If you could eat gluten, would you? The option is one step closer.

The big question- if you could suddenly eat gluten again, would you?
Dining out is a minefield if you have to be gluten-free. 
Would a vaccine make life easier?

The big question...

There may be a celiac vaccine in our future.

That's the word from Down Under this month. An Australian biotechnology company called ImmusanT, Inc. is developing an immunotherapeutic vaccine for celiac disease. And guess what? The Phase 1 clinical trial went swimmingly.  Read about their positive results here at the NFCA's Celiac Central.

It's a very odd feeling to imagine eating gluten again, after almost ten years of banishment. A decade of shunning gluten is no small feat. In a food culture that worships wheat, and elevates the gentle science of baking to both a high art (think crusty, fresh baked baguette) and a low art (say, pizza pockets), living gluten-free is akin to attempting to mambo in a minefield. Gluten lurks everywhere. Not only where you’d anticipate it (pizza, bagels, beer) but in sly, coy disguises, hiding in plain sight (soy sauce, broth, herbal tea). And even the most modest of amounts (a few stray crouton crumbs, perhaps) can trigger one’s hyper-vigilant immune system and ignite a fiery swath of digestive destruction, albeit mostly invisible to the naked eye (unless, like me, you are doubly blessed with symptoms and sport the eruptive skin rash known as dermatitis herpetiformis on your butt).

Feelings akin to those sticky, fluttery uncertainties (if not subtle panic) one feels dodging the unbidden proposal of matrimony (or tip-toeing backwards on a Sunday morning walk of shame) begin to trickle in.

Is this something I really want?

And would I, if I could?

Would I take the shot and blissfully chow down a warm dark chocolate croissant (my most missed food)? Or would I bolster myself with the conviction that gluten remains universally toxic- and I, for one, am not interested in a toxic relationship? Would I decide that living gluten-free is the way I would choose to live, even if I didn’t have to?

I yawned awake the other day, shaking off a heated, dreamless torpor, thinking about celiac disease and gluten-free blogging. I’ve been sharing my recipes for almost six years now. My intention was to help others wrestling with the same demons I was. Somehow, knowing I was connecting with other cilia-impaired folks kept me from navel gazing and obsessing on my own dietary restrictions, and inspired me to immerse myself in the life I was given- a gluten-free life by necessity (and design, if one factors in genetics). I started pondering the multifaceted topic of identity and whether or not I identified myself as a celiac.

Does celiac disease define me?

I wrote to my family and friends on Facebook-

Woke with a gnawing realization. I don't desire to be the poster child for celiac disease. I share my recipes because it helps others. But I don't identify with my disease. It is not who I am, or where my heart is.

Having a gene that predisposes me to an autoimmune disease is only one small aspect of who I am. Just like eye color (olive green), or my inability to whistle, the piece of me that is celiac does not define me as a person. When I pause a moment to self reflect, I feel as a woman, first. I think as a mother, a wife and partner. I see as an artist, a lover of music and words and paint.

I never glance in the mirror and think, I am a celiac.

I gain no insight by framing myself in this way- by my disease. I do not define myself by my limitations. If I did, I would have to include my lifelong nearsightedness, my proclivity to navigate space poorly, and lose my balance. I would share with you that I am a woman with a tricky uterus who was unable to give birth without surgical intervention. I would list my fear of heights and dark, confined spaces. I would sketch you an image of an asymmetrical jaw and arthritic hands.

But I am not the sum of my cranky, imperfect parts.

The I of who I am rests somewhere in the space created each time I breathe, in and out. Who I am is how I feel, and I feel with my heart. I am all the choices I have ever made, from my very first cry. A million choices, tiny and forgotten, and deep, life changing. I am my mistakes, and my failures. Those remain in me longer than any success. The scars I have earned have knitted me with strength.

I listen. I watch. I dream.

Who I am changes. And who I am remains the same. Does gluten have a say in this? I vote no.

Will I get the celiac vaccine and eat gluten in the future?

What about you- will you?

xox Karina 


  1. Anonymous18:31

    That's an interesting question! I guess if the vaccine was side-effect free and guaranteed to work then why not?

    I guess it depends on how severe your symptoms are as to whether you would risk it.

    I was diagnosed 18 months ago and I've just had my annual check (yes annual!)and all was good. So I had a veggie burger in a bun :S I suffered for that day I was fine thereafter. I won't do it again though. I just had to try just one more time......


  2. I think I will continue to avoid gluten-laden foods. Vaccines like that frighten me.

  3. I recently (oops) had a non-gluten free cookie and it was disgusting--after only two years my taste buds have changed enough to not want non-gluten free treats, except bread. No GF bread can beat French bread that you can poke because it is so soft. But I'm also against taking pills. Maybe I would keep some around for social situations where no GF foods are available (I'm thinking weddings of friends, for instance). I think food does make us much of who we are. In so many ways it defines who we are as individuals and who we are as members of a group (aka, people who don't eat gluten).

    1. There is a company in Montréal called Maison Canelle. Their white bread tastes better than normal wheat bread... ;)

  4. Vaccines alone hold a whole host of problems for those who are allergic. Check out the CDC's list of adjuvants for fun. Egg, corn, MSG, lots of fun.

    How could a vaccine "cure" us, when so much of the damage has already been done? So now, kids will add another vaccine to their already loaded schedule.

    Emphatically, no.

    I don't miss bread. I don't miss pizza.

    That would be like taking a lover back who was abusive.

  5. Nathalie S18:38

    I read your blog because it makes me laugh, it makes me smile and it encourages me that I too could eat yummily daily if I had the energy. (homeschooling two little ones and a business to run) I print your recipes, I share your blog with others and I come back to it almost daily for a deep sigh of relief. I cheat and I suffer and I long to wake up feeling healthy... one day soon, and if I could eat gluten again, well, if only for one day I could eat an entire loaf of garlic bread, then yes... but then again, maybe not... thanks for all that you share with us. You really make my day.

  6. I just don't know that I would ever really trust it. Just because it eliminated the symptoms, that wouldn't necessarily mean it eliminated the potential problems down the line... can they say for certain it lowers your likelihood of getting intestinal lymphoma to that of someone without Celiac Disease? Until they can, I'll opt out of the vaccine.

