Justin SundstromThe Voices of Celiac Disease

“Justin intends to create [a world] where the mention of celiac disease is just as mainstream as a peanut allergy.”

A headshot of Justin

Justin was born and raised in the ever-growing city of Wenatchee, WA and he’s 22 years old. He was diagnosed with celiac disease in June of 2021, and since then his life changed significantly. Social events, celebrations, parties, family dinners and more were all transformed when he finally got his answer to years of joint pain and bodily deficiencies.

Celiac disease can be a very hard disease to cope with, but it doesn’t have to be. At first, he was significantly depressed when he stopped eating foods that he couldn’t enjoy anymore. Eating is a very social concept, and when you take away a very large portion of the human diet (especially in the United States) a person can start to feel isolated from their friends and family. The more somebody thinks about what they can and can’t have, the more their brain takes those negative thoughts and manifests them. Justin’s big takeaway after dealing with celiac disease is to be positive.

Justin loves to cook; he’s been doing it most of his life, so he’s very passionate about making the gluten-free diet a challenge to try new recipes. Gluten-free substitutes, additions, and full gluten-free meals are what makes him thrive against a negative mentality.

His goal as a Reach Beyond Celiac Ambassador is to organize fundraisers in support of celiac disease research working toward a cure, and to educate people about the severity of celiac disease and what it means for the people who have it. Many people don’t understand it simply because of the lack of education about the topic, and he wants to change that. He intends to create an easier future for the next generations of people with celiac disease, where the mention of celiac disease is just as mainstream as a peanut allergy.