The Healthy Celiac Podcast

Celiac Mom - an Interview with Author Ann Campanella

March 21, 2022 Belinda Whelan, Ann Campanella Season 1 Episode 50
The Healthy Celiac Podcast
Celiac Mom - an Interview with Author Ann Campanella
Show Notes Transcript

On today's episode I am excited to be interviewing Ann Campanella who is the author of an incredible Memoir, Celiac Mom. She chats with me about her daughter's journey and her book.

You can find Ann on Instagram @glutenfreeforgood
and order her book online via Amazon here

If you have a  spare moment, please pop over to Apple Podcasts and leave me a review. This helps the algorithm and more people with Celiac Disease will find the show. Thank you!



Music Credit bensound.com 

Speaker 1:

Okay, so welcome back to the healthy celiac podcast. I'm your host, Belinda wheelin . And I'm so excited today because I have my first international guest on the show. So I'd like you to help welcome Anne Campanella to the program. And I'm very excited because Anne is actually an author and she has written an amazing memoir called celiac mom . And she's here to join us today and talk about her book. So welcome. And thanks for being here.

Speaker 2:

Thank you. This is a wonderful way to travel during COVID times. Oh ,

Speaker 1:

Isn't it just

Speaker 2:

Exactly . Yes. It's so great to be here. Thank you, Belinda .

Speaker 1:

You're welcome. You're so welcome. So , and you , Sydney was diagnosed with celiac disease at the age of five. So do you wanna tell us a little bit about the journey that you had up until that point?

Speaker 2:

Sure. Um, goodness, anybody who's a mom knows that when your child doesn't feel well, it's just the worst. Yes . Um , you're just constantly worried about it. And she had so many symptoms that now I realize were typical of celiac. Um , but back then I had no idea. Yes , she , uh , did not sleep through the night, not just when she was a baby, but all the way up until the age of five, she was waking up. She couldn't nap. Uh , she had obviously dark circles under her eyes, probably from not sleeping. Yeah . She had terrible stomach aches when she ate. Um , and then she also had chronic constipation , um , severe bloating and , uh , one of the worst things was she was not growing proper . And I was watching as the years went by, like when she was in preschool, her friends just kept growing and growing. And , uh, she was like in the same clothes for three years. Yeah . I think she wore the same Halloween costume three years in a row. And I thought this is crazy. Yeah . Um, so that was, it just led me to basically every night I would be on the internet searching, trying to figure out what was going on. Yeah . And it was 15 years ago. So there was not a lot of information out there and every now and then the word celiac would pop up, but I didn't really know what it was. And so I just kind of kept it in the back of my head. Yeah. And it wasn't until a friend who knew I was concerned, oh , I , I took her to many, many doctors and they all said, oh, you know, you're just worrying too much. She's fine. She's a normal child, feed her more vegetables, give her or water, you know , just , and I'm thinking, you're not listening to me. Um , but finally, a friend , um, who did understand that I was seriously concerned. She had somebody in her family who , uh , was not growing properly either. And she did not have celiac, but she was able to pass on the name of an endocrinologist who was wonderful. And within five minutes of talking to him, he was pretty sure that we should test her for celiac. And , um , that was the beginning of the story. Yeah .

Speaker 1:

Such a relief. Isn't it. To hear that. I remember that with my diagnosis, it was just like, thank goodness. There's hope there's finally an answer. It's not in my head and doctors that have told me that it's nothing for so long. There's a reason. So I , I felt so much of the emotion in your, I could just feel the pain that you were going through. And my son he's five and he's got non celiac , gluten sensitivity. So we went through a very, I guess, similar journey, but I guess not as extreme, but because I had celiac disease already, I was already on major watch. I knew what was going on, feel that these symptoms were very similar to celiac disease. So it took us a long time to get a diagnosis. I can't even imagine going through it without any knowledge of the celiac disease. So you've done amazing and changed your whole family lifestyle and cooking and food, which I felt every abs of that in your book . It was just incredible. So

Speaker 2:

You , yeah, that was definitely a journey. And I guess you'd have to read the book to really get a sense of it because I was not a cook and my husband was not exactly sure. He wanted to go on this journey with me and he was pretty sure he did not have any issues with gluten. Yeah . But I was like, well, you know, if Sydney has to go through this, I just don't want her to be alone. Yeah . So I'm gonna try it. Yeah . And , um, and so struggling, first of all, just to feed her, that was my main goal. Yeah . And then I thought, well, if I'm feeding her this way, I'm gonna feed myself this way. And eventually my husband realized if he wanted to eat anything that was in the house, he'd better start eating gluten freeze .