  7. I think any refined food should be eaten minimally but if I could eat a gluten-filled homemade, yeasty cinnamon roll, quality pizza at a restaurant or a freshly baked soft pretzel...I would.

    I appreciate the diverse range of grain options going gluten free has given me, but there are some things I just really really want to eat.

    That said, I wouldn't get the vaccine because I'm too skeptical of biotechnological cures. I'm just hoping for a spontaneous gluten processing recovery.

  8. I have a gluten intolerance, not celiac. But the symptoms are terrible just the same. I don't like the idea of vaccines, but it might be a good idea to cover those moments when you inadvertently eat some hidden gluten. I doubt I'd go gluten-free, though. I just don't think that wheat is such a healthy grain...at least not the way it's being cultivated today.

  9. Yes, I would try it.

  10. Jodi18:48

    100% absolutely I would get the vaccine. (All assuming it not only works but is tested safe, of course.) According to the study not only does it allow celiacs to eat gluten safely but it also helps heal the damaged villi. Like a lot of people who ate gluten for 30+ years before diagnosis my gut still hasn't healed after 8 years of no gluten. This alone would make it worthwhile whether or not I think started eating gluten again. This would also then remove the risk we all have of getting other autoimmune diseases, IBS, crohns & colitis, lymphoma, colon cancer, etc.

    Even if I never decided to eat gluten again, it would prevent damage from accidental gluten, making it much easier to eat out, with family & friends. And, the occasional chocolate croissant as Karina said. Knowing myself, I'd venture hesitantly into eating gluten but how awesome would it be to be able to enjoy food without this constant worry!

    Of course, that's a lot for one vaccine to do but the preliminary results aren't just remarkable, they are practically miraculous!

    And yes, for those who've had problems with vaccines this would indeed pose a different set of issue from me.

    Karina, for me this is wonderful news!! I too would love to go back to being the girl who is defined by other things in my life.

    cheers, Jodi

  11. Thats a hard one. I am not celiac, just gluten sensitive (or something like that). I can have very small amounts of gluten (eg I can have a biscuit, but not a piece of bread). Some days I wish I could order an ordinary pizza, or a piece of fresh bread just out of the breadmaker, but other days I don't miss it at all.
    I guess for me it would depend how much the vaccine cost, and what the side-affects were. It would help though, as I am dairy free too and finding foods that are GF and DF can be so difficult!

  12. You write beautifully! I love your blog and your recipes...and your wonderful attitude! I love food and miss bread and the ability to eat what I want without pain and bloat. That said though, it seems everything synthetic has side effects. My body and I have been thru enough. I'm not sure I'd want to risk it not working for me and to feel the pain gluten causes me, not to mention all the research shown re: how gluten effects our bodies. Tempting...yes! But I believe we have reactions to things for a reason. Forcing our bodies to feel a way that we don't when we ingest certain foods doesn't sit well with me.

  13. Amanda18:51

    If the shot was safe I would probably get it. I would maintain my GF diet though, and consider the shot "back up."

    Actually, in the spirit of full disclosure, I'm a massive beer snob and would love to be able to just have a beer with friends again. GF beer is crap, and cider can only do so much for me. I might sneak in a few really, really good beers.

  14. The same article says that they're developing a genetic test. I'd get that in a heartbeat! I had the blood test as a child, but never the biopsy. If I could find out whether I have Celiac or Gluten Intolerance without a gluten challenge, II would finally be able to know for usre.

  15. My 7 year old son has autism and is gluten-intolerant, if not outright celiac. He's also dairy-free and yeast-free. I have long-term concerns about his cognitively being able to manage his diet as he moves into the wider, non-mommy-hovering world. If by the time he's a teenager, the vaccine is ready and has been in the general population for a few years, I'd schedule it for him. It would be nice to remove some of that load from him as he grows up.

  16. Susan on the Beach19:18

    If the vaccine worked without any long term negative effects, then I would contemplate it. Especially for my four boys. I think we would look at it as more of "back-up" for those time when we are out in public and someone who has just had a cookie shakes my kid's hand and then the child eats his "safe" snack with now gluteny fingers. Keeping four lively, social boys gluten free is a challenge.

    I don't know if I could ever eat gluten again. When I look back at the time before living GF, it is a memory of such daily pain, depression, and despair that I would ever be well again. Gluten is associated with a lot of really horrible experiences. I don't need it in my life ever again.

  17. In a heartbeat I would get the vaccine. I so want to not have to worry about ever little thing I put in my mouth. I just want to be able to go anywhere I want and be able to try a new food, or have a killer soft, chewy bread bowl full of soup, or puff pastry that puffs and has that flake that I have never seen really duplicated with the gluten free versions. Gluten seems to be my only problem food and I love to bake, but I eally miss the greatness that gluten gives to certain foods. Add in the convience of being able to just eat a premade biscuit or pot pie and not break my budget on bad tasting inferior food and I am totally in.

  18. A few months ago I would've screamed YES!!! But my husband was diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism & he's been told to go gluten free (even though food allergy tests do not show gluten as an allergy)....so it seems that I'm on the fence now.....

  19. I don't think that I would choose to eat gluten - after almost 20 years off it.
    I would however, give it to my son if it turns out he has CD. He's going to eat gluten no matter how diligent I am at parties and play dates, it's just going to happen. I'm surprised though about my choice but I think that my diet is better for not eating gluten, I feel like I have some kind of leg up because I have to choose my food a bit more carefully, if that was gone, I'm not sure I'd trust myself to choose so well :)

  20. Jennifer19:45

    In my experience, it takes years to find out if a vaccine or medication is truly safe, so I would say no for now. I feel so much better since being GF that I'm not sure I would risk it until I could see years of positive results. Thanks for all your recipes and information. I have you to thank for making learning to bake GF easy!!

  21. I agree with Klay. I have also been GF for 20 years - not missing anything about gluten filled foods. Glad there are so many more options these days that are more than satisfying and very healthy!

  22. Beautifully written. Your words are as delicious as your recipes. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in such a poetic way.

  23. Vaccines have too many other bad things in them like aluminum a neurotoxin. Its not worth it. Let's heal the body, not focus on tricking the body into thinking everything is ok when its not. Maybe we need to change back to original heirloom wheat not this new genetically altered wheat we have now.

