I Love a Happy Gluten-Free Ending

helping celiacs

Dude note: To help celebrate and promote Celiac Awareness Month, I will be writing 30 blog posts over 30 consecutive days (weekends excluded) with the theme “30 Days of Helping 30 Celiacs”. Each post will be aimed toward helping one specific person or group of people. If you or someone you know needs help, guidance, advice or a shoulder to cry on, please contact me and I will do what I can to help. On the 31st day, you’re on your own. Totally kidding.

Today’s 30 for 30 blog post is for: Anyone who thinks they can’t make a difference in someone’s life, no matter how small the gesture.

It’s official. I have totally been glutened (although honestly I wish there was a better term for it because I feel that “glutened” somehow minimizes what happens to us). Long, long day yesterday and we’ll see where today takes me. So bear with today’s post. Since forming words could be a challenge, I’m going to use mostly pictures.

So if you recall from last week, a 10-year-old fellow celiac named Hannah emailed me and was having a rough go at it. I responded to the best of my ability and also said that if was ok with her parents, I’d be happy to send her a gluten-free goodie bag.

Well…on Thursday night, I received the following email from Hannah’s mom.

Dear Gluten Dude,

I wanted to thank you for posting my daughter’s email to you. Reading your kind thoughts, and all the really wonderful comments left on your blog, have really helped her morale. Having celiac can be such a lonely experience — your blog plays such a valuable role by creating a community of celiacs.

Hannah would like to take you up on your offer to send along some gluten free goodies. I’m hesitant to put you out, when you already give so much through your blog. But if you really mean it, you can send the package to my office.

So I asked her where she was located and she was in New York City. Bing! Turns out I was going to the city the following day to meet some friends for dinner. Double Bing!!

Here is my journey….

I take a train up to the city via NJ Transit. They have come a long way since my commuting days. The train was only 30 minutes late and the conductors were only semi-snotty. Here is a picture of me jumping on the train.


Next stop is Jennifer’s Way Bakery, where Jen and her team said they would put together an awesome package for Hannah. But Jen also said I needed to try her bread so she made both myself and Hannah’s mom fresh bread. It takes 25 minutes or so to cook so in the meanwhile, I shot the breeze with Jennifer and nibbled on some Quinoa Bread with Jam…


…and then had a banana sandwich on pecan-raisin bread with honey and organic peanut butter. It. Was. Amazing.


And then the bread was done. Holy moly. One for me and one for Hannah’s mom.


I took a very small piece to try it. Ahhh, who am I kidding…I dug into it like I hadn’t eaten in days.


Then Jennifer’s team packed up Hannah’s goodie box…


…and off I went…walking the 2 miles to go see Hannah’s mom.


When Mrs. Dude and I are in the city, we play the Starbucks game. Whoever sees one first gets a point. 1-0 hon.


I arrived a hot, sweaty mess. Note to self…take the subway next time. Hannah’s mom could not have been more gracious and more appreciative.


A few day’s later, I received the following email from Hannah’s mom:

It was wonderful to meet you on Friday. Hannah was delighted with the box of goodies you brought her. I was too. Jennifer’s rosemary bread is hands down the best bread I’ve had since I went gluten free, and I had to swallow my pride to say that because I’m a pretty good baker. Here’s a photo of Hannah enjoying one of the cookies (the cupcakes disappeared too quickly for me to get a photo of her eating them).


I was happy. Jennifer was happy. Hannah’s mom was happy. And Hannah was happy. It was a win-win all around.

Every small gesture counts folks. What will you do this month for a fellow celiac?

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39 thoughts on “I Love a Happy Gluten-Free Ending”

  1. Hannah looks so happy!! You and Jen did a very sweet thing.
    I am proud to be your friend.

    Poor Dude. πŸ™ “Glutened” is not the best word sometimes, I agree.I tend to say ambushed or whacked because it’s a stealthy little bugger. The “hit by a train then run through a wringer” analogy may be more apt. (love the photo essay approach, BTW πŸ™‚ )

    When I have gluten head, I find myself gesturing more than usual, miming out what I am trying to say and using words like “thinger” . I also say ARGH!! a lot as I am frustrated and sad because my hair falls out and my joints burn. So, basically, I speak “pirate”.

