Christina HeiserThe Voices of Celiac Disease

“Being diagnosed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020, posed a unique set of challenges.”

A headshot of Christina.

Hi everyone, I’m Christina! I live in New York City and work full-time in content marketing for an e-commerce company. I started my career in journalism as a health writer and editor and continue to freelance for a variety of publications. Outside of work, I enjoy cooking, traveling, and trying different fitness classes.  

As a health writer, it’s always been my mission to help others make informed decisions about their health—even though I often used to put my own health on the back burner. I was diagnosed with celiac disease two years ago when I was 31 years old. I dealt with stomach issues, like heartburn and bloating, for many years before going to the doctor. While I was upset by the news initially, I was ultimately relieved to finally have an answer and a treatment plan—even if it meant I’d have to give up some of my favorite foods. 

Being diagnosed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020, posed a unique set of challenges, though. For starters, I wasn’t able to get any in-person support from my doctor. Instead, I had to rely on phone calls and Zoom appointments. I was also overwhelmed by grocery shopping—in my cramped neighborhood supermarket, I stressed over deciphering food labels while remaining socially distanced from other customers. 

What helped make the transition to a gluten-free diet and a life with celiac disease easier was working with a dietitian (virtually, of course) to educate myself as much as possible, stocking up on pre-made meals and frozen foods so I didn’t have to cook every night, and being open to trying new-to-me foods and ingredients to replace the ones I could no longer eat. 

As a silver lining, having to stay at home during the pandemic allowed me to get used to my new lifestyle without the added pressure of figuring out what I could eat at a restaurant or having to turn down food that someone else made. (Although now that most restaurants have opened back up, I’m obsessed with using the Find Me Gluten-Free app to find new places!)

Since being diagnosed with celiac disease, I’ve become particularly passionate about helping others navigate gluten-free living. I’ve had the opportunity to share my celiac disease journey in recent articles I’ve written, as well as interview health experts for their advice on managing dietary restrictions and coping with a chronic condition. 

I’m so excited to be part of Beyond Celiac, and I can’t wait to connect with others in the celiac disease community. I look forward to raising awareness, providing support, and sharing useful information to help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety that can come with living with celiac disease.