So if you are new to the whole gluten free story, there are some things I wanted to share from my own experience that may help you in your journey.
I’m not going to beat around the bush: Going off gluten cold turkey is hard. For years, I avoided gluten as much as possible, but secretly sneaking in a biscuit, a croissant, a slice of cake here and there and I always felt awful afterwards. There was a turning point for me in my journey and there will be one in yours. They are all different.
For me, one of the hardest things about going off gluten was not the actual food itself. Yes, that was hard, but it was the stigma that came with it that was unexpected. Once you give yourself a label, it is like people treat you differently and maybe it is subconsciously. You are neatly boxed and categorized. Gluten free/ celiac/ gluten intolerance/ gluten allergy all equals weird. It means gross bland cardboard food. Bakes that are dry and crumbly and taste like cereal boxes. People start to invite you out less because they are not sure what you can or can’t eat and they feel too bad to ask you to bring your own food, so its easier just to skip over you. Or you have people over or maybe you go to a function where you take something gluten free and you get those that don’t eat your gluten free dessert, they don’t even give it a try. These things hurt. They make you feel rejected, they make you feel weird, they make you feel there is something wrong with you.
There is nothing wrong with you
Let me tell you: There is nothing wrong with you. Being Gluten intolerant, being a celiac does not mean you are any less human. It does not make you unworthy of any less love or respect. Having this condition does not change your personality, nor your fundamental beliefs. It does not make you better or worse than anybody else. Simply put, it is a disability. A disability of the gut! You are STILL you! Please do not make anybody make you feel less. Do not make people make YOU apologize for having something that is not in your control. Let’s face it,. It is not something we have chosen to do. Do not feel like you need to apologize for serving gluten free food.
NEVER apologize for being gluten free as if you have done something wrong that needs apologizing for.-me
Going off gluten is much like a form of grieving. For those of who who have lost loved ones, the process of grief is a very complicated one. And it differs from person to person. But the stages are more or less the same : shock, denial, anger, bitterness, and maybe all these things at once and repeated, but finally comes acceptance. You will get to the stage where you accept your condition.
And friends…that is a moment of peace! Peace in yourself. You accept what you can’t change and can probably never go back to. You look forward and you start to appreciate all you CAN eat and if you are like me, you dive headfirst into this new life with enthusiasm and determination to make it the best it can be.
I love baking. I began experimenting with gluten free baking 6 years ago. I failed often (and still do) but I never gave up. I tried again and again. I can honestly say that there are very few gluten things I miss. I miss croissants the most. I miss some sweets like licorice-all-sorts but if I really think about it, that is probably it!(okay and maybe marmite!) I was never one to eat bread or pies or pastries but I do love my cake! Making gluten free cakes that tasted wonderful was always my goal.
So this is what I want to leave you with:
- Don’t give up
- Don’t let others make you feel unworthy
- Focus on what you CAN eat and move forward, be positive
- Ignore those who pass unkind remarks. Remember they do not know the struggle you have been through and have no idea what it is like to have a disability of the gut.
- Please believe you are more than your gluten intolerance/allergy. It is part of who you are, but it does NOT define you.
- Don’t describe gluten food as “normal” as if being gluten intolerant is abnormal. Food is still food with or without gluten. You are not an alien.
I hope this has helped someone on there new journey in these uncharted waters.