Please tell me how you became interested in the area of celiac disease.
I became interested in celiac disease because I became a statistic. Even my gastroenterologist seemed at a loss…calling my diagnosis of this disease “quite rare.”
Did you know anything about this auto-immune disease before you were diagnosed?
Absolutely nothing. It seemed hardly anyone had heard of it.
How long after being off of gluten did you feel a change?
Almost immediately my more severe gastro reactions stopped, however, I remained quite sensitive for several months to other common allergens such as dairy.
Do you have any other auto-immune diseases currently? Yes.
Do you feel they can be attributed to the years of misdiagnosing or not being diagnosed celiac, when in fact you were? Absolutely.
Is there anything you’d like to share with others about this point?
I know a lot of people who are “self-diagnosing”. They have gone off of all gluten, knowing that they DO feel better, however, not knowing for certain if they have a food allergy or are indeed someone with celiac disease. This really concerns me. This is not something to speculate about for several reasons. If you have celiac disease, others in your family probably have it too, and you need to know the facts.
Secondly, we know that celiac disease is commonly seen in conjunction with other autoimmune diseases. People need to have the facts about their health and know what their scenario truly is so that they can adjust their diet accordingly. If I had been more proactive about my health, I wouldn’t be challenged with the degree of autoimmune disease that I am. I have a friend who was diagnosed with celiac about 4 years ago and also has MS. She was not diligent about abstaining from gluten in her diet, and now she has a rare form of rectal cancer (more autoimmune disease!). Celiac can be primary/secondary to other autoimmune conditions.
You have a lovely site www.celaicdiseaseinfo.org. Can you tell us what this site offers to others, please?
My website provides a service for those who are diagnosed celiacs or those who are seeking diagnosis, informs and educates the public about celiac disease, offers my 160 page gluten free & wheat free cookbook, and a 50 page informational e-book download. My website also offers links to my “Gluten Free Foodie Heaven” recipe blog.
What is the mission you want to accomplish through your site?
Initially, in 2005 when I created my website, I was in earnest about folks finding more information about celiac disease. There wasn’t near the information available and “the buzz” in the media that there is currently and I am so thankful that that has changed! Over time, my passion has evolved into two things:
1) I would like to convey to people about what I mentioned earlier, and that is not to speculate about a diagnosis of celiac disease. It’s like holding a gun to your head. My life has undergone a complete 360 degree change since about six years ago…because I became even more ill following the CD diagnosis…and it truly was debilitating. Finally, within the past year or so, the docs figured out what else was going on. If it hadn’t taken so long to diagnose my CD in the first place, I believe that I may not have developed the other autoimmune disease.
2) Secondly, I LOVE the creativity involved in adapting recipes to gluten free…and the challenge of arriving at wonderful gluten free recipe options that may be even tastier than their non-gluten free counterparts! So the website has been evolving more into a foodie direction with recipes, photos of food…and even more food!
You have some lovely recipes and incredibly impacting food images on your site. Thank you!
Are they all your own recipes?
The baked donuts recipe on my blog and in my cookbook were adapted gluten free from Family Circle magazine. Most everything else is my own creation; unless specified otherwise. However, my recipes are frequently “inspired” by another gluten-containing recipe that I find elsewhere to begin with.
Do you test these recipes on or with others before publishing them?
My Gluten Free Foodie Heaven blog works GREAT for that purpose! And I have had, from time to time, volunteers from all over the country testing various recipes.
How do you go about developing a new recipe?
The process will begin with an existing recipe that contains gluten that may strike me as having great potential and appeal . Then it gradually evolves into something much more appealing than the original, in most cases. It’s like a work of art…and I don’t stop until I am happy with it. Perhaps I need to be creating a special cake for a dinner, so I find a recipe that contains gluten that I like the basic characteristics of and can use as the springboard to further develop as my own. I enjoy the magazines “Mary Jane’s Farm” and “Country Living” a great deal and find inspiration from many of their “country-influenced” recipes.
