The words “gluten-free” seem to have skyrocketed in recent years and honestly until this week I would roll my eyes at them. How did it suddenly become trendy to eliminate something that is in almost every food and isn’t that bad for you and more importantly, why? Fad diets aren’t my thing so seeing so many people get rid of gluten because they are sensitive to it, it just didn’t make sense to me. Of course, I knew Celiac Disease was a little more serious but until yesterday I truly thought it was all the same. Then, my bloodwork came back and rocked my world.
A little backstory: I have been having issues with my iron levels aka anemia since I was pregnant with my first baby in 2017. Once you become a mom your personal life and even health just take a backseat to this perfect tiny human that you are responsible for. I didn’t go to the doctor again until I got pregnant with my second perfect tiny human in 2020. This time the anemia was so bad I was referred to a hematologist to get my levels up. I was told I couldn’t absorb iron because I had Celiacs and honestly until now (April 2022) I thought he was full of it. I have been eating bread, donuts, cake, etc forever with no issues, and to be considered not just sensitive to gluten but completely intolerant seemed crazy to me! After another year of having extreme iron issues I finally went back to the doctor who ran her own Celiac panel on me.
As you can guess, the first “idiot doc” was right. I have Celiac disease. An autoimmune disease that causes my body to attack itself. Those attacks are causing me to be unable to absorb iron, putting me at risk for anemia-related problems as well as things like infertility, certain cancers, and more terrible things. But how? Because gluten isn’t even that bad for you – or so I thought.
While I feel a little silly that a diagnosis of something that is pretty easy to manage has made me so upset. I am definitely thankful it isn’t any worse than it is, but the truth is it is still a dangerous diagnosis that can affect you beyond your control – which is very scary. It is a diagnosis that I didn’t know I had before having kids, meaning I may have passed it to them which causes guilt and even more panic (doesn’t everything as a mom?). I am upset that after a lifetime of body image and food-related issues, I can no longer enjoy the family recipes and cheat meals I have always allowed myself to have when not restricting myself to just ground turkey and peppers. When I am most happy and carefree I won’t be able to eat the pasta or go to Disney and have a pretzel. I can’t go to a restaurant without fearing cross-contamination that could truly harm me. It is ironic I spent so much time restricting what I can have, because now if I don’t restrict I will truly harm myself. I am sad I can’t run to get some surprise Saturday morning donuts for the kids or even use the toaster anymore.
So life has given me a lemon and I guess it is time to make some lemonade to go with allllllll of the gluten-free food I have to prepare. My goal is to continue to bake and cook all the things I love but 100% free of gluten (did you know even a single crumb can harm someone with Celiacs?!). Follow along with @theceliaccinderella on Instagram to see how I recreate all my favorites including Disney favorites and share any tips you have for me.
PS Very thankful that wine is gluten free.