you use) at

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Click for direct download

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I’m thankful for Pumpkin Cheesecake!

Thankful for cheesecake?! Ok, I know that sounds ridiculously trite. Sure, I’m thankful for a copious amount of people/places/things more significant than cheesecake.  However, I do get a little “lunatic” when it comes to cheesecake.  So I truly am thankful to discover that I can bake my own never-ending supply of cheesecakey goodness!

Lunacy Exhibit A: I never, ever slice cheesecake!  Cheesecake is eaten directly from the plate it was plopped on with just a fork and a smile.

Lunacy Exhibit B: I eat in this barbaric fashion whilst hidden in my pantry to avoid sharing my delicious cheesecake.

Lunacy Exhibit C: I wholeheartedly consider cheesecake an acceptable breakfast meal.

Lunacy Exhibit D: I have threatened to inflict bodily harm or the dreaded stink eye on anyone who even contemplates eating my cheesecake.

Let’s keep this Gluten Free Thanksgiving menu going with yet another pumpkin-themed dessert!

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Be sure to have cream cheese & eggs at room temperature.

Gluten Free Crust:

1/2 cup pecans
18 Health Valley Rice Bran crackers
8 Mi-Del GF Ginger Snap cookies
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 cup butter (melted)

In a food processor grind pecans, cookies, & rice crackers until crushed & crumbly in texture (resembling ground almond meal). Add brown & white sugar and butter. Mix thoroughly. Press crumbs against the bottom of a 9 inch springform pan.

Cheesecake Filling:

3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/8 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground mace
1 whole egg
4 egg yolks
3 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine pumpkin, 3/4 cup of white sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, mace, and 3 egg yolks. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Set pumpkin mixture aside.

Using a mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Slowly incorporate 3/8 cup (=1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp) of white sugar, 1 whole egg, 1 egg yolk, whipping cream, cornstarch, orange and vanilla extract. Mix well. Add pumpkin mixture and combine thoroughly. Add batter to springform pan. Bake in center of oven for 50 to 55 minutes at 350 degrees. I placed a pan filled with water on the rack beneath the cheesecake to eliminate cracking and maintain moistness. Remove cheesecake from oven and cool for at least 1/2 hour.

Sour Cream Topping:

2 cups of sour cream (I used reduced fat)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons white sugar

Combine sour cream, vanilla extract, and white sugar. After cooling cheesecake (still in springform pan) for at least 1/2 hour, pour sour cream topping over cake and return to a 325 degree oven for 10 minutes.

Cool cheesecake for at least an hour before removing from pan. Refrigerate prior to serving.

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Guac Totally Rocks!

I have a special place in my heart for avocados…

When I was first diagnosed three years ago with Celiac Disease, I had no idea what the heck was safe to eat. I made the usual newbie mistakes, thinking “wheat free” labels meant gluten free (and totally glutening myself in the process). I was terrified to ingest much of anything for fear that my rear-end would literally self implode (ok, really bad visual, my sincere apologies). So, for the first month after going gluten free, I ate a block of sharp cheese, two avocados, and some sun dried tomatoes.

Every single day.

This odd trio of items were the three things I knew for certain were safe.

Three years later, I am (thankfully) educated like nobody’s business on the intricacies of Celiac Disease. Despite branching out from the avocado, cheese, and sun dried tomato diet, I still eat 1/2 an avocado most days on my usual serving of nachos. Recently, I have become slightly obsessed with guacamole. It’s very easy to prepare and the avocado provides a bevy of nutritional goodness.

Two important things to remember: (1) avocados practically turn brown as you are slicing them open, so plan to eat your guac in a timely manner and (2) be sure to select medium ripe avocados — you can check for ripeness by gently pressing the outside of the avocado. Ripe, ready-to-eat fruit will be firm, yet will yield to gentle pressure.

Guacamole is glorious with corn tortilla chips, as a topping for enchiladas or nachos, or as a filler for quesadillas. Kick back, enjoy some freshly made guacamole with a tasty mint mojito and savor the goodness of gluten free food!


2 avocados – peeled, pitted, and diced
1/2 onion diced
1 jalapeno pepper seeded and diced (note – the seeds within the pepper provide the heat)
1 lime juiced
1 large tomato or 10 cherry tomatoes seeded and diced
1 tablespoon of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, mash the avocados with a fork. Mash as little or as much as you like. Fold in the the remaining ingredients and mix well.

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Not A Dry Eye in the Room (Except Mine!)

No, I’m not hungover. Yes, I have slept recently.

One of the funny things about Celiac Disease is that a person can develop other disorders, intolerances, etc.

Ok, that’s not really funny, but I’m trying to find some humor in this 🙂

Since I’ve been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I have had the worst dry eyes in my life. I am optically challenged, so I must wear contacts or glasses. If I wear contacts for more than 15 minutes, I feel as though there are shards of glass embedded in my eyes. Needless to say, I don’t wear contacts very often (well, for more than 15 minutes). I’ve been to the ophthalmologist several times and was prescribed Restasis for severe dry eye. What surprised me was that the doctor told me that many patients with Celiac Disease also suffer from various “eye issues” (my sad attempt at medical terminology).

I have noticed a common denominator while reading about and researching Celiac Disease… An auto-immune disorder such as ours commonly results in related issues such as depression, migraines, infertility, and bone density problems. The good news is that some of the symptoms are relieved once a person goes gluten free. Not so much with some of the other issues.

I’m one of those people who have developed other issues along with Celiac Disease.

In addition to my poor, parched eyes, let’s talk about MSG for a moment. MSG (or mono-sodium glutamate) is a flavor enhancer that makes the tasty food we eat even tastier. Yes, there is a huge controversy as to whether MSG is safe, but MSG-laden chips and onion dip every so often can’t be that bad, right? When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease, I immediately began eating gluten free. Buh-bye loathsome wheat, barley, oats, and rye. I’m proud to say that I have never, ever once cheated — I just can’t. So, I researched, read labels, and called manufacturers to find out what the heck I could safely eat. One glorious day, while doing my food inquest, I realized that Doritos and Cheetos were gluten free!! (I am not a junk food junkie, but I do like fluorescent orange fake cheese as much as the next person.) I remember that day like it was yesterday. Scene 1 – I realized Doritos were gluten free. Scene 2 – I was so excited I ate about half a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. Scenes 3, 4, and 5 – I pooped like nobody’s business for days afterwards. Not to mention the night sweats and lower back ache which were typical clues I’d “glutened” myself. But these foods are gluten free, why am I having a reaction? In addition to Celiac, I now had an intolerance to MSG. Even if the food was gluten free, it needed to be MSG-free as well to be safe. Blast. Double Blast.

So, the message I’m sending here is listen to your body. Your body may have been sick for a few months or for several years. Your body will let you know what it can tolerate (and what it can’t). Sometimes we have to dig deeper to find the root of the problem. It’s not always a black or white answer we may find (which drives me batty because there is no gray in my world). Celiac Disease forces us to slow down and become educated in the dietary decisions we make each day.

In the grand scheme of things, fluorescent orange fake cheese stains your fingers anyway.

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