Speaker 1:

Exactly. Um ,

Speaker 2:

So that worked out. Okay. Yeah . Um, but again, not being a cook, I was just stumbling , um, every step of the way and trying to figure out how do I do this and reading labels in the grocery store and getting headaches and thinking, this is not what I'm meant to do. You know, I am not. And yet, you know, I think God has a funny way of, you know, giving us what we really need.

Speaker 1:

Exactly.

Speaker 2:

Yes. Um , and really over it over were time. It has been such a blessing to me and for my health. Yeah . Not to mention Sidney just turned around so quickly. I mean, the first summer that we took her off of gluten, she S sprouted about three inches. Yeah . And just to see that and to see the bloating dissipate and just the joy and the energy , uh , when she was eating gluten, I thought that her personality was such, that all she wanted to do was sit and read and be very quiet. Yeah . But I later that was just because she didn't have the energy to do anything more. Yes. And once she had gluten, she was just running around the house and being a normal toddler. Yeah . Which , uh , or five year old . And that was just such a joy to see the change.

Speaker 1:

Oh , absolutely. Definitely. It's incredible. Isn't it just Wolf food does to us and to be able to make those changes. And like you said, it's hard. And I think a lot of people, when their child has been diagnosed with celiac disease, you do look at it like a blessing because you see how much healthier and HAPPI your child is. And as a result, both you and your husband have been able to go on and become healthier and look after to your own lives as well. So I think in that respect, it really is a blessing. So yes ,

Speaker 2:

Wonderful. My , my husband jokes and says that it's improved his golf game, at least 10 strokes.

Speaker 1:

I , I love the part in your book, how he did , he was doing a trial for a week on gluten free in the lead up to going away on a golf trip. And then he had , was it , was it a hot dog before he went

Speaker 2:

Away? He had a , a sub, just like a , oh ,

Speaker 1:

That's right . Subway that's. And then he felt really sick and oh ,

Speaker 2:

So yes. And he called me and he was like, I'm never eating gluten again and thought , who is this?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Who are you? And what have you done with my husband?

Speaker 2:

Exactly.

Speaker 1:

But it's good when people work it out for themselves like that, isn't it as well that they realize they feel better. So yeah .

Speaker 2:

Very much, very much. Although he is the one, if anybody's gonna cheat, he will cheat every now and then. Yeah . Um , and he, it doesn't seem to harm him that much. He doesn't feel great, but it's not, you not a good thing. Sydney cannot have even a spec of gluten. And if I have a little bit, I am just miserable and yeah , I can't, I can't sleep for three nights. And , um , but I don't have the digestive issues. Okay . As badly as she does.

Speaker 1:

Yeah . Yeah . So how old is Sydney now?

Speaker 2:

She 20. 20.

Speaker 1:

Okay . And she's just gone off to college. Is that right?

Speaker 2:

She went off well, she's a sophomore, so she's, this is her second year.

Speaker 1:

Right. Okay . And how, how are you finding that? Because that is kind of like you've, you've taught her all of these lessons. You've taught her how to look after her health and how to eat well, and now she's out there doing it alone without mama bear. So how, how do you feel about that?

