As Celiac Awareness Month continues I continue to invite guest bloggers to my site to say thanks for making my journey with numerous food allergies much easier. I’ve been extremely fortunate to connect with so many bloggers because of social media including J. She’s been extremely supportive, always sharing ideas, doesn’t shy away from conflict, has a huge heart and I think you will find her story inspiring.
I have Cerebral Palsy. I have lived with this all of my life. It’s something that I deal with on a daily basis from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep. I used to hate myself because of it. I used to desire a different life. I used to have an attitude filled with rage and negativity that had me drowning.
I am Gluten Intolerant. I have been intolerant to gluten all of my life but discovered it in 2011. It’s something that I deal with on daily basis. I used to hate it and myself. I cheated until February 22, 2012. I was breaking down. I was slowly killing myself. I used to have an attitude filled with sadness and hate. The negativity had me drowning.
I overcame it all and now I can swim with floaties.
The moment for me to accept myself as someone with Cerebral Palsy came out of nowhere. It just came. It was time to accept that this is a part of me but is not who I am.
The moment for me to accept myself as someone with Gluten Intolerance came when I realized how bad I was feeling with gluten. I learned the hard way but I learned. It was also time to accept that this is a part of me but is not who I am.
These things are my floaties:
- Research. I have gained an interest in learning all about Gluten Intolerance and Cerebral Palsy. I read all I can about both and see what applies to me and what does not. I make sure that the people putting out the information are not giving me faux science or are wanna-be doctors or experts. I really take the time to absorb this information. I hope you are also doing this too. We must all stay informed so that we can help others and ourselves.
- Support. My support system is all over the place. It’s online and offline. It’s in books and in my hobbies. The moment I gained a support system was the moment I changed myself. Being surrounded by people who understand is so helpful. You just feel the support and it really helps you navigate through it all.
- Love. Once I gained some love for myself, I was able to implement the change that I needed. You must find love for yourself to give yourself the positive change you need. It takes time but you will find it if you try.
- Awareness. Once I was aware of my horrible attitude not only towards myself but others, I quickly made the turn to the positive. No one likes to be around someone who is always angry or depressed. No one likes to be around someone who demands food be prepared a certain way, etc. Trust me, I was there once, where I made a huge deal about everything gluten free. It leaves a bitter taste in the mouths of others who are not gluten free. Be kind and aware of your actions.
For Celiac Awareness Month and every month after this I want us to be aware of our attitudes.
- Are you being too demanding of others who are not as informed as you about gluten intolerance? I know that it is difficult going to a restaurant or being around family and friends that do not know what you are talking about. Inform them with kindness not with demands or in a demeaning way. My family still makes mistakes or assumptions but they are getting better. If people love you they are going to try their best. Just remember that they are human and will make mistakes. I think sometimes we forget this is our cross to bear not theirs and we project our frustrations onto them. We cannot do this for I fear we put at risk our relationships. Of course, there are family and friends that are just plain mean and for those people, if they are not going to listen, then avoid them all together as they are not worth your time. For restaurants, do the same. Be kind and inform them. If they do not seem to care or put in the effort then they do not deserve your business.
- Are you informing others in ways they can understand? Sometimes people need you to explain things in simple terms. “What is gluten?” is one question I always get. I answer them, “Wheat, Barley, Rye, Spelt, and other things I can get you a list of.” It’s all about breaking it down to make it understandable. It was a tad difficult for me to get a hang of all the terms and the lingo so be flexible with others as they may not know what the heck you are talking about.
- Are you being snobbish or elitist about food or conditions? Do not do this. Do not be that guy or that girl. All of our bodies are different. Do not be the one to leave the words “gluten free” sour in people’s mouths because of your attitude. Be respectful.
I am far from perfect. I still get sad and sometimes angry that I cannot have or do the things others do. I sometimes wish I could walk normally and eat gluten but I look back at my life and I see all the good that has happened. I see all the strength. This is my path now. My support system helps me deal with all of these emotions and is there for me to vent. It is all about channeling all that negative energy and using it all to create lessons for myself and others. We are in control of our attitudes. We must use our lives as lessons to empower ourselves and others to be the best perfectly flawed humans we can be. We can do all of this when become aware of who we are and who we want to become.
Connect with J
- Website: mindfulpeaceom.com
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/mindfulpeaceom
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mindfulpeaceom
- Google +: https://plus.google.com/102226416851953121208/posts
- Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/mindfulpeaceom/
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/mindfulpeaceom
I think it was a little over a year ago that I connected with Laura on Twitter and it has been a lot of fun. She’s one of my favorites on Twitter because of her spunkiness but also because of the information she shares. She’s regularly sharing informative posts about gluten-free living and recipes. She’s an asset to this community and I hope you enjoy her story and while you’re at it, please connect with her as well!
