9 Fellow Celiacs I'm Thankful For

thankful for celiac

What? You were expecting a post about why I’m thankful I have celiac disease?

I’m thankful for a lot of things in my life…having celiac is not one of them.

But there has been a silver lining in this disease. It has put me in touch with a number of people who have enriched my life. I feel at home in this community and it’s time to give some thanks to some special people.

Dude note: These types of blog posts are dangerous because there will always be people I meant to include that I just zoned out about. My apologies in advance…you know who you are.

Special thanks to…

Jennifer Esposito

For bringing our cause to the public eye. For being a face behind our disease. For being so passionate. For opening a gluten-free bakery so people can feel welcome and safe. For opening your heart to Mrs. Dude and myself. For being a friend.

Irish Heart

For being an incredible voice on this blog on days when I cannot (and even when I can). For your amazing celiac knowledge. For telling the truth…no matter how much resistance you may get. For your humor. For our snarky behind-the-scenes conversations.

Alysa Bajenaru

For being my celiac confidante. For understanding, and not judging, when I advised that celiac perhaps is nothing to celebrate. For a friendship that, even though we’ve never met and we’re 2000 miles apart, means tons to Mrs. Dude and I.

Erica Dermer

For being a beast. For bringing some well-needed levity to our disease. For laying out straight how crappy celiac can be.

Jules Shepard

For your advocacy. For pushing so hard on behalf of all celiacs for the FDA guidelines. For everything else you bring to this community.

Ken Scheer

For being another male voice in this female-dominated community. For educating restaurants on how to do gluten-free right. For the good conversation and cocktails at the NJ expo.

Carol Kicinski

For welcoming me to the Simply Gluten Free magazine family. For the opportunity to give my voice a larger audience. For making my upcoming article the main cover story (just kidding).

Kelly LeDonni

For creating your gluten-free labels to help your fellow celiacs avoid cross-contamination. For sharing your celiac story with me…still amazes me. For being local, so I can actually talk to a fellow celiac in person.


This community wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for all of you. Mere words cannot express my gratitude for all you bring to not only this blog, but to my life.

I said at the beginning of this post that I’m not thankful I have celiac disease. Perhaps that’s not completely true. Everything happens for a reason. And my life has been enriched because of all of you.

I will keep doing what I can to be the best possible advocate I can be. Please keep bringing your passion, your knowledge, your humor, your honesty. Without you, there is no Gluten Dude and for that, I am forever grateful.

Have a safe Thanksgiving folks. Gobble, gobble.

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32 thoughts on “9 Fellow Celiacs I'm Thankful For”

  1. Love you dear! And thank you and all celiacs out there for your relentless push to have people listen and take this disease seriously! May everyone have a day of hope tomorrow and moving forward. I thank you for being a great community. Gluten dude thank you for being an honest voice whose snarkiness is welcomed by me any day!!! Much thanks to you and Mrs Dude. Mrs dude deserves a special thank you along with all the other supporting partners out there. This is not an easy disease on ANY of us. We know that and we thank you for your patience.
    Be well.
    Jen Esposito

  2. Gluten Dude we thank you for all of your hard work on this disease. Cheers to you with a GF Beer!! Enjoy the holiday with your family!

  3. I am thankful for you and your blog Gluten Dude! Thank you for your perspective, your support, your empathy, and most of all your humor on those darkest of days. I just get so excited when you have a new post. I have learned so much from you and I know that I am not alone in this! Happy Thanksgiving and THANK YOU!!

  4. Thanks for all you do, GF. It’s nice to have a Dude voice on this wonderful journey of ours. Life in this alternative universe isn’t all that bad. In fact, I feel blessed. I love our little subculture! Warm wishes to you and Mrs. Dude for a spectacular Thanksgiving.

  5. Thanks GD! I am celebrating my 1st GF Thanksgiving with my family tomorrow, and it’s been a long road. While I’m still not 100%, I have been feeling better!

    And I’m thankful for you GD! Your posts have helped me lear something new or put a smile on my face. The latter which is especially needed. Keep doing what you do, because you have a loyal reader in Fiona!

  6. Thanks so much for grounding us all with this post. Thanksgiving is such a wonderful opportunity to reflect upon all we truly have to be thankful for, and on a celiac journey, there are days when that can be tough to do. Our community is truly a blessing to us all, and having these outspoken voices, advocates and friends to pick us up on those down days is invaluable. Thanks to you, Dude, for your levity, honesty, support and unwavering friendship.

  7. Thank you, my friend–for all you do for the gluten free community. It’s been my pleasure to be one of your trusty side-kicks. 🙂
    And I treasure our behind the scenes talks and laugh-fests. xx

    I wish to say that I am grateful to all the gluten free bloggers, authors and my fellow celiac.comers who take the time to share their talents, recipes, articles, wisdom and HUMOR..

    But most of all, I am grateful for my husband–my best friend, my rock and my heartbeat. He stood by me when I was dying from this disease and he never once lost faith that we find out what was wrong and that we would get back to the joy of living once more.
    And we have.

    P.S. So glad you used my new “beach windswept look”.
    Thanksgiving with a high of 75 is pretty new to me (but I think I am ok with that!) Big hugs to all. Happy Thanksgiving and remember “Every day is a Healing Day”…right Camille? 😉

  8. I thought I knew it all after having been gluten-free for twelve years–but I didn’t.

    Thank you for reminding us all to be careful and stay healthy.

    Happy Thanksgiving!!

