Update on being gluten free: I went GF seven years ago this past February. My diagnosis was on the last day of January but it took two weeks for me to gradually transition off gluten. I remember the first day I was supposed to be fully gluten free and in the faculty room I absentmindedly popped a chocolate cookie into my mouth and chewed. I was aghast and just felt I couldn’t spit it out in front of everyone. So, the next day was my first fully gf day. It is seven years later and most days I am fine. But once in a while I really morn the loss of the normalness of being able to buy a donut or bagel at a convenience store for a treat. I mourn the inability to be flexible and easy when my family or friends want to eat out. I watch my loved ones eat things I cannot eat anymore. I often can’t eat at church events; nothing safe for me. I feel sad over that. I won’t lie or sugar coat the situation: it still can be difficult and my food choices do leave me feeling left out at times. It is not easy long term, especially when I am eating outside my house and kitchen. There is temptation, there are no options for me most of the time and it just wrenches me to be forbidden many foods I used to enjoy.
On the flip side, I feel much better; the pain in my gut left not that long after going gf. I actually had the start of ulcers in my stomach due to the Helicobacter pylori bacteria. I underwent a two week treatment of two heavy duty antibiotics to get that crap out of my stomach! They found it during my endoscopy to confirm my diagnosis of celiac disease. But once I was gf two weeks and the antibiotics were done I was hugely better. It was a great feeling. I highly recommend being fully gluten free if you have the diagnosis of celiac disease. Just don’t eat gf until you have completed your testing; being gf can reduce your symptoms and give a false negative result to testing.
So, how do you do this gf thing every day? One day at a time. With the support of your loved ones. With the knowledge that if you continue to eat gluten you will get sicker and sicker. I knew gluten was at the root of my gut pain and discovered a host of issues that I had been suffering from that are directly linked to my auto immune disorder. I hate how I feel if I do eat gluten and that knowledge is a major factor holding me back from cheating. I am not willing to deal with the pain and the side effects from cheating.
I used to know someone who said she had no symptoms of her disease. I imagine that would be much harder to stay gf without the drum beat of painful hours post gluten feasting! I hope she is sticking to gf. For her health and for her family.
I see folks in social media talking/bragging about their recent cheating and wonder how they do it? How they make that bad choice. I am guessing it is for the taste of regular food, for the freedom to eat something at 711 or Dunkin or a family gathering and a beloved holiday food that is hard to resist. I see their posts, half bragging and half whining about how sick they got. I know we all have moments of weakness. Seeing what they say and have done I feel sure I am on the right path; the choice of eating safely, totally gluten free.
It is just not worth it to me to cheat. To risk damage to my small intestine for that treat, that glass of beer or that plate of regular pasta. I am also afraid that once I start cheating it will become normalized and I will slide downward into daily consumption of a substance I know to be deadly to me. I hold on tight to the knowledge that I am doing what is best for my family and the uprising subsides in my brain. Life goes on.
I eat well. I enjoy many tasty homemade meals and treats. I made focaccia this week for first time in years. Great with soup. I have a lot of awesome go to recipes for things like Italian bread, muffins, cookies, pie, angel food cake and cobbler. People clamor to eat those foods and none of them have to be gluten free. It is totally possible to eat well with a bit of planning, basic willpower and a little effort. So, life is good; even gluten free. Hang tough; you can do it! Thousands of us do it. Have an awesome gluten free day!