Five Years Gluten Free

I have very fond memories of October 2009 – I went on a TERRIBLE first date with a boy with whom I never went on a second date; I went to San Francisco with my mom for a yoga retreat; I closed on my condo; and at the end of the month, I got a phone call from my doctor telling me that I had Celiac disease.

I don’t know how to describe what I felt when I got that phone call: panic, for sure, and also grief. I took myself out for lunch that day to Panera bread where I ate what I knew would be my last bagel and a bowl of tomato soup with croutons.

I thought about the carrot cake cupcake I’d eaten on that terrible date, and wondered if I’d ever eat carrot cake cupcakes again (yes, and at my wedding to a guy with whom I went on a really fun and slightly awkward first date.)

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I thought about that trip to San Francisco, and a Chinese restaurant where my mom and I had stir fry for lunch one day during the retreat and wondered if I’d eat Chinese stir fry again (yes, and I got really good at making it myself.)

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I thought about my first meal in my new condo – I’d walked to the grocery store up the street and bought an orange, root beer, and pasta salad from the deli and then sat on the floor in my new place where I realized I didn’t have a knife to break the orange peel, or a bottle opener to open the root beer, or even a fork, so I ate the pasta salad with my fingers and called it dinner. I wondered if I’d ever eat pasta salad again (yes … but I definitely don’t eat it often and not from the grocery store deli.)

I’m laughing at myself for my naivete, but like I said, these are fond memories. It’s easy to look back, knowing what I know now, and think that I was overreacting, but I know that the struggle I felt with my new way of eating was real.

I sat down today to write a long, thoughtful post about my feelings about eating gluten free and how they’ve changed over the years, but honestly, I think it boils down to this: eating gluten free used to give me huge anxiety, and now it doesn’t.

So instead I thought I’d go through the archives and highlight a few posts about gluten free eating and Celiac Disease.

  • Travel Tips For The Gluten Free – In August 2011, Joel and I went on a weekend getaway to Victoria, B.C., and I shared some of the things I’d learned about eating GF while traveling
  • National Celiac Awareness Day – In September 2011, I recognized Celiac Awareness Day by sharing facts about the disease
  • Restaurants That Get It Right – I started this extensive list of gluten free friendly restaurants in January 2012, and have been updating it since
  • Allergy or Intolerance – In March of 2012, while elbow deep in massage school, I shared some of my learnings about disease processes and explained why Celiac disease is not a food allergy
  • A Good GF Pizza Is Hard to Find – In May of 2012, I responded to Domino’s announcement of their “gluten free” pizzas with a pizza recommendation of my own
  • The Great Gluten Free Survey – In December 2012, I participated in a blog survey with this compendium of my knowledge of gluten free eating and shared some of my favorite meals
  • And of course, there’s my complete list of recipes that I’ve created or adapted to be gluten free.

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Gluten free BLT and sweet potato fries from Blue Moon Burgers, a local restaurant with a huge menu of gluten free options.

Five years ago, the struggle with my new diet was real – I don’t mean to trivialize it. But with the wisdom that comes with being five years older and having adjusted to this new normal, it’s no longer a source of anxiety. This October, my fondest memories aren’t as deeply attached to my food memories.


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