  24. I am torn on this. If, after it's approved, the vaccine is 99% safe I probably will take it. My busy life-style includes business lunches, business travel, conference buffets, and many other events where either I can't get any food at all or it is highly suspect and often cross-contaminaed. So the vaccine would allow me to live my life unconstrained and relax in my day-to-day work. And I could travel for pleasure much more easily. I'm not sure that I would eat gluten on purpose...but sometimes Pagliacci Pizza (a Seattle-area chain) calls to me - Oh! so sweetly.

    Thanks for your blog, Karina! I've been reading since the first week of my celiac diagnosis four years ago.

  25. I have been watching these developments, but unfortunately they would do nothing for my son or me. He is gluten-free for its benefits to Aspergers, and I am *merely* gluten-intolerant. No vaccine is out there for us, but even if there were I'd be leery of it.

    My mother is watching a similar vaccine that's supposed to "cure" diabetes. Sure, it may mask the symptoms but I worry - a LOT about the long-term, and hidden effects of these vaccines. The quote "if it sounds to good to be true, it probably is" keeps coming to mind as I eye these latest medical breakthroughs, and part of me is actually relieved that I'll be excluded this time so I don't need to weigh my options & choose.

  26. I wouldn't even consider going back to eating gluten. Our body isn't meant to eat it naturally anyway why force something else that's unnatural into our bodies just so we can have something that is unnatural. Seems bizarre to me..

  27. Thanks for your recipes...have cooked gluten free for 4 years. I need some new ideas!


  28. personally i would never trust a vaccine again with all the news there has been about them..i would have to know exactly what ingredients are in it...most of them today have mercury, squalene and aluminum in them- none of which belong in the human body and cause disease down the road..if there was a SAFE vaccine or some other remedy- sure i would eat it more ( i am not celiac so do eat it occasionally and suffer the consequences) ...but in healthier ways- whole grains no white flour...

  29. No. I would not get this vaccine because I am thrilled that I cannot eat/tolerate gluten!

  30. Hmmmm....I have mixed feelings. On the one hand- to occasionally enjoy a dark beer and a real croissant would be heaven. The idea of being able to take myself to culinary school someday without worry of adverse reactions- thrilling. But, after 13 years without it- I know I'm healthier and I eat better. And while my entire blogging identity is that of gluten-free blogger, it is certainly not the only hat I wear. I'm pretty suspicious of vaccines in general, but not 100% opposed to them. I think I'd wait to see what the 5-year efficacy was, and if it looked good- take the shot and myself to culinary school..

  31. I've never been tested, because they told me I had to eat gluten for a while. So I dont know if I have celiac. The doctors had diagnosed me with CFS and severe depression (think not being able to leave the house because of super massive brain fog.) I also had stomach problems. Two days after quitting gluten, I was fine. Completely and utterly OK. I cried for joy because I was sick for years and it was driving our family apart.

    I dont think I will ever eat gluten again. No matter what they come up with. I consider my change as "learning to eat healthy" and not having a restricted diet. I am healthier for it and so is my family. And not to mention much, much happier.

  32. I am not sure why you consider your inability to eat gluten as a limitation and define yourself somewhat clearly by your so called limitations whatever they may be. As far as I am concerned finally after 55 years getting diagnosed as a celiac is what unlimited me and gave me my life back. It also opened up whole new ways of thinking, a different outlook and perspective on food. Instead of going out for dinners I started going to the theatre instead, amongst other doings. I have no interest in going back to that limiting lifestyle and narrow mindset focused on wheat and dairy.... and I also can't eat corn and soy. This way I get to feel great every single day of my life instead of living on the rollercoaster. I am finally in control and I love it.

  33. Anonymous00:17

    Yes, I would but I probably would avoid alot of foods with gluten in them but I would chow down on a thin crust pizza with everything except canadian bacon, anchovies and onions! Yeah, buddy!

  34. I don't have celiac, as I am non-celiac gluten intolerant, but I wouldn't get this vaccine if it were free. I also don't take drugs unless absolutely, positively necessary or get the flu shot. I have real cynicism for any drug company and the FDA who say a drug or vaccine has been tested. They only have to test the thing on a limited number of people and don't even really have to prove it works, just present the data of a few trials that supposedly prove it works better than a placebo. That's not good enough evidence for me to consider putting it in my body.

  35. I have celiac disease, and am particularly sensitive to gluten and very symptomatic. I was diagnosed at a similar age as you, Karina. Recently, at a Gluten Intolerance Group meeting, Dr. Glidden told me, "You don't have bad genes. Wheat, rye, barley and oats are bad for everybody." There are other doctors who are coming around to this point of view. Over 100 human gene locations have been found to be associated with gluten intolerance.

    Since my diagnosis, after I got over the grieving, overcame the dependence, and educated myself about wheat, I came around to the point of view that I am not the defective organism - wheat is. Not only that, I find the smell of gluten grains to be repulsive. Alarms go off in my brain, which is a very proper and natural defense mechanism, since I get serious symptoms just from prolonged breathing of the air where gluten has recently been heated. I have recently read that only 8% of adult celiacs heal completely, and 57% of adult celiacs don't heal at all. I am very skeptical that the vaccine will be successful. It can't help reverse the damage, either.

  36. Anonymous01:30

    I will get the vaccine in a heartbeat! I cant WAIT for it to be available! Thank you, Karina, for the great news!
    I'm turning 70.I've eaten gluten (in moderation) my whole life.With no ill-effects except maybe occasional burping after some Italian bread.

    I've been going through a very stressy time in my life.I have been plagued, in my 40+ years, with irritible bowel syndrome, when I was stressed.
    I read it might be wheat sensitivity.(I rue the day I read it.)The article suggested I give up wheat for a month or 2, and see. So I did.Since I was still stressing, not a lot happened EXCEPT my constantly inflamed SINUS cleared up.It didnt bother me all winter (yes, much more
    than 1 or 2 months).AND if I ate the smallest amt of wheat---bad news!

    So here I am gluten-free, but HATING it.It's SO abnormal! Gluten-free bread (Udi's) tastes like shingles from the roof.No pizza.(A friend suggested Whole Foods' brown rice tortillas.It tastes good, but if you cant call out for it at whim, is it pizza?) Karina your recipes are AWESOME, but I have a problem w/heat in the kitchen, so I seldom turn the oven on.