I’ve always been pretty open about the whole “I love being gluten free” thing. I love this lifestyle so much I use the #gfreelove hashtag in just about every tweet I send out. This positive-power hashtag has since caught on with some other gluten-free folks which is just about the best thing ever for me.
One of the greatest things about being gluten-free isn’t that I’m more conscious of what I’m putting into my body, or the fact that the diet has allowed me to spread my wings and try new, exciting foods. The thing that I think is the greatest of all is the amazing people I’ve had the chance to “meet” in this community. I am proud to be a part of such a supportive community, and I treasure the relationships I have with my gluten-free friends, many of which stemmed from a simple, 140 character tweet.
Our community rocks and I think most of you have seen that throughout the past few weeks as we all celebrate Celiac Awareness Month.
I think one of the most inspiring things that our community has to offer is our own personal experience with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. Most of us who see someone experiencing difficulty during their gluten-free journey aren’t scared to let them know a simple yet reassuring fact – we’ve all been there. Sometimes all it takes for someone to be successful is help from another person that can relate to what they’re going through. Sharing our gastrointestinal experiences is hardly glamorous, but we share anyways because we know how much a simple tweet or Facebook comment can help.
One thing I try to do is bring humor to the gluten-free lifestyle. The truth is, none of us jumped up and down when we realized we couldn’t eat gluten for the rest of our lives. I’ll be the first to admit that I may have cried in my college apartment after a pizza party that I couldn’t take part in. But look at me now! I’m G-Free Laura, gosh darn it. I own this diet, I’ve turned what many think is a curse into a passion.
One of my favorite posts I have ever written is How I Broke Up with Gluten: The 5 Stages of Grief. When I wrote this post, I had told my mom that breaking up with gluten was harder to do than breaking up with my boyfriend, which is sad but true. I’m sure many other people feel the same way, which also tells me we might need to make better dating decisions if we love hamburger buns more than our significant others. Read the post and let me know if you felt the same way I did during your “break up.”
Another funny post I wrote about the gluten-free lifestyle is How the Gluten-Free Diet is like a Zombie Apocalypse. Some say far-fetched, I say totally true (and Rick Grimes agrees with me). I related the journey of fighting to eliminate gluten from your diet to the television series The Walking Dead. My mom (who is gluten-free but not a zombie fan) didn’t understand the post one bit, but I had a great response from gluten-free Walking Dead fans that picked up what I was putting down. If you’re an AMC cult follower, check out the post, it’ll probably give you a good laugh.
If you’re more of a glass half-empty kind of person, you should read my guest-post on Jackie Ourman’s blog titled 3 Reasons Being Gluten Free is NOT the end of the World. It’ll help you stop whining about our diet. Ryan Gosling, one of our community’s major meme supporters, even makes a cameo in the post, so I know all you ladies will want to click that link.
I thoroughly enjoy writing fun blogs that connect with the gluten-free community. I might not have the amazing recipes with equally amazing pictures that some of you might be looking for, but I do have the ability to make you think, “Oh my gosh, I totally went through the same thing!” or, “I don’t know how she just made the gluten-free diet relate to a zombie-filled, post-apocalyptic world, but she did.” Either way, my job is to make this sometimes overwhelming lifestyle a bit more fun. I hope that I succeed in this mission, and I sure do hope that you check out my website for more funky posts and simple I-think-I-can-actually-make-that recipes!
P.S. A big thanks goes out to Ken for asking me to be a part of his blog! I am grateful to have the chance to connect with yet another audience and am honored to do so through this amazing site!
Do you live a gluten free lifestyle? Curious about gluten free options at local restaurants? We’ve got a perfect event for you! On Tuesday, May, 28 we will take on a gluten free culinary adventure. I’m excited to be partnering up with Dishcrawl Phoenix to help put on this event. I’ve personally talked with the restaurants to help ensure that the food preparation will be handled in a safe way for those with celiac disease and gluten-intolerance. Right now the price of the event is $45.00 but if you register by the 18th using gfearlybird5 they will take $5.00 off the price. You can REGISTER HERE.
We will be visiting four different restaurants but we will be keeping the names of the restaurants a secret for now. Follow @DishcrawlPHX on Twitter and be the first to know!
Where to Meet Us
All ticket holders will be notified of meeting location via email, 48 hours prior to the event.
What if I’m a Vegetarian?
Vegetarian options are available, however we may not be able to accommodate other dietary restrictions. If you have any particular requests or have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
What if I’m allergic to dairy?
