I get a lot of messages asking about being gluten free and my life with celiac. I thought it was time I shared a little bit about my story.
I remember it like it was yesterday. Coming home from school my sophomore year of high school. My mom was bawling and I had absolutely no clue why. She sat me down and told me that my blood tests had come back from my doctor’s appointment, and that I had Celiac Disease. Fifteen year old me had absolutely no clue what that meant, I was just scared because I witness the strongest woman in the world break down about it.
Looking back, I think I know where those tears were coming from. Maybe it wasn’t about what it meant for my future, but what it revealed about the past. For 15 years, I was consuming something that was slowly destroying my body. As a baby, she took me to the doctor all of the time. Throughout my childhood, I struggled with acid reflux, digestive issues, and a runny nose. She knew something was wrong, but doctors always told her I was fine. So maybe she was mad. But maybe it’s better to think of her tears that day as tears of joy. Rather than looking at a diagnosis as negative, I see it as the best news I have ever gotten. Though figuring out that something is wrong with me isn’t fun, at least I had the opportunity to get healthy.
If you don’t know what Celiac is, it is an autoimmune disease that affects more than three million Americans. For this 1% of the population, consuming gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye) triggers an immune response in the small intestine, which damages the lining of the intestines and inhibits the absorption of vital nutrients. The treatment of Celiac disease is strict, lifelong gluten free diet. Basically this means that if I eat even a trace of gluten, my body comes back with vengeance.