No, this is not an untimely pre-Thanksgiving post. This is just a "holy guacamole, my life is actually pretty amazing"-inspired post. This image is from the day of my diagnosis. Cupboards cleared as suggested by the doc - my own personal version of The Purge.
The g-eaters will tell you they don't know how you do it. They'll tell you they couldn't do it themselves. They'll harp that they love beer and pizza too much to give it up even if they might be celiac or gluten intolerant.
And to that, I say, you're dumb read this:
The five reasons I'm incredibly thankful for having celiac disease:
(I promise you, it's not that bad)
1. I know what's wrong with me.
Now think about this, g-eaters. How often do you "feel bad" after eating? Do you know why your stomach hurts some days versus being fine on others? Why can't you get rid of your eczema? And your energy? Why don't those cups of coffee do anything?
GLUTEN. (well, maybe. If your intestines misbehave. Like mine.)
But seriously, I know exactly what is wrong with me. I get to control how many good days I have because I'm informed about my guts. Even if you don't have celiac disease or gluten intolerance or whatever, there's nothing more important than knowing what's up with your insides.
Treat your body like temples, not tents, people.
2. I know exactly what's in the food I eat.
Can you say that?
Yes, I spend longer at the grocery store. Yes, I find discrete ways to inspect the back of all food packages offered to me. Yes, I deny food if I can't be told its exact make-up.
But there are a lot worse things than that.
It wasn't until this blessing of a curse that I actually truly knew what was going into my body. And I'm no saint, and I'm not trying to go all hyper-Whole-Foods-watch-this-documentary-DONT-DRINK-COW-MILK on anyone - I'm just saying, we have to deal with these same human parts until we die. Doesn't that call for a little more respect to them than our current society encourages?
Processed food can be delicious, as well as the flavoring in your mocha latte, the juice in those weird fruit cups, whatever - anything. But do you know what's in your Sour Cream and Onion Pringles?
3. I am easy to please.
Don't make me sick and I will love you forever. - my new M.O.
But in all reality, I feel special when someone brings me a gluten free treat. Not one that they have made. I REPEAT: NOT one that they have made. (That's a whole other issue - don't get me started).
But my grandma bought me quinoa and brown rice noodles once, just because she saw them at the grocery store and thought of me. That's so sweet! And Grammy, you just saved me like $8 bucks!
Or my boss makes sure that there are options for me whenever we eat out as a company. His wife even bought some Glutino chocolate wafers for me just because she saw them and thought of me. Again, so sweet!
Would I pick to be top-of-mind when my friends and family see the words "gluten free?" No. Not in ten million years.
But the fact that they have gone out of their way to buy pre-packaged goods, just for me, just because? It makes me feel like the coolest person ever (which I'm not. We know this.)
4. I usually get to pick the restaurants.
Damn right, I do.
Not to get all high-horse on everyone, but you wouldn't hit up a snow-cone stand with a diabetic, right? Then why would you go to a restaurant without GF options with a celiac?
Yes, I don't have the luxury of just trying a restaurant on a whim. But really, who does that anyway? I bet 8 times out of 10 the g-eaters end up at the same restaurants they always go to. It's human nature! We hate change! Until we hate not changing and we change and then we remember why we hate change!
I used to feel bad about being the dependent factor in the dinner world, but now I don't. If you want to go somewhere where I can't comfortably eat, go with someone else. And if that bothers you about me, you have bigger problems. It's just food.
5. I have the best barometer for character.
Hey, I'm no angel, and in my pre-celiac world, I'll admit it - I was a jerk to the special-needs foodies.
But, things change (ahem… karma) and you review people differently. (Remember this guy? Ugh.)
My celiac disease is a part of me but it does not define me. We all can agree to that. But it's a pretty crucial part of me that has to be accepted by the people in my life.
The majority of all social situations in our culture revolve around food or drinks, and when both of those pose potential damage to your health, it's important to socialize with people who will back you up when the road gets tough (or the salad gets a crouton in it).
So g-eaters, if you remember my needs before suggesting a restaurant, or look out for my well-being when I'm too overwhelmed/tired/insecure to do so, or even know that I don't want my disease to be the center of every happy hour conversation, ever, you've moved up on my list.
Hey look, I'm at five! I feel like I'm just getting started!
Since it's Celiac Awareness Month, I just wanted to get this out there. I don't miss those used-to-be staples from my cupboard. The emphasis on what we "go without," is over-magnified, and g-eaters who "just don't know how we do it" should know: this is how. All of these things (and so many more!) make me proud (at the end of the day, after a very long struggle) to stand up for this disease and declare our victory, not our victimization.
Do you agree?