In an interview with SheKnows.com, Jennifer Esposito talks about the importance of raising awareness for celiac disease.
For 5 years, actress Jennifer Esposito visited a gastroenterologist to try to figure out the cause of her nausea, fatigue, and headaches. Until she finally received her diagnosis, Esposito had never heard of celiac. Fueled by the knowledge that other people were unknowingly suffering from celiac symptoms as well, Esposito founded Jennifer’s Way Foundation for Celiac Education.
Esposito explained the frustrations that can come with celiac disease in an interview with SheKnows.com. “Before being diagnosed with celiac disease, I would go on spontaneous vacations, stop in a deli to grab something or try a new restaurant without a thought. Now, every piece of food must be interrogated, so to speak,” she told SheKnows.
In addition to the frustrations posed with dining out and traveling, Esposito talked about hidden gluten in medications, something that is often overlooked by the newly diagnosed. There is no mandate regarding listing the ingredients in medications or labeling them with a gluten warning, so it’s up to those living with gluten-related disorders to be the detective and determine if their prescriptions contain gluten. According to Esposito, pushing for mandatory ingredient listings is a goal she hopes to accomplish through Jennifer’s Way Foundation for Celiac Education.
Echoing the words of dietitians and gastroenterologists, Esposito offered the following advice: “If you are not sure about something, don’t eat it. It’s better to be safe than sorry later.” The actress also says that she is taking this opportunity to bring out the “wanna-be chef” in her by making her own pizza, bread, muffins, cookies and more.
Known for her starring role in the drama “Blue Bloods,” Esposito has been driving awareness of celiac disease within the general population. “To be able to put a face and voice to this very misunderstood disease is so very important to me,” she told SheKnows.com. “There are way too many people suffering as I did for years, not knowing what is wrong with them. It’s not right.”
To learn more about Esposito’s experience with celiac disease and Jennifer’s Way Foundation for Celiac Awareness, see the interview with SheKnows.com.