      1. I highlighted it like the other reader said and could see it.
        Anyway, thanks for all you do! I write a GF cooking site for people in my neck of the woods (central Illinois) or any rural area that shop at Aldis, Walmart etc and don’t have access to fancy GF foods. I am so thankful that so many of the celiacs out there have different talents that we share with each other. I was diagnosed before people used the internet and it was a lonely place to be. Thanks for how you bring people together! And you are a lot of fun to boot! Enjoy your GF stuffing!

        1. Gloria, I would love more info! I live in an area where literally the cows outnumber people and you can’t google my address. Rural? Yeah, just a little bit. LMAO!

          I am not starving as I eat real food but finding GF foods is thisclose to impossible unless I hit amazon.com. I asked a store clerk one day ( and I can’t make this stuff up!) if they could pre-order me some GF crackers ( a simple box of crackers for some cheese, for Pete’s sake!) and they actually asked me “Is that a type of fish or something?”. I can find a few items now because I take the time – and a deep breath or two – and educate. But would love to know if you have any tricks or tips I can utilize! Thanks!!!

    1. yep unreadable here too, But, by accident, discovered that when I left click and highlight ( as if you were to copy) , the post is readable.

      Thanks Gluten Dude for your posts and insights, and to all who comment– this community has been a great help.

  9. Thanks to all of the people listed also, and to you GD. You bring a level minded, common sense approach that this community needs. Your humanity touches me time and again. I am thankful to have met so many people whom I feel a connection to in this community Hopefully one day, we will get to meet:) Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  10. Hello, and I would like to thank all on this site! You have inspired me and helped me on all levels. Thank you and Happy T-Day, Ps I eat steak and potato and am very satisfied:) Kim Kuehl

  11. Thanks GD for your interesting posts and giving us a place to come so we don’t feel alone.

    I found you when I was feeling really lost and in despair. You helped me to move forward.

    I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday!


  12. Like you said, I didn’t think I could be thankful for this disease…but I have to be because of the friends it has brought me. Thank you for being my confidante. I couldn’t do this without you and Mrs. Dude. Can’t wait to meet you both in person sometime soon (COME TO PHOENIX!) 🙂

    1. Alysa
      I agree with you. The blessing of this disease is the amazing, loving friends in the celiac/GF community that I have made.
      I never feel alone because I have so many wonderful peeps who walk in the same shoes I do. I am so lucky. 🙂
      Many blessings to you and your sweet family.

  13. I am thankful I (just recently) found this web site. And thanks to GD for all his work: it’s level-headed and commonsensical without losing perspective on what’s really important in life. It’s very, very much appreciated. Happy Thankgiving!

  14. Dude…..
    What an awesome article!
    Love all those people but most of all – I love people who shine the light on others doing awesome work.
    So here it is!
    YOU are doing an incredible job. Your posts, Tweets and blogs always either make me smile, laugh or both.
    Thank you for all the work YOU do:)
    Your gluten free fan from Canada:)

  15. Toast! Toast! A toast to this table of friends!

    May your hearts be light and happy,
    May your smiles be big and wide,
    May your days be free of gluten with great company at your side!

    Thank you for the great company, laughs, caring and sharing on this crazy journey!

      1. Hi Irish!

        I’ve had to put myself on a back burner, as I left a beloved job to teach a 1st grade bilingual class. I’ve had my head right at the waterline, but when I can catch a breath, I come here to catch a glimpse of the shore. Glad to see the gang’s all here!

        P.S. I love your kissed by the beach/wind photo!

        1. Omygosh! I cannot imagine anything more rewarding than teaching a 1st grade bilingual class….
          (except maybe the college ESL courses I taught? 🙂 )
          Made my heart burst to work with those wonderful students.
          Good for you. Big hugs!!

  16. Dude

    You gave me back my life by sharing your Whole30 experience, and kept me sane when I felt alone. I love what you do here.


    You are amazing, and I love you. Here and c.com you got me sorted and helped me realize that I needed to eat clean to heal. Plus you made me laugh.

    Sorry I am not about so much, but I am working 5 days a week now, when a year ago I seriously thought I would never be able to work again. Thankful. You bet.

    Mw xxx

    1. Oh dear girl!!
      I love you too!
      You have brought great sunshine to me, too, you big silly pants!
      So proud of your accomplishments and delighted for your progress.
      I could not be any happier for you–you are healing, healthy and happy!

  17. I may not always show it but I too am thankful for the community here. You are all such an inspiration, regardless of whether or not you are one of the nine (9) above.

  18. Wow. I’m honored to be a part of your list. In this time of Thanksgiving, I am also thankful for you and your unwavering support of my business. I’m grateful for the time you’ve taken out of your busy day to listen to my rants about this disease. Without you and the entire gluten free community continually educating me on latest research about this disease I’d be continually glutenizing myself and not knowing it. I feel blessed to have been diagnosed with this disease when the internet is a part of our everyday lives and we can easily share information we learn. I feel blessed that our community is so open about sharing the information they obtain to help the greater good. And, I feel blessed to have the continued support of gluten free friends like yourself that help push me to continue this labor of love – glutenfreelabels.com. Grateful today and every day for my many blessings. Thanks again. Kelly

  19. Why did I not see this until now?

    This is now my go to celiac site because a total of zero punches are pulled. This is not a condition for the weak, and you are some strong people. You make giving up my beloved NYC pizza almost tolerable.
    Also I like making Irish Heart laugh.

    By the way, my first gf thanksgiving dinner was awesome. I got creative with the stuffing and veggies. My little brother is developmentally disabled, and has celiac, and he didn’t feel like he was missing anything.
    Thanks all.

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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