The Celiac Series: Where Gluten Hides

Those who are diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance face a sharp learning curve in becoming gluten free. They must immediately and forevermore be aware of and stay away from all sources of gluten. Most people realize that gluten can be found in breads, cakes, cookies, pizza and pasta. But gluten hides in lots of other places. Read on to find out where.

Watch out for gluten in these foods:



Soy sauce


Meat marinades


Box mixes

Powdered eggs

Processed meats including chicken and many deli meats


Modified food starch


Candy bars

Ice cream

These grains contain gluten:










KAMUT® khorasan wheat





Brewer’s Yeast

Wheat Starch

Wheat bran

If you have celiac disease and are very sensitive to gluten, be sure to read labels and check all ingredients on your food before consuming it.

Thank you to the Celiac Disease Foundation for information used in compiling this list.


In the weeks leading up to May, which is Celiac Awareness Month, I’ll be sharing The Celiac Series. Check back each week to find a new post about celiac disease. Here’s what’s in the series so far:

A Personal Introduction to Celiac Disease

7 Tips for Celiac College Students 

A List of Great Gluten-free Blogs 

A Daughter’s Symptoms of Celiac and Why They Were Ignored

5 Reasons I’m Grateful for Celiac Disease


Would you like to learn more about celiac disease and how to transition to a gluten-free lifestyle? On Thursday, May 6th at 7 p.m., I’ll be sharing our family’s story of my daughter’s celiac diagnosis and the many changes we made to support her health and our own. Register now for this free event here.   

The Celiac Series: 5 Reasons I’m Grateful for Celiac Disease

Okay, this post is a little tongue-in-cheek. I don’t like to be a complainer. And it’s easy to slip into that mindset when you’re dealing with celiac disease, a condition that keeps you from eating at least 80 percent of the food that most people eat. But there really are some positives to celiac disease, if you reorient yourself and take the time to consider what your life and your health would be like if you never discovered you had celiac.

1. I learned to cook.

When my daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease back in 2007, there were very few restaurants with gluten-free menus and it was rare to find a gluten-free bakery. If we were going to eat something other than nuts, fruit and raw veggies, I had to figure out how to make it.

2. I eat healthier.

Because I am not a gourmet cook, I fall into patterns of eating simple meals: unprocessed meat, steamed veggies and fruit. Even ketchup, salad dressings and other condiments aren’t always gluten-free, so it’s easy to get out of the habit of eating them. Also, I can’t just plunge head first into a gluten-filled dessert table, I tend to eat less cookies, cake, brownies, pie, etc. I have to think about what I am putting into my mouth, and that pause helps me slow down and make better choices. 

3. I feel better when I eat gluten free, and I like supporting my body.

I have less fatigue, less aches and pains, less stomach aches, more energy and a brighter outlook. It feels good to nourish my body, especially after years of harming it with food that literally gave me a pain in the gut. 

4. Grocery shopping takes less time.

When you’re gluten free, you don’t often get distracted in the supermarket because, frankly, most of the stuff is off limits. You stick to your list of safe food, and you’re in and out of the store in no time. 

5. We save money.

How is that possible when gluten-free food often costs twice what regular food costs? Well, once again, when you eat less food, you spend less money. I don’t even want to count the snacks I used to pick up at the gas station, or the hundreds of times we ate out—just because, and the vacations where we went from one junk- food stand to the next.

Eating gluten free involves an enormous lifestyle change that comes with many challenges and, let’s face it, some deprivation. But, at the same time, you might be surprised by some of the benefits of this change, and your body will certainly thank you!


In the weeks leading up to May, which is Celiac Awareness Month, I’ll be sharing The Celiac Series. Check back each week to find a new post about celiac disease. Here’s what’s in the series so far:

A Personal Introduction to Celiac Disease

7 Tips for Celiac College Students 

A List of Great Gluten-free Blogs 

A Daughter’s Symptoms of Celiac and Why They Were Ignored.

The Celiac Series: A Daughter’s Symptoms of Celiac and Why They Were Ignored

In the weeks leading up to May, which is Celiac Awareness Month, I’ll be sharing The Celiac Series. Check back each week to find a new post about celiac disease. Here’s what’s in the series so far: A List of Great Gluten-free Blogs, 7 Tips for Celiac College Students and A Personal Introduction to Celiac Disease.