    I had a court date.I was afraid if I bought lunch there would be wretched GLUTEN in the food--who NEEDS the results? I went to bring a sandwich of Udi's & turkey, lettuce, tomato, when I realized I dont even know how the "bread" would ACT.Would it get damp & crumble away, or melt? Ewwww.I dont eat much bread, but I SO miss its convenience in such a time.(I brought an apple.)

    I love nothing more, in winter, than to shake a piece of chicken, or pork chop in seasoned breadcrumbs.I even had WHOLE WHEAT crumbs.You shake it up, pop it on foil in a 350 oven, go check your facebook.Delicious, and no clean-up.
    (Yep I've tried making "breadcrumbs" out of UDI's)

    Chinese Restaurant.Spring roll? The best shrimp wonton soup in the world? I peeled the dough off.The owners, who know me, ...looked at me.

    So , essentially, this whole detour into gluten-free-dom sucks for me. I feel, at my age I'll never get used to it.And YES I'll get the vaccine! CAN'T WAIT!! Thank you again!

  37. This is an absolutely conflicted issue for me, for so many reasons.

    Do you stay within the place you have come to know to be safe, or do you dare to step into the blinding light of outside, knowing it might be dysphoria, but it could be euphoria? Would the potential pain be worth the possible liberty, or is the stress too much to account for what might be? It is a horribly(and wonderfully) complex choice.

    For those of us with ASD, it would not alleviate the mental and emotional strain it puts us through, even if it would eliminate the strictly physical effects, which has become the major reason for my not being tempted by gluten: thinking I have lost my mind and being stressed into a spasm-tantrum is not worth the significantly eased conversation that comes when you eat the same food as they do.

    I've also explored alot of different ingredients and methods of preparation that I never would have if I had been able to eat whatever was handed to me(other than dairy, my wretched, beastly nemesis)I find it sort of sad that one has to become incapable of eating or doing things they've known, to search for things outside their comfort zone. This was how I started exploring different food cultures from my own. I'm happy I did, because I've learned so much about myself, and how to stand up for what is, well, me. I have learned that just because someone says that I'm crazy("Are you sure it's not all in your head, Sweetie?")does NOT mean I am. In short, my body does not get better or worse just because a fellow human decides it is. My white blood cells do not stop attacking all citrus other than oranges just because someone says that makes no sense. It's smarter, or stupider than that.

    This all being said, the only reason I would not get the vaccine(somehow pretending I never get any weird reactions to medications...) is because of the mental component. It would never be worth it for me with Aspergers, and if I wasn't from the far away universe of Aspergia then...
    well, I wouldn't be more anymore, then, would I?

    Thanks for the topic Karina, it really made me think. I hope you don't mind my ridiculous post!!

  38. I'm Australian and my coeliac husband was in some of the trials. We thought it was worth it as wouldn't it be wonderful if there was a solution? It's very prevalent in his family (at last count there were 5 known cases and it looks as if one of our children have it too)so it would be so nice not to pass it on anymore.

    I don't know what the USA is like, but in Australia there are really supportive networks and quite a few specialists working at educating the general public. As a consequence, there seems to be much more research going on. Hopefully there's something to show for it soon!

  39. I think anything that will help you become a better you is a good thing. I could chose to be sick and eat gluten, or avoid it and be well. I could get the vaccine and not have to be concerned about accidents, so that would be handy and eliminate a lot of stress and worries. My answer would have to be yes. I am not defined by what I eat and if I could prevent serious health issues I would be silly not to. I wouldn't not take insulin just because that might change how I define myself. I want the best for myself to be the best me I can be.

  40. I absolutely would not get the vaccine. Gluten is not good for you, wether you have celiac disease or not. My wife suffered from psoriatic arthritis and severe psoriasis for almost 20 years. At one point, at the age of 30, she couldn't get out of bed because the pain was so bad. The doctors put her on medications and told her she would have some degree of pain and be on medication for the rest of her life. The drugs caused side effects like high blood pressure, thyroid porblems, weight gain, etc. We realized that food played a huge role in our health. We decided to go vegetarian and within 2 months my wife had no arthritis pain and was off all her medications. We decided to go vegan and we started losing weight and were feeling healthier. My wife's psoriasis seemed to flare up from time to time so we kept a food journal. The foods that seemed to irritate her were dairy and breads. We recently decided to go gluten-free, and the severe, head to toe, cracking, bleeding psoriasis is rapidly going away! By changing our diets and cutting out toxic foods we have taken our lives back. We are healthier, happier, have more energy and feel better than we have felt in 20 years. Would I take the vaccine so I could eat foods that aren't good for me anyway... absolutely not.

  41. I would.
    If the vaccine works, and I could eat gluten, I would. I've been gluten free for 2 and a half years now, and I cope with it. But I do crave some real soft delicious bread. My gluten-free bread works out quite fine most of the time (compared to my first ones), but it still isn't the same. That is the biggest issue for me. I miss bread. I miss other things too, but I really would like to eat some bread... So if I could, I would, yes.

  42. @ Just Bits and Pieces: GF fixed my thyroid antibody problem!
    @Karina: my 6 year old just started developing HP on her butt. Supposed to be rare for a under 10 year old right? Seems to be to either be from Cross Contamination or from odd things that I don't think to look at like Dog food contains wheat and then dog licks my daughter? TP with lotion? Laundry Soap? Cleaners? The all out man hunt for the contamination goes on to solve this latest mystery. I think today I'd give her the vaccine and still have her be GF but at lest if she gets contaminated her reaction would not be as bad.

    Extraordinary Life

  43. I hate vaccines...so I will stay gluten free!

  44. In a word, No! Thank you, Karina, for all you do and for being you!


  45. I honestly believe our bodies weren't made to eat wheat in the first place and now, since in the US it's GMO'd, there's no way I'd ever go back to eating foods which are harmful to my system. The same holds true for vaccines. They are typically filled with metals and poisons and the long-term side-effects would take years to discover. Would I trade eating gluten for getting a neurological disorder or another disease? Never. Especially since all I have to do to feel good is keep eating g-free. What a simple solution compared w/other treatments! THANKS Karina for your postings and yummy recipes!! Both are much enjoyed :)

  46. Anonymous08:18

    I believe God gave us everything we need to be healthy, if that means my body doesn't want gluten, I will eat and focus on things that my body wants....no chemical messing with mother nature for me.

