Thursday, August 9, 2012

That cake tried to kill me! And other answers to your FAQ

Why are you eating gluten-free, crazy lady? Cake is awesome!
I 100% agree that cake is awesome. But cake tried to kill me. So now I am forced find other things to love in life. I feel the same way about gluten as Rose did about Jack in Titanic. In my heart, I’ll never let go of gluten…but at the same time I’m willing to pry it's cold dead fingers off my life raft because, dammit cake, I want to live even if it’s without you! After my celiacs diagnosis in May of 2012, I am completely gluten-free!

How did you find out you had celiacs disease?

I had been hospitalized a couple of times in my adult life, before my diagnosis, for gastroenteritis. If you’re not familiar with this term, gastroenteritis is a fancy way of your doctor saying “something is wrong with your stomach but idk wtf?” But in general I had no symptoms.

Then, in May of 2012 I went on a nursing trip to Ecuador. While I was there I ate bread with almost every meal, because that is what was available, and I refused to complain or be picky about food when I was in a developing country! In my normal life I avoided bread because it gave me a bloated, slightly sick feeling. But while in Ecuador, eating bread constantly, I started getting horrible symptoms (diarrhea, nausea, the works). I figured that I’d caught a bug. When I came back to the US I went through multiple rounds of antibiotics, tests, IV hydration therapy, you name it—and I wasn’t getting better. After a few weeks of this I had a colonoscopy and endoscopy and BOOM. Celiacs. After just a few days on the gluten-free diet and I already felt much better!

How do you find time to cook?

Before my diagnosis, my fiancé and I ate out constantly. Now that my choices are more limited, I often either cook or I don’t eat. And I love eating, so I make time to cook! My suggestion for you busy folks out there—double all recipes and freeze half or eat the leftovers the next day (if you’re not opposed to eating the same thing two days in a row). Saves me tons of time!

Isn’t gluten-free just a fad diet?

For some people, it is. Even without a medical reason to go GF, there are a lot of benefits to the diet, like lowering your carbs, eating less processed foods, and the common side effect of increased energy. However, for me it’s not an option. If it was an option, I would be digging into that bread right now (just kidding…kind of)!

What do you miss most about being gluten-free?

Takeout Chinese food!!! My fiancé and I used to do a “tri-fecta” of Chinese restaurants in town. He would pick up the fried rice from one place, I would go to another restaurant for our favorite egg drop soup, and then one of us would pick up our favorite general tsos from another restaurant. We'd meet at home and chow down while watching a scary movie on a perfect Sunday night. It was fun and yummy, so I do miss it. But, soy sauce is usually not gluten free at these restaurants, so I’ve had do learn to cook this myself. My general tsos is pretty awesome. And my fiancé is very supportive, which makes things much easier.  

Also, I’m in my 20’s, so it can be a pain in the butt when I go out with friends to try to eat gluten-free. Thank goodness for smart phones, because I use mine all the time to figure out what is gluten free on the menu!

To be honest though, in general I haven’t had too much trouble adjusting to a gluten-free diet because the benefits have been so great. I never feel sick and bloated like I often did after meals. Maintaining my weight hasn’t been as much of a struggle. I also have a lot more energy than I ever had in my life! So mostly I’m so grateful that I feel healthy that I can’t really complain about missing out on one or two foods.