My daughter’s symptoms

Bloating, stomach aches, trouble sleeping, fatigue and slow growth. These were just a few of the symptoms of celiac disease my daughter Sydney had. But even though I was well aware of these issues and discussed them frequently with doctors, friends and family, it was five years before her condition was recognized for what it was.

This isn’t unusual. According to Beyond Celiac, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness about this condition, it takes an average of 6-10 years before someone is correctly diagnosed with celiac disease.

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease where the body reacts to gluten that is eaten, damaging the small intestine so that nutrients are not properly absorbed. This condition leads to a host of serious health issues.

Most kids have stomach aches and difficulty napping at times. So, it’s easy for doctors to dismiss these symptoms. However, for Sydney, the situation was extreme. Her stomach aches and bloating were due to constant constipation, which happens when the digestive tract isn’t working properly.

Sleep issues

And missing naps was more than an occasional problem. As a mom, I was sleep deprived for most of my daughter’s first five years. Sydney rarely napped and barely got 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Most nights she woke up crying at least a couple of times. As a young toddler, Sydney wasn’t able to clearly communicate what was going on inside her body, so I had no way of knowing she was in pain due to celiac.

How do I know her sleep issues were due to celiac? Because the first day I took wheat out of Sydney’s diet, she slept through the night without waking once, and she continued to do so, unless she had an accidental wheat exposure.

Low energy

Fatigue and low energy were two more signs of celiac disease. But as a new mother, I didn’t know that Sydney’s propensity to sit on the couch and read or do puzzles was unusual. I didn’t realize most children were constantly on the go. Of course, after she was on a gluten-free diet for a short time, her energy levels skyrocketed.

Slow growth

But most concerning for me, was my daughter’s slow growth. As I watched her friends in preschool sprout up, Sydney’s growth lagged behind. When she was four years old, she was head and shoulders shorter than her classmates. I brought this worry up to my doctor, but it was dismissed.

Trusting your instincts

It was this concern that finally led me to finding a medical professional that would recognize my daughter’s symptoms and schedule an endoscopy that led to Sydney’s diagnosis. This, of course, was only the beginning of the story. Once, it was confirmed my daughter had celiac disease, I began the challenge of transitioning our family to a gluten-free lifestyle. I share the ups and downs of this story in Celiac Mom.

As a mom, I believe we have intuitive knowledge about our children. If your child has some of the following symptoms, consider having him or her tested for celiac disease:

-stomach aches



-sleep issues


-mouth sores




-weight loss

-bloating and gas

-failure to thrive

-slow growth

-lactose intolerance

More information about celiac

For more information about my daughter’s story, check out Celiac Mom.

I’ll be sharing more about celiac disease and our family’s transition to a gluten-free lifestyle on Thursday, May 6th at 7 p.m. during this free event: Celiac Mom: A Virtual Book Launch and Q&A with Ann Campanella. Registration is required, and all are welcome. Register here.   

The Celiac Series: A List of Great Gluten-free Blogs

How it began

I started @glutenfreeforgood, my Instagram account where I share photos and stories of my gluten-free life, on July 11th, 2020. Since that time, I’ve had the opportunity to become part of an amazing community and meet people who inspire me daily with their posts about celiac, delicious recipes, and living life free of gluten.

When it comes to celiac and having a healthy life, I believe knowledge is power. A couple of weeks ago, I put a call out letting my Instagram friends know I was creating this list of gluten-free blogs. I checked them all out, and each contains valuable information. I’d like to share their collective knowledge and wisdom with you.

Gluten-free blogs

The Sunny Side of Celiac – Shauna shares easy and delicious plant-forward, gluten-free recipes and writes about her experience living with celiac disease.

Thriving Gluten Free – Debby’s oldest daughter was diagnosed with celiac in 2011. She shares recipes, products and tips to make gluten-free living easier and healthier.  

HoldMyGlutenFreeBeer – Shannon says she’s “just another girl trying to use humor and clean foods to deal with autoimmune disease,” so she can live an adventurous life. Being gluten-free won’t stop her!

The Rocks and Dirt Bakery – Kimberley Pearson creates a new recipe every day and bakes free of gluten, grain and dairy.

Stronger than Celiac – In her blog, Stronger than Celiac, Lianna, Mrs. Nebraska American, supports those with celiac disease and champions overall wellness.

