Actress Jennifer Esposito becomes voice for celiac disease sufferers: Her book and recipes

Actress Jennifer Esposito is best known for her work in "Blue Bloods." But, as she recently told Katie Couric on her talk show, she also wants to become known as an advocate for those suffering from celiac disease and other gluten-related conditions. Her appearance focused on her new book: "Jennifer's Way: My Journey with Celiac Disease--What Doctors Don'’t Tell You and How You Can Learn to Live Again" (click for details).

Before she was diagnosed correctly, Jennifer "was told everything from MS to IBS," she said. She recalled having panic attacks due to the impact on her central nervous system.

"I was searching for so long for answers and when you take gastric problems, back aches, sinus problems, a panic attack -- a doctor, understandably, is trying to put that in a puzzle and make that make sense," Jennifer added. Now, with her knowledge of the condition, "it makes sense to me because the small intestine basically is housing the serotonin in your brain and it causes depression if it's not balanced. So this is what was happening to me."

What is celiac disease? It's an autoimmune disease that interferes with your body's ability to digest gluten. The signs and symptoms are so diverse that it makes it particularly difficult to diagnose. An estimated three million Americans suffer from the condition.

For Jennifer, symptoms included problem with her knees and skin. In addition, "one day on set we were doing a scene and a tooth popped out of my mouth."  She called her journey trying to find the answer both terrifying and infuriating.

Now Jennifer is using her knowledge to help others. She's created a gluten-free bakery, Jennifer's Way, in New York and seeks to help those with the condition improve their quality of life, as well as help those who have yet to be diagnosed. 

Her book offers a voice to those with celiac disease, help on how to get a diagnosis and some scrumptious gluten-free recipes! We're featuring one of them below. Get more information about "Jennifer's Way: My Journey with Celiac Disease--What Doctors Don’t Tell You and How You Can Learn to Live Again" by clicking here.

 

Pumpkin Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sorghum flour 
1/4 cup brown rice flour 
1/4 cup hazelnut flour 
1/2 cup potato starch 
1/2 tsp. Himalayan sea salt 
1/4 tsp. xanthan gum 
1 tsp. vanilla 
1 tsp. cinnamon 
1/2 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg 
1/3 cup puréed pumpkin 
2 tbsp. grape seed oil 
1 1/2 tbsp. of maple syrup 
1 cup rice milk 
1/2 cup water or less depending on batter how thick or thin you like pancakes. Opt for the thicker. 
Grape seed oil for pan or earth balance 
Choc chips (as many or few as u like)

Directions:

- Combine in a bowl all dry ingredients and whisk out any lumps

- In a medium size bowl mix together all wet ingredients, except the water

- Slowly mix the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients to create a smooth batter Add water a little bit at a time into the batter and mix as you go. NOTE: If you like a thinner pancake add more water, for thicker pancakes add less. (I recommend keeping the batter not too thin or they won’t cook properly)

- Heat your skillet or griddle to medium.  Spoon or pour in your batter to your preferred size. Cook until surface of pancakes have some bubbles and a few have burst, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip carefully with a thin spatula, and cook until browned on the underside, 1 to 2 minutes more.

 Republished with permission from "Jennifer's Way: My Journey with Celiac Disease--What Doctors Don’t Tell You and How You Can Learn to Live Again" (click for more information).

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