When we first connected with the food allergy community, someone who kept popping up was Erica Dermer. Otherwise known online as Celiac and the Beast. Even though she doesn’t have a food allergy, there are some similarities between allergies and celiac disease. She is an amazing advocate for gluten-free awareness and she soon became known to me as one of my rock stars.
I first met Erica at the Food Allergy Bloggers Conference (FABlogCon) in 2014. (To learn more about this FABulous event, check out our blog post here.) It took place in our own backyard of Denver. It was such a thrill to meet her in person after interacting with her online. A couple of years later, we swapped one of our “It’s Not A Diet, It’s My Life” mugs for a copy of her book. She even autographed it for us!
I haven’t taken the time to read in a while (except for a book club with my son reading the Magic Treehouse books). The next FABlogCon was coming up, and I wanted to read it so we could talk about it in person. It turned out it was the 5 year anniversary of when the book first came out, so it was a celebration! I read a chapter each night and Tweeted about it. That way people could read along with me, or I might engage them enough so they would want to read it themselves. (As a side note, I wrote part of this post next to Erica during one of the FABlogCon sessions!)
The book is fun and conversational. It’s not like reading a book, but rather having a friend over and talking about celiac disease over a gluten-free cup of coffee. Or a gluten-free beer. (Although, I read in bed each night so it was kind of like she was lying with me talking about her struggles with celiac, which is kind of weird now that I think about it.)
Since my family deals with food allergies, I was aware of and knew a little bit about celiac disease; however, I learned a lot more from reading this book. Did you know that there are 300 different symptoms? With that many symptoms, no wonder in the earlier years it was difficult to diagnose. It can be a real struggle to get the help that celiacs need. In fact, there are still doctors that have an aversion to celiac testing. This totally blows my mind.
I learned how it’s not always easy to get the answers you need, but once you get there it gives you a roadmap to staying healthy.
“Being diagnosed with celiac disease is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I finally understand what’s wrong with my body. My diagnosis gave me a game plan for the rest of my life.” — Celiac and the Beast
Is Celiac and the Beast for you?
Are you wondering if you have celiac disease?
Then have your doctor test you for it! Erica explains why this is so important to know if you need to avoid gluten and get your health back on track. She helps you
“People are going GF without realizing the repercussions of going undiagnosed. Sure, you may feel better, but if you’re a celiac, more needs to be done to keep your body safe and healthy.”
Are you newly diagnosed? Confused and confounded on how to go gluten-free?
This book is full of tips that Erica learned from years of trial and error. She’s like a friend taking you by the hand and guiding you up a mountain of pasta, free of gluten. She even devotes an entire chapter called, “First Timer Mistakes: What I Learned and What I Want to Teach You.”
Are you already living with celiac disease?
Then reading this would be like a support group when each of you talks about your struggles. You will probably nod your head at the pitfalls Celiac and the Beast had to go through (and continues to go through) on her journey.
“My life has changed dramatically since my diagnosis. Often I think that it has changed for the better – although some days I still want to punch celiac in the face.”
Are you a family member of someone with celiac disease?
It can be difficult to understand what someone is going through if you’re not going through it yourself. This book helps to tell their personal story to you, struggles and all. It will give you a starting point for a better understanding and for you to ask questions.
“Holidays are for celebrating those who are important to us. This should bring us together and teach us to love each other for who we are and not what we eat.”
Are you working in the restaurant/hospitality industry?
After reading this you will know the importance of asking your customers about celiac/gluten-free needs (or any special dietary needs). Also importance of making sure that the food is prepared and delivered safely.
“If you don’t want to serve us, you don’t have to, but if you want our discretionary income (and there’s a lot of us out there), please do it right.”
This was so much fun reading her book. It felt like I got to know Erica a little bit better besides getting a window into her celiac life. I learned a lot more about celiac disease. This made me more compassionate, an improved advocate, and hopefully that makes me a better person.
“I truly believe that everyone is beautiful and everyone has something to offer the universe, even if they don’t feel like it – hell, even if I don’t feel like it.”
For details on how to purchase your own copy of “Celiac and the Beast,” visit her website here!