Peace of Gluten Free Cake – Courtney is on a mission to make living a gluten-free life a piece of cake. She has celiac disease and is a yogi.

Tasty Meditation – Jessica, a NYC foodie with celiac, whips up delicious cookies, breads and cupcakes and wants to make a difference.  

Chili & Coco – Chili & Coco is a collection of favorite recipes, often adapted to the Autoimmune Protocol or Paleo diet, inspired by family traditions and the author’s experiences.

Celiac Sisters – Taylor and Alyssa are two twenty-something sisters, living a gluten-free life on the prairie

A Gluten-Free Gal – Natalie Becker was diagnosed with severe celiac four years ago. She started her blog because she loves to cook, create and collect recipes.

Chelseatheceliac – Chelsea, a 2nd grade teacher, uses her blog as a therapeutic release and a way to educate others about autoimmune conditions and wellness.

Small Farm Big Life – Elaine is a third-generation farm girl living in the Pacific Northwest. She posts GF recipes and talks about farm life, books she’s reading and more.

Casey Cromwell: Casey the College Celiac – Casey blogs about living with celiac disease and fibromyalgia and eating a gluten-free diet while in college. She shares stories, tips, recipes, GF products and more.

Gluten Free Kiddos – Gluten Free Kiddos offers a wide assortment of delicious gluten-free recipes suitable for kids and adults.

Celiac Kid Cooks – The author of this blog describes it as a mix of “Jesus, family, gluten free, crafting, décor & me.”

A Day Without Gluten – A gluten-free blog written in Greek. However, Dakis offers (in English) a detailed GF guide to his city Thessaloniki. He also shares several GF maps of cities around Europe, and he’s happy to help out a fellow celiac traveler.

And here are a few folks who use their Instagram accounts as blogs:    

@mauiglutenfree (You’ll definitely want to check out her website when it’s populated! Until then, you’ll love the posts she shares on the ‘gram.)









The gluten-free community is constantly growing. If you know of other gluten-free blogs that should be included on this list, let me know or leave a comment.

Catch up on the Celiac Series:

A Personal Introduction to Celiac Disease

7 Tips for Celiac College Students

The Celiac Series: 7 Tips for Celiac College Students

Leaving home to attend college is an exciting time! Students look forward to living on campus, meeting new friends and learning more about their chosen fields, yet things don’t always go smoothly at first. It takes time to adjust to a new environment, a new social scene and new ways of learning. But, young people who have celiac disease have an additional challenge — finding ways to nourish themselves safely. For some, even the smallest amount of gluten can make them very ill. So, here are a few tips to help someone with celiac stay healthy.

1. Reach out and make contact with others.
Make an appointment with the college nutritionist, if there is one. Ask if he or she can put you in touch with other students who have celiac disease. Someone who has been on campus can show you the ropes. Get to know the head chefs and the staff in the dining hall. If these folks can put a name to a face and understand your condition, they will likely be able to serve you better.

2. Scope out the scene.
Visit the dining hall during quiet times to understand the layout and where and how the gluten-free food will be served. This is also a better time to talk to the dining staff. When they are less busy and the surroundings are quieter, they will hopefully hear your concerns around gluten.

3. Create an emergency stash.
Keep gluten-free snacks and alternative meals in your room for those times when the meal options at the cafeteria are limited or not to your liking.

4. Educate your friends.
Talk with your community about your condition. Many people have no real understanding of celiac disease or a gluten-free lifestyle. When real friends learn that the consequences of eating even a crumb of wheat could be devastating to you, they will be empathetic, even protective of you. Also, if you’re eating with a group, let them know ahead of time that you might have to wait an extra 10 minutes for your “special” meal to be served.

5. Prepare for parties.
Most social events revolve around food. Be prepared and have a snack beforehand. Or pack a “to-go” bag. It’s no fun to stand around watching others eat while you’re hungry. Also, you don’t want to be tempted to eat something that you’re not sure is safe.

6. Trust your instincts.
Just because someone says a food is gluten-free does not mean it is. They are not the expert. You are. Some people are not aware of cross contamination or ingredients where gluten can hide.

7. Treat yourself.
If you can, plan a night out at a celiac-safe restaurant with friends or family who know you well and understand the challenges you are facing. The transition to on-campus living can be hard without having to deal with unique food needs. So, you deserve to enjoy a gluten-free meal where your guard doesn’t have to be up, and you are surrounded by those who love and support you.


