Healthy Living

Elisabeth Hasselbeck Raises Awareness of Celiac Disease

Elisabeth Hasselbeck Raises Awareness of Celiac Disease

Photo: Former Co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Source: Huffington Post.

For some, the first time they heard much about the term "Gluten-free" was from Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who was formerly on The View. She also was a hardcore player on the show Survivor, inspiring many across the nation. Some didn't understand what celiac disease really was when she spoke about it, but nevertheless, she set the tone for many. 

American celebrity and TV personality Elisabeth Hasselbeck has always been recognized as one of the most outspoken individuals to ever grace the popular talk show The View, which airs on ABC every weekday. Before her role and rise to stardom on the show, however, Hasselbeck arrived from humble beginnings as a participant in the famous reality competition, Survivor. In the Australian season of the show, Survivor: Australian Outback, Elisabeth was part of the Kucha Tribe, and fought her way to the fourth place, where she was eventually voted out.

Two years after her debut onto reality TV, Hasselbeck was urged by her agent to audition for a spot on The View, which had opened to replace the outgoing Lisa Ling. After her audition, she was quickly singled out among the rest and was offered a spot on the show. Due to her strong character and unbending beliefs, she was hired as the conservative spectrum of the team.

As a co-host of the show, Elisabeth was always quick to express her point of view on the topics that were being discussed, some of which sit in stark opposition to the rest of the crew. For this reason, conflicts were sometimes inevitable, and some discussions would end in heated debates with other co-hosts or guests. Nevertheless, Hasselbeck has always been a stoic defender of what she believes in, often defending her point of view to the point of stubbornness, inspiring millions of others to do the same for the things they believed in.

Elisabeth was a co-host on the show for 10 years, after which she decided to quit and join Fox News' Fox & Friends, in 2013, as a replacement for Gretchen Carlson. However, her role in the show was short-lived, as, in 2015, she retired from the TV medium for good so she could dedicate entirely to her husband and children.

Elisabeth and Celiac Disease

As outspoken she was during her television career, it's also safe to say that she served as a beacon of inspiration for those who were either too shy or felt too oppressed to express their beliefs, so that they may shed their bonds and stand up for themselves. However, during her long career as a participant in Survivor first, and then as a host for The View, Elisabeth was always assailed by a mysterious and inexplicable illness that doctors could not find a reason nor cure for 

During Survivor, her symptoms were minor and limited to mild stomach pains and cramps. However, she quickly brushed off those symptoms and attributed them to her poor diet during the filming of the show. After the show had ended, and she began her stint with ABC on The View, the symptoms worsened, and stayed with her for the most part of a decade.

After plenty of visits to the doctors, with nothing to show for it, she would leave with erroneous irritable bowel syndrome diagnoses, alongside medication that didn’t help her condition. Soon after, Elisabeth turned to studying her condition and found that she was suffering from a new illness (at the time) called celiac disease, characterized by an intolerance to the gluten protein contained in wheat, barley, and rye. Shortly after this revelation, Elisabeth turned to a gluten-free diet with tremendous results.

Drawing inspiration from this turn of events, she went on to write her best-selling book The G-Free Diet, where she goes on to explain the woes of living with celiac disease, as well as the measures that must be taken in order to prevent triggering the symptoms. Furthermore, it also includes a section where the reader can find tons of gluten-free recipes to help make the transition to a diet free of the protein and greatly helping those that suffer from celiac disease.

In an interview for Everyday Health, Elisabeth spoke at length about her experience with the disease and gave several nuggets of insight for those who are struggling with it. First of all, she explained that celiac disease is a difficult condition to diagnose, mainly because of its similarity with irritable bowel syndrome. However, the main difference with the latter is that celiac disease episodes can usually be accompanied by migraines, lethargy, or depression, all of which are symptoms that a normal person wouldn’t expect to be related with IBS.

For this matter, Elisabeth strongly recommended to those who are identified as possibly afflicted with celiac disease to undergo blood tests and determine to determine if they are properly absorbing minerals and nutrients in the intestine and to gauge the condition of the intestinal lining in the process. Through these tests, it is possible to determine whether the person is suffering from celiac disease, or from other conditions related to it.

As was mentioned above, Elisabeth firmly believes that a gluten-free diet is the best way to combat celiac disease, as the avoidance of the protein that causes the symptoms to flare up should, in theory, prevent them entirely. However, she also argues that there are many other reasons as to why even individuals that don’t suffer from celiac disease would benefit from following a ‘g-free’ diet. Specifically, she states that those who are in need of meals that are very healthy and can provide tons of energy to keep them active during the day would reap great benefits from making the transition.

The interview ends with Elisabeth recommending special caution with those sneaky foods that could contain gluten, despite seeming benign or even being labeled as ‘gluten-free’. She specifically mentions eating out as one of the most blatant sources of gluten, as these foods may be seasoned with spices or additives that contain the protein, and which could trigger the symptoms of anyone suffering from celiac disease.

Elisabeth currently resides with her husband, Tim Hasselbeck, former professional football player and who is currently working as a football analyst for ESPN, and her 3 children: an older daughter and her two younger sons. In 2016, the couple moved from their mansion in Greenwich to a smaller home in Nashville, where they currently reside. After retiring from the TV life, Elisabeth has since dedicated her time entirely to spending it with her family, which is something she is still entirely committed to.