  47. Anonymous08:20

    After years of gluten free, I can smell wheat in just about anything it's in, and it does not seduce me. I prefer the variety and taste of of the gluten free combinations, and these fabulous recipes you have provided here!
    The biotech industry and plant selection favoring higher gluten levels are responsible for the gluten laden wheat strains we now have- something like 5-10 times the amount of gluten in our wheat than our parents had. These biotech foods are affecting most everyone's immune system by varying degrees. The studies are coming out now that biotech food causes organ damage in livestock. I am not expecting science to find a way to help me digest these "foods" that they have corrupted. My immune system is healthy and vibrant and knows when it's getting duped.
    Karina, Love your blog and your thoughtful discussions!
    Myrna merkin

  48. I was told to go gluten free at the advice of my doctor in 2007. I later re-introduced gluten for 6 weeks so that I could get tested for celiac disease. Turns out I was negative. But, I've decided to continue gluten free because it makes me feel SO much better. I've done the gluten thing and felt like garbage. So, my body is telling me it doesn't want gluten. If there was just a shot for people that are sensitive to gluten, I wouldn't do it. My body has told me that it doesn't want gluten. Trying to go against that just doesn't sound right to me.

  49. I do not think I would go there. And just what is in the vaccine? After 17 years of eating gluten free, I like my food way better - plus, gluten of any kind is not good for anyone celiac, wheat sensitive or not.

  50. The more I learn about vaccines in general, the more I dislike them (as mentioned before, with mercury etc). I have also had other health issues improve (including blood pressure) by going gluten free 3 years ago. I also agree that it is very difficult to find natural, non-gmo wheat, and going to gluten-free eating made it easier for us to eat a healthier diet. So, I wouldn't get the vaccine, for me or my daughter.

  51. Vaccines scare me. So does the genetic modification of our foods. Easy is usually not better.

  52. Karina - Would I like a bite of that chocolate croissant. You bet! Not sure if I would take a cure though. And the part about what defines us...so true. While everyone sees our veneer--what we look like to the naked eye--there's so much more beneath, around, inside that truly defines us. It's the fun part about getting to know someone better.

  53. That was really beautiful. Thank you for writing it. I certainly don't want to be defined by my limitations but have never been able to put it quite as eloquently. Not sure if i would suddenly start eating gluten again but if a shot could mean i didn't have to fear any social situation that included food... that i would certainly embrace.

  54. I wouldn't go back to gluten, because I've lost my taste for it, like milk. After so many years of milk avoidance, milk tastes odd and sour. I would like to enjoy the occasional piece of French bread and butter, and slice of pizza--those things just can't be replicated. Sigh. I'd also like to be able to take communion again without putting the bread in my pocket. Eating out would be less death defying!

  55. Anonymous10:50

    If I could eat gluten again, I would. But I would be much more picky and would only eat top quality products like homemade pasta and pie, a real bagel, real breads. I will never go back to franchise pizza, crappy pasta, mass produced bread. Moderate consumption of quality ingredients would be my goal.

  56. Anonymous11:34

    I've been thinking about this... I don't ever think I could subject my self to a gluten diet again, I will always be gluten-free... but if with the shots I didn't have to worry so much about contamination (like eating french fries even if they were fried with calamari or something) and perhaps could have that occassional crossiant, well then, I think I would do it. From the clinical trials, it sounds more like getting allergy shots (which I do for trees and mold) than like an immunization (which I do for yellow fever, thyphoid and many other diseases that I am exposed to in my line of work that takes me routinely to Africa and South America). Is it really any different? I know that just because you get allergy shots or the flu vaccine doesn't mean you can't still react or get those diseases-- so it will be interesting to see if the vaccine will be recommended for use to mitigate gluten reactions if they occur or to allow you to return to a full gluten diet. I think the science jury is still out on that.

  57. Anonymous11:38


  58. I'm so glad to hear that there might come a vaccine. I would be first in line!!! Mostly because it creates so many irritating "hiccups" in my day to day. I'm "addicted" to bread for breakfast, lunch and evening... I've found good recipies for bread, but it's so irritating to always watch after and bake when it's empty. I'm always fearful when I'm beiing served food with friends and family.

    Let ut know when they start giving it out!!! :)

  59. We live gf/df due to sensitivities, not celiacs. But even if my boys outgrow their sensitivities, we will remain gf/df. Though it would be nice not to be so vigilant when out.

    In regards to the vaccine, if we were celiac, I would pass. I don't trust vaccines, any of them. I don't believe they are tested for safety, nor do I agree with the ingredients they mix in them.

    I agree with the person above who said their tastes have changed. When having a non gf treat/cheat, I am often let down. It is the fact that I am not supposed to have it that makes me think it is so good. Most of the gf stuff I make is better! Thank you for your help with that, Karina!

  60. Carlena12:48

    With a BIG, HUGE, FAT : NO WAY!!!!! You could not PAY me enough to take a vaccine for this or anything else. After watching what vaccines have done to my now 4yr old ( we almost lost him at 15months due to a violent reaction), and the research. For our family the risks far out weigh the benefits. And as a result of my gluten intolerance, we as a family eat SO much better. NO more processed junk, no more dyes and etc. I don't think I would have gotten my husband or my children to agree to try homemade food if it wasn't for "mom's allergy". Now my kids, and their friends LOVE my cooking. There is so much better stuff out there, then their gluten counter-parts...in my opinion.

  61. Absolutly NOT! I have mild reactions to gluten, and I still choose to be GF! Thanks for the great post!

  62. Karina,
    I have been following you for 3 years now, ever since my family and I were told we had food allergies/intolerance. I love how you say celiacs does not define you, but it plays a role in who you are, like any other trait. I couldn't agree more.
    Personally, I would consider a vaccine for the simple assistance in dodging unsuspecting gluten in poorly labeled products, or while dining out. However, having seen destructive side-effects of vaccines generally speaking, I'm not entirely convinced I would take the vaccine.
    Amidst all of my research, I am under the belief that the grain options identified within a gluten free diet have more nutritional value than the wheat our culture is so addicted to. While I certainly miss certain foods, I have come to enjoy my "substitutions" almost as much as the "original" and like others have mentioned, I do not enjoy the after effects of eating what I thought I missed. Since vaccines are not necessarily a cure, I believe I may continue to keep my family's health in check via the food we either consume or don't.