Read other articles in the Celiac Series: A Personal Introduction to Celiac Disease


For more information about celiac disease, register now for a free Zoom event with Main Street Books that will be held on Thursday, May 6th, at 7 p.m. As part of the book launch for Celiac Mom, I’ll be offering a Q&A to help people understand the challenges that come with celiac disease and a gluten-free lifestyle. You can register for this event here

The Celiac Series: A Personal Introduction to Celiac Disease

When my two-year-old daughter refused to nap, I thought it was normal. But Sydney’s constant stomach aches and her slow growth concerned me more. Friends and doctors assured me that she was fine. Little did I know that she was showing early signs of celiac disease.

Celiac disease is a condition where the body has an autoimmune response to gluten, a substance found in wheat, barley and rye. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, this response can lead to serious health issues such as anemia, failure to thrive, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, lymphoma and more.

There is no cure for celiac disease. However, most people with this condition can treat their symptoms and regain their health through diet. But giving up gluten is not easy! The Standard American Diet (SAD) is filled with wheat: bread, pasta, cookies, cake. It’s everywhere you turn.

While fruits and vegetables and most raw meats are safe for someone with celiac to eat, gluten can hide in something as benign as chicken. The average person has no idea that most brands of chicken are processed with ingredients that contain gluten.

I share the story of my family’s transition to a gluten-free lifestyle in my new memoir, Celiac Mom. The challenges I faced in a wheat-filled world – finding food that was safe for our family, preparing holiday meals, sending Sydney to school, planning for vacations and summer camps – felt insurmountable. I made mistakes, but slowly, meal by meal, I learned how to nourish both Sydney and my family.

On Thursday, May 6th, at 7 p.m., as part of my book launch, there will be a free Zoom event called Celiac Mom, to help people understand celiac disease, gluten intolerance and what it means to go gluten free. You can register for this event here. The event is sponsored by Main Street Books and Charlotte Writers’ Club North.

Leading up to this event, I’ll be sharing a series of blogs posts to educate others about celiac disease. Here are some of the topics I’ll be covering:

Tips for College Students with Celiac Disease

Five Easy Gluten-free Recipes

How to Know if Gluten is a Problem for You

A List of Great Gluten-free Blogs

Eating Out and Avoiding Gluten

Let me know if you have questions or a topic you’d like me to cover. And don’t forget to sign up for my free event.

Order a copy of Celiac Mom by clicking on the book cover.

A Poem in The Writer’s Almanac

I’m honored to have my poem, “Mid February” on The Writer’s Almanac today. If you’d like to hear it read by Garrison Keillor, follow this link. He has such a wonderful way of reading poetry.

It’s hard to believe this poem was written over 20 years ago. Today the weather is cold, rainy and dreary, a bit different (but similar in some ways) to the day the poem was written. My daughter was not yet born, but she makes an appearance at the end of the poem.

Mid February” first appeared in What Flies Away, published by Main Street Rag.

Hope you enjoy it.

AlzAuthors Offers Book Sale June 15th-22nd

read logo_on white_sm purple circle_newwordsJune is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, a time to increase understanding of what dementia is and how it impacts the lives of those it touches. It’s also a great time to work to decrease the stigma and silence that too often accompanies an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

Each June AlzAuthors hosts a book sale and giveaway to help caregivers and those concerned about dementia find knowledge, guidance, and support offered through shared wisdom and experience. AlzAuthors is the global community of authors writing about Alzheimer’s and dementia from personal experience. I’m proud to be a part of this growing non-profit organization, and I’m excited my book, Motherhood: Lost and Found, is a part of this sale. You can pick up the ebook this week for just 99 cents.

Starting June 15th through June 22nd you can take advantage of this biannual opportunity to purchase excellent resources on the dementia diseases for free or at reduced prices. We offer a variety of genres, including fiction, memoir, non-fiction, and children’s and teen literature. Most are available in Kindle and ebook, and many are available in paperback and audio. We encourage you to build a library of carefully vetted books to help guide and inspire you every day.

Our books are written from a deep place of solidarity, vulnerability, and love. May you find one – or two, or more! – to help guide you on your own dementia journey. Enter the sale here.

