My First Year Without Gluten

Don't cry for me Celiacos

It’s been one year since I was diagnosed as Coeliac which means it’s been 365 days since I’ve eaten gluten.

I must say, it hasn’t been an easy transition, in fact it’s probably been the most difficult thing that I’ve ever had to deal with. There have been times when I felt so angry that I couldn’t eat something at a restaurant, irritated by someone who didn’t understand, frustrated that I was eating the same thing over and over again and brought to tears by numerous difficult situations.  This probably makes the past year sound like a very negative one but despite the to be expected adjustments to something so huge, my eating life really hasn’t been all that bad.

To be honest,  there are lots of new, interesting things that I now eat, which I would never have tried if it wasn’t for my new dietary requirements. Corn tortillas in particular are one thing that I’ve never eaten so many of! It’s been great to discover all of the things that I can still eat (like rice which I have always loved!) and try to focus on these rather than the glutenous things I can not longer have (like most breakfast cereals which stills breaks my heart). Despite the times when people or places haven’t been helpful or understanding, there are also those that have gone above and beyond to help me and to these people and places I am extremely grateful and happy to have encountered. I have friends and family who in a variety of ways have included my new lifestyle into theirs in some way and again for this I am extremely grateful. I must thank my lovely boyfriend for all of his help over this past year. Together we are learning how to live without gluten and he is becoming quite the gluten free culinary expert!

Living gluten free encourages me to focus on finding positive (and often very imaginative) ways of eating. These days I’ll try pretty much anything as long as it’s gluten free. I mix ingredients I never would have considered previously and quite often this works. It’s not to say that the past year hasn’t been hard work because it definitely has. Whether I’m researching tips for living with Coeliac disease, spending hours browsing the menu’s of cafes and restaurants, checking even single label of every single product that I plan to eat or calling companies for gluten free product lists, I’m always thinking gluten freely.

My life is completely different than it was a year ago. I don’t go anywhere without considering what I’m going to eat and the number one thing on my mind whenever I see or hear the mention of something for consuming is whether it is gluten free or not. Feelings of anger, frustration, irritation and sadness started because I didn’t know how to deal with all of the changes in my life and whilst they continue from time to time, they are appearing less frequently to be replaced with excitement when I discover something new and gluten free, and interest in discovering how other coeliacs live. I find a lot of enjoyment in  discovering new gluten free products and coeliac friendly eateries not only because I have a new meal to eat or place to go but also because I know that I can write about it in the hopes that I can help someone else in my position.

Living gluten free at home has become comfortable. I can experiment with all of the things that I can eat where I have the space and the time. It’s travelling gluten free that is the most difficult thing for a coeliac and visiting 8 different countries in this first year of gluten freeness has shown me just how hard it can be.

I am delighted to discover what’s safe and delicious out there in the hopes that travelling gluten free can be made just that little bit easier for other coeliacs. Everyone should have the opportunity to see what this amazing world has to offer and whilst exploring gluten free is probably never going to be simple, it can be done.

With each others help, hopefully we can learn how to live gluten freely. I look forward to finding new and delicious gluten free treats in this second year as a celiaca!

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  • Katie Mertens

    Aug 16th, 2010

    I guess the saying is true in your life: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Good job with your lemonade.

  • Nate Cook

    Aug 29th, 2010

    That picture and caption is brilliant. VERY nice blog I must say; very professional. Now let me pull out my calculator so I can have a chance at passing the spam protection.