  63. Karina,
    I love the ending of this post. I too could be defined by many negative things, and choose not to be. I think one trick to being truly healthy is to choose the vision of ourselves as healthy and focus on that. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

  64. Ellen H14:36

    How wonderful it would be to travel to places where I don't speak the language and not worry about getting sick! Otherwise, I have no need for gluten. Thanks for your blog - it's one of the main reasons "I have no need for gluten." Love to you.

  65. I don't have celiac. Does it work on people that just get sick (but don't have celiac)? I still don't think I'd take it - unless it could make me feel as great as I feel off gluten. No desire to go back.

  66. carla19:09

    I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance 4 years ago. I'm one of those with quite a list of other things on the no list as well (eggs, dairy, almonds as examples), not just gluten. I am also adult ADD. I would not choose the shots. I'm fortunate at this point to not miss the way I ate before. I am 67 years old and I feel better than I have felt in half a century. And I don't do very well on any kind of shots. So I'll keep the gluten-free diet.

  67. Anonymous20:19

    in a heartbeat if the vaccine also got rid of the inflammatory properties of gluten. While my gut is better off gluten free, its the freedom from arthritic pain that keeps me on the straight & narrow. I so miss pizza and bread!

  68. No. I am not celiac, but I am gluten intolerant/sensitive, as are both my children.

    I don't miss gluten. Not only have my tastes changed and I eat much healthier now, I don't feel the need to be like everyone else. There is no regret surrounding the fact that I cannot eat gluten. I choose to live without regret. I choose to live without looking back.

  69. I would not eat gluten again. Avoiding gluten has helped me avoid refined grains and sugars, which has allowed me to taste the flavors in real, natural foods (WOW). I'm border-line diabetic, too, I think, so even if I could eat gluten, the gluten-rich foods would make me feel like hell.
    Were it not for my gluten intolerance, I would never have discovered so many beautiful, healthy, raw, satisfying foods that are now staples in my diet. I'd take my usual chocolate vegan milkshake made with greens and berries any day over toast or cereal--or pasty white pancakes... or greasy croissants.
    Come to think of it, I don't want a vaccine to exist, because then people will be pressing me about why I'm not taking it. I finally got them to leave me alone and accept my "weird" diet!

  70. Anonymous10:29

    I agree whole heartedly with Nicolette.. I would not get the vaccine nor would I give it ot my children. vaccines are dangereous and there is no telling if the it would really work without hidden damamge going on. Wheat barley and rye are the defects , not us.. our bodies were not meant to ingest gluten. it not healthy for anyone.

  71. Anonymous11:17

    Karina, thanks for such a beautiful letter. It's really thought provoking. I mean, I am one to usually go with what life gives me, but I also try and stretch my limitations as much as possible. Being vegetarian (by choice) and gluten and lactose intolerant has been quite difficult. I've actually been working with a Classical Chinese Medicine doctor to improve my digestion (among other things) and have high hopes that this route will help me be able to digest foods more easily so I don't have to fear going out to eat...or traveling. I think that in my home I will always be gluten free, but a chocolate covered croissant sounds absolutely fantastic.....

  72. Anonymous11:21

    Oh...and I forgot the all important restriction of being allergic to mushrooms in addition to the above mentioned. At restaurants I'll finally find something to eat, and ask them to make it vegetarian (assuming they'll take out the meat) and then they replace it with mushrooms!!! Darn.

  73. Thanks for the great post! I wouldn't get the vaccine either, it's not even on my radar. I cook better, think more about what I'm eating and like the taste of the new "flours." Having said that I'm very grateful for yor guidance along the way.

  74. Allison14:47

    I'm with Char in that I wouldn't want people asking me why I'm NOT taking the vaccine!

    I would think about it, though. It's not even that I miss the food so much-- I just miss not always having to ask for special treatment, and sometimes not getting it and being hungry.

    Being gluten-free for the past four years has heightened my appreciation of food-- and of people's kindness. I think I could retain those lessons even if I were able to eat gluten again. But something about going back to being "ordinary" gives me pause.

    Thanks for sharing this news, Karina, and, as always, for your recipes. (I bought your gluten-free goddess apron and wear it with pride!)

  75. I do not have celiac disease or any huge sensitivities to food other than a little bloating on the rare occasion that I eat pasta.... what I do have a problem with is over-processed, boxed, salt-laden, preservative-packed, convenience pseudo-foods. Eating whole, fresh, top quality foods that make us feel good inside and out are what we should be eating... following a relatively gluten-free diet works best for me and my family. I love your recipes... they're over-the-top nutritious and don't fall short in the taste department.

    So, if I did have Celiac Disease, I'd probably be sceptical about a vaccine, but may consider just to be safe from hidden glutens.

  76. Anonymous18:02

    Without question - for sure, 100% yes.
    I don't think our family would change how we eat, but it is such an imposition on others. Our friends are SUPER understanding, but every time my son goes on a sleepover - or a playdate - or there is a birthday at school - so much of our life has to revolve around his diet and his extreme sensitivity.

    We don't go out to restaurants with friends anymore for impromptu get togethers and have eliminated all gluten from the house to reduce cross contamination. It stinks for cookouts or really any social occasion - why should the world have to revolve around our dietary needs?

    If I could take the burden of being sensitive to mere CRUMBS away from him, I would do it in a heartbeat. It stinks to always be left out of every food celebration even though he manages it like a champ.

  77. My family is so used to gluten-free and carefully planned meals that we would not try vaccines.
    Your post was very interesting and it does indeed present some interesting alternatives to consider. However, injecting foreign substances in the body is not our # 1 choice, especially when almost all vaccines have some side effects that can be quite negative.
    We'll stick to gluten-free and continue enjoying recipes like you share on your posts. Thank you for your insights.

  78. Anonymous11:12

    After more than a decade of gf you bet I would. If you are only having a problem with gluten and a few other things it may not be worth it. Since I can't eat wheat, brown rice, ANYTHING raw, nuts ... and oh yes the deadly peppers of any kind... and many other things I am left with few alternative options.
    Most of the alternatives out there are awful.
    I am not anti-vaccine as I was alive when there were no cures and people died all the time. I will be there early.
    Where does the line form?

