Jul 07, 2014
Tagged with: Gluten-Free

I am sure that by now you have at least heard of the ever-so-trendy Gluten-free diet.   A lot of celebrities, like Gwyneth Paltrow and others have put some attention on this new fad. What you may not be aware of is the fact that one in one hundred people have an auto-immune disease called Celiac Disease and the gluten free diet is their best bet for healthy food consumption. This disease affects people in a variety of ways. Everyone’s symptoms are different. Some people experience extreme stomach pain, others lose drastic amounts of weight. Some people don’t show any symptoms at all!

A little over a year ago I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I did not even know how to pronounce (see-lee-ack) disease when the doctor told me that I was about to have a complete lifestyle change. I went to see the Doctor at Samford for really bad stomach pain after I ate. He ran a blood test and asked me what seemed like a thousand questions about my symptoms. I was then sent to a gastroenterologist who ran another, more specific blood test for Celiac Disease. My numbers were through the roof, and thus began my gluten-free journey. “What in the world is gluten? Why can’t I eat whatever I want like every other college student?” These among other thoughts flooded my mind as I became more overwhelmed with this new diagnosis. I had no idea what I was supposed to eat anymore, so I sought out resources.

I went online and found The Gluten Free Bible by Jax Peters Lowelland began learning. The most basic explanation is that gluten is found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats. Unfortunately there are a lot of ingredients that contain these four basic no-no’s. You’d be surprised at what foods contain gluten. For example: soy sauce, Lindt truffles, Rice Krispies, and beer. Licking envelopes is off limits too. Eating at restaurants became something I despised because I didn’t know how to express the severity of my condition to someone who didn’t know what gluten was. For months I only wanted to eat Chex cereal, mashed potatoes, broccoli, and apples. Fortunately I have expanded my selections since then.

The most helpful thing for me during this time was the support I received from my friends and family. A friend of mine brought me a gluten-free muffin one day that she bought at a coffee shop one time just because she knew I was gluten free! I remember one day I was having a hard time with the idea that I had a disease, and my best friend and roommate let me cry in her arms and prayed over me. My sweet mother committed the entire summer to learning how to cook gluten free foods.

With time I have become much more comfortable explaining to the waiters how I need my food to be prepared. Although I experience some uncomfortable encounters, the people I am around have encouraged me so much and have pulled me to being completely comfortable with this lifestyle. Eventually I began to realize that the gluten-free diet was not a curse, but a huge blessing for people like me. It gives me a chance to live my life to the fullest, so for this I am extremely thankful.

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Author: Katie Hammond