Thursday, June 9, 2011

Blogging Gluten Free!

I decided to branch out and talk about what my brain is full of...no, not that...gluten free living. I was diagnosed with Celiac disease five years ago and I went from knowing absolutely NOTHING about gluten, Celiac disease or gluten free foods to well, I'm a hoarder of gluten free knowledge now and decided I need to pass it on. Let's start with the basics about me.
I grew up in a single parent family, with lots of cereal, pasta, bread and eating whatever I wanted. I had stomach issues as a kid but nothing that could be linked to one thing. When I was sick, my mom gave me dry toast, soda crackers and chicken noodle soup. I lived on grilled cheese sandwiches, peanut butter slathered on bread and every kind of cereal I could get my hands on. I loved cookies, adored snack crackers and pizza. Until I was in my mid 20's, I did just fine. Then I started getting tired all the time. I'd wake up in the middle of the night with insane stomach cramps that would have me huddled in a ball unable to sleep. When I was 27, I mentioned all that to my doctor, who suggested we do some blood work to see what the issue was. I got a bunch of blood taken and came back and discovered that everything was fine...except my transglutaminase levels were higher than normal. Normal levels were under 20, mine were 25...not enough to be alarmed but high enough to follow up on it. She threw some possibilities around and then mentioned Celiac disease...I went "Huh?" I had never even HEARD of Celiac!! So I went home, Googled it and thought "No way I want THAT!" We followed up a few months later with an appointment to see a gastroenterologist and then had a colonscopy and endoscopy and awaited the results...I was still in denial. Then I had the follow up appointment and found out what I had been dreading for months. I had Celiac disease. Suddenly, I had no idea what I was supposed to eat. A meeting with a dietician assured me that I could still eat chocolate so I didn't have to jump off a bridge...thank GOODNESS! But suddenly my world was due to be completely different...and my boyfriend's...forever. There is NO cure for Celiac, just lifelong avoidance of gluten. I knew nothing about gluten (which I know now is a protein that is present in all wheat, oats, rye, barley and their counterparts) and didn't even know there was more types of flour than just FLOUR. I had a LOT to learn. Luckily, I'm an info junkie so learning wasn't a concern...but the diet? That was a different story!

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