    Drink lots of water, double the probiotics–it helps with the gastritis aspect –and take your B vitamins, young man.
    Hope you feel better very soon, buddy.

  2. This is such a great story! πŸ™‚
    I might be getting a chance to go to NYC in Sept and I need to be able to stop at Jennifer’s bakery!! I can’t handle looking at that goodie box! Looks amazing!!

  3. Awesome story! You are right, it is sometimes all about the little things (which can, in turn, be huge).
    Hope you’re back up to par soon. πŸ™‚

  4. What an awesome WONDERFUL thing you and Jennifer did for Hannah! I really appreciate your following up on the situation as well. It’s nice to know that Hannah is feeling a bit better while dealing with such a hard situation at such a young age.

    I am very much looking forward to when Jennifer’s new venture goes live! I live in Albuquerque New Mexico and have no hope of getting up to New York to try out her bakery in person. I wait with baited breath till I can buy her products online and have them shipped! I miss a good sandwich! You can try all the GF breads you can find in the regular stores you want, they just never live up their promises. My Husband will finally know what to buy for me on birthdays and anniversaries.

    Thank you GF Dude and Jennifer for bringing hope, understanding and support to a community so desperately needing it!

  5. Seriously Dude, you are awesome. I can’t tell you how great it is to get your blog in my inbox. This disease is hard enough for adults, much less for kids – I’m sure you helped Hannah A LOT!
    YOU ROCK πŸ˜€

  6. Dude, so sorry you got glutened–I did too yesterday. Like a moron, I decided to give the Omission beer a go–yeah, well that was a huge mistake and I have been super sick since last night.

    Anyway, that was so sweet of you to go out of your way for Hannah! Great job to you and Jennifer! Hope you feel better!

  7. GD-

    You make a huge difference in people’s lives, every day. Hannah is just another awesome example. I totally heart you. One of my daughters teachers is NCGI like me so I am going to stop and get her some grain exchange macaroons. Whoyah.

    Jersey Girl
    Ned: Phil? Phil Connors? Phil Connors, I thought that was you!Phil: Hi, thanks for watching.
    Ned: Hey now, don’t you tell me you don’t remember me ’cause I sure as heckfire remember you.
    Phil: Not a chance.
    Ned: Ned… Ryerson. “Needlenose Ned”? “Ned the Head”? C’mon, buddy. Case Western High. I did the whistling belly-button trick at the high school talent show? Bing. Ned Ryerson, got the shingles real bad senior year, almost didn’t graduate? Bing, again. Ned Ryerson, I dated your sister Mary Pat a couple of times until you told me not to anymore? Well?
    Phil: Ned Ryerson?
    Ned: BING!
    Phil: Bing. So did you turn pro with that whole belly-button thing Ned or…Ned: No, I sell insurance.
    Phil: What a shock.

    1. Phil: I was in the Virgin Islands once. I met a girl. We ate lobster, drank piΓ±a coladas. At sunset, we made love like sea otters.
      [Ralph and Gus snort]
      Phil: *That* was a pretty good day. Why couldn’t I get *that* day over, and over, and over…

  8. Awesome job helping out Hannah. Living with celiac can sometimes be a lonely experience. Your post inspired me to put together a goody bag and helpful gluten-free tips for the mother of one of my students, who was just diagnosed with CD last week and doesn’t know where to begin.

    Hang in there, Dude. I’ve been down that road myself, one time due to my own laziness (assumed something was gluten-free and didn’t check the label). Drink plenty of water and as Irish Heart advised, double up on the probiotics and take your B complex. Hope you’re feeling better soon.

  9. Now I’m happy too. You’re a good guy- especially with how you’re feeling. Hope you’re feeling better.

  10. To Irish heart, sorry to make this about me but I have been trying to get answers about my joints & you mentioned burning joints. I need to walk for my Diebetes but so painful after a few houses. I have had blood tests & X-rays and, nothing. I have not eat an any gluten on purpose since reading this blog, but have a lot to learn. What do you or anyone else with this problem think? I am desperate.

