You found out that you have celiac disease, huh? That's a pretty big deal! After over ten years of working with gluten-free folks, and being gluten-free myself, I've noticed some steps of going gluten-free. For fun, I jotted down the list.
The Eight Fun Stages of a Celiac Diagnosis
1. I don't even like bread or pasta! This diet will be a breeze for me. A breeze.
2. I got this.
3. Wait...there's gluten in what? WHY is there gluten in that? I see no reason for it.
4. No seriously, you've got to be kidding me. There's gluten in THAT?
5. Why am I sick after ordering a plain steak and potatoes? Why? (Alternately: this product was marked gluten-free and I swear I'm reacting. Am I crazy? I think I might be either glutened or crazy. Perhaps both. Does gluten make one crazy? Eff you, gluten!)
6. Ok. That's it! I'm now bringing food everywhere. Getting sick isn't worth it. I don't care if I get the side eye from my mother/sister/co-worker. I'm gonna sit here with my gluten-free meal and enjoy it, damnit!
7. A restaurant that understands cross-contact? And they said dedicated fryer? I'm in love! (Also: an entire aisle filled with gluten-free foods from trusted manufacturers? AMAZING.)
8. You know what, I got this!
What's the difference between #2 and #8?
Experience. Learning the diet. Healing. Making mistakes. Realizing that oh my god, you poured gravy all over your dinner. Ate it. LOVED it. And only then remembered that your mom thickens her gravy with “Wondra” wheat flour.
Like most things in life, it's a marathon, not a sprint. Honestly, I'm someone who much prefers a sprint. My attitude too often is, “Let's tackle this thing! Quickly! And then get back to our regularly scheduled life.”
But, as I need to learn again and again, most of life requires marathon-like patience and endurance. Right now, a celiac diagnosis means a lifelong adherence to a gluten-free diet. No cheating. No “days off.” So while you do need to eat gluten-free, not gluten-light, as soon as you're diagnosed, remember to remain open. There's a lot to learn and, luckily, a great gluten-free community happy to share the ins and outs with you.
What was going gluten-free like for you? Tell me about your experience in the comments!