Celiac Diagnosis Challenges and then Dessert

For months now, my mom and my sister have been complaining of joint pain, headaches, and fatigue. I told them over and over, “It’s gluten!” I had begun to sound like a broken record and then I am afraid I began to sound like some kind of gluten conspiracy theorist. My sister went in to get tested and realized what a confusing mess getting a diagnosis is- Her doctor dismissed celiac disease completely without even discussing her symptoms! In my opinion, the first step to getting a good diagnosis is having a good doctor. I am afraid that natural health/preventative medicine types are few and far between! The doctor suggested IBS without so much as talking with my sister, running tests, or doing an examination. My sister did a lot of research and decided she could live without an official three-tiered diagnosis and has embarked on the gluten-free diet. Good luck, Caroline!

I support her decision partly because I made the same decision myself. Maybe one day, when I am far removed from my child-bearing years, I will seek a diagnosis, but for now I am content. I feel great. My health is great now and for me that is enough of a diagnosis. It is easier for me than for some because I had chronic urticaria (hives) as a result of eating gluten. I do not want to risk eating gluten for an extended period of time when I am pregnant or breastfeeding. And I do not want hives.

Two things made it almost impossible for me to figure out what was going on for almost a decade:

1) The ubiquity of gluten

2) A delayed immune response

3) Lack of information/ignorance of doctors about celiac disease/chronic urticaria.

Sometimes I envy those that have had an official diagnosis, but I know the result would be the same- going gluten-free has made me happy, healthy, and virtually hive-free! I am lucky because I have a great family practice doctor now. He does not like milk or gluten for anyone not just for celiacs or the gluten-intolerant. The prevalence of immune diseases in my family is enough reason for him to caution me about giving my boys milk and gluten, celiac or not. I must note here that I have not eliminated casein (although maybe one day I will), however I do not give my little ones cups of milk to drink (we drink water). I breastfed my toddler through his introduction to gluten until he weaned at 17 mos. I am hoping that neither of my boys will have problems with gluten or food allergies.

I am going to round out this post with a more positive note- dessert!. It is essential that I have chocolate and coffee together at least once a week- okay, maybe twice. I really am going on a diet and exercise regimen soon. I am giving myself six weeks before I look at the scale and start the gluten-free diet diet? and exercise challenge. haha. My goal is to be back at my pre-pregnancy weight by my birthday in November. Stay tuned.

This chocolate marble bread is based on a Martha Stewart recipe. I replaced the flour, added one teaspoon xanthan gum, and added 2 beaten egg whites.

choc marble bread Celiac Diagnosis Challenges and then Dessert


8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, softened, plus more for pan

1 1/4 cups GF flour (I used 1/4 cup tapioca flour, 1/2 cup sorghum, 1/2 cup white rice flour)

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (5 oz. for bread and 3 oz. for ganache)

2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

4 large whole eggs plus 2 beaten egg whites w/stiff peaks

1/2 cup whole milk

1/4 cup heavy cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease your loaf pan. Sift flours, salt, xanthan gum and baking powder into a medium bowl.

Melt 5 ounces chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler. Do not overheat chocolate.

Put butter in the bowl of your stand electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. When you add sugar, raise to medium speed. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy about 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl. Mix in the 4 whole eggs, 1 at a time. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two batches of milk. Mix until just combined. Fold in your beaten egg whites gently.

Pour half of batter into melted chocolate and stir. Alternating between remaining plain batter and the chocolate batter, drop large spoonfuls of batter into the loaf pan. When pan is filled, use your knife to cut through batter with a swirling motion.

Bake until a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let bread cool slightly in pan on a wire rack, about 10 minutes. Run a thin knife around edges of bread to loosen; unmold. Let cool completely on rack.

Tip: If your loaf sticks to the pan, hold the pan over a pot of boiling water for about a minute. Turn the loaf pan over and your bread should come out perfectly. If it doesn’t repeat until it does.

To Make ganache: Place the rest of the chocolate in a bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the heavy cream until just about to simmer. Pour cream over chocolate; stir until mixture is smooth. Let stand 10 minutes to thicken slightly. Spread ganache over cooled cake; let stand until set, about 1 hour. Bread can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 2 days.

Check out Mary Frances’ Gluten Free Cooking School blog this week, she is doing a how-to series on eggs that will help you make this recipe!

Please leave encouraging words for Caroline in the comments- it is her first week gluten-free!

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