I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Don’t get me wrong, Celiac disease sucks, but I think there are a few good things that can come of it. Today, I’m trying to look on the bright side.
First, my diet is much better. Many whole foods are naturally gluten free – fruits, vegetables, many cheeses, and meats. Now, this causes a burden in that I must cook these foods and consistently find new recipes or ways to cook them. But they are cheap, healthy, and easy to cook. I do get bored with food. I have certain stand by recipes that I use ALL the time. But I also have magazines that come every month that have new fabulous recipes. I can convert most minimally gluten recipes into gluten free recipes and we have a new menu plan. On the whole, I would say my diet is better without gluten than it ever was with gluten.
I will also say that my diet before my Celiac diagnosis was probably gluten-lite. I didn’t eat sandwiches, pasta, or pizza. My downfall was Asian food – Chinese, Japanese, Sushi, Vietnamese – anything with soy sauce. As we all know, soy sauce is a big no-no, but tamari (gluten free soy sauce) has been a life saver. I’ve converted a few of Asian recipes or just found gluten free recipes for my favorites. So, here again, I’m not using MSG or too much sugar in my cooking. I know what is going in and what I’m putting in my body.
Second, gluten free is cheaper! It is much harder and significantly more expensive to eat crappy food on a gluten free diet. When a super pack of double stuffed Oreos cost about $5.00 and a pack of gluten free cookies half the size costs the same, its easy to leave the cookies on the shelf. I have to cook breakfast at home that costs pennies to make because I can’t run through McDonalds for a quick biscuit.
I don’t use many gluten free substitutes for regular gluten foods. Like I said above, I didn’t eat a lot of heavily gluten foods, so the transition was not terribly difficult. I do probably spend $50 per month total on gluten free substitutes – english muffins have been my favorite lately and gf pizza at home for pizza night with my family. I do have a package of Glutino gluten free sandwich cookies, but those will last a week or more for me.
To get really cheap, I miss the nights where I could throw a $1 box of pasta and a $2 jar of sauce in a pot and call it a meal. Now, I will make the family that meal, but we will add Italian Sausage with sauteed peppers and onions for me and a salad instead. The sausage, peppers, and onions aren’t quite as cheap, as the pasta, but it’s safe for me!!
Finally, having Celiac develops character – it demonstrates how strong, tactful, and resilient we all are. I have to be strong to take care of myself. Nobody else is going to help me on my journey to health. Nobody is going to take the gluten food out of my hands to stop me from hurting myself- although a long time ago in a weak moment people that love me have taken gluten food out of my hands. I have to stand up for what I need. I have to sometimes put myself first and say, no, I cannot eat there can we please try a different restaurant so I can eat too. I have to be vocal about what I need. I have to be able to explain in difficult social situations that I cannot eat what someone has provided, but it isn’t a snub to them but about what is safe for me.
There are lots of ways Celiac sucks and I can list them all here without even thinking about it. It is always in our faces and always something we have to think about all the time. Sometimes its nice to think about how things are better and how Celiac can improve our lives. While it isn’t perfect all the time, we have to live in this world with this disease. We can look at it as a burden or we can just deal with it. Today, I’m just dealing with it and trying to look on the bright side.