Recently, the Gluten Free diet has been being mocked: which makes it tough for a Celiac to be taken seriously. More and more you see commercials and tv host mocking gluten free. For example, Ford Fiesta is advertised as being Gluten Free. Really?!?!
So many don't realize all the precautions a Celiac needs for food preparations. Our house is 100% Gluten Free, and my true only safe haven! Not all Celiacs live in a 100% safe haven, and live in a mixed home where extra precautions are required. One of the toughest situations is going to someone else's house for breakfast/lunch/dinner. In a non-gluten free kitchen there are so many contamination risks -such as, cutting board, pans, condiments, and especially reading all labels. For example, simply not using a fresh mayo jar could make a Celiac sick. Why you ask? When most make a sandwich, they wipe the extra mayo on the knife back into the jar...putting bread crumbs in the mayo. Yup...those little crumbs would make a Celiac very sick. The NFCA put tougher a fantastic printable guide for Entertaining a Guest with Celiac Disease. Simply, click on the blue/purple underlined test to take a look. Please keep in mind, if you ever invite a Celiac over for dinner, please don't ever get offended if they turn the offer down. There is a lot of anxiety that comes along with food. My biggest piece of advise is to invite them to help prepare the meal then you can both work together to ensure a safe meal is made, and all can enjoy!
Celiac Disease at times takes a long time to diagnose because the symptoms vary and are such a wide range. For my diagnosis, I was extremely lucky that my PCP suspected it after my initial blood work...and even more lucky since we were in a time crunch due to my wedding being 2-weeks away! My PCP actually told me she was told to know about Celiac Disease because it would be on her boards -but, she would never see it. Thank goodness she was very informed, or my wedding day would have been a miserable day!
Just to give you a little back ground on my story, and how my diagnosis truly saved my life...here is my story:
In 2002, I thought all my gastro problems would be fixed after I had my gallbladder removed...only now I know the surgery triggered my Celiac Gene! In 2003, weeks before my wedding, I reached out to my PCP in desperation. At the time, I was making bathroom runs 20 times a day, had a distended stomach, severe fatigue (needed to nap after lunch, and dinner time), muscle cramps in my calves that would bring me to tears, joint pain, migraines, monthly bouts of iritis, cold sores (huge), and rapidly loosing weight. My initial blood work showed I was severely malnourished, and severely anemic; which led my PCP to test me for Celiac Disease. Days later she called to inform me the test did indeed come back positive -so, off to the internet I went to research this "disease" and this new diet I had to follow. My having monthly bouts of iritis, my ophthalmologist suspected some type of autoimmune disease -but, at the time I didn't have insurance due to being a recent college grad - so, I was unable to afford all the extensive testing...hence, yet again why I was so lucky my PCP figured all out simply with blood work! Every Celiac has a different story, range of symptoms, and some even have no symptoms.
My PCP and I decided to be rule breakers and start me on the Gluten Free Diet immediately since I wouldn't be able to get an appointment for the biopsy via endocope for a month. To be properly diagnosed, you need a positive blood test and positive biopsy. So, I'm technically not diagnosed by the book since by the time I had the biopsy it came back negative. I know, we are rebels!! Within a few days on being Gluten Free, I felt amazing, and it felt darn good not living in a bathroom! It took me a while to figure out the Gluten Free diet -so, until I did, I went back to the basics of meat (with salt/pepper), fruits, veggies, and potatoes...and M&M's! Almost 11 years ago, Gluten Free food wasn't nearly as good or accessible as it is today...and eating out didn't happen for me! It was supposed to be the happiest time of my life, and instead I faced so many challenges -but, quickly got back to good health. Instead of picking up the phone to order pizza, I had to quickly learn to cook for myself, and new hubby! At the age of 26, I sure missed the conveniences of take out, and being spontaneous. So many didn't understand the new life I had to live. Depression hit me quick...I was truly mourning the loss of gluten in my life, and yet so envious of friends and family for being able to be spontaneous in life. Thankfully, I quickly realized there was no reason to be depressed, and how fortunate I was to have regained my health...and have ALL my symptoms disappear. Not to mention, the Gluten Free diet is also my only medicine for my Crohn's disease, too. Yup, I'm the lucky one that has both Celiac Disease & Crohns Disease. But, on the other hand, so lucky that the Gluten Free diet is the only medicine for both.
So, with all of this said, PLEASE no longer mock a Gluten Free diet for a Celiacs sake...it's literally saving our life. For those on the fad diet, please keep on mind your actions can make a big complication for someone who medically needs it.
For any further information about Celiac Disease, please take a moment to check out NFCA's website: http://www.celiaccentral.org