Wait – I Can’t Eat WHAT?!?!
I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease – and I am having a hard time with it!
Celiac disease is a condition where the small intestine is damaged by gluten, a protein found in grains such as wheat, rye and barley. This damage makes the small intestine unable to absorb nutrients such as protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Now I am forced to live a life where I must avoid gluten at all costs as I will become very sick if I ingest gluten.
I CANNOT eat wheat, rye, barley, oats, natural or artificial flavorings, food coloring, food starch and foods made from them. What CAN I eat? Well, I'm still trying to figure that out!
Of course I don’t have a choice in the matter because according to The Mayo Clinic people with Celiac disease who don't maintain a gluten-free diet have a greater risk of developing several forms of cancer, including intestinal lymphoma and small bowel cancer – and I can tell you right now, I prefer to stay off the road to cancer.
Please keep in mind that it was only a few days ago that I found out I must eat gluten free, so I have not had a ton of time to really figure out what I can and cannot eat - but I do know that medication does not treat Celiac; diet does. Therefore it’s all on me and my will power to say “NO” to the Chicken Fried Steak and gravy with French fries and Texas Toast – which just happens to be my favorite meal! Oh sure, I’m sure there is a company out there that has made that same meal gluten free – but guess what folks, I'm fairly certain the taste is not going to be the same because apparently gluten is delicious! After all, it's in almost ALL of my favorite foods and favorite drinks!
While I can have my favorite soda (Coca-Cola) - I cannot have beer. <insert sad face> Of course I can have gluten free beer, but again – I’m finding gluten is delicious! Fortunately there is one thing working in my favor where alcohol is concerned… my FAVORITE drink IS gluten free – Jagerbombs!! <insert happy face while dancing and giving high-fives>
But really, at the end of the day and all joking aside – I have not enjoyed this adventure thus far but, the more I get on Google and type in "Is _______ gluten free" the more I calm down! Prime example would be today when I hit up the vending machine at the station for a snack, turns out Cheetos are gluten free according to the "special dietary needs" tab at the Frito Lay website! <insert one more happy dance>
Bottom line is this - I want to feel good and live a long healthy life with my family and friends MORE than I want gluten, so challenge accepted!