  79. What a brilliant post - so glad I found your blog!
    I've got serious cause to bless my coeliac disease because without it, another condition I've got wouldn't have been diagnosed and my life would have been very different.
    I don't think I would have the injection because I'm happy with what I eat although I suppose I can't say for definite... I don't define myself as coeliac either but this post really made me think, thank you :-)

  80. Anonymous14:47

    I have a dairy allergy (full disclosure, not celiac). I read labels, ask at restaurants etc etc but stil get accidental dairy exposures all the time. Like gluten, dairy is in everything! If there were a proven safe dairy vaccine, I would take it in a heartbeat.

    Lisa H.

  81. I would have to read more about it, but I would consider it for those cases where a tiny bit makes it into your food, when you are out. Plus, I have little kids, I try to make them wash their hands after eating, but there are times they put their gluten ridden hands on my face and sometimes even give me kisses. I would like to not have to feel bad for days after a kiss from my kids! I don't think I would go back to eating it all the time, I know I don't need it to live! Plus, I would like to have a real beer again... I know, selfish of me....

    Nicole -- diagnosed Feb 2011

  82. Anonymous15:34

    Unfortunately I am allergic to both cow dairy and wheat. I am not celiac, but have other AI diseases all theoretically related to wheat in-tolerance.

    I would unequivocally get the vaccination. If I could go back to being able to bake my own organic bread again, make my own seitan, ... mmm... I would get the vaccination in a heart-beat. I am tired of being sick, tired of constantly fighting my own body, and tired of not being able to eat.

  83. Anonymous15:40

    No thank you. I would much rather just avoid gluten. Besides, I've never eaten such delicious food! Really! My children even say they are glad for gluten free recipes because they are so yummy. They think the Gluten Free Goddess recipes are the bees knees, and so do I.
    :) maria

  84. I finally started to accept my disease and not let it define me. I guess I would try it though. It would be nice to Finally put weight on and not look like a skeleton anymore.

  85. Jessica17:50

    While it's not that hard for me to stick to a GF diet at home, it's very hard to take part in social situations such as work lunches, weddings, going out to eat, eating at other people's homes. For that reason alone I would seriously consider getting the vaccine. (Though I would probably still try to avoid gluten the vast majority of the time.)

  86. Angel L19:27

    Quite honestly, I would definitely consider it.. maybe even get it. I am quite happy without gluten but at the same time I'd really like to be able to visit Glasgow, Scotland where my boyfriend grew up and enjoy/experience all the tasty things he's told me about and misses. Real scotch pies, baked goods from Greg's, and so on.

  87. I'm sure a vaccine would be a blessing for those without the time/budget/knowhow to live gluten free.

    However I don't think the vaccine would help those of us with gluten as a migraine trigger. I've had an IgG test prove my antibodies to gluten and grain are gone, my system has recovered. But barley and wheat still give me migraines if I eat them (under medically directed reintroduction). So no wheat/barley/spelt for me, just not worth it.

  88. Anonymous15:57

    An emphatic YES! I have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease and am mainly asymptomatic but remain extremely strict. It is either 100% or nothing.

    Food has always been one of my passions and a huge part of my life. I teach cooking classes, too, and am now restricted with that. At home I do not find eating GF an issue at all but social functions are difficult (i.e. church potlucks, weddings). I do not enjoy having to question each morsel that goes into my mouth when eating away from home. International travel can also be tricky, even with restaurant cards in various languages. I cannot ever know 100% whether there are any CC issues when eating out. My husband and I travel to Europe regularly and so miss just sitting at restaurants and enjoying fresh croissants, buns, homemade pasta, pizza, fluffy bread, great bagels and so on without worry. I DO miss the flavours, textures, smells of gluten. When I was on my gluten challenge for three months I LOVED it! We just returned from three weeks in Croatia and Italy and admittedly knowing what I was missing really bothered me several times although we did not exactly suffer! We used to travel for food, attend food fairs and explore food adventures. That has changed a lot. Food is so integral to what I do that going GF sometimes grieves me.

    So, assuming the vaccine is proven safe, I would be all over it in an instant. As I am asymptomatic sometimes I find it difficult to be motivated (although I always am) so the vaccine certainly would make things far simpler for me!

  89. Miranda07:52

    An interesting question you pose, Karina. First let me congratulate you on your wonderful writing style and inventive recipes. Your inventive, creative and unflappable approach is a godsend for many the world over (I'm from Oz). Anyway back to your question... My thought is that the vaccine could give me back choice. The option to choose what I eat. I am grateful for aspects of GF living - learning about different approaches to cooking, exploring different foods, etc. But at times I feel overwhelmingly excluded. One of the first posts I read of yours was about bread and its role, not only as a food, but in bringing people together. And that's what I feel I miss out on when I can't eat what I want - that unguarded and joyful social aspect. If someone brings a cake into work I can't have any. Going out for a meal requires research rather than sponteneity. Friends fret when they cook fom me. I want to have the choice to eat what others are eating, to compare notes on the oozy, decadent chocolate croissant rather than observing on the sidelines. So if I could use the vaccine to help get back those experiences I'd say yes to it.

  90. Anonymous09:46

    No. I would not, because I believe there is a reason that Celiac and gluten sensitivities have become so widespread. I believe that the reason relates to farming practices and a stripping of nutrients from plants. I think food is medicine and a product that doesn't nourish my body is not something I can knowingly go back to eating. I do miss many things about eating gluten. I also have allergies to corn, soy, and lactose. But I am ok with my diet and lifestyle now. My body is happier because of it and thanks to great blogs like this, I can create wonderful foods that are many times more delicious than their gluten filled counterparts!

  91. Sarah M13:07

    I'm also non-celiac gluten intollerant. I would take the vaccine in a heartbeat. I'd still have to check every food for all the other allergens (soy,cow dairy, and some oddball items) but not having to worry about every crumb at a table would be a relief. I'd love to eat challah at sabbath and holiday meals, and normal matzah on Passover. I think I'd stay GF during the week though.

  92. Anonymous14:24

    Very thought-provoking! Would I take the vaccine? Probably. But not so that I could go back to eating the way I did pre-diagnosis. Just so that I wouldn't have to worry about cross-contamination. That's my only current concern about being gluten-free. After nearly 11 years GF, it's second nature. It really does get easier with time.

