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29 Comments

  1. 1

    Jennifer

    Our daughter was diagnosed at age 2. Audrey’s biopsy revealed she was off the charts. The night we received the call from the hospital I crawled into bed with her and cried feeling so guilty for all of the times I got frustrated with her behaviour and fed her things that were hurting her. After my little pity party, I gathered myself together and set off to the grocery store to begin my education. That night I bought $35 worth of GF snacks which took over 1.5 hours to figure out. I came home bewildered but motivated to teach myself how to get my child healthy again. Audrey is now in the 75 percentile for height and weight for her age – she’s almost 5 years old now. And for those that don’t know, I have to explain that this is such a strange phenomenon for Celiacs that doctors weigh and measure her two and three times per visit and stare at the chart in amazement. Her tTg has gone from <300 to 5.5 in two years. I'd say that my tough cookie and her OCD, A-type momma did pretty well…she got healthy and I became a cook♥ Thank you for everything you do…we love NYC and can't wait to visit. Safe yummy food is what every Celiac looks for and to know that there are places in the world because of people like you – well….makes being a momma of a Celiac child just that much easier:)

    Reply
  2. 2

    IrishHeart

    Jennifer –you’re such a lovely person. While you are an amazing actress, it appears that your compassion for others and your desire to create a safe place for those of us who need it—is your real passion. You look so healthy and vibrant and happy! As you should be.

    Mackenzie’s mom called you an angel and rightfully so. I was blessed to have one of those myself when I was first diagnosed. Sherry Lynn’s Gluten Free in Latham, NY. It’s where I met my friends Sherry and Howie Birch and a host of other wonderful people who were just so grateful to have a place to eat safely and meet others who share this disease. We moved to FL recently, but they’re my family now and friends for life.

    So, Jen–it’s not just a bakery–it’s a safe haven and I wish you continued success and happiness. :)

    P.S. The hubs and I were in the city last August and we went to see you….but sadly, it was on the day your place is closed. My bad for not checking that out before I came. The neighbors could hear the sobbing, no doubt…for blocks. LOL
    Hopefully, I will see you this summer!

    Blessings and continued good health,
    Ginny aka IrishHeart

    Reply
  3. 3

    Lisa Mims

    Dear Jennifer,

    I’m really grateful that your message is, “respect people with celiac disease.” It still amazes me that I know people who won’t be public about having celiac. (“Oh, yeah, you have that weird gluten-thing.”) Well, “No, actually.”

    I’ve been gluten-free for fifteen years: I’ve been a public-defender-type attorney working fifty hour weeks for twelve of those years, and as long as I don’t get glutened, it’s not a problem. I get glutened about once a year, and it’s like having the flu–and it’s always a restaurant that did not take being gluten-free seriously!!!

    Thank you for everything you’re doing for us. Thank you.

    Reply
  4. 4

    Sheri

    Jennifer,

    Thank you! You are amazing! I really appreciated your bucket list plea to people who order from the gluten free menu when they don’t need to. It has been frustrating with the gluten free fad to be taken seriously as a Celiac. Thank you for speaking out for our community.

    Reply
  5. 5

    Jersey Girl

    Jennifer-

    Thank you, you are an amazing actress and business woman. You are truly a pioneer for celiac awareness and have lit the path for many to come. Can’t wait to escape Jersey to come to NY to see your bakery.

    Whoyah!

    Jersey Girl

    Reply
  6. 6

    Barb

    My daughter lives in the West Village and we walked over to your shop in Oct. when we were visiting her. It was really hard choosing from all the goodies so I took one of each! My husband had a chocolate cupcake and I thought he was going to swoon! He said it was the best he had ever eaten! Thank you for all that you do and I look forward to another bakery visit in June.

    Reply
  7. 7

    Claudia

    Dear Jennifer,

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart that you are an advocate for us Celiac folk and for yourself. When I was diagnosed at nearly 57 years of age, I was completely dumbstruck. Why me? No one in my family has this diagnosis and I felt like such a freak of nature. I am a year and 7 months into being gluten free. It is not easy. Some days I want to stomp up and down. Its depressing, but I go forward. My son who lives with me has been making baked goods for me. He really understands as well as he eats gluten free in the house. Even though he does not have Celiac (that we know of), he can tell a difference in his health. Again thank you.

