I don’t know the moment that it happened and I can’t tell you that I even realized it. Somewhere, sometime, in the last two years… I stopped hating celiac disease and I started to see the positives in it. Sure, there’s plenty of negatives in it but after navigating my social life through the Kubler-Ross’ 5 Stages of Grief (Anger, denial, acceptance, bargaining and depression), something clicked.
This list is in no particular order.
- Eating healthier by default
Unless you can afford the hundreds of dollars it costs to buy everything in gluten free substitute form, you find yourself forced to shop the grocery store perimeter. You buy fruits and veggies and best meats that you can manage. Though, this gets tricky once you learn which junk food items are gluten free (the fritos, Cheetos and sour patch kids of the world…), you’re probably still eating better than most of your friends.
- Understanding the Ingredient List
This is a celiac must. Did you know maltodextrin might have gluten in it? That rye, barley, spelt, or non-certified gluten free oats are also sources of gluten? Number 2 is a top of my husband. You become an ingredient list expert and have a lesser tolerance for large ingredient lists. They get harder to trust.
- Not Getting Fat on All the Junk at Work
Cookies, cupcakes, bagels, cake, gluten covered chocolate, etc etc etc. There’s a million snacks that come into work life that contain gluten. Bringing in something gluten free just isn’t practical, high enough in carb coma properties, or convenient to buy. This one saves you all the unethical calories and then you get the luxury of saying to someone else, “Eat one for me!” (It’s always amazing to me when someone does…)
- Feeling Better
So maybe this shouldn’t be a thing – if I didn’t have celiac, I wouldn’t NEED to feel better. But… I do have celiac and I can’t change those cards so for the sake of having celiac, being gluten free makes me feel better. I’ll take it.
- I’m stretching this list…
Okay, so sure. There aren’t a ton of things to LOVE about celiac disease but there’s something relaxing about this point of acceptance. Something that offers a little bit of peace – that moment when you know you can no longer buck the system because this is just the card you’ve been dealt. It’s that moment that makes the celiac thing an OK thing.
If you had asked me about celiac disease at 6 months, I was still bucking the system. Still bitter. Still frustrated. Still annoyed. If you’re newly diagnosed, one of two things will happen. You’ll feel so great from dropping it that it’s totally worth it – or you’ll be on my end. Pissed off and bitter that the disease caught you – what did you do? There’s light at the end of the tunnel. You’ll still screw up, you’ll still get glutened… but this whole process? It gets easier.
What was your first six months like? Has it gotten better?