    Others commenting here have spoken to this: food healed me. Had I not been diagnosed and gone GF I would probably be dead now, or very very sick, because I was already very sick. Instead I am healthier and happier at 60 than I have been for 30 years.

    Yesterday someone brought a yummy-looking chocolate cake to a staff meeting to celebrate a co-worker's accomplishment. I felt a small pang at not being able to eat a piece. But so what? Moments such as these are good for my character..and re-affirm my commitment to my own wonderful gluten-free healing diet.

    Thanks for the philosophical question!

    Mary Garrard

  93. So many comments for both views on here. I would, if proven safe, take the vaccine in a heartbeat (like so many others)... however, I like that after 4 years of being gluten free I am forced to eat healthier. So for that reason I would probably remain mostly gluten free. The reason I would take the vaccine would be because I'm super sensitive and react to cross contamination far more then most celiacs. It makes travelling (which I do a lot of for work) and eating at friends miserable. So I would get a vaccine to help me through those situations and to enjoy the occasional real cinnamon bun or croissant, but otherwise I want to stay healthy and in shape and eating gluten free has helped me do that.

  94. If it were a pill, I'd consider it. Anything involving the frequent utilization of needles is not in my immediate future.

  95. Thank you all for the passionate discussion!

    I would be open to any (non-invasive) medical means to heal and remain well in the face of gluten contamination or exposure. I've always been a good cook- and eaten well (whole foods)- so going gluten-free was not a revelation to me, in the "now I eat better" sense. It was/is more of a culinary challenge, and a re-learning process.

    Again, thank you, Everyone, for your thoughts on this big question- one I hope we get to seriously consider soon.

    Have a healthy, safe, and lovely holiday weekend!

    xox Karina

  96. Alison11:58

    I think it's great that there might be a medical solution.

    However, I've only been gluten free for a half of a year and it's had such a positive impact in eating such a healthier diet that I would probably not be the first in line. But that might change over time.

  97. Dina12:25

    I bake everything I eat myself...I cook everything I eat myself. Is it a hassle sometimes? Sure it is. Would I change things around if I could - by vaccination or miracle or whatever? Not a chance. I now know exactly what I put in my mouth. My well being is not only about not eating gluten, but it has become a lifestyle and a lifestyle I love btw.

    Sure I do sometimes miss being able to buy the things I like and not being the one making everything, but when I do buy produced glutenfree products...even that is a letdown in taste.

    So no....I love my lifestyle and most of the times I even forget why I have adapted this lifestyle to begin with. So no vaccine for me ever....not needed :)

  98. For me this vaccine wouldn't help much...i would get pasta and maybe some homemade treats back...but what I really miss is BREAD...hot warm springy lovely Bread....but alas...I'm allergic to yeast and eggs as well. (and soy, so no eating out for me anyway.)
    Also i have an Autistic daughter whom also has food allergies, so my house would still not be "normal" even if I got the vaccine.

  99. My husband and 17 year old son were diagnosed with celiac about 18 months ago. My husbands came on suddenly and we assume was stress induced. My son has probably had it since birth, so this solved some mysteries. The gastroenterologist told him then that eating gluten free would not be his life sentence. He indicated that "cures" would be coming. I love knowing that things are happening and that options will be available for my kids and grandkids that could be linked through this genetic disease. Having a choice is a wonderful blessing

  100. I feel that we are not genetically flawed, we are not supposed to have these items in our system. I LOVE BREAD and as much as I would love to eat fluffy white bread it just isn't worth it. We should be changing the way we EAT not Changing our bodies to fit into the "NORM" maybe we should be looking @ changing how food is made. Who's to say we aren't the NORM. We need to realize our food is not always about what we want but what we need. And this is coming from someone who only ate greasy fried food and bread bread and more bread. I FEEEEL so much better now and now there are so many options out there for food now. We are heading in a healthy direction. Lets not backtrack by taking a Vaccine and just Hiding the truth. Lets move forward and change the way we eat. Get out of Ur comfort zones and self pity. Be empowered by how Ur body feels and trust in it. Also if u never had tasted those gluten food items U wouldn't know what u are missing any way. I finally ate a Gluten Free Pizza and it was fabulous, and for the first time after eating it, I didn't feel like utter shit, which by the way I thought was the norm to feel after eating pizza. Eating Gluten Free Has been a challenge that I hate but welcome with an open mind and each day it gets easier and easier, just like anything else u learn for the first time. Processed food is bad for us and connivence has become to convenient. We need to slow down as a society and breath. I hate cooking cuz I don't have time, but now I have to make time and I ve grown to appreciate it. We need to embrace it and I know its tuff I get shit all the time and my own mother even, she cant even come to terms with the fact she may be celiac. So I get it its TUFF but if u stop focusing on the negative and try to look @ the positive, u will come to appreciate what its all about.

  101. A slightly belated comment, but I was really excited by this post and the life changing potential of a vaccine. That's amazing news. I really hope they are able to develop it.

    If I could eat gluten again, I would, but in moderation. It would mean I could go traveling again, care free, rather than trying to print off phrase cards and hope for the best. That's the thing I miss the most.

  102. Anonymous11:01

    I would take it in an instant, been diagnosed coeliac and gluten free nearly a year, unbelievable shocking alwa to the gym, but did like the beer sometimes, drs said nothing was wrong, seen 16 drs, even the wife said "surely 16 drs can't be wrong" anyway after camera's almost everywhere I was diagnosed as a coeliac, (aged 37) apparently had it years, and early osteoporosis and anaemia, and nerve damage, now anaemia gone, nerve damage just about gone, been told as I'm exercising and eating well now my bone density should improve, I think I would take a pill if available as a guarantee that I could enjoy myself with family at weddings, party's etc and not have the worry of "contamination" uk is pretty good for gluten free ranges, if a little expensive though

  103. Hi Karina

    Having accidently had some gluten yesterday and how I felt I think if it were available I would probably take it just so that I didn't have to worry so much about being exposed, however the way a gluten free diet makes me feel I doubt very much I would go back to eating gluten just because I could.....

    Fabulous blog by the way - so helpful, positive and amazing.


  104. I would get the vaccine. I don't think I would ever return to a totally gluten-filled lifestyle, but I would like to avoid feeling like death after eating something that has been cross-contaminated.

  105. There's another option though. How about taking the vaccine and continuing to be gluten free while knowing if something slips past your guard it won't devastate you...


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