    Reply
  8. 8

    Rachael

    I’m keeping this video FOREVER and I can’t wait to show my girls when they get home. It touched me. I’m always so deeply touched when I hear someone talk about this disease with such grace and passion and eloquence. Jennifer-you are amazing and provide so much inspiration. Visiting your bakery is on my bucket list! Thank you for being a much needed voice for this disease. You rock. Thank you, Gluten Dude for sharing this and you rock as well.

    Reply
  9. 9

    Jess

    Hi Jennifer,
    Thank you a million times over for so beautifully communicating to the masses what it is like to live with celiac disease and how our lives involve much more than just eating GF foods. I appreciate also that you brought up how much stress can play a role in our symptoms and how we feel. I’ve been in the midst of pondering a career change (to a more stressful position) and your words were a reality check that I should factor my autoimmune issues into my decision making.
    My kids watched the last half of the video with me and are eager to get to your bakery in person. We are hoping to make it to NYC this summer when we’re on the east coast (and if we do, will definitely stop in). They also expressed interest in trick-or-treating at your bakery next year as we are all GF!
    All the best to you and thanks again! I plan on sharing the video with many, including some of my own family members who still do not “get it.”
    Jess

    Reply
  10. 10

    Miss Dee Meanor

    “Food should be enjoyed, not feared” will be written on my kitchen chalkboard tonight. That about sums it up!:)

    Thank you!

    Reply
  11. 11

    Nancy M

    Do you have a list of ingredients available for each for each baked product when a customer comes in to make a purchase? I often find that gluten free items have other ingredients that are problematic such as potato flour or sea salt.
    I am not that far from NYC and my DIL is also gluten free. We would love to take a road trip. Nancy

    Reply
  12. 12

    Benacquisto family

    Jennifer you are a Brave Heart and Blessing to us! <3

    Reply
  13. 13

    Alene R. Tumminello

    Jennifer…you go girl…. I was diagnosed at the age of 2 (l944)….spent 2 years, per drs instructions to my MOM….and ate Bananas for 2 yrs… got better….and then they started giving me regular food…(By The Way, consider your self a bit lucky, because the 1st time I was fed EGGS, I blew up, hives and asthma… Never ate eggs again, and consequently cannot eat poultry.
    I am now 72 yrs old (this coming Sunday) – and am totally gluten free. (I was suffering so much for over 50 yrs and finally went to a dr. and insisted on an endoscopy) – Well, of course, it was positive and that was my new adventure in the gluten free world. If I told you how many doctors I went to, for over 50 yrs….that never, every said a word to me about gluten…. I used to tell them I had Celiac when I was 2….never once did a doctor every mention anything to me re: diet) – It pisses me off….. If I was younger, I would visit every dr. and make sure they test every patient with symptoms that may lead to Celiac. They are mostly pathetic and uninformed. I have become a GLUTEN FREE GURU…. I help people read ingredients and help them cook gluten free….
    If you need any assistance, or just want to chat to me…. do not hesitate to contact me. I would love a conversation with somebody passionate about this Disease…..it has so many symptoms that people are unaware of….not to mention that there are so many doctors, that are totally unaware of this disease.
    I wish you well and keep up the good work.
    I know I can help people, but do not know where to begin.
    I worked for Whole Foods Market for 8 yrs…and did store tours once a month for gluten free customers…and also cooked for them. I am no longer working for them and would love to get involved with something meaningful….
    Happy New Year and thanks for your contribution regarding this disease…
    Arlene R. Tumminello (Ft. Lauderdale, Fl)

    Reply
    1. 13.1

      Bobbi jo

      Please help me. I have a sone who has celiac but I am not confidence in the doctors caring for him and Is m trying to find the best celiac doctors to take my 4 yr old to any advice?

      Reply
  14. 14

    Tracy Elliott

    Simply, Thank You!

    Reply
  15. 15

    Lucia

    Dear Dude,

    Thanks for always sharing and listening! I know I’m not the only one that sincerely appreciates it.

    —-

    Dear Jennifer,

    It is truly a wonderful thing that you do! I wish there were more people like you, and more bakeries like yours :)
    I just wish I could get anything from your bakery shipped to Uruguay!!! (which I know I can’t, so the next time I visit NYC I’ll pay your magical bakery a visit and just eat everything I can haha).

    Again, thanks to both of you and keep spreading our message :)
    You both really make great spokespersons in our community.

