For many, the holiday season revolves around spending time with friends and family. Even when surrounded by loved ones, however, it can be easy to feel alone as a celiac. You can’t eat offered Christmas cookies without asking for the ingredient list. You may have even done a Casey and turned down invitations to Thanksgiving dinner simply because you knew that saying, “I can’t eat that, but thank you for the offer” to dozens of strangers would get old.
As isolating as celiac disease can seem, however, the numbers show a different story. One in 133 Americans have celiac disease. In fact, some of your favorite celebrities may even be fellow celiacs-in-arms. Feeling lonely this holiday season?
Then keep reading to discover the 11+ celiac celebrities who are making the world a better place, one industry at a time.
1. Awesome Athletes.
For some athletes, eating gluten free is the key to winning gold – in the Olympics or otherwise. Great Britain’s Olympic curling champion Eve Muirhead was diagnosed with celiac disease just months before the 2014 Olympic games. While she’s unsure of whether she could’ve done better than a bronze medal if she hadn’t been dealing with her health issues, she still thinks, “Having been through all of this, I am stronger – both mentally and physically.”
Other celiacs with proven athletic prowess? NFL football player Cedric Benson was reportedly diagnosed with celiac disease in 2009, and Drew Brees has been linked with celiac disease as well. Perhaps one of the more vocal celiac athletes is professional golfer Sarah Jane Smith. “It’s so important for people to understand this is something they can take control of,” Smith says. “Celiac disease doesn’t have to control you.”
2. Witty Writers.
Even if you’ve never heard her name, you’re probably familiar with Sarah Vowell’s writing. Besides contributing to public radio’s “This American Life,” she’s written for Los Angeles Times, Esquire, GQ, The New York Times Book Review and plenty more. She’s quirky, loves traveling and doesn’t drive because of a personal phobia – and she’ll sign her books with phrases like: “To my gluten free fans.” Sometimes we celiacs are just too cool to handle.
|Not that I’m biased or anything…|
Still not convinced? Then meet Meg Cabot, a New York Times best-selling author of various books, including the Princess Diaries. She addressed her diagnosis in a blog post, sharing her own struggles (like “HOW DO I ORDER FOOD IN A RESTAURANT?” Yep, we’ve all asked the same question…) and her attempts to “put a positive spin on it.” As cliche as it sounds, celiacs really are in it together…whether we’re a world renown author or just a writing wannabe!
3. Newscasters in the know.
Whether you’ve watched him as a broadcaster on Fox or ESPN, or as a host in MSNBC’s Countdown, Keith Olbermann has one trait in common: he has celiac disease. He has reportedly called gluten a “poison” for his body and has donated to charities that provide celiac support and awareness.
Heidi Collins is another familiar face in the news industry, especially if you enjoy watching CNN. She experienced over a decade of health problems before being diagnosed with celiac disease. Her oldest son, Riley, also tested positive for celiac disease. Collins is also an example of the damage caused by years of untreated celiac disease: it was one of the reasons Collins and her husband chose to have a second child via surrogate. Collins’ biggest piece of advice? “If you have celiac disease, do not be shy. You really have to fight for yourself and your health.”
4. Entertainment Experts.
Zooey Deschanel may be a “new girl” on TV, but celiac disease is nothing new to her. Besides avoiding wheat due to celiac, she is also allergic to eggs and dairy. When Zooey appeared as a judge on Top Chef Masters, contestants had to learn to make something delicious within those restrictions. If you learned about the magic that is quinoa pasta from that episode, I’m sure Zooey would accept a thank you note.
Elisabeth Hasselbeck, cohost of The View and former “Survivor” contestant, is another celiac celeb. She’s taken her advocacy to another level by writing a book called, “G-Free: A Gluten Survival Guide.” Hasselbeck hopes that the book will help readers “begin your journey to a better body and a better self – without all of the heartache (and bellyache!) that [she] endured for far too long.”
The superstar title among all celiac celebrities, though, probably goes to Jennifer Esposito. If you’re a fan of Gluten Dude, you’ve heard of this actress before. When she’s not blowing viewers away in shows like Blue Bloods or NCIS, she’s blowing away foodiesat Jennifer’s Way Bakery.