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Gluten-Free Giants: Celiac’s Social Saviours

By Leah Vlasic

Meet inspiring social media influencers leading the charge with us in celiac awareness, sharing their gluten-free journeys and recipes for success.

 

 

In a world where dietary restrictions can feel isolating, three remarkable influencers are breaking barriers and fostering a sense of community. We sat down with them to discuss their motivations, challenges, and hopes for the future.

Who are you?

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@thebutternutbakingco.:

 

Michelle Moraes.

 

I am an entrepreneur, content creator and brand consultant in the gluten-free and health and wellness space.

@acoupleofceliacs:

 

Mary Thompson.

 

I was diagnosed with celiac disease 15 years ago. I share delicious gluten-free recipes, while embracing a gluten-free lifestyle. I was born in New Zealand but now live in West Kewlona, BC.

@celiacandthe6ix: 

 

Ashley Gismondi.

 

Celiac & the 6ix was born out of my love for Drake the musician, and a place to showcase gluten-free food finds, travels and musings about motherhood and sometimes dating in the “6ix,” (Drake’s nickname for Toronto).

How did you start your journey as a gluten-free/celiac influencer?

@thebutternutbakingco:

 

I started in 2017 by opening Canada’s first 100% gluten-free, grain-free, and naturally low-carb bakery that specializes in keto and paleo bakes. It was a privilege to own and operate my bakery for the last 7 years as it’s given me so many incredible opportunities to connect with other inspiring entrepreneurs and colleagues making a difference in the gluten-free space.

 

At the end of 2023, I closed my bakery due to pandemic strain and decided to continue in the gluten-free influencer space as I start my next business finding new ways to bring healthy and delicious gluten-free food to the community.

@acoupleofceliacs:

 

My journey as a gluten-free/celiac influencer began being diagnosed with celiac disease. Fortunately, I had the right doctor, who immediately suspected I had celiac disease due to low iron levels and stomach pain. An IgA-TTG test showed very high levels I had an intestinal biopsy, which confirmed the villi in my small intestine were damaged.

 

This life-changing event prompted me to rewrite all the recipes I loved making. After my eldest daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease, we started an Instagram account and website to share experiences, tips, and recipes for enjoying food without compromising health.

 

 

@celiacandthe6ix:

 

I started on Instagram in 2017, when I realized I wanted to see more than just people from high school getting engaged and babies on my feed. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, (I’m a mother now to a school-aged child), but at the time I wanted to show there was more to life than those typical milestones. I wanted to show others that you can still explore your city or town and travel the world while living with celiac disease.

 

My account has evolved as I moved from my twenties to my thirties, sharing vulnerable life issues such as loss, dating, home ownership and parenthood. As my slogan goes…” Life, home and travel, with a gluten free twist”.

 

What inspired you to focus on gluten-free/celiac content?

@thebutternutbakingco:

 

I am a foodie at heart with celiac disease and! I was only 27 when I was inspired to open my gluten-free bakery in Toronto to focus on gluten-free and celiac content to spread the word about a new way of baking.



@acoupleofceliacs

 

My personal experience dealing with the challenges, dietary restrictions, and lifestyle adjustments inspired me to focus on gluten free and celiac content.

 

The beginning of the celiac journey is never easy for anyone, and I want to share the knowledge, tips and recipes I learned to give others a head-start and possibly prevent them from making the same mistakes I made.

 

A desire to help and support others facing similar struggles, was the driving force behind creating content specifically for the celiac community.

@celiacandthe6ix:

 

I have been living with celiac disease for 19 years. Although there were other gluten free influencers in Toronto when I started, I had a unique perspective as a new homeowner and living with a partner who wasn’t gluten free.

 

 

I also loved to travel and didn’t see too much discussion around celiac travel. One benefit of running my account, is I’ve made some lovely friends locally and abroad. Many of whom I met while travelling. We’re taught not to trust strangers online as youth, but as an adult, I’ve found my “gluten-free people”.

What challenges have you faced as a gluten-free/ celiac influencer?

@thebutternutbakingco:


It’s difficult to satisfy all dietary restrictions at once with gluten-free content – a lot of my recipes contain almond flour which tends to be delicious and superior in gluten-free baking, however those who have nut allergies can’t eat that.

@acoupleofceliacs: 

 

As a celiac influencer, I face several challenges. Crafting delicious and accessible gluten free recipes demands creativity and experimentation, often hindered by limited ingredient availability. 

 

Additionally, educating others about celiac disease and gluten-free living requires patience in the face of widespread misinformation.


Finding brand partnerships that align with your values and standards can be challenging, and fostering a supportive community of followers requires consistent effort. Despite these challenges, it is a rewarding and fun experience!

@celiacandthe6ix:

 

There’s constant pressure to pump out content, but I want to show up authentically and tell a story behind what I’m posting. I also am pitched on occasion from brands/restaurants that aren’t a great fit.

 

If it revolves around food, I ask a lot of questions to ensure that products are safe and that restaurants will have my best interests in mind before I share it with the wider gluten-free community. Trust and integrity are important, and I am not afraid to say no, something better will come along.


One thing people don’t see is the administrative tasks that follow creating content, such as following up for payment. There are real people behind these accounts that have bills to pay and unfortunately, I have been taken advantage of…

 

How do you hope to inspire change in the celiac community?

@thebutternutbakingco.: 

 

I hope to inspire people to become label detectives and just because something says it’s gluten-free it doesn’t inherently make it healthy – especially with gluten-free baking. 

 

I hope to inspire others with better-for-you-baking and cooking with products that are delicious and wholesome!

 

@acoupleofceliacs: 

 

I hope to inspire change in the celiac community and raise awareness by educating others about celiac disease and dispelling myths surrounding gluten-free living.


Advocating for greater accessibility to gluten-free options in restaurants and clear labeling of gluten-free products is crucial.


Building a supportive community where individuals can share experiences and resources fosters solidarity and empowerment. Living a healthy life while managing celiac disease, and openly sharing one’s journey can inspire others.

@celiacandthe6ix:

 

There’s nothing better than simply building awareness, especially in an online space that is full of misinformation. If you’re thinking of sharing your own gluten free journey with others, please do. One piece of advice to anyone thinking of starting out is to just start. You are uniquely “you” with a story to offer. It’s hard not to look at others and wonder why you’re still stagnant while others are going viral, however, don’t compare your chapter one to someone’s chapter twenty-five. I like to think of others in the gluten-free community as collaboration, not competition.

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