Thursday, June 17, 2010

Celiac Diva

I was told two weeks ago that I have celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that causes the body to react negatively to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.

Since I was a kid I had stomach pain and other...ahem...gastrointestinal issues. They've been going on for the majority of my life and I never thought for a second that they could be abnormal. Until I moved in with Rob...who was...ahem...surprised at all the gastrointestinal "issues" that I faced. I finally decided to get it checked out, and a bloodtest and endoscopy later, my doctor told me to begin a gluten-free diet.

Basically this means that all "normal" food, such as bread, pasta, pizza, cookies, cake, brownies, and processed food is all out. This is a huge switch for me, and for my household. We are avid consumers of pasta and bread, and on the road I am used to eating out for...well, every meal.

I'm lucky that Rob is so supportive. He basically eats no gluten while I'm home (except for his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which just aren't as good on gluten-free bread) and is always watching out to make sure I don't get a stray crumb here and there.

Oh, yeah, my food can't come into contact with even a crumb of bread or gluten-containing food.

Anyway we've learned to adapt by using gluten-free bread (which has to be frozen) and rice, potato, or corn pasta. So far we've actually been quite successful, and I'm not feeling the strain of the diet at all.

Well...except at Newark Airport last week.

There was a girl, maybe 13, who was eating a piece of cheese pizza. The crust looked fluffy and delicious, the grease was shining off the cheese in the most intoxicating mouth literally watered and I ached to taste its gluteny goodness. I don't usually stare at people but I was definitely hardcore staring at this piece of pizza and the fortunate girl who was preparing to eat it.

What sucks about celiac disease is that there is no. cheating.

Gluten causes my intestines to physically react. The villi become blunted and the lining itself is damaged. This can lead to other autoimmune diseases, cancer, infertility, etc., and the only way to stop it from happening is to not consume any gluten, in any shape or form.

So this diet is for real, and it's for good.

One positive side effect: because preservatives are largely made with gluten, I have to eat all-natural foods. This also means that gluten-free frozen meals are about 80x better than regular frozen meals because the ingredients are all REAL food.

So there are some upsides.


  1. Sounds like a lot to have to learn, but definitely sounds like a healthy way of living. I would have to live on PF Changs and Chipotle all the time. Looking forward to Tuesday! :)


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