The “before” picture was taken in the summer of 2009 on our 8th wedding anniversary.  I remember loving this picture.  8 years, two babies, and still incredibly happy.  Somehow I didn’t notice Aaron’s gaunt face.  I didn’t notice how his shirt hung off of his ultra-skinny body or how his belt had to be cinched to hold up his pants.  It all seems so obvious now, but hindsight is crystal clear.  He was incredibly sick.  It is very hard to remember, but using picture evidence, the physical signs began to show in 2007.  He was also incredibly weak, always tired, and had horrendous intestinal problems.  We attributed it to stress from a new job.  The tipping point was an emergency hospital stay and the loss of more than 30 pounds.  I finally forced my husband to see a doctor.  With simple blood work it was confirmed that he had Celiac Disease.  Gluten was gone, forever!  Within a week of eating gluten free, he began to feel normal.  He tells me that he didn’t realize how bad he felt until he started to recover.  In the span of 6 months, he gained 20+ pounds  and was feeling 100% himself.  The “after” picture, taken in 2012,  tells the whole story.  {Isn’t he so handsome and healthy?}


Celiac Disease is an immune reaction to eating gluten, the protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.  This reaction destroys the tiny hair like fibers in the small intestine which absorb nutrients from food.  {And that is no good!}  There is no cure.  It is 100% managed by diet.  A diagnosis of Celiac Disease is really a diagnosis for the whole family.  It can be extremely overwhelming and scary! It is NOT the same thing as being gluten intolerant.  I must repeat.  It is NOT the same thing as being gluten intolerant.  Interested in things I have learned, resources I used, and products we love?  Click through for the 411!

Celiac & We

It is a diagnosis for the whole family.  My kids do not eat gluten free at this time.  They may be carriers, but they currently show no symptoms of having Celiac Disease.  However our dinners are 100% gluten free, always.  The first year was challenging.  I bought many cookbooks, but in the end figured out ways to modify almost any recipe.  Simply, if you eat and cook with mostly whole foods you are close to eating gluten free.  We eat well and the food is delicious.  The fad of eating gluten free has helped us a ton!  Items that were hard to come by are now popping up on shelves in my local grocery store and I am grateful. {I don’t have the time to bake fresh bread, make my own chicken stock, and brew my own beer!!}

Dining Out

This can be difficult. Luckily we live in Seattle with many dining choices.  The nicer restaurants want to cook with fresh and local ingredients.  That usually means many dishes are gluten free.  Many places now have gluten free menus or the servers can help to make choices off the main menu.  If in doubt, we always ask our server to check with the chef.  Fast food is pretty much out, which isn’t a bad thing.  In a pinch, Red Robin has a gluten free menu and Fat Burger offers gluten-free hamburger buns.  Mexican cuisine is an easy go-to.  Substitute corn tortillas for flour and the rest is usually safe.  {Again, check with your server}.  When traveling I stash Kind bars, trail mix, and nuts in my bag.   No one wants to be around my husband when he is starving.

Hidden Gluten

Processed food is the enemy!  At the least the enemy for those eating gluten free.  There is gluten in soy sauce, soups, sauce mix, taco seasoning, salad dressing.  The list can go on and on.   You have to read every label.  If it reads modified food starch it may or may not contain gluten.  It is impossible to know, so it is best to pass.  A few good gluten free alternatives are:  Tamari soy sauce, Pacific organic soups, McCormick taco seasoning, Newman’s Own vinaigrette.  {If you have other questions, I am happy to help.}

Cooking for someone with Celiac?

Keep it simple.  A lean protein, rice or potatoes, and veggies.  There are many other options, but if you don’t know stick to “meat and potatoes”.  And lots and lots of wine!


There are so many more, but those were the first few off the top of my head!

The Not-So-Fun Symptoms {sorry….}

  • gas, abdominal swelling, and bloating
  • diarrhea or foul-smelling stool
  • weight loss
  • fatigue and weakness
  • vomiting

Except for the vomiting, my sweet hubby was the poster child for Celiac.


I read a ton!  It is helpful when first finding out.  {And then, it gets to be too much.}  I used National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and Celiac Disease Foundation.

I really could probably write a book about this! If you have any questions, I am more than happy to help- if I can.  Send me an email at denise@whereisjune.com.


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3 Responses to “CELIAC & WE”

  1. Jossie Brown says:

    What a really powerful story Denise. Thank you for sharing. You are such a neat gal and it is heartwarming to know that we all have struggles and can get to the other side. I’m truly warmed to see your happiness.

    • Where is June? says:

      Jossie, thank you! Our health is really everything, isn’t it? We are lucky that Celiac is 100% treatable through diet. Others are struggling with much larger health issues, so we are blessed. xoxo-d

  2. Jeremy Knievel says:

    Thoughtful post!

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