Thursday, July 16, 2015

Cheating on gluten free diets (tough love)

This is my tough love article for celiac's who cheat or who are tempted to cheat on their gluten free diet.

So I preface this by saying, I understand.  I understand that you are in mourning.  I understand being frustrated to have to research everything you put in your mouth.  I understand that you can't have a decent bagel, pizza or doughy doughnut.  Sometimes I drive past a Taco Bell and just let out a big sigh.  Especially at first, there is that realization that this isn't just a temporary "diet".  You can NEVER EVER have those things again.

Ok, lets all take a minute to be sad and have a pity party. 1...2...3...4...5...Ok, Time is UP!  Let's get real for a minute.  You do have a disease, and yes, in extreme situations, it can actually be fatal.  Here is the deal, it is totally treatable.  Just don't eat gluten.  You don't need to fill your body with chemo chemicals to recover, you don't need to be on dialysis the rest of your life, you haven't lost a limb...just don't eat gluten.

So, it may sound very black and white with me.  One of the reasons is that I was so sick before diagnosis, I had to stop working and honestly couldn't leave the house.  I was sick, depressed and not feeling to optimistic about my future.  You can read my diagnosis story here.  When I finally figured out what was wrong, I was actually quite happy.  I literally went cold turkey off of gluten.  My blood test was positive for celiac and when I had to do a 2 day bowel prep for my colonoscopy, I decided I would never eat gluten again.  End of story. It was not a happily ever after fairy tale.  It does suck sometimes, but we, or at least I, need to put it in perspective.

People are curious and mostly sympathetic about my celiac.  Some people give me their condolences.  That must be about the worst thing in the world, they are so sorry.  I always pipe up with, "At least I don't have cancer!"

Let me give you a personal insight.  At the time I was the sickest. before, during diagnosis and transition of going gluten free, I had a friend my age (early 40's) that was battling terminal cancer. Cancer that was brought on from his anti-rejection medication from having to have a double lung transplant.  Did I mention he was a police officer, married to a school teacher and had a 5 year old? So, I am not going to bitch about having dietary restrictions.  My friend and I did bond over text where we made it through the day without "sharting" and who threw up more. Mine from celiac and his from chemo.  I was diagnosed in March and my friend passed away in August.  So if you think celiac is the worst possible thing that can's not.

I am sorry-ish if that comes off harsh.  It is a big transition and yes if does effect the rest of your life.  But, you know what, beyond celiac and leaky gut, I am pretty dang healthy.  I am super grateful for that! My husband has the triple threat; type 1 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  He is on an insulin pump and it is just as obtrusive, if not more than my celiac disease. I also have 3 kids who are doing fairly well & my parents are still doing well.  Well, dad had kidney cancer, multiple bouts of basal cell carcinoma and knee surgery.  Mom has had her share of surgeries also.  HEY!  We are all still here.

So I have to cook a lot more, I have to plan our vacations around my food, I don't eat out much because I am sensitive to cross contamination....honestly if that is my biggest complaint, I am a lucky girl.  You have choices.  You have a sensible treatment plan.  CC happens, and trust me, I have ended up in the emergency room more than once. 

My dad...see above, told me that it isn't happy people who are thankful, it is thankful people who are happy.  Wise words.  Here is a little inspirational message you can pin or post to your facebook.

My son's best friend who was 21 when he passed away suddenly, once posted, "Take a look around and realize what you have now"  His mom made bracelets for us to wear with that message, to remind us that we are here and there is always something to be grateful for.  I wear this and any time I may be having a crap day.  It is a good reminder.

We all have bad days.  Life happens.  Bad work days, fights with partners, stresses of parenting, financial difficulties, mental illness, is a very real.  Just remember that isn't the ONLY thing in your life.

Ok, one more inspirational message:

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