I felt terrible for a long time – GI issues, headaches, totally unengaged and tired all the time. I figured it was stress. But at a certain point, I realized something was wrong, and I literally could not go through every day like this. Side note: I loved cereal, so I started my day off with a lovely serving of poison.
After a little experimenting and a doctor’s visit, I received a call one morning before work, and I did indeed have celiac.
What the heck was I supposed to eat for breakfast? And do I just throw away the lunch I had already packed for today? YES. The answer is yes.
When you are diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that is triggered by certain foods, you’re entering a phase of life just like graduating college or getting married, there’s no going back and there’s no cheating.
There’s no going back and there’s no cheating.
I went on an emotional roll coaster those next few weeks. I was so excited that I was going to start feeling better. Completely overwhelmed that I would have to cook more. Legitimately sad I would never eat some of my favorite foods again. Annoyed that I would have to play 20 questions with every time we went out to eat. Curious to figure what was safe to eat. Scared to eat something “gluten free” that somewhat else made.
And the emotions went on.
My advice is yes, you have to immediately throw away that gluten-filled food in your pantry. And it’s OK to mourn your grandma’s homemade rolls and the donuts you used to wait 45 minutes in line to eat and real pizza crust and convenience and not having to worry about every restaurant you visit. Be mad! Cry if you need to (I may have once or twice). Have a minor freak out. Then stop.
Yes, there will still be moments of temptation (IT’S NOT WORTH IT!). There will be days when you’re frustrated. Times when you’re hungry because the event that was supposed to have gluten free option doesn’t. There will be times when you think you’re safe, but you get poisoned (aka glutened). And it sucks. It really sucks. For me, it’s a few days of being really sick and two weeks of feeling just plain bad and fuzzy.
But your life is going to be so much better. You will now go through the week, even months without getting a headache. When people talk to you, you’ll actually be able to focus. Even better, you won’t spend your whole life in the bathroom! Truth.
Get excited! This new life is going to force you to eat more real foods. Snack on those carrots rather than pretzels – but there are tasty gf pretzels out there. Try spaghetti squash. Nowadays, you can find just about anything you need gluten free. It may take a few google searches and labeling reading, but before long, you’ll have new favorites and a new grocery list.
I never wanted to be “that person.” You know the one… if you’re reading this, you’re probably that person, too. Complicating the order, ask a ton of questions, and either trusting the waiter and kitchen (or friend) or completely fearful and feeling like this whole experience isn’t worth it. You can’t enjoy dinner because you’re waiting for the headache and two weeks of misery to start. Or you feel like a total brat because you’re not going to risk it; therefore, you don’t eat. It’s great.
I’m not sure where the positive is in this, except to tell you, you’re not alone in this feeling.
It Gets Better
I originally wrote this post in 2015. It had been about a year since I had been diagnosed with celiac and living gluten free. The struggle was (and sometimes still is) real. BUT you find your new, “safe” go-to restaurants. You learn how to ask the questions and get the answers you need. You taste buds change. A local restaurant finally starts making good gluten free donuts.
It’s really hard at first, but it gets better. Need some encouragement or have questions? Leave them in the comments. I’m here for ya!