Speaker 2:

That has been , um, a real challenge in me letting go. And then also trying to sort of guide her gently. Yes. Um , but she's, she very much took control of her own eating. Um, even at the age of five or six, as soon as she knew what her, what limited her and what would harm her, she was pretty good about it. Yeah. So it wasn't as hard as you might think, but then there were things that came up that she'd just never had to deal with. Like cafeteria food. Yeah . And dealing with all the, the people that , uh , well , just like social situations in college, it's a little different than social situations in how high school. And so she's just having to learn to speak up on a whole new level. Yeah . But it's been great for her because she's learning to communicate and, you know, share what her needs are. Yeah . And it's like, this is something you have to do anyway in life. And that's , she's, you know, learning it from the ground up. Yeah . So , um , that's good . And I'm just so thankful. I haven't had that middle of the night call, you know , mom, I feel terrible. So , so far that's gone. Well,

Speaker 1:

Beautiful. Oh , that's a relief, isn't it?

Speaker 2:

Yes , it is .

Speaker 1:

Oh, that's good. That's wonderful. So what advice would you give to other the parents that are , have been on a similar journey to you? So parents that have just found out that their child has got celiac disease, what would be the best advice that you think you could give to those parents?

Speaker 2:

Oh my goodness. That is a great question. And I , I should have been more prepared for it.

Speaker 1:

That's okay.

Speaker 2:

Um, I guess, all right . I'll throw out a couple of things.

Speaker 1:

Yeah . That'll be great.

Speaker 2:

Okay . First be very kind to yourself. Um, because it is such a huge transition and most people are not gonna have any idea what you're going through. Like the fact that food is related to every single event, every activity that we do, and you are gonna be on the outside, looking in so often, or your child is gonna be on the outside looking in. Yes . So be so kind to yourself and be so kind to them. You know , every birthday party, they will not be you able to eat the same food as all of their friends. And that's just, it's heartbreaking. And yet it's like life isn't perfect. And we can't go in expecting every , you know, a bowl of cherries for every situation. Yeah. But it's hard. And it, and there is a little bit of a heart break each time that happens. And even, even today, if Sydney says, you know, mom, they had, you know, veal Parmesan and I couldn't eat it. It just, you know, my heart just aches a little bit for, and I say, you know, we'll go get something good when you come home for Christmas break. Yeah . Just try to remind her that there is it's okay. And that she'll get through it. Yeah. Um, and the other thing, I would try to find a support network. There are so many people like you, you know, on Instagram, you know, you can find people who know what they're doing. There's, it's just amazing. What's available compared to

Speaker 1:

Compared to before, oh yes .

Speaker 2:

You and I were , were going through this. Right. There was

Speaker 1:

Had to figure that ourselves.

Speaker 2:

Yes. Yeah . So there really is just so much information out there. Um , and if you can connect with a nutritionist or a dietician , somebody that can give you the ropes. Yeah . Um , that's a great way to start. The other thing I would suggest, cuz this helped me, a friend of mine , um , said, you know, Anne , let me help you at least get a couple of meals that, you know, you can feed your child. Yeah . And so finding, you know, 3, 4, 5 meals that are easy to fix for me as a non cook . That was number one. In fact, I you'll remember from the book I fed my daughter spa for like a whole semester. Um , because that was so easy. I could just make a big pot of it and, and do that. Yeah . But if you can do that and you know that your child is gonna be fed, then you can just, you know, sit back and take a sigh of relief and then start to add to your repertoire. Yeah .

Speaker 1:

Yeah . Definitely. Definitely. Now I love how you just mentioned about being kind to yourself because what I hear a lot from parents is there's a lot of guilt. They feel guilty that their child has got celiac disease and they don't, they, they want to take it away from them and have that. So it is very important as a parent to look after yourself and, and not feel guilty because as much as we, we want to take our child's pain away, we've just gotta empower them and teach them how to live with it , I guess is the best thing that we can do. Isn't exactly. Yeah ,

Speaker 2:

Exactly. And if you can really take on the idea that while it's hard right now, it will be a blessing for your child in the future. Yes . They will learn so much through this journey. Yeah . And so, you know, that's a huge thing, which I had no idea when I started, I , I was just like, oh, woe is me, poor me for me. Yeah .

Speaker 1:

Stages of emotions, the rollercoaster. Yes.

