Genetics finally caught up to me.
A few years ago my mother was diagnosed with Celiac disease. I think her words to the doctor were, "You better not give me the disease of the month!" Ok, maybe thats a nicer version, but you get the point! Celiac is genetic, or at least has "genetic predisposition," meaning I most-likely had the condition too. I wasn't showing symptoms so I pushed the thought aside, "thats a problem for future me."
Hello future me.
After a few spouts of unexplained rashes, sinus infections and the realization that every-time I ate pizza and breadsticks my entire body hurt the next day, I realized it was time to make a change. I called my mom for a final confirmation and she confirmed, it was time to go gluten free.
I've made a few mistakes, how was I supposed to know shredded cheese is processed in flour?! It's only been a few weeks but already I've noticed a few things.
1. People Really Don't Know What Gluten Is.
More often than not, people automatically assume you can no longer eat anything. "Can you eat cheese? Can you eat meat? What about vegetables? And fruit?" Whoa. Back that train up. Gluten is a protein found in wheat that helps foods maintain their shape. It's cheap so manufacturers use it in ALOT of processed foods as thickeners or fillers. Or in the case of shredded cheese, its used to keep the product from sticking to itself.
2. You'll Hear, "That Sucks," Alot!
Get used to the phrases, "That sucks," and "I'm sorry," you will hear them alot. It will be frustrating at times but I try to remember that people are just showing compassion.
3. People Will Look At You Funny.
Judgy McJudgersons. The world is full of them! Some of them are probably wondering if i'm stretching the truth or just a high maintenance woman looking for attention. It doesn't feel good to ask for a gluten free bun or if their margaritas are made from a pre-made mix, but you will get used to it. You will even learn how to ask questions about the menu that provoke action instead of a bewildered stare.
4. People Will Assume You're Stretching The Truth. Especially when you eat an M&M.
I refer back to number one. The other day I grabbed a handful of M&M's at work, I got a few funny looks then finally a co-worker said, "But you can't have those." Actually, I can. While M&M's are processed in a plant that has wheat, the product itself doesn't contain any. Lucky for me, I'm not highly sensitive to gluten so I can still have products like that.
5. It's Really Not That Bad. Until there is cheesecake. Then it's really sad.
Luckily, there are so many gluten free options now! Ice cream, potato chips, graham crackers, candy, pizza crust, pasta and bread that doesn't taste like cardboard! You name it and there is a gluten free alternative! I will say, the first time you have to turn down a piece of pizza is a little depressing and walking by the bakery section at the grocery store is the worst! But there isn't a brownie or bunt cake that tastes as good as how much better I feel after going gluten free!
It's not easy making a lifestyle change. It can be overwhelming, a little scary at times and completely confusing! Luckily there are some amazing resources and groups available to help you get started.
Not sure where to start? Check out these resources from the Gluten Intolerance Group.