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Daily Challenges of Living with Celiac Disease

From the Show: Naturally Savvy
Summary: Celiac disease can present immense challenges; from everyday meal planning to monumental events like your wedding reception.
Air Date: 9/3/14
Duration: 10
Host: Andrea Donsky, RHN and Lisa Davis, MPH
Guest Bio: Jennifer Esposito, actress
Jennifer Esposito is an actress, celiac activist, bakery owner, founder of Jennifer's Way Bakery and author of Jennifer's Way: My Journey with Celiac Disease--What Doctors Don't Tell You and How You Can Learn to Live Again.

Visit Jennifer's Way Bakery for Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free, Organic, Allergy Friendly Bakery items.
  • Book Title: Jennifer's Way: My Journey with Celiac Disease--What Doctors Don't Tell You and How You Can Learn to Live Again
  • Guest Twitter Account: @JennifersWayJE
Daily Challenges of Living with Celiac Disease
When you plan your wedding, don't you want everything to be perfect and just the way YOU want it? The flowers, the decorations, the music, the photos... and the food.

But what if you went to caterer after caterer, requesting a specific type of food, and they refused? Not because you were being too demanding, or because you were requesting some outrageous meal; but because you have celiac disease, and you absolutely need gluten-free food to be served.

It would be particularly infuriating if those caterers had actually advertised that they served gluten-free options, but then were unable to fulfill that promise.

These are the types of obstacles that actress Jennifer Esposito deals with every single day.

She actually is planning her wedding, and has encountered the experience mentioned above.

Some of the catering companies she spoke with truly had no idea just how important it was for everything to be completely gluten-free. After all, says Jennifer, "If it's not 100% gluten-free, it's not gluten-free at all."

Even if she served options of "regular" food alongside gluten-free food, there are concerns about cross contamination in the kitchen.

When Jennifer went to friends and family asking what they thought she should do, most basically said that she should just use a regular caterer for the wedding and bring something for herself.

So now she and others like her are supposed to brown-bag it to her own wedding?

The problem, Jennifer says, is that there is such a lack of education about celiac and gluten. The gluten-free "fad" has caused a lot of issues for people with celiac and gluten sensitivities. And, the recent articles coming out saying that, while celiac does exist, there is no such thing as gluten sensitivity or gluten intolerance, are causing even more damage.

Plus, think about this: Jennifer lives in New York. If she can't get one single caterer to meet her request, think about all the people in small towns who are suffering.

Tune in as Jennifer joins Andrea and Lisa to share her continuous struggles with celiac, as well as how the food industry has taken advantage of people with this invisible disease.
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