Can you share a little bit of “Diane’s Process” please? See above.
You have created a cookbook which took over 7 years of research and development. What makes this cookbook unique?
My niche seems to be the creativity involved in all of my recipes. Very few are ordinary, and at times, I probably need to “reign in” my gourmet side a bit! The other unique aspect of my cookbook is its “home style” cooking slant. Almost everything is made from scratch and many with a country flavor.
How can someone purchase your cookbook?
My cookbook is available either at my website: www.celiacdiseaseinfo.org or at AMAZON.com:
On your site you offer some incredibly helpful information through a downloadable eBook. Can you share a bit about the eBook please?
My ebook is like a beginning primer on celiac disease…from its history, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, a reference guide to gluten free foods, a section on gluten free flours, alternative gluten free grains, hidden sources of gluten, a starter guide to eating gluten free, and a bonus of a week’s worth of recipes.
You also have a blog www.glutenfreefoodieheaven.blogspot.com. Can you please share what this blog offers and how it may be different than your site?
My blog is just a lot of fun! I love sharing my recipes in this venue with others and hearing what people have to say! I also enjoy shooting the photographs
and improving my photographer’s “eye” as I build the blog.
I read you also give seminars! What are your seminars about and where can one sign up for one?
At this time, my seminars have been local to the North Arizona area. I attempt to convey to people the difference between a gluten allergy and celiac disease, but also want to assist people in how to affordably cook gluten free and wheat free for themselves or for their family. I have done gluten free cooking demos on a statewide TV program as well as some radio interviews.
Do you have any plans to offer online seminars or online cooking classes?
Not at this time, but I am currently scheduled to teach gluten free cooking classes at a local community college.
You carry the name “Gluten-Free Country Girl”. That is quite a title. Can you share with us how you acquired this name?
Honestly, it just FITS! I live in the country and love the country lifestyle, after residing in large cities most of my life. My husband and I built our passive solar home on 3 acres almost ten years ago. We have carved out a very enjoyable lifestyle in a lovely mile high community in the mountains of N. AZ. We are developing a small vineyard, orchard and a large garden, raising chickens, rabbits, and two lambs. We make a conscious effort to maintain control over what we eat and put into our bodies. Initially, this came out of necessity, in that I was ill and seemed to do better with more fresh, nutritious food. But now, when I develop a gluten free recipe, I am also passing on what I hope is the essence of the lifestyle that I love!
What makes Diane “shine” in her work in the gluten-free celiac world?
Hopefully, what I mentioned above! I sincerely hope that people enjoy my recipes and my heart for getting more helpful information out there.
If you could share one thing today, what is it you’d like to say?
Be diligent as your own health care advocate. No one can really do it for you. Listen to your intuition when you are searching for answers to your health questions. And be assertive when working with your health care practitioners!
Thank you Diane!
About Diane: Diane Jacobs was diagnosed in 2003 with celiac disease and has dedicated herself to sharing information about celiac disease and also about the benefits of eating and cooking wheat and gluten free. In 2005, Diane created her own website: http://www.celiacdiseaseinfo.org; in 2006 she self-published her first edition of her Ebook: What on Earth is a Celiac?; in 2008, her cookbook: Delicious! The Very Best of Gluten Free & Wheat Free Cooking, a Homestyle Recipe Collection for Celiacs and Wheat Sensitive Folks” was self-published both at the website and at Amazon.com: .
Then in 2010, she created her food blog: “Gluten Free Foodie Heaven”: http://www.glutenfreefoodieheaven.blogspot.com.
Diane speaks to community groups and organizations about celiac disease and about how to comfortably (and fabulously!) and survive as a person who either is required to or desires to eat gluten and wheat free. She also makes appearances on TV programs cooking gluten free and has been featured in local newspaper articles as well.
Prescott, Arizona Courier article: March14th, 2010:
From our home to yours, Miranda Jade.