  11. You are a rockstar. This story literally made my eyes tear up. Thank you for being there for all of us dude. I am sure that is a day Hannah will always treasure. And she’s right… I think it is tougher for kids. Hang in there Hannah! One day you will be grown up and happy you took care of yourself when you were younger.

  12. Way to go Gluten Dude! I also hate the word “glutened”. It kind sounds like we have been slimed by one the apparitions in “Ghostbusters”. The baked goods look so good my mouth was watering. By the way, where can I get one of those t-shirts the baker was wearing?? Thank you again for your wonderful soul. Nuff said I am a person of few words.

  13. julie rumreich

    Thank you for being such a great source of encouragement and inspiration to us all! I appreciate the time you take to share with us and help us share with one another. I am on a mission now to find a fellow celiac to bless…..and I do believe I just thought of the perfect person! Thanks again! πŸ™‚

  14. I love this!

    My VP is on the board of the 2nd Harvest Food Bank in. NC. I got an order of pretzels from Amazon and happened to open the bag with no expiration date. Of course it was stale. Amazon replaced the whole order. So instead of being greedy, I collected the extra bags along with some other GF stuff I knew I wouldn’t eat (went nuts at diagnosis). Last week I dropped it at the food bank. Unfortunately, people with CD and gluten intolerance are the most overlooked of the hungry. I know it wasn’t much, but was glad I helped make a difference.

    Thanks GD for all you do, too! I’ve been glutened 3 times in 6 months since diagnosis. I’m finding it very challenging to work. You and everyone else make me feel I’m not nuts.

  15. Awesome… just look how happy she is, you totally made her day, Dude! Food looks great, too.

    As a frequent transit user I also had to LOL at the train picture/comments. And if you ever happen to find yourself in Vancouver, it’s also a great city for that Starbucks game.

  16. Well hell Dude! You made me cry! LOVE that story and I’m so glad for Hannah! I’ve often dreamt of being a “Gluten Free Fairy”. I would wear converse high-tops, giant wings and carry a wand, of course. I would love to show up at the doorstep of any struggling Celiac or newly diagnosed Celiac household and proceed to clean out their kitchen and show them great resources while gluten free brownies are baking in their oven. Could we have designated Gluten Free Fairies in every town? People could email us and secretly send us to surprise someone, just like you did Dude! Yes, I’m a 42 year old Celiac and I think I want to be a fairy when I grow up! So happy for Hannah! You work magic, Dude!!!!

  17. Sue in Alberta

    What a good thing you did, Dude. Imagine, Everyone, getting a basket full of delicious baked goodies!
    Dude, you’ve done a fine job today with this post AND all the while being walking road kill ( my definition of the post-glutening).

    P.S. I want to be a GF Fairy too, Rachael.

  18. That is so awesome! I’d love to have Hannah and her mom on our show… what an inspiration to all young children and her mom is a champion!

  19. I love this!

    Hope you feel better, Dude, from the punch in the gut.

    I want to do something to help someone out, but I don’t know what yet. HMMM… maybe I’ll just go to my local support group and see what I can do.

  20. Oh man, Dude, I’m sorry you got glutenated! That was a great thing that you and Jennifer put together for Hannah.

    Last weekend our city had a big GF expo. It was really fun to wander around with a bag, like trick-or-treating, collecting samples and chatting with vendors. Some of them gave me extras for GF friends who couldn’t make it. Also fun was being among the volunteers who staffed our local celiac support group’s booth. It was so awesome to talk to so many people who are in the same boat. We all helped each other!

  21. Great thing you did to let Hannah know that there are nice people out there who care.
    Sorry you were poisoned, hope you get well soon.
    BTW – Jen’s goodies look so good I’ll be heading over tomorrow.
    Thank you for your posts, I just found your blog a few months ago and am so glad I did.

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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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