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Celiac Disease Diagnosis

The Day My Life Changed

I remember getting my celiac disease diagnosis on Wednesday, February 27th, 2008. What is Celiac Disease?….and how the hell do I even manage such a diagnosis? I was overwhelmed and slightly depressed by it all, if I’m being honest. The relief I felt having answers to all of my pain, medical issues, and constant exhaustion, is indescribable. Especially being one in which my medication was a diet change and not an actual mediation, but I was so angry. WHY?!

In retrospect, I was angry becausde I didn’t know. I had no idea what to expect or how I’d function with such diet restrictions. Nobody taught me how to read a label, how to shop for safe foods, or even how to cook gluten free. A lot has changed in 10 years and I’m always excited to help someone on their gluten free journey, but things weren’t easy at the beginning.


The first thing you need to realize about Celiac Disease is a gluten free diet is not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. This is the only lifestyle you can maintain in order to find your health. There are no cheat days and difficulties in learning how to navigate this new lifestyle was hard enough. In addition to that, I had to deal with family not fully understanding or even taking my diagnosis seriously. I wasn’t trying to be trendy or difficult. I was just trying to live a daily life in which I didn’t rely on taking a daily 3+ hour nap in order to function. Feeling like utter garbage at all times and finding myself in the hospital on multiple occasions sucked. I didn’t want any of that and I certainly didn’t want to be met with such pushback on the changes I HAD TO MAKE.

What’s the Big Deal with Celiac Disease?

Celiac Diseases causes your body to be unable to properly absorb and digest the nutrients you need, leading to a level of malnourishment. Malnourishment during childhood can lead to stunted growth…so it’s no wonder I’m 3-5 inches shorter than all of my family. I was 22 when I received my diagnosis, which is after the growth window closes. I wasn’t a child that complained about much of anything. Let’s face it, I was sassy and could get a little mouthy….cause I’ve been strong-willed from the start, but I didn’t complain much.

I’m not knocking my parents because I know they would have done something sooner had they realized, but when your happy child complains about stomach aches on the daily, listen. Take them seriously. To their defense, my symptoms didn’t hit their peak until my college years. I remember starting most of my mornings on the bathroom floor, just lying there until I felt I could function. Nobody knows this because I got to the point of not sharing when I didn’t feel well. The truth is, I never felt well, and wasn’t heard when I did, so why share?

How Do I Find Gluten Free Food?

I remember my first visit to the grocery store after my diagnosis. I was with my roommate at the time and it didn’t go well. Everything I read in the organic section had wheat. I asked to find the gluten free section and that’s where I was sent. Those were my options at this tiny grocery store because they didn’t know what I was talking about. I remember crying…and knocking over a handful of boxes on one shelf (not a finer moment of mine), and leaving. To say I was so angry and discouraged, is an understatement.

In time, I learned it wasn’t THAT hard to find gluten free options. I learned early making foods from scratch instead of enjoying the boxed luxuries college students live on, was a necessity. A healthier option overall, but not what I wanted at 22. I lived in a very rural area at the time and it wasn’t overly open to the idea of being different. Honestly, you’ll be surprised by how many options there are nowadays. I remember the relief I felt when I moved to a bigger, more “crunchy” area a few months later. I had so many food options and was pretty much in heaven. Who knew Alaska was the answer to my prayers…because you know, there are only igloos here. Ha!

Eating out can still be difficult to navigate but most places have gluten free menus available. Never hesitate to ask! I always call ahead to see if one is available, and if they have no idea what I’m talking about, I say thank you and don’t go. I want someone to answer that question with full confidence, not “uhh, what did you say?”

So How Do I Begin to Grocery Shop?

A great resource I relied heavily on at first was the Gluten-Free Grocery Shopping Guide. It was small enough to leave in my glove box and carry around in my purse while grocery shopping. You still need to read labels, but it’s a great resource while you’re learning how to navigate this new world. A resource for casin free and gluten free, look here and casin free, gluten free, and soy free, look here.

Another tremendous resource was Gluten Free Living. It’s a gluten free magazine that will provide you with different recipes, as well as ways to substitute recipes with a cheat sheet in every magazine!

Eating out can still be difficult to navigate but most places have gluten free menus available. Never hesitate to ask! I always call ahead to see if one is available, and if they have no idea what I’m talking about, I say thank you and don’t go. I want someone to answer that question with full confidence, not “uhh, what did you say?”

Feeling a Little More Confident?

This isn’t an easy road to navigate at the beginning, but you will learn it. I promise you, the journey gets easier, and you’ll thank your lucky stars for finally having answers. Feeling like ass all the time sucks. Trying to explain the you never feel well while not appearing sick gets old. People don’t understand…but I do. I get it.

I have lots of recipes on this blog and discussing Celiac Disease will always be a topic I will strive to continue to educate on. It’s not just us with Celiac Disease that need to know about this diagnosis, our family and friends need to as well.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to keep up with recipes like Monster Cookies, Gluten Free Meatballs, Sugar Cookies, French Onion Soup, to name a few! There will be plenty more, so be sure not to miss out!!

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