Category Archives for Gluten Free Living

Migraine sufferers should be tested for Celiac Disease

Our findings suggest that migraine is a common neurologic manifestation in celiac, gluten-sensitive and inflammatory bowel diseases. Future interventional studies should screen migraine patients for celiac disease, particularly those with treatment-resistant headaches, as well as assess the long-term effect of a gluten-free diet.”

From a study published in Neurology called:

Increased Prevalence of Migraine in Patients with Celiac Disease and Inflammatory Bowel Disease Compared to Controls: A Multicenter Prospective Study (P04.237)

Alexandra Dimitrova1, Ryan Ungaro2, Benjamin Lebwohl3, Mark Green4, Mark Babyatsky5 and Peter Green6

1 Neurology Columbia University New York NY
2 Internal Medicine Mount Sinai School of Medicine New York NY
3 Medicine Columbia University New York NY
4 Neurology Mount Sinai School of Medicine New York NY
5 Medicine Mount Sinai School of Medicine New York NY
6 Medicine Columbia University New York NY


For more information, consult the journal Neurology April 25, 2012; 78(Meeting Abstracts 1): P04.237 at

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Real Bread at Last

I was so excited to find two loaves of bread still available for sale; I couldn’t help yelling out to my daughter. “There are two loaves left.”

This was my first trip to Louise Sans Gluten Free on Dumont Avenue in Dorval, so I had no idea what I might find. All I knew was what the website said.

Wednesday and Saturday as of 11am our fresh baguettes come out of the oven!”

It was almost one o’clock in the afternoon by the time my daughter and I arrived, so I kind of assumed the bread would be gone. No worries though. As soon as we walked in, I was dazzled by the many aisles of groceries from companies we know and others we haven’t tried yet. It was the first time in half a year that I didn’t have to exchange glasses to read labels.

The selection included many products I’d given up eating. Jars of spaghetti sauce, curries, jams. It was so nice to choose freely instead of spending time finding one I can eat. The store is small, but it’s filled with rows of gluten free products from companies that appreciate quality organic ingredients—Endangered Species, King Soba, Edward, Primeal, Maine Root, Vermints, Natural Path….

“Oh look, they have those bars you like in lots of flavours. Mmmm. Can we try Hazelnut?” asked my daughter standing in front of a giant CocoMira display. I’d purchased the pistachio flavoured version of these bars a few weeks earlier. We both found the mix of toffee, chocolate and nuts delicious. We got a large box of the pistachio and a smaller one of the hazelnut.

By the time we made it to the bakery section and I spotted two remaining loaves of bread in a basket, it all seemed too good to be true. So explains my call-out to my daughter.

“Oh, don’t worry, I have lots more ready back here if you need more,” said a women from the kitchen, one of three people on staff during our visit. Yeah. We tossed two into our cart without having to worry about depriving later shoppers.

When we got our baguettes home, even my son said they tasted divine.

I have not yet been successful at baking a gluten free loaf that tastes like real bread. Louse’s success at mastering these loaves gives me courage to keep trying. It’s also nice to know that even if I can’t get it right, I can enjoy hers any Wednesday or Saturday.

Thanks Louise.

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May is Celiac Awareness Month

This is the first May that I’ll be joining people around the world marking Celiac Awareness Month.

I only discovered that I suffer from the disease recently, and only because I figured it out for myself. Happily, I have a doctor who encourages his patients to talk openly, so we were able to work together to confirm my diagnosis. (And to be fair, I’m still undergoing tests to be sure that no other problems are also underway.)

The story began after blood tests taken during my five-year physical last October showed a triple whammy of hypothyroidism (it functions too fast), anemia and low ferritin. I also had rather worrying, but mild symptoms that included trouble urinating.

My doctor had a twinkle in his eye when he said it sounded like prostate disease.

Given I’m female, I don’t have a prostrate. (You knew that, right? I’m slow, so it took me a minute to get the joke.)

My doctor immediately prescribed iron pills and began a series of tests. Neither of us knew, however, that my blood tests should have included a test for IgA class endomysial antibodies. The IgA test is the first indicator of celiac disease, something that I’d never really heard of and that he didn’t suspect.

When I googled my symptoms, however, I found a 2002 study linking them to “silent celiac sprue.”, which I shared with my doctor.

My blood test was very clearly positive and since then, we’re both slowly but surely finding out more about Celiac Disease, as is my dentist who told me that he was concerned about thyroid disease during my last visit. It turns out that several unrelated symptoms, from unusual tooth decay to skin rashes signal that Celiac Disease, which is a genetic auto-immune disease triggered by who knows what, may be underway. My doctor is testing for the disease more often these days and he’s finding that it may be quite common in Montreal.

The only cure to healing this disease is to avoid gluten entirely. Inhaling the protein in wheat, rye, barley, sorghum and any products produced from those grains, like beer, millet and couscous can destroy my intestine and lead to an wide array of problems. The most shocking of these from my point of view is that the disease may lead to lymphoma, which killed my mom two years ago.

Luckily, before all this started, I’d spent the last several years learning how to cook fresh produce for my family. Everything from our pizza dough and bread to cakes, cookies and muffins are homemade. Switching flours was not difficult. I still haven’t found a bread recipe I like, but pizza dough, popovers, muffins and cookies are now just as tasty as they’ve been in the past.

I’m also learning which pastas go best with which sauces—corn elbows go really well with tomato meat sauce, while buckwheat linguini holds up to heavy cream sauces and lemon parmeson. Rice pastas work only for Asian-style recipes as they fall apart with too much mixing.

What is difficult is learning to avoid mustards, mayonnaise, gravy and other sauces that might be contaminated with gluten. I’ve also learned to serve sauces, jams and other jarred products in separate bowls with spoons to avoid contaminating the main supply.

I’ve also had to ask for special treatment in Church, at restaurants and at special events, but those stories are the substance for  upcoming articles.

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