    Reply
    1. 15.1
  16. 16

    Shirley

    Love this Jennifer, share the love and the knowledge,that is what its all about. You are so right about our partners, we can do only what we can do and if that is not enough for them, then show them the door. I like you have found a wonderful caring partner who loves me and my cooking and when he wants to go out, he goes out with friends and I stay home. Its such a gift that you are giving to people. I know how scary it is to try foods that are supposedly ‘gluten-free’ and they really aren’t or they have other foods in there that I can’t eat. That is why I share all my gluten, dairy, soy, sugar free recipes on my website and in my cookbook, Finally… Food I Can Eat

    Reply
  17. 17

    Lori Green

    This past Friday, January 10th, 2014 I lost one of my best friends and sister celiac sufferer. When others say doctors are uninformed they are SO right! Julie saw numerous doctors for many years and went undiagnosed for most of them. By the time she “self-tested” through an elimination diet and then was formally diagnosed, it was too late. Celiacs had taken a debilitating toll on her health. She was first found to have scleroderma, then after her formal celiac diagnosis was later found to have CREST Syndrome. We watched her waste away to literally skin and bones. She is no longer suffering, and even though I know there are many others with this same disease, she was MY friend. She was MY guide on this journey. She was my confidant and sounding board for my frustrations. And she saved MY life by encouraging me to be tested. She would support you 100% and I vow to continue telling her story so others can live longer, healthier lives.
    Thank you for everything you are doing. I am someday hoping to have the energy to open a gluten free bakery and maybe even restaurant down the road! Bless you.
    Lori Green

    Reply
    1. 17.1

      Gluten Dude

      Beyond sorry to hear Lori.

      Reply
  18. 18

    Ruth Orner

    Wish I lived in NY so I could support your bakery. I am going through something now that we don’t know what it is. I was told I am gluten intolerant but thought I could still eat the way I wanted. I am having a hard time because my husband doesn’t want to eat GF and I don’t want to cook two meals, but after the past month and 1 half, I can’t do this any more. I need to do what is best for me. I just have to get over the guilt.

    Miss you on Blue Bloods. Loved you in that show. I was so happy to hear what finally happened to you when you were no longer there.

    Happy for you that you are doing what you need to do for you. God bless.

    Reply
  19. 19

    JENNIFER ESPOSITO

    GUYS IM SOBBING AS IM READING YOUR COMMENTS. I AM SO VERY VERY TOUCHED BY YOUR KIND WORDS. I WANT YOU ALL TO KNOW THAT IT IS YOU, THIS COMMUNITY, THAT SAVED MY LIFE WHEN I WAS SICKER THAN SICK. WHEN THE DOCTORS TOLD ME NOTHING BUT EAT GLUTEN FREE AND I WAS SO ILL I DID NOT LEAVE MY HOUSE FOR MONTHS, IT WAS YOU, THE CHAT ROOMS THE BLOGS THAT GAVE ME COMFORT.

    IT WAS YOU WHO TOLD ME MY SYMPTOMS, NEUROPATHY OVER THE ENTIRE LEFT SIDE OF BY BODY, RAGING PANIC ATTACKS, DEBILITATING BURNING IN MY CHEST, WAS ALL DUE TO CELIAC.

    THAT SIMPLE FACT THERE WAS SOMEONE OUT THERE THAT FELT THE SAME AND EXPERIENCED THESE VERY SCARY THINGS BEFORE GAVE ME SUCH COMFORT. IF IT WASN’T FOR SOMEONE ON THE OTHER END OF THE COMPUTER TELLING ME THEY “GOT IT” AND THAT IT WASN’T IN MY HEAD, I TRULY DO NOT KNOW WHERE I WOULD BE TODAY.

    THIS IS WHY I AM FIGHTING EVERY DAY TO HELP GET US CHANGES. I WANT TO PAY THIS COMMUNITY BACK AND HELP SOMEONE ELSE OUT THERE WHO WAS AS SCARED AND ALONE AS I WAS.

    I CRY WITH APPRECIATION BUT ALSO SUCH SADNESS FOR ALL YOU STORIES AS WELL. THERE IS NO REASON FOR THIS AT THE HANDS OF FOOD.

    I’M DOING MY BEST TO MAKE CHANGE. ALTHOUGH MANY OF YOU DON’T SEE WHAT I’M DOING YET, YOU WILL.

    MY DEEPEST THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART. AFTER A VERY HARD FRUSTRATING DAY (ALL HAVING TO DO WITH SPEAKING UP FOR CELIACS, BELIEVE IT OR NOT) YOU HAVE PUT A SMILE ON MY FACE AND GIVEN ME STRENGTH FOR TOMORROW.