Speaker 2:

Yes. And part of it was because I, I couldn't go to my mom, she had Alzheimer's and I couldn't go to her and say, mom, how do I deal with this? But so if you, you know, don't have a mom, you don't have that support. Um, there are people out there that can provide that for you and just give you the perspective that it , it will be okay. Absolutely . In fact, it'll be better than okay.

Speaker 1:

Yeah . I totally agree. It's definitely, definitely tough in the beginning, but it gets easier and then life becomes wonderful again and yeah .

Speaker 2:

Yes, yes . And when you , when you think of the health that you regain by eating properly and nourishing your body yeah . It's just, it's like you get a whole new sense of vibrancy. Yeah . Both for you and your child, if you join them on the journey.

Speaker 1:

Yep . I agree. Absolutely. That's wonderful. I love everything that you've shared. That's

Speaker 2:

Wonderful. Oh , thank you, Belinda .

Speaker 1:

So before we wrap up, do you wanna share a little bit more about your book and where we can find it if people wanna purchase it for themselves and read it? Where, where can we find? Sure.

Speaker 2:

I would love to , um, it is available on Amazon and it is available in Australia, I believe. Yep . Um, and , uh , you can go to the Amazon website or you go to my website , uh , which is Ann campanella.com . Um, or you can go to my, my Instagram account, which is gluten free for good. And um, if you go to my bio, it's easy to find , um, celiac mom there,

Speaker 1:

Beautiful. I'll pop some links below in the show notes as well, so okay . Great . Find those great , those places , easy for them . So , yeah. Is there anything else that you'd like to share with the listeners before? Are we going ,

Speaker 2:

I just want to say thank you, Belinda, for doing the work that you're doing. Thank you . Um , I've been listening to your podcast and kind of catching up on some of your episodes and just thinking what an amazing gift it is. It's like a handrail for people to , um, to do us , take the journey one step at a time and it is really something special. So I , I so appreciate

Speaker 1:

It. Oh , thank you. I appreciate you saying that. That's beautiful make me , But yeah, it , it is true. The more of us that talk about it and bring awareness that the more we can help others. So I really appreciate you as well on your book. And I hope that our listeners go out and purchase it and, and read it. And I actually think that your book would be an amazing resource for people to share with their family because there's so much rawness and emotion in it that I think if people shared that with their loved ones, they would get why when need to feed our children. Gluten-free they would understand why we ask all the questions and we need to know, you know, what have you prepared this food on? And all of the things that go with making sure our children are safe. So I think your book would be amazing, not only for people with celiac disease, but for their loved ones to, to learn more about this autoimmune thing .

Speaker 2:

Thank you. That , um, that reminds me when I had finished the manuscript, I actually gave it to Sydney's grandfather. Okay . Who was not a big proponent of celiac and gluten free and was not really supportive, but after he read the manuscript, he had tears in his eyes and he came to Sydney and said, you're my hero. Aww . And that just , um , that's beautiful . Just really filled my heart. Yeah. So I , I thank you for that. And I do believe that memoirs tell a story and they educate through that. And it's sort of an easier way to learn about something scientific that like celiac than having to read, you know, lots and lots of , um, scientific journals or yeah . So hopefully it's an easy way for the medicine to go down.

Speaker 1:

Yes. I think, I think you've done it perfectly in that respect, definitely. Oh ,

Speaker 2:

Thank you. Thank

Speaker 1:

You. No, you're welcome. Appreciate

Speaker 2:

That.

Speaker 1:

All right . Well, thank you so much for being on the show. I'm, I'm beyond excited that we made this happen because you know, we're in completely different time zones and countries . So thank you so much. And for being on the show and you're welcome, I'm excited to share your book with everyone and hopefully you get more people to be able to be more aware of celiac disease through your amazing memoir. So, yeah. Thanks for being on the show .

Speaker 2:

Thank you. Thank you, Belinda. And I will be sharing your information also to thank you for resources.

Speaker 1:

Yeah , that'll be great. Thank you so much.