How are you today? ♥
I've been thinking about writing this post for a while now, and today I'm finally sitting down and typing it for you. I hope this can be inspiring, comforting and maybe educating, even.
As many of you might remember, I got diagnosed with celiac disease about a year ago (last July), and have been eating gluten free since. It certainly has been life change, and today I want to talk about how the past year has been for me.
One Year Gluten Free
So, what having celiac disease means is not being able to eat wheat, barley or rye - because they make your body sick. Luckily, the treatment for the disease is to eat the right food (albeit more pricey one), so compared to many others, this isn't too bad. Of course, if you are super sensitive or have the type of celiac that gives you skin rash, it's definitely not a walk in the park. As a person who nearly downs everything that doesn't run away from the plate, adjusting to watching what I eat has been a bit challenging. But on the other hand, being able to everything also helps when I've had to remove the unholy trinity from my diet.
So thanks mom for raising a girl that isn't afraid of any dishes!
How being gluten free has worked for me so far?
I don't have nearly any friends who are celiacs, even though few eat gluten free because of gluten sensitivity or because their body just feels better without it. So I get some questions abut my diet every once in a while, one of them being "Has it felt any different since starting the new diet?".
And the truth is, it feels different. Because it feels better. So here's a list of some pros and cons I personally feel about my diet:
+ I have more energy
+ I don't feel nauseated so often
+ I'm not bloated every day
+ I don't feel as stressed
+ most restaurants (in Finland) can handle the diet pretty well
+ it is a chance to network with people all around the world
+ there's quite a lot recipes on the Internet
+ there are more and more foods out in the market for celiacs
- it's more expensive than "normal" food
- you need to be careful with what you put in your mouth
- you need to have it in you to stand up for yourself to get the right kind of food everywhere
- it can give you some social anxiety
- some of my favorite foods are not on my menu anymore
I wouldn't change my diet back since I'm feeling so good with my body right now, and there are still more pros than cons - obviously, as this is my medication. I know some people think having celiac disease ruins or life - I don't agree to that. It may be a challenge, but at least you have food to eat (as I feel this is more first world disease).
How I feel about eating gluten free just for the trend
Some people think that you should do gluten free for fun or for trend, which is kind of questionable if you go to restaurant and ask gluten free but still order something that potentially has a lot of gluten in it, it might sometimes confuse the waiters as they don't necessarily know whole lot about celiac disease and how strict you should be with it. Because not that many people truly know about it if it doesn't really touch them too much.
But of course, if you like gluten free food, by all means eat it. It can give the signal that there's demand fr more gluten free products and I feel it's good for celiacs. So you know, there's many sides to it.
There are not that much scientific health benefits for eating gluten free for fun, but if your body feels better that way, why not do it. I like the fact I've gotten some of my normally eating friends to try out the gluten free alternatives, and that they have actually liked most of them. But to make my point, I don't mind if someone eats whatever is trendy because I believe it can encourage companies to bring out more gluten free options. I know many of my fellow celiacs may feel trend eaters are bad and I get it, but I choose to see the positive in it (as a marketing and business student, too).
Is the gluten free diet really a big deal?
I think this kind of depends on you point of view, but I'd say it's still quite a big deal. Like with any allergy, you have to make sure you don't get the bad ingredients in your food, you need to educate people around you, you have to stand up for yourself... The worst part for me are some little traditions that include foods, as with those I need to be careful and try to change them into my diet and so on. It can be mentally challenging at first - and for some all the time - but I feel it's totally something you can overcome. It set challenges in many social situations, sure, but it can be taken as a learning experience.
And it brings so much positive with it I don't mind that much about the negatives.
How to handle friends/family who feel it's a super big deal?
I get so awkward when people make a big deal of the things in my life, so that's why I'm including this. Of course it is important that people take this seriously, no doubt about that. And I appreciate that people feel for me for my diet since I'm kind of forced into it. But as I personally feel it's just food, as in fuel that gets you from one day to another, it's just important there is some. My way of going is to thank people for being considerate, and letting them know I love that they care, but then calming them by telling that I still live a normal life, I just watch what I eat. In the era of people choosing to be vegans, vegetarians, eating just raw food, not eating red meat etc., it's not that weird to have a certain diet you follow.
And I usually tell that this is a diet for champions as I've heard few athletes to do it as well. ;)
How to educate people about gluten free living?
As with any lifestyle, you should tell the pros and cons about the diet. Also, if you are celiac like me, you can also tell what that is all about. Let them know your favorite dishes, share recipes, show food inspo... You can do quite a lot.
The biggest concern people seem to have is whether my food is good. That's probably because not too long ago (I've heard) the gluten free food has been quite poor consistency (the cakes, bread, etc.), very dry and even weird tasting. I usually ease people's minds by letting them taste my foods, and they end up being positively surprised. I also try t show I actually have quite many options I can eat, so no one should be concerned about me.
How to handle social situations with food?
If it's get-together with friends, I offer to either bring some on my own, to help with shopping and cooking or to provide gluten free recipes and info on where to buy gluten free food. If it's going to a restaurant, I like to do some research beforehand to know if the place does gluten free food (I google menus, reviews, and sites that recommend gluten free places), so I can be sure I can actually eat something (more than a salad).
I get how to some, the social situations with food might be awkward, and I can say, even to me it gives anxiety at times. But it's important to remember food is the cure here, so it's no causing a scene if you make sure your food is good enough for your body, and you're not rude for asking questions. Gluten can cause days worth of pain for a celiac, so everyone should learn it's kind of serious. I'm personally always happy when gluten free options are printed on menus, because then the responsibility is basically the restaurant's - although it's usually good to mention you need your dish absolutely gluten free so that kitchen gets the message too (and doesn't touch your food after petting bread).
My advice, all in all for this is just to go with it, gluten free diet is just as normal a any other one. Just stand up and be clear about it. It can't go too wrong.
Do you have any special diet, or a story related to this? Let me know in the comments below!
Now, I will head to bed and hopefully tomorrow I can get an outfit post out for you. Follow me on social media for lighter updates than this. I love you all a lot, so see you soon!
Have a fabulous day ♥