In April 2012, my life changed with my doctor’s simple four words, “You have Celiac disease.”
Since then, things have never been the same.
While it sounds silly to say that, just imagine if you had to think twice about everything you ate. You eat 4-6 times per day. You eat out. You eat at friends’ houses. The grocery store is a minefield. Eating is mindless for many of us – we’ll snag a snack from the vending machine or grab a bite to eat on our way to work. But you can’t do that anymore if you’re gluten-free. You have to plan your meals. You have to disclose your diet every time you attend a luncheon or dinner party. You have to discuss your dietary restrictions with your waiters every time you go out to eat, and with doctors and dentists every time you visit them and when they try to give you meds. You have to rethink your lip balm and hand lotions too!
Being gluten-free is not just a diet. It’s a part of who you are. You become a “gluten-free person” – not a person following a gluten-free diet. There’s a difference.
So in my journey to go gluten-free for good, someone told me this #1 piece of advice: Don’t waste your pain.
Those four words have stuck with me all this time. What did it mean? What was I supposed to do with that advice?
Over time, I’ve come to realize that this piece of advice is golden. It means that just because I have to live with this horrible disease and difficult diet, I can turn it around and make something good out of something bad.
So more than a year ago I decided turned my pain into the Good For You Gluten Free blog and I enrolled at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to learn more about living a healthy lifestyle. I’m using my pain to help others ease into living a wonderful, healthful, gluten-free lifestyle. I’m sharing my recipes and gluten-free baking secrets. I’m sharing advice for healing your gut and eating to live. I’m certainly not wasting my pain!
While “don’t waste your pain” was the best piece of advice I’ve been given, there is another piece of advice I want to give you.
The advice is to remember that being gluten-free isn’t about living without gluten, it’s about what you can now live with.
Now that you know gluten ails you, you can start to take back your life again. What would you gain if you felt better? What would you gain if you didn’t have to urgently use the bathroom? What would you feel like if your skin cleared up, your migraines went away, and your bloating was a thing of the past?
When someone tells me they can no longer eat gluten, I tell them it’s not about what they can NO LONGER eat, it’s now about what they CAN eat to feel well again. If you reframe the negative to a positive, you will be able to live a fulfilling life as a gluten-free person on a gluten free diet.
What is the best piece of advice someone gave you when you were diagnosed with Celiac disease or learned you had a gluten sensitivity or intolerance? Please share in the comments section below.