Celiac Disease. It is a life sentence. From the moment of diagnosis, until the day you die it is something you thinking about constantly; from the foods you eat to the products you use to the activities your participate in. When you are first diagnosed it feels like you are walking around with a big picture of wheat crossed out on your chest. The foods you loved are no long available, going out to a restaurant is no longer enjoyable and an invitation to a friend’s house can be a hazard. Every where you turn, gluten hides in the shadows waiting to attack. Just when you think you are safe, your stomach begins to bloat, intense cramps set in and you are down for the count.
I remember the first time I went out for dinner after my diagnosis. I was gluten free now, all I had to do was avoid wheat products. Easy right? I didn’t want to make a big deal about my allergy, I didn’t want the waiter to stare and I didn’t want to be THAT person that makes a scene at a restaurant, I kept my thoughts to myself and ordered a meal that I assumed was gluten free (I believe it was a rice, veggie and meat dish). That night, I grew a gluten baby and had severe cramps. It turns out that my ‘safe’ option had used gluten as a thickening tool.
After a few more incidences like this, where I tried to keep my allergy a secret, I began speaking up. Eating out and suffering the consequences of being glutened wasn’t worth it! I began announcing my allergy, asking a ton of questions and protecting myself. Sometimes, I get snide comments (‘just take the meat off the bread, she’ll never know!’), rolls of the eyes, and backlash, but for the most part, I am treated with respect. I am warned of dishes to avoid, I am provided with alternatives and most importantly, I leave without the risk of an attack. I still get uncomfortable bringing my allergy to light, but luckily, over time, it is becoming second nature and I have amazing family and friends who are only too proud to stand up for my allergy!
Along this journey, I found an author who has taken the struggle of Celiac Disease and turned it into an adventure. Ms. Puccio was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2012. She began writing articles on The Huffington Post under the pen name Celia Kaye, which chronicle her experiences with and management of the disease. Her struggles lead to THE ADVENTURES OF CELIA KAYE, a story about a young girl struggling with Celiac Disease. She wanted to provide children with Celiac Disease someone to identify with and to help parents talk to their kids about the challenges of living with gluten intolerance and other food allergies. In addition to writing as and about Celia Kaye, she founded CeliaKaye.com, a website dedicated to helping cut through the sea of information – and misinformation – about living a full and flourishing gluten-free life.
This books was so inspiring and true to its purpose! It shows the embarrassment and struggle of being different and how one would rather hide their allergy than admit to it. I love the imagination, the story and emotions showcased in the story as you watch a girl travel from denial to acceptance in a creative way. It is the perfect book to teach children about food allergies, being different and understanding that these things don’t change who we are inside. I love this book so much, that I wanted to share with my readers through a giveaway! Whether you have Celiac Disease, know someone who does, or suffer from another food allergy, this book is a fun story to share will young ones everywhere!