Lessons from Survivor: How Former Host of The View, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Cured Her Celiac Disease


While morning talk show viewers are aware of Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s controversial stances on The View and her departure from the show in July 2013, not many know about the fact that she had celiac disease, let alone cured herself.

“No matter what I ate, I would soon be doubled over with cramps, awful indigestion, diarrhea, or all of the above simultaneously,” says Hasselbeck. She had been struggling with these unbearable symptoms for nearly 10 years and despite several doctor visits, could not determine what was making her sick.

From Celiac Disease to Survivor

However, when she appeared on “Survivor: The Australian Outback” in 2001, she was cured from celiac disease. She credits the more healthful changes in her diet while participating in the show for curing her celiac disease.

In 2009, Hasselbeck talked about her disease on The View, discussing her book, The G Free Diet. <- Amazon affiliate link – “G” of course, stands for “gluten,” the problem for those diagnosed with celiac disease. When gluten, a binding protein in grains, is completely eliminated from diets, severity of symptoms goes by the wayside. This was the case for Hasselbeck, who primarily ate fish (one of the recommended foods to help cure celiac disease) while in Australia.

She says that after just three days in Australia, she started feeling better. “I noticed that the moment I ate a starchy food, all the symptoms returned, and with even more fury than before,” says Hasselbeck. “I went on the Internet to research what this reaction might mean, and soon after thought I had discovered the cause: Wheat! Out it went from my diet.”

More About Celiac Disease

She was formally diagnosed with celiac disease by Dr. Peter H. R. Green, director of the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University in New York City. Individuals with gluten intolerances are not adequately obtaining nutrients from gluten and instead, have small intestine disturbances due to an immune system that starts attacking and eventually, disrupts the small intestine. He notes that seeking a professional skilled in celiac disease is essential saying that ” . . . most doctors here are not prominently taught about celiac disease in medical school or in post-graduate education. The latter is often funded by big pharmaceutical companies, and none of them presently offer a medication to treat celiac disease.”

According to wellness and health expert, Dr. Andrew Weil, individuals with celiac disease should avoid gluten to prevent gastrointestinal problems and damage. He notes that even if people eat a healthy diet, it may not be healthy for someone with celiac disease. Someone with gluten sensitivity can experience intestinal damage in addition to malnutrition. A host of symptoms, from fatigue and anxiety to skin disorders and joint pain (to name just a few) can occur.

Recommended Foods to Eat & Avoid to Cure Celiac Disease

The Mayo Clinic suggests people pay attention to the following list of foods to help diminish their celiac disease symptoms. For their complete list, please visit http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/gluten-free-diet/MY01140

Foods to Eat

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Amaranth, quinoa, flax
  • Beans, seeds, nuts in their natural, unprocessed form
  • Fresh eggs
  • Fresh meats, fish and poultry (not breaded, batter-coated or marinated)

Foods to Avoid

  • Barley
  • Semolina
  • Rye
  • Triticale (a cross between wheat and rye)
  • Wheat

Make it a practice to eat foods that are specifically labeled “gluten-free,” especially when it comes to cereals, pastas and sauces. Food additives like malt flavoring can affect those with celiac disease as can medications or vitamins that use gluten as a binding agent.

By following this regimen and learning more about the disease, people can follow in Hasselbeck’s footsteps and possibly cure their celiac disease (disclaimer: no guarantee of that obviously). “I’ve never felt better in my life,” she says. “I cannot imagine ever returning to eating gluten, even if I didn’t have celiac disease.”

For more tips, listen to Hasselbeck’s ideas here:

Statistics show that about 1 in 133 Americans has celiac disease and that nearly 83% are still not diagnosed, or are misdiagnosed.

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A science enthusiast with a keen interest in health nutrition, Antonia has been intensely researching various dieting routines for several years now, weighing their highs and their lows, to bring readers the most interesting info and news in the field. While she is very excited about a high raw diet, she likes to keep a fair and balanced approach towards non-raw methods of food preparation as well. (http://www.rawfoodhealthwatch.com/)