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DIABETES HOPE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

This program highlights the personal triumphs of young adults who face the many responsibilities associated with diabetes management significantly enriching their lives through community and extra-curricular activities and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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HOPE CONNECTS PEER SUPPORT PROGRAM

Recognizing the impact T1D has on students’ mental health and well-being, DHF created the Hope Connects Program to support students as they balance their T1D during their transition to post-secondary school.

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CAREGIVER PROGRAM

PEP TALKS: Parents Empowering Parents workshops give parents and caregivers of adolescents with T1D the opportunity to find a community of voices to collaborate with as they prepare for their child’s transition to post-secondary education and from pediatric to adult diabetes care.

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TRANSITION GUIDE

DHF’s Transition Guide features a searchable database for students with T1D to find their closest on and off campus diabetes supports, accommodations and more. Make more informed choices about where to go next year based on the resources available at college and university campuses across the country.

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Student Transition Planner

STUDENT TRANSITION PLANNER

Are you a Canadian student with Type 1 Diabetes transitioning to university or college? Access information and tools to help you access accommodations, self-advocate, tell others about your T1D, and get tips on navigating campus life!

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TRANSITION WEBINARS

The specialized resources compiled from our webinar series focus on mental health, transition, exercise, nutrition and more. With such a broad range of resources available, they are an invaluable tool for anyone seeking to improve their overall health and wellness through transition and beyond.

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RESOURCE HUB

Diabetes Hope Foundation has compiled a variety of important and helpful tools and resources for youth, their families and caregivers, and diabetes educators to support a healthy and successful transition to post-secondary. Our Hub contains many links and downloadable resources – all free to use!

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Gluten-Free and T1D: My Celiac Journey

May 22, 2024 | Autoimmune Disease, Type 1 Diabetes

Gluten-Free and T1D: My Celiac Journey

Living with Celiac disease: my diagnosis

May is Celiac Awareness Month and I want to take this opportunity to give you a glimpse into what life is like for someone living with celiac disease – needing to go gluten-free – when also type 1 diabetic, both of which are autoimmune diseases.

I was a grade 9 student getting ready to write my winter exams when I came down with norovirus. Months later, after copious medical appointments and exploratory investigations and having missed upwards of 4 weeks of school, I was diagnosed with celiac.

Understanding Celiac as an autoimmune disease

A big misconception about people diagnosed with celiac disease is that these individuals choose to abstain from eating gluten. This couldn’t be farther from the truth! Individuals with celiac, like myself, are born with a genetic predisposition that interacts with an environmental stimulus.

Similar to T1D, there is no cure for celiac disease. The only treatment is to remove all foods that contain wheat, barley, and oats. This prevents damage to the lining of the intestines and eliminates any associated symptoms.

Navigating the gluten-free lifestyle

The biggest challenge I encountered when I was first diagnosed with celiac was needing to give up some of my favourite foods like McDonald’s chicken nuggets, Pizza Hut’s pizza, and Tim Horton’s donuts. Needing my tastebuds to adjust to the odd taste and texture of gluten-free foods was also a learning curve. Let’s be honest, a lot of gluten-free carbs just do not taste the same as good old gluten!!

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Tips for dining out safely with Celiac and T1D

As a T1D and celiac, one of my biggest fears is having a hypoglycemic episode due to giving myself insulin for gluten-free food, but then finding out that it has been cross-contaminated and ultimately throwing up the sugars in my system. Nowadays, most restaurants try to offer at least a couple of gluten-free options.

When dining out, there are a few things you may want to ask your server to minimize the risk of cross-contamination:

  1. Do you use clean or separate cookware and utensils for gluten-free food?
  2. Is there a dedicated fryer or do you change the oil for gluten-free food?
  3. Do you use fresh water in a clean pot to boil gluten-free pasta?

Remember to ask your server about hidden sources of gluten, such as gravies, sauces, spices, and drinks. When in doubt, go without! It’s better to eat bland but safe food rather than gluten-contaminated food which will make you ill and potentially cause a hypoglycemic episode.

Advocacy and self-care: asserting your dietary needs

Some people still don’t fully understand that celiac disease is not a choice; we did not choose this lifestyle. If someone is pressuring you to eat at a restaurant that doesn’t offer safe gluten-free options, assert yourself and advocate to find a restaurant better suited to your needs. Like T1D, it may take some time for friends and family to understand the “dos” and “don’ts” of celiac disease!

And remember, we’re just too cool for gluten to handle!!


Abbi Cloth, About Us

About the Author

Hi, my name is Abbi, and I am one of DHF’s Program Facilitators. I have been living with T1D for nearly 17 years and during school breaks and holidays, you can usually find me in Florida, California, or somewhere a little further overseas – I LOVE to travel!!

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