Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Meet Our Bloggers

Shelia Cafferty - My background is in Nursing.

My Gluten Free journey started over 9 years ago when I realized something was making me sick.  I saw many different types of doctors all in an effort to discover the cause of my problem.

It wasn’t until I started eating gluten free that I finally started to feel “normal” again.  I know now that I should have asked to be screened for Celiac disease before adhering to the gluten free diet.  In 2009, I was diagnosed with Gluten Sensitivity by Dr. Alessio Fasano at the Center for Celiac Research / University of Maryland.

After meeting with Dr. Fasano and Pam King, his Director of Operations, at the CFCR, it was easy for me to see that their team is devoted to improving the quality of life in others with Celiac disease, Gluten Sensitivity and other autoimmune diseases.

I believe wholeheartedly their research will change the world…. It already has!!!

Cooking and baking gluten free has really become a passion of mine.  My goal is to try to make foods gluten free taste better than what I remember the “real deal” tasted like.  I hope to inspire others to make and bake their own great tasting gluten free meals.  You will eventually see many gluten free cooking and baking demos on this site and I really hope you enjoy them.  Feel free to email me at Shelia@glutenfreelivingnow.org.

Shelia Cafferty 

Tina Duncan – Mom of a 9 year old Celiac boy

My gluten free journey began with the birth of an amazing boy in Sept. 2001.   After he was about 19 months old, I began noticing subtle differences in him from other children.  Yes, other kids had tantrums but his lasted for eons.  Yes, other kids had rashes but his were really horrendous looking. Yes some kids like to go barefoot and hate tags touching their skin, BUT he would NEVER step in the grass barefooted and we had to cut out every tag on every piece of clothing!

 He had issues in school with behavior and most wanted to tell me he was Autistic or had ADHD.  Really?  I don't think so.  The doctors wrote it off to being a paranoid Mom.  He spent 3 years in a 3T and I finally gave up on traditional medicine after 5 years and went to an alternative practitioner. She all but diagnosed him, but put me in touch with a wonderful gastroenterologist who gave us the answer we needed.  In just a couple short years, he has grown 5 inches, gained 15 pounds and went up 5 sizes in clothing. 

Okay, I have to admit the whole not buying a new wardrobe every school year was a bit nice, but disconcerting just the same.  He is excelling in school (which is a story for another time).  He spent 2 years with a principal who had no appreciation for what gluten exposure could cause.  However, I am happy to report that our principal and resource team for the last two years are nothing short of stellar, spectacular human beings and we LOVE them.  We have a gluten free peanut free classroom and a teacher that is awesome.  I have lots of experience with IEP's, Health Care Plans and working within the system to make sure our child is safe and successful.  My passion is to help develop a camp for kids with Celiac or who are gluten intolerant.  Ask away, I'm here to help! 

** Editor’s Comment:  We feel lucky to have Lisa involved with this endeavor.   She is a very intelligent medical professional and graduated from Purdue with highest distinction (Phi Beta Kappa).  We know that you will find Lisa to be articulate, intelligent and well versed! Not to mention her information will be very well researched!  Another one of Lisa's passions is photographing Dogs and she does it amazingly well!  You can see more of her artistry at http://www.dogagilityphotos.com/ 
Lisa Sponsler, DVM
My gluten free journey began almost 3 years ago with a phone call from a nurse.  I had an upper endoscopy due to my lifelong heartburn and was expecting the results to be normal or near normal.  I didn’t even know I would have a small intestinal biopsy, but I did and it was consistent with celiac disease.  Blood tests were ordered to confirm my diagnosis, but the results were equivocal.  The nurse called back to tell me my blood tests were “slightly abnormal” but the doctor still thought it was probably celiac and I should go on a gluten free diet. 
As a highly educated medical professional (veterinarian), I found it difficult and challenging to wade through all the information and misinformation available.  I pride myself on my ability to research and decipher information quickly but this was not the case with Celiac.  Confirming my celiac diagnosis and sorting out my related GI issues was also a complicated process.  It took a surprising amount of effort to learn to read labels and identify gluten free products.  Cooking and especially baking gluten free is a continual challenge for me.  I imagine working through this process without a medical background would be even more difficult.  I would love to use my knowledge and experience to help others adapt to the gluten free lifestyle.   Feel free to ask me questions at lisa@glutenfreelivingnow.org.