So this is going to be a post mostly about me complaining, so don’t feel like you actually need to read it. I just have to get it out. The woes of being a person diagnosed with celiac disease and living gluten free! Those amber waves of grain may look beautiful to the eye, but they wreak havoc to the insides–mine, at least.
Here’s the thing–I know that there are people out there that think a gluten free lifestyle is just a joke, or that it’s a fad diet. That it’s the “new thing” to all of a sudden be gluten intolerant. And I’m sure there are those people out there. There are people that choose to live a gluten free lifestyle because they find it to be the cool thing to do. There are those that do it because they think it is a better health choice. There are those that do it because they really do have an intolerance and cannot digest gluten. And then there are those that are diagnosed with celiac disease. It’s a real disease. I’m not making this up. I’ll fight you over it if you tell me I am. Like a you-and-me-are-going-to-step-outside-and-duel-this-out kind of fight.
I found out I had celiac disease in November 2012. The diagnosis wasn’t such a blow because I was already figuring out myself that my health issues were food related and was making the necessary lifestyle changes, but it was still a big deal. It has been one heck of a learning experience in the past year, but I have never felt healthier (except, of course, in the last week when I have been eating bagels and pizza and cookies galore. All GF of course, but food that I normally would not allow myself to go near since I fashion myself a paleo eater and eat no grains or dairy by choice).
I’m used to the teasing that comes along with not eating gluten. I laugh about it myself, especially when I go out to dinner with new friends and joke about the amount of grilling I will give a server before I feel satisfied with ordering a meal (which actually is no laughing matter when it comes down to it). I smile when friends show me pictures of bread and pasta like the picture itself will make me shudder. It doesn’t bother me. I’m actually blessed with being surrounded by close friends that choose not to eat gluten, so it makes my life a little easier. Plus they have seen me suffer when I’ve accidentally ingested gluten and know that it seriously is no joke. But when people think I’m just being difficult–that’s when I get offended.
Maybe I need to not be so sensitive. I know that there are tons of people out there that have no clue what celiac disease really is. They cannot fathom a life without crusty bread and steaming pasta. They don’t understand what a little bit of gluten can do to someone like me. I get that. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay to roll your eyes at me and tell me that I’m just being difficult (which I was told this weekend). I happened to mention that I struggle with being able to take communion at church because it’s not gluten free, and someone scoffed at me like something that small could really make me sick. I know they don’t understand, but it’s not funny. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease. Having it in my system can literally shut down my immune system. I don’t find that funny. Perhaps I come across as paranoid when I check every food label and refuse to eat things that may not have gluten in them but were still processed in a facility where wheat is present. I think I’m just being healthy and smart given the circumstances.
I know people don’t know. I get that. And those people don’t really care to know despite my small little lessons of trying to make them understand. I’m blessed with people around me, both near and far, that have sought to understand what it is I do go through and that are learning along with me. That means the world to me. It just gets frustrating at times, especially when people think that celiac disease is just an excuse to be picky about what you eat. Ignorance is not an excuse to make fun of someone else. Anyway. I can be done venting now.
Did you know that May is celiac awareness month? I didn’t know there was such a thing! See, some people get it!