Part 2 of My Celiac Story. Check out part 1 here.
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 market and wandered the aisles while referring to the handouts from the nutritionists. I distinctly remember a small (and by small I mean one 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.
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.” I’m very happy that eating out has become easier over the years as more restaurants now offer GF menus. However, It always depends on the quality of the restaurant.
Now, I could ramble on and on about the last six 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.