This essay is a little-in-cheek. I don’t like to be a complainer. And it’s easy to slip into that mindset when you’re dealing with celiac disease, a condition that keeps you from eating at least 80 percent of the food that most people eat. But there really are some positives to celiac disease, if you reorient yourself and take the time to consider what your life and your health would be like if you never discovered you had celiac.
1. I learned to cook.
When my daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease back in 2007, there were very few restaurants with gluten-free menus and it was rare to find a gluten-free bakery. If we were going to eat something other than nuts, fruit and raw veggies, I had to figure out how to make it.
2. I eat healthier.
Because I am not a gourmet cook, I fall into patterns of eating simple meals: unprocessed meat, steamed veggies and fruit. Even ketchup, salad dressings and other condiments aren’t always gluten-free, so it’s easy to get out of the habit of eating them. Also, I can’t just plunge head first into a gluten-filled dessert table, I tend to eat less cookies, cake, brownies, pie, etc. I have to think about what I am putting into my mouth, and that pause helps me slow down and make better choices.
3. I feel better when I eat gluten free, and I like supporting my body.
I have less fatigue, less aches and pains, less stomach aches, more energy and a brighter outlook. It feels good to nourish my body, especially after years of harming it with food that literally gave me a pain in the gut.
4. Grocery shopping takes less time.
When you’re gluten free, you don’t often get distracted in the supermarket because, frankly, most of the stuff is off limits. You stick to your list of safe food, and you’re in and out of the store in no time.
5. We save money.
How is that possible when gluten-free food often costs twice what regular food costs? Well, once again, when you eat less food, you spend less money. I don’t even want to count the snacks I used to pick up at the gas station, or the hundreds of times we ate out—just because, and the vacations where we went from one junk- food stand to the next.
Eating gluten free involves an enormous lifestyle change that comes with many challenges and, let’s face it, some deprivation. But, at the same time, you might be surprised by some of the benefits of this change, and your body will certainly thank you!