My Weekend With a Celiac

Dude Note: To honor Celiac Awareness Month and to help raise awareness of our disease, I will be attempting 31 blog posts in 31 days. My goal is simple: to make most of them not suck. If you’ve got ideas for a good post or if you’d like to guest blog, by all means, contact me. Your input is more than welcome. And if you know anybody with celiac disease, give them some extra lovin’ this month. They deserve it.

Two special shout-outs today before I get to my blog:

1. To everyone who currently serves or who has ever served for our country. I don’t get too caught up in the whole patriotic thing, because sometimes I think it divides the world rather than unites it, but your sacrifice is something I just cannot comprehend. Thank you.

2. To my dad, who would have been 77 today. Happy Birthday. I miss you.

Ok…on to today’s post.

Mrs. Dude’s cousins came in for the weekend from the DC area. It’s always a blast to have them in town. One of them, Aaron, surprised me by writing a blog post for me about what celiac disease is like from a guest’s perspective. Very, very cool and much appreciated.

One thing you should know about Aaron. He runs marathons. Like a lot of them. And whenever he finishes a new marathon, he gets a tattoo representing the marathon. Also very cool.

Here we go….


I am Gluten Dude’s cousin. Ok, technically Mrs. Dude is my cousin but for all intensive purposes we are family. All the nieces and nephews call him “Uncle Dude” and that’s how it’s always been.

celiac guest
My Cousin Aaron

Anyway, we’re fortunate that we live close enough that pretty much as long as no one has major plans you could pack your car and be at someone’s house in about three hours. Dude is as gracious a host as you can find. We visited over the Memorial Weekend and his house was busy with his kids, my sister and her boys and yours truly.

On the counter in the kitchen there are signs for food to point out to everyone what is gluten free and what isn’t. Dude’s section of the kitchen and refrigerator are known to all and luckily the youngsters are smart enough to ask which drawers in the kitchen are “ok.”

Sadly, one has to answer that question not for the sake of the children but for Dude because we don’t want anything to happen to him.

I am amazed and impressed at his ability to focus on the smallest details of the ingredients on food, to quickly look online if he is unsure, and to just skip it if he knows he can’t have it. Our first day at the “Dude Ranch” Mrs. Dude had food and snacks out on the kitchen counter for everyone………well, not everyone. I sat there and snacked on and off all day as did many of us, yet here was Dude walking past it and dare I say ignoring it. It has become routine or habit for him and he can not deter from these habits.

I watched him grab his morning coffee and his pre-packaged snack/breakfast. I wondered how everyone could share the same coffee machine… you can see, I am completely naïve to the nature of what Dude can and can’t do. But I try to follow, listen, and ask a lot of questions.

When I think about how some days an ankle hurts or my back is out of whack, I try to keep it all in perspective knowing how careful Dude has to be every day. I read his posts when I can and if something happens I know it is much worse than anything I have endured. I hope companies, stores and restaurants are more vigilant in supporting all the Dudes out there.

I’m trying to do my part by paying attention…and hopefully the bottle of Gentleman Jack didn’t hurt either.

Cousin Aaron

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13 thoughts on “My Weekend With a Celiac”

  1. Kristi Carpenter

    Dude, is Jack really gluten free? When I was at the distillery I asked. I was told it should be from the studies done on distillation. I have not been brave enough to try it! Thanks for all you do.

  2. aaron schneider

    pleeeeeeeeeeeease tell me the hooch was ok? I am so sorry if it wasn’t. Again, another lesson learned. Can’t wait for the next trip, it is always an awesome time hanging out with family……yes, you are family and you are stuck with us.

    1. The Gluten Dude

      I think we’re good Aaron. I assume it was a culmination of a weekend of too much red meat and Titos.

    2. Amy -The Quirky Gluten Free Runner

      Maybe it was the *quantity* of the Jack?

      I’ve always heard that distilled alcohol is suppose to be fine. Dad still has a bottle of Templeton Rye since he only seems to remember to ask if I want any on the day I’m leaving and driving. . . maybe it’s his way of keeping the bottle to himself?

      I only drink about five times a year, and I prefer the hard stuff, never acquired the taste for beer so I’ve never searched out GF beer.

      Aaron, marathoner, guest column author, you are amazing. I wish I could get up the nerve to get a tattoo, but with my two immune disorders (celiac and colitis) I don’t for fear of having some kind of immune problem with the ink!

      I volunteered at a rest stop along the interstate on Monday. I had somebody ask why the flag was at half-staff. I answered ‘because it’s Memorial Day, it’s raised to full, then lowered to half mast before noon and raised at noon”. He didn’t believe me, asked his wife, she said the same thing, he didn’t believe her either. ARGH. We don’t fly a flag b/c we wouldn’t be home to take it down in the rain, or when it gets dark before we’re home from work, etc and we have to much pride for the flag to leave it up in all weather.

  3. Wow Dude! You’ve got a great Family and a great support group around you which respect your diagnosis. Not everybody, unfortunately, can say that in regard to celiac disease. It’s very heart-warming to read about others having the support you do and I hope others reading this blog will aspire (or demand) to have this much respect and support in their own Home. Thank you for “Cousin Aaron’s” post. He did an awesome job!

    On equally important notes, I’d like to pay homage to our Military forces who have fought for our Freedom. I’d also like to acknowledge your Dad’s Birthday today. You, Dude, give a lot of “self” when you blog. I find that refreshing and “Real.” For that, Thank You.



  4. Jack is GF, so no worries!!

    Distilled liquor has no gluten.

    If it is distilled alcohol, it contains no gluten protein in it, even if its origins were fermented wheat, barley or rye. Distillation is an extremely effective process in which all prolamines (the type of proteins that trigger celiac symptoms) are removed. This means that unless gluten-containing flavorings have been added, all PURE vodkas, tequilas, rums, brandies, whiskeys, bourbon and gins are gluten-free.

    That said, this former 2 Bombay Sapphire martinis a day girl simply CANNOT do that anymore since Celiac triggered in me. Not because of gluten, but because of my gut or my clean system or the inflammatory process (or because I lost all my fat/muscle?:) not sure. I think we just cannot handle it anymore.

    Sorry, Dude! Small sips from now on, bro.

    Nice of Aaron to see how well you, Mrs. Dude and the Dudettes
    deal with your dietary needs.

    But I have to ask, because I am unsure —why didn’t you have some snacks for yourself handy, too? (rice or potato chips, salsa, veggies, Crunchmaster crackers, that sort of thing?) Do you just not like them? You do not need to go without, G-dude! :>)

  5. You are so lucky and blessed with family who cares. It is so important. And you got so many great followers on this blog. I wish all of us a support you get. We all need it!

  6. Every single time I have Jack, my sinus goes into overdrive! Yes, ‘they’ say gluten has been so highly processed out of it, there is no drama, but I don’t drink it anymore…
    I stick with good scotch, or wine or white spirit….I also stick with dry ginger ale or soda water as a mixer…

  7. Ever in the DC area again you should try One Dish Cuisine..Very very good food…If you are here first monday of a month..I am sure my Celiac Disease support group wouldn’t mind you coming by..10

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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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