Resources for National Alzheimer’s Awareness and Family Caregivers Month

November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness and Family Caregivers Month. For those who are caring for someone with dementia, I wanted to share a list of resources I think you’ll enjoy from podcasts to books and even a cruise to the Caribbean designed for caregivers and their loved ones.

Zestful Aging

Check out Zestful Aging, a podcast with therapist Nicole Christina. Nicole interviewed me about my memoir, Motherhood: Lost and Found, a story about my mother’s descent into Alzheimer’s when I was 33 and trying to become a mom myself. We also talked about the healing nature of animals, something near and dear to my heart.
If you feel alone as a caregiver, you’ll want to listen to the below shows. Just click on the Zestful Aging link and scroll to the episode you’re interested in.








All of the above shows are interviews with writers who have personal experiences with caregiving. You can find them on the Zestful Aging page. Just scroll down to find episode you want.
More Podcasts and Blogs
Below is a list of podcasts for which I’ve been interviewed. Each one is unique and has a slightly different focus. I highly recommend all of them. Each of the hosts has a big heart for caregivers.
Agewyz Podcast with Jana Panarites
Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio with Lori LaBey
The Upside to Aging with Molly LeGrand
Fading Memories Podcast with Jennifer Fink
WritersCornerLive with Bridgetti Lim Banda and Mary E Jackson

Dementia Books and Blogs  

If you are looking for a particular type of book about Alzheimer’s or dementia, you will most certainly find it and more at
This organization has memoirs, novels, caregiving guides, blogs, books for young people and much more available on its site. Look for the bookstore which lists books by category and provides direct links to Amazon. Each author has written a blog post about the story behind his or her book or blog, so you can find exactly what you are looking for. 
I happen to be an AlzAuthors manager, and I’m so pleased to help provide resources to caregivers that were not available when I was caring for my mother. Find the support you need at
A Caribbean Cruise Opportunity 
Last but not least, I’m so excited to introduce you to a Caribbean getaway for caregivers and their loved ones. It’s The Second Annual Connecting Circles of Care and Building Bridges of Hope Dementia Caregiver Cruise and Conference on March 1-8, 2020.
Let’s face it, the winter can be bleak when you’re caregiving. This cruise and conference offers an opportunity to get away and bond with others who understand your situation. Lisa Marie Chirico designed this cruise for caregivers with loved ones in the early stages of dementia. Learn more here.
Thinking of you all out there in the caregiving world and wishing you the best — encouragement, community and sweet moments of connection with your loved ones!

A Dog’s Last Days: Saying Goodbye to Sunny

Over the past couple of days, a peacefulness has descended on our house. Gone is the stress of making trips to the vet, awaiting test results, worrying over medications, food and water intake. We are simply here with Sunny as she completes her journey on this earth.

Our home has become a hospice, a place to provide love and care, to share laughter, memories and tears. It seems the least we can do for a dog who greeted us every morning without fail with joy and exuberant devotion. Who still greets us, even in her current state of weakness with a slow wag of her tail, ears that perk at the sound of our voices, eyes that track our every move.

An archaic definition of hospice is “a lodging for travelers, especially one run by a religious order.” For the past eight years, Sunny has been a sojourner through our days—witness to and playful participant in all of our family’s ups and downs.

She has been a farm dog— roaming the property and beyond—occasionally bringing home dead critters or the odd shoe, stealing gloves from every handyman, rolling in our neighbor’s pine straw, eating grass alongside the horses and feasting on their manure.

She has been my daily companion on walks, our playmate—chasing the sled on our snow-covered driveway, romping after tennis balls, enjoying the wind in her face on the boat at Lake George, even playing defense on the basketball court with Joel and Sydney.

She has been our protector—barking at all hours at what seemed like nothing in the woods and at delivery men who feared her size and ferociousness, until they realized all she wanted was to meet a new friend.

She was a friend to all and usually left her mark—a pair of muddy paw prints—on clean pants.

We could never break her of the habit of jumping up on people, though my friend Karen made a valiant effort. Every good animal trainer knows it’s the owners who need to be trained. And we failed miserably.

But in the end, it doesn’t matter. We love Sunny for who she is, and she returns that love ten thousand-fold.

So, while our hearts are heavy, it is a deep blessing to spend these last days and hours with our precious girl, to stroke her silky ears, to pray over her and whisper words of love. When this journey is over, may we meet again in the white hills of heaven.