    BTW- I WAS ACTUALLY WITH GLUTEN DUDE TODAY WHO I CANNOT THANK ENOUGH FOR HIS ENDLESS DEDICATION TO KEEPING PEOPLE INFORMED. I THANK YOU AS ALWAYS MY FRIEND.

    WITH ALL MY LOVE
    JENNIFER ESPOSITO

    Reply
  20. 20

    Jennifer

    Jennifer,
    I just wanted to applaud that interview. I had tears in my eyes as I listened to your story. I can relate to many of your symptoms such as the dizziness, anxiety, panic attacks…and I don’t hear that often from others. I thought I was losing my mind! After many, many trips to different doctors I felt alone. Now I know it was gluten all along. I also remember my mother carrying around a purse of “tricks.” It was the norm. She passed away before I was diagnosed, but I guarantee she was a celiac too. Keep spreading the word (you are so articulate and genuine). I only wish I lived in NY so I could visit your bakery!

    Reply
  21. 21

    Jazz

    It wsa Espisito that clued me into to ask for the initial test which resulted in my eventual diagnosis. I am eternaly greatfull.

    Reply
  22. 22

    Dorothy Freed

    My grandson has celiac disease and my daughter can’t afford to buy the food he needs. I wish there were some way to help her. She works 2 part time jobs and can afford the food he needs. I try to help her but just recently had to quit my job that I was at for 13 yes and now I’m on disability so don’t have much money to help her. Is there any place that will help her? I would really appreciate any help. Thank you.

    Reply
  23. 23

    Maria

    Jennifer,

    Even though all has been said, and I agree with every word, I just had to post so that you would know that you have affected yet another life.

    You always entertained people whenever we saw you on TV, and now you are EDUCATING people every day. THANK YOU is simply not enough. THANK YOU a millions times over.

    One interesting, maybe new, contribution: When I was diagnosed a year ago (I am 55 now), my symptoms were neurological. I was getting electrical shocks through my body, pins and needles sensations along one side (sometimes lasting for more than an hour), numbness, etc. Fortunately, my neurologist was on the ball. Even though he did the requisite brain scans, etc., to rule out MS and other causes, he did think celiac was a possibility and did the bloodwork. It was positive and confirmed by endoscopy. I say this because, “Who knew?” I and many others I speak with were totally unaware that my symptoms could indicate celiac. These symptoms occur especially in adults, whereas children most often have the “traditional” symptoms that mimic IBS and the like. As have other celiacs, throughout my life I had been diagnosed with IBS. I honestly feel that I decreased the damage to my body without knowing it b/c I just knew I felt better doing lower carb and higher protein. Due to this, I was having less gluten, decreasing some symptoms, and doing less damage to my intestines, . And, due to this, my intestinal damage healed more quickly than expected. Within 6 months, my villi were very happy and dancing!

    I have a family and love to cook and bake. Obviously, this has been the biggest challenge. Through perseverance and trials, I have been able to adapt my family’s Italian cookie recipes so that they taste great! On a website, I found a recipe for the best GF pie crust ever, and I almost cried when I found out that it was true! A rollable pie crust once again…HOORAY! Italian bread has been the biggest challenge and, as you said, the most difficult to wrap my head around. That and pizza. Still working on those two!

    I still try to stay with higher protein flours…almond, sorghum, etc., but of course use brown rice flour and all the others. I also, as you so eloquently described, do my best to do as organic as possible. Trader Joe’s, Fairway, and Whole Foods are my go-to stores.

    I live on Long Island and teach at Nassau Community College. Occasionally, a student will mention that they are celiac and I tell them I am, too.

    I am hoping to stop by your bakery on one of my trips to NYC (I love the city!). I am almost afraid to come in, though, because everything sounds amazing. I won’t know what to pick first and will want it all…LOLOL. The closest we have to your bakery here, and we are lucky, is the Barenaked Bakery in Bellmore. They are excellent, too, so I can get the occasional treat when I haven’t baked. Some relatives also know about it and have surprised me with it when they visit.

    THANK YOU again,
    Maria :o)

    Reply
  24. 24

    Rachel

    This makes me so happy!!! I’m so proud of Jen and grateful that she has helped so many of us. THANK YOU JEN!!! XOXOX

    Reply
  25. 25

    Dani

    Love it! In general I am glad that GF is a fad right now, because I think it leads to more products and food choices. But Jen makes a great point. Thanks for posting this!

    http://celiacsanctuary.blogspot.com

    Reply
  26. 26

    Sarah

    Finally watched the video and loved it. Thank you, Jennifer, for all you’re doing!

    Reply

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