Whenever I meet someone new, and they find out that I have Celiac disease, they are almost always interested in learning about my story. They typically want to know how I found out I had Celiac and if it’s hard to stick to a gluten free diet. If you’re interested in learning more about my journey to being gluten free, please feel free to read my story.
My Celiac Story
Unlike many individuals with Celiac Disease who spend years trying to figure out what is wrong with them, I stumbled upon my diagnosis after a frank discussion with my doctor. I went for my annual exam and my doctor asked me some simple questions about my health, and encouraged me to share anything that might be bothering me. I told her I thought I had IBS as I was feeling very gassy and bloated every night. I asked her if she could recommend some OTC gas medicine. She told me my symptoms did not seem “normal” and suggested we check my thyroid and do a full spectrum blood test for food allergies.
The Initial Diagnosis
Within a few days, my doctor called me and told me the blood tests came back positive for Celiac disease. At the moment her call came in, I was eating a sandwich from Subway (no, I did not finish the sandwich, but I was almost done with it anyway). She told me she did not know much about the disease except that it requires a strict gluten free diet. She told me to seek out a GI specialist and nutritionist. She also recommended that I stop eating gluten immediately.
The Official Diagnosis
A few weeks later, I’m sitting in a new doctor’s office, meeting with my new GI doctor. He assured me that oftentimes blood tests give false positives, so not to worry, it might not be Celiac. He said it’s important to know for sure though, especially since having Celiac requires a drastic lifestyle change. He also said if there ever was a cure or medicine available, it’s important to have a confirmed diagnosis. He recommended an endoscopy procedure where he would put a scope down my throat and take a biopsy of my stomach. That is the “gold standard” diagnosis procedure.
So I did it – and when I awoke from my procedure – he told me he could tell right away that I have Celiac disease and he showed me pictures. My stomach looked like it had hundreds of tiny paper cuts all over it. However, in order to know for sure, I would need to wait for the biopsy results. Sure enough, a few weeks later, the biopsy results confirmed the Celiac diagnosis. It was finally made official – for better or for worse.
In the coming weeks, I was extremely stressed and sad. You think about food all day. You eat food 4-6 times a day. You have to constantly think about food. My brain was mush. I felt like I was losing my mind! I was forgetting things and feeling sad. It took me awhile to adjust and figure out things for myself.
My sister-in-law has a Masters is Social Work and she assured me that I wasn’t going crazy. She said that oftentimes when someone has to focus on loss or trauma, they forget the little things. She said it was completely normal for me to feel sad and forgetful, and that this, too, shall pass.
Coping with Celiac & Seeking Help
The best tools I can recommend for someone new to a gluten free lifestyle is to seek help of others who keep a strict gluten free diet. My friend is a holistic health specialist and is gluten free. She came over to my house and helped me do a cabinet sweep, took me grocery shopping, and taught me basic cooking tips that were essential to improving my cooking skills (since I’d be eating at home more).
Another way I sought out help was from the few gluten free friends. They recommended their favorite brands to me and that helped me decipher what brands I should try and which I should stay away from. It can be extremely overwhelming and expensive to find “good” brands you know will taste good and help you with your cravings. Ask for help – I found gluten free friends couldn’t wait to dump all their knowledge on me and I ate up every minute of it!
And most of all, I learned that things get easier with time. I became a more confident cook. I was willing to explore new recipes and create my own onion soup mixes and more! I realized that gluten free cooking isn’t much different than cooking in general. I found that you simply have to find the right substitutes and play with recipes to make them your own.
You can also read more about How I Healed My Gut After a Celiac Diagnosis in this post.
The Birth of a Gluten-Free Blog
Out of my gluten free journey comes the birth of this gluten-free blog. Good For You Gluten Free is a way for me to share my easy, simple and clean cooking tips with my friends, family and you. I’m asked all the time for this recipe or that recipe … now it’s all available on this blog for everyone to enjoy.
My one disclaimer is that I’m not a trained cook and I don’t know much about the science behind cooking and baking. The only thing I can assure you is that I like to cook, I love flavors, and I’m willing to experiment with different recipes. I’m also very fast, efficient and not above taking shortcuts whenever possible. Who has time to cook and bake all day? You won’t find me mixing my own flour blends – no, not me.
So if you’re a busy mom like me and you’re trying to put good, clean, and fresh (and fast) foods on the table every day, you’re going to love Good For You Gluten Free!
G-Freeing 4 Life,