May is Celiac Awareness Month, but living gluten free can be a year-round quest for health

Celiac Disease is on the rise but living with the disease isn't as hard as one might think when food bloggers like Natalie Way step up and share their recipes.

May is Celiac Awareness Month, so it’s a good time to remind people about what Celiac Disease really is.

In short Celiac Disease is an autoimmune reaction that can cause internal and physical damage when one’s body is exposed to gluten. Did you know that more than 3 million Americans are currently living with Celiac Disease? A lot more than one would think and those numbers are on the rise. Celiac Disease runs in families, meaning if you have a first-degree relative living with it, you are genetically predisposed and have a 1 in 10 chance of developing the disease in your lifetime.

Living with the disease or sensitivity is a lot easier than it used to be. With expansive education, restaurant support, product support and awareness, people are understanding a lot more about what they can do to support those with Celiac Disease. NCGS, Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity, is also quite serious for those who suffer. The pain and recurring health issues sometimes reflect the same as those with the actual disease, meaning support for those who are sensitive to gluten is just as important as supporting those who have CD. While most of the time, the side effects can’t be seen, the damage done inside to one’s body can lead to more serious issues such as small bowel disease and even cancer. Going undiagnosed for too long can be quite detrimental to your health so, if you suspect you have a sensitivity to gluten you should see your doctor to be tested for the disease. The earlier the diagnosis, the better.

Back in 2009 when I was first diagnosed, finding gluten-free foods was rare. So, too, was finding gluten-free recipes that worked and didn’t come out looking and/or tasting like a failed 7th grade science experiment. I must have blown through 30lbs of flours and mixes in that first year alone trying to make banana bread and apple pie. And even then I still was not successful! It took a lot of work to learn how to bake gluten free and I am still always learning about new techniques. By turning to the internet and exploring the world of recipe blogs and gluten-free foodies, I was able to find a little respite from the chaos of living this gluten-free life.

One blog that I found and truly connected with in my “help with baking” search is Natalie Way Bakes. Based in Coeur d’Alene, Natalie Way has been dishing out easy, sweet, and delicious recipes since 2015. Way has taken gluten-free and dairy-free baking to a whole new level for me. She taught me that gluten-free baking can be really simple and delicious, not to mention a whole lot easier than my previous kitchen science experiments led me to believe.

Natalie Way, courtesy

For Way it started with recurring medical issues that would not resolve and seemed to worsen over time. As her symptoms grew and after spending time in the hospital for pancreatitis, Way knew she needed to do something more. She sought help from a naturopathic doctor and began to take gluten-free and dairy-free living to a whole new level for her health. While not diagnosed as a Celiac, she was told that she has a sensitivity to wheat and dairy, so she began to create dishes for herself and her family that reflected this new way of living. By going gluten-free and dairy-free, not only did she regain control of her health, she found a balance in her life by creating recipes that she could share.

So Natalie Way Bakes was born. Way took a medical diagnosis and turned it into something creative and delicious. What started off with beautifully constructed savory dishes has quickly become a masterful and colorful collection of mouth-watering sweet creations like Red Velvet Donuts and Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes. Don’t worry, she still shares her savory recipes, too!

By showcasing a colorful blog with her creative recipes, she has become an internet staple for NCGS and Celiacs all over. She is determined to make food taste good and is driven by helping people live a gluten and dairy free Way of life. Even though Way isn’t a Celiac, she keeps her recipes and blog focused on gluten-free and dairy-free recipes, as her followers have become very important to her. She truly finds peace within herself while creating recipes and baking, so it’s a win-win for all of us who enjoy her recipes.

Natalie Way, courtesy

We thank Natalie Way for sharing the recipe for one of her Springtime favorites: Gluten Free Lemon Loaf. This straightforward recipe is soft, flavorful and incredibly moist. It’s made with fresh zest and lemon juice making it an incredibly bright treat perfect for breakfast, afternoon tea, or any time of day. Plus, it’s easy to put together and bakes in only about 40 minutes from start to finish.

You can find Natalie on Facebook or Instagram or at

For more information, visit the Celiac Disease Foundation.

by mandy braviroff