Being gluten free is not the end of the world. But, I understand how overwhelming it is in the beginning.
In the spring of 2005, I was a senior in high school and was desperately fighting to get a 4.0 GPA. I succeeded, but after the stress, I was very ill on graduation day and for the entire summer. I saw my doctor several times and received different diagnoses each time: acid reflux, ulcer, stress. None of the medications helped. I continued to be ill quite regularly for the next nine months as I started college seven hours away from home. In March of 2006, I lost my mom suddenly and traveled home for two weeks. During that incredibly stressful time, I made an appointment to see my primary care doctor. Because my uncle has celiac disease, I told the doctor, “I am going gluten free. I can’t take this anymore.” He reluctantly agreed.
Over the next month, I felt like a new person:
· I gained (healthy) weight immediately.
· I could lay on my stomach again because I wasn’t bloated.
· I wasn’t so tired and dizzy after eating.
· I didn’t have stomachaches all the time.The GI doctor saw enough on the endoscopy to tell me that I needed to stay gluten free. I’ve never looked back.
OK, that might not be true. I do sometimes crave gluten-filled foods! However, the cravings have gotten so much better, especially since I’ve learned to cook so much gluten free food that actually tastes normal.
When I was first diagnosed, I was living on campus at college. I went to a relatively small private school and the cafeteria staff was fantastic! They made special dishes for me and baked gluten free desserts regularly. They understood cross-contamination and went to great lengths to find delicious, edible gluten free food.
When I got married, I had lots of learning to do because my husband is not gluten free. Because it’s not practical or affordable to have both of us eating 100% gluten free, he eats “normal” food and I don’t. Many people are shocked by this. I am not a short-order cook – we eat the same meal every night!
While this particular method may work for my family, it may not work for yours. I encourage you to experiment and find out what works best for you and your family. Being gluten free doesn’t mean life is over; it simply means you must find your new normal – and embrace it!