Celiac is a beast. Anyone who says that being strict 100% gluten-free is easy isn’t doing it right, IMHO. Every day I have to see food that I can’t eat and restaurants I no longer get to dine at. When I go out to eat or over to a friend’s house, I have to prepare a speech all about me and what I can and can’t eat to maintain my safety. I have to bring my own snacks everywhere, and I can no longer travel on the spur of the moment.
But what has celiac disease brought me? Celiac has brought me so much more than it’s taken away from me.
You really do get used to your new way of life. You understand to pack snacks wherever you go. You learn how to read menus ahead of time, call restaurants, and use a gluten-free app to locate restaurants that can serve you.
You make friends online and at conferences and expos. The internet gets you closer to people who live the safe life that you live – just hundreds of miles away. You can truly identify with what someone else is going through, because you’ve done it all before. You connect with people from other cultures and demographics that all have the same genes in common.
You read everything you put inside of you – memorize nutrition facts, alternate names for gluten and what company makes what kind of gluten-free crackers. You’re completely in-the-know of what you’re eating. While that can lead to eating a lot of donuts, I also think that I’ve made much healthier decisions for myself based on knowing how to read a label.
All in all, the good outweighs the bad. Even though we have to deal with internet haters that don’t understand that celiac is an autoimmune disease, we are thriving. We are healthy. We are gluten-free and we’re here to celebrate our independence from gluten!