Were you recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease, gluten intolerance, gluten allergy, or were told by a medical professional to start eating gluten-free for your health? I know how overwhelming it can be when you first receive that diagnosis!
After several years of taking Adderall XR for my (mis)diagnosed ADHD, I knew there had to be a better way than being co-dependent on a drug the rest of my life. Through deep investigations of my own, medical testing, and discussions with my doctor, I began a new venture of eating gluten-free. Within one week of removing gluten from my diet, the prescribed Adderall I had been taking for years became so intensely powerful that I stopped taking it; cold turkey. Turns out I never had ADHD, and it was just one of the many ways gluten negatively impacts my body. I also no longer have daily 5 lb weight fluctuations, major bloat, indigestion, migraines, dry eyes, itchy skin, and several other Celiac Disease symptoms.
Grieving Over the Loss of Gluten is Okay
The first few months of being gluten-free bring a whole host of different emotions. There’s a mixture of relief for finally discovering what’s wrong with you, but there’s also a grieving period for all the foods you can no longer eat. I had a lot of highs because all of a sudden these symptoms I had suffered with for over 20 years were starting to disappear, but there was also a sadness and longing for soft pretzels, bagels, and decent bread. It may sound silly to the outside world, but for those of us who know, it is a feeling of loss. And that’s okay. I still have moments once or twice a year, where I get really bummed when I can’t eat a certain dish at a party or a restaurant has no safe options available to me.
Find Celiac Disease Resources Online
When I was first introduced to the world of Celiac Disease over 4 years ago, I didn’t feel there were a lot of good resources. The websites available were very scientific, and I had trouble relating to them. Since then, Celiac awareness advocates such as Gluten Dude and Jennifer Esposito have brought a powerful voice to the Celiac community. They not only go to bat with big companies who have done Celiac’s wrong (e.g. General Mills’ attempt at gluten-free Cheerios) but they have also created a safe place for Celiacs to exchange experiences and find support.
Shift Your Perspective on What You CAN Eat
At first it may feel like gluten is hidden in everything. But that’s only true of packaged foods; foods we shouldn’t be consuming much of anyway. Once you flip your perspective to focus on the foods you CAN eat, you’ll realize the over-abundance of God-made food available to us. Meats, seafood, vegetables, fruits, eggs, seeds, nuts (check labels), nut butters, quinoa, corn, coconut, most dairy products, and most wine are naturally gluten-free. Receiving a diagnosis of Celiac Disease can actually be an opportunity to re-evaluate your eating habits. For me, it unexpectedly overhauled my entire diet and I am much healthier because of it.
Be Careful of Packaged Foods in the Gluten-Free Aisle
Occasionally a girl just needs a bagel or some pretzels. Thankfully there are companies, like Canyon Bakehouse, who provide such gluten-free products. However, one thing to be careful of is that you’re not eating more packaged foods now, just because it’s labeled as gluten-free. A lot of us have fell into that trap. On average, gluten-free packaged foods have higher calories, sugar, sodium, and chemicals to fill in the flavor gap compared to their gluten-filled counterparts. Many companies have jumped on the “gluten-free bandwagon” to make a buck; which is why I always prefer to support the companies that are 100% gluten-free with dedicated facilities, such as Canyon Bakehouse. Most of those exclusively gluten-free companies were created out of love for a family member who was diagnosed with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance, and so they stand for our cause.
Do Not Give Into Temptations to Cheat “Just a Little”
It can be tempting—particularly on holidays when that secret-family recipe filled with gluten appears—to have “just a taste” or to convince yourself that you’ll “just deal” with the en slew of stomach pain, hives, brain fog, etc. that will surely follow. The problem with this is that while you may think that you’ll handle the symptoms, there’s a lot more damage about to go on inside of you that you may not necessarily feel. We’re all susceptible to the accidental ingestion of gluten (the worst!) but when you actively cheat, you’re putting yourself at risk for all sorts of complications of celiac disease, including osteoporosis, malnutrition, infertility and several different types of cancer, such as lymphoma.
Celiac Disease is Not a Closeted Disease
Don’t feel ashamed or shy about telling others about your diagnosis of Celiac disease. I have had more positive experiences than not, of friends going out of their way to ensure I have something to eat when they’re hosting a party or playdate. Both my family and my in-laws have changed the majority of family recipes to be gluten-free. And in those instances they don’t, they always make sure I have something else. With any food allergy, you’ll start to have a greater appreciation for those sitting around the dinner table than what is being served. Find support online; there are many communities helping others through this. We all understand.
Work With a Health Professional
If you are feeling overwhelmed, or don’t know where to start, find a health coach who specializes in Celiac Disease, food allergies, and/or autoimmune diseases. If you have just been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease, ADHD, or have another medical reason for needing to eat gluten-free, I can walk you through this confusing and overwhelming time. It is my goal to help you feel confident in your new lifestyle.
I would love to chat with you on a FREE 20 minute consult to see if this program is the right fit for you. We can meet in-person, or via FaceTime or Zoom.
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4 Tips for what to do after receiving the diagnosis of Celiac Disease