Part 2 of My Celiac Story. Check out part 1 here.
So, when we left off I had just been diagnosed with celiac disease. Before I even left the hospital I had an appointment with a nutritionist to discuss the nitty-gritty of celiac. She gave me packets and packets of information and went over the “safe” and “harmful” foods. But at that moment, as confused and scared as I was, part of me was kind of excited to begin my gluten-free journey. I wanted to feel better. I wanted to be strong and healthy again (I not of optimal health due to malnutrition and fatigue from eating gluten).
On the way home from the hospital my mom and I stopped at the grocery store and wandered the aisles while referring to the handouts from the nutritionists. I distinctly remember a small (and by small I mean 1 shelf) selection of gluten-free foods. We bought a few cereals, cereal bars, breads and baking ingredients. As soon as we got home it was operation: clean out the pantry. We designated a gluten-free shelf, labeled it and bought a separate toaster for gluten-free bread only. After weeks of trial and error (re: eating food that tasted like cardboard), I found the packaged foods I liked (see “Favorites” for my tried-and-true favorite products).
I plan to go deeper into this topic in the future, but for now, I’ll just say the most difficult part of eating gluten-free has always been eating in a social setting. Friends going out to dinner? “Guess I’ll eat before, in case nothing is safe” OR “Guess I’ll have a plain garden salad, dressing on the side.” (Eating out has gotten A LOT easier over the years as more restaurants now offer GF menus). Explaining to the waiter and to people at my table about celiac disease is not always fun. Honestly, it can get awkward and I get tired of repeating my story. (I definitely have developed handy tricks for this, which I will share!)
Now, I could ramble on and on about the last 6 years and how I’ve “overcome many obstacles and have become a natural at eating gluten-free.” While that’s true, I think the most important thing I can say is that the hard times and awkward situations have been worth it. The way I feel now is worth 1 million awkward conversations at restaurants because I
feel am healthy.
I have tons more thoughts on this subject because obviously it’s apart of my daily life. I’m thinking next up on my celiac rant with be #celiacpains…??