There will be dairy free options as well.
Cancellations are taken only if given 48 hours advance notice. All Dishcrawl events are held rain or shine.
Contact Leini, your Phoenix Dishcrawl Ambassador! Her email is LeiniS@dishcrawl.com.
In celebration of Celiac Awareness Month I wrote a blog post stating that I would love to share as many stories in the gluten-free community. I feel we learn so much from each other and the support is amazing. Having guest bloggers is a blast and my purpose in this is to support them and most important make sure you connect with them as well. Remember, we are all in this together and we can learn so much from each other’s knowledge.
When I first discovered I was extremely sensitive to gluten in 2010, I was originally bummed out. Not slightly bummed out; no, I was really, really bummed out. All my favorite foods – pizza, sandwiches, chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks – were now off-limits, and I had to do a complete diet overhaul.
I didn’t know it at the time, but the gluten-free life gets much easier as time goes by. I learned all sorts of information on the gluten-free diet, little tips and tricks that eventually helped me get past the painful first few weeks. Just the other day I started thinking how being gluten-free has turned out to be a blessing in my life. Does it sometimes feel bad when all my friends are eating a pizza and I can’t partake? Of course. But, for the most part, not being able to eat gluten has turned out to be a major positive for my life. Here’s why…
Before my gluten-free journey, I had the whole menu to choose from when dining out. I was very impatient when it came to a lot of things, and food was one of them. I wanted to eat good food and I wanted to eat it quickly. Nowadays, I have to perform my due diligence when eating out. I need to ask the waiter or chef which items are gluten-free, or can be made gluten-free, and oftentimes it is no more than 3 to 5 menu items. I have been to restaurants that have nothing for gluten-free diners to eat. Patience is required in these situations. I know that I will get to eat at some point, but I NEED to be patient and not just eat something with gluten because I’m hungry. My new-found patience has helped my golf game and many other aspects of my life.
As a young man 24 years of age when I discovered my gluten-related issues, I was extremely inexperienced as a cook. Like most guys my age, I could make some pasta, scramble some eggs, and put a frozen pizza in the oven, but anything more than that and I was lost. The thought of trying to make something from scratch was horrifying. The odds of me setting the kitchen on fire were higher than completing a perfect meal from scratch.
After becoming gluten-free, I realized I needed to learn how to cook more than the most basic of meals. I bought a couple of gluten-free cookbooks, researched how the different gluten-free flours mix together, and got to cooking. While I am still far from an expert (I stabbed a knife through my hand last year while cooking, for example), I am confident enough to cook any meal and I love trying new things that sound good in my head. Sometimes they turn out great, sometimes not – but the feeling of cooking my own food and not relying on fast food and restaurants is awesome.
Along the same lines as cooking skills, my creativity has also blossomed. A culinary masterpiece for me five years ago was some nachos with cheese, beans, and sour cream. While learning to cook gluten-free, I started trying all sorts of food combinations I would have never tried before. “Hey, I wonder if eggs and bacon would taste good in a risotto? Hmmm, not bad!”. Since gluten-free baking requires the use of many different types of flours, trying different amounts and combinations can yield some pretty impressive baked goods. Creativity is always a plus when trying to transform your favorite gluten-filled food into a gluten-free version.
Less Junk in my Diet
Back in the “old days”, as I now call my pre-gluten free life, I would frequently find myself driving past a fast food restaurant. I would be hungry, in a rush, and just wanting something cheap and quick – so, of course I would stop and grab a double cheeseburger meal or something equally unhealthy. This wouldn’t just happen once every 3 months or so; I would eat fast food about three times a week. After every meal, I would always have the same feeling of regret, wishing I had just come home and made myself a nice meal.
Now, there are obviously few fast food items a gluten-free person can eat. Sometimes I will stop and get a salad, but for the most part, I am completely done with fast food places. It doesn’t even cross my mind to stop and pick something up, since there is nothing there for me to eat anymore. No more stopping for a large slice of pizza, no more hot dog stands, and no more chicken fingers at the mall food court – all of that junk I was eating before is out of my diet. I knew what I was eating was bad for me, but now if I do it, the negative physical feeling is immediate. Instead, I head to my house, cook up a delicious, gluten-free meal, and enjoy every second of it. I am eating more of the foods I should have been eating before, and I feel much better because of it!
Author: Brian Klemm has been blogging about his gluten-free life since July 2011. Click here for his website, follow on Twitter, or follow on Pinterest. He loves connecting with other gluten-free people and helping out those new to the diet!
Thanks for sharing your story Brian….isn’t it amazing how much it can change your life for the positive if you choose to look at it that way?