Why being a coeliac is the best thing ever

A bold title to a post, but hear me out.

Feeling healthy and happy

Feeling healthy and happy

These past few weeks I’ve been struggling through injuries – a torn muscle in my shoulder and broken finger, ironically not even related at all! – and it’s given me time to really reflect on my time blogging. When I started this blog it was as a hobby, something to pass the spare hours at uni and something I never thought would take off quite as well as it did. I wanted to show that a gluten free life doesn’t have to be boring or isolating, that giving up gluten could open so many doors and bring your kitchens to life.

Through the recipes, restaurant reviews, product testing and general musing, not only has my blog grown, but so have I. I’ve discovered so many amazing products, grown confidence in the kitchen and in eating out, and tried things I never would have thought of had I not been on a mission to improve my quality of eating.

I’ve learnt that being a coeliac is probably one of the best things that has ever happened to me. 

Yes, I really do mean that. And here’s why….

Variety in my diet

Many people look at me in horror when I say I can’t eat gluten. “But how do you survive without bread?”  they gasp, as if I’ve just told them I’ve only got six months to live. To me, I don’t feel deprived of food at all – and I don’t think any person with coeliac disease ever would. Before my diagnosis I would have survived on unhealthy, boring foods. Sandwiches. Chicken nuggets. Pasta. Processed crap.

And now? While my colleagues are munching away on their sandwiches, I’m enjoying something new and different each day – chicken, cashew and feta salads, prawn and avocado salads, quinoa with turkey and mixed vegetables, home made soup, the list in endless. All these new and tasty treats which I never would have dreamed to conjure up had I not been forced to experiment with my food.

A healthy outlook

take-care-of-your-bodyMy diet now is better than it ever was before. Yes, it probably helps that my other half is also my personal trainer who has helped me develop my nutrition, but being gluten free has made it so much easier. I look at how hard people find it to cut back on starchy carbs and processed foods when they’re trying to lose fat. But when you can’t eat gluten, it’s so much easier. I can’t sneak a piece of bread or ruin my diet with a cake, because I won’t just get fat – I’ll get seriously ill.

And it’s not just me – my whole family eat better now. When I gave up gluten, it meant my Mum, Dad and brother pretty much gave it up too, at least for the meals we all sat down to eat together. Food was prepared from scratch rather than buying quick fixes, and my friends have now become so much more aware of what is in food. I may be the only coeliac, but I feel my diet has helped others too.

Food is exciting

You know that feeling you get when you’re in a restaurant and they bring you out a gluten free bread roll? That ‘I-want-to-get-up-and-start-dancing-on-the-table’ bubble of excitement that comes when you discover a new brand of cake you can eat? ‘Normal’ people just don’t get it.

And why shouldn’t food be exciting? Every meal out is a new adventure, every time I find a new place where I can eat I get a rush. It’s something you only understand when you can’t eat a certain type of food – and it feels amazing.

I understand my body

In my happy place!

In my happy place!

As I’ve grown up with coeliac disease, I’ve learned to stop taking things out on my body. I understand now that it is the only one I have – when I decide to risk it or ‘just try a little bit’ I suffer the consequences. My first holiday with Steve, I ended up vomiting in a Chinese restaurant because I just rampaged through restaurants without a care, without checking if anything was gluten free. Now I fully understand how important it is to follow my diet strictly. I don’t take risks, and if an accident does happen, I know how best to deal with it.

I get special treatment

When we go out for meals, I get final say because it has to be somewhere I can eat. When it’s someone’s birthday at work, I get my own special cakes. Rather than feeling awkward in those situations, I’ve learned to feel loved because people go out of their way to make an effort and it’s awesome.

The future is bright

Being diagnosed with coeliac disease is not the end of the world. It is the beginning. It’s the start of a marvellous adventure, a chance to seek out exciting foods, develop your own recipes and educate people as to what really goes into their food. You have a chance to use your diagnosis as a reason to develop a better you – take it.

Follow:

24 Comments

  1. August 24, 2014 / 21:03

    It’s weird how people react this way to unfamiliar diet choices. It’s also weird that some can’t accept that life without certain foods can make you feel better and thus you don’t want that food back.

    • August 25, 2014 / 16:52

      Exactly – why would I even want to eat gluten now when I know what it does to my body? Sometimes it is good to go without.

      • August 25, 2014 / 18:28

        If it feels good go with it!

  2. Suzanne Webb
    August 24, 2014 / 22:07

    Really good posting! I agree with just about everything you said, and my other half has now given up all carbs so I don’t feel nervous about cross contamination any more. But the only place in UK I feel safe to eat out is in Barnstaple where they really seem to understand what is necessary! Otherwise I can only admire your bravery going to so many different places to eat.

    • August 25, 2014 / 16:56

      That’s great your O/H is helping you along the way! Whereabouts in Barnstaple do you feel safest eating out? Would love you recommendations 🙂

  3. August 25, 2014 / 03:34

    I might not go as far as to say it is the best thing ever. But, I definitely agree that it did change my outlook on health and I most certainly try more foods!

    I’m a little funny. Before I was diagnosed with celiac disease, I had bad acid reflux, so my doctor and me keeping a food diary. According to my food diary, the only food that I could keep down was wheat bagels. Then, in the end, the reflux was from celiac and clearly bagels weren’t good for me! My point was, my body is complicated, and I totally don’t get it yet, but I’m getting there.

    And personally, I love being the center of attention, so I like special treatment. However, I would prefer for my family that they didn’t have to find special cakes, etc. They are so good about everything and I certainly feel loved, but I still would prefer that they didn’t have to go out of their way. (I knew they loved me before all the accommodations).

    Lastly, our future is bright! I’ve definitely embraced having coeliac disease, and I love the optimism in your post.

    • August 25, 2014 / 16:55

      I get that it’s sometimes a bit embarrassing when people go out of their way but I find my friends generally get a buzz out of trying to find me food and seeing my reaction to it (usually far too over excited!). Sounds like you’ve had a bit of a complicated journey – if only bodies were simple! Good luck with the rest of your journey 🙂

      • August 25, 2014 / 16:58

        Thanks! You too! I might have phrased that wrong. It’s not embarrassing. My family is just the type that would never exclude me, so I would prefer that they could go on vacation or live without preparing my food. That’s just why I don’t think it’s the best thing ever. But, it’s not a bad life at all, and I’ve learned a lot so far (like what seafood tastes like). 🙂

  4. August 25, 2014 / 03:53

    Reblogged this on A World Without Wheat and commented:
    I don’t generally repost other people’s blog posts but this one was so well said I just have to share it with anyone who reads my blog. Says so much that I think about and about how it is for me to live gluten free. Well done!

  5. August 25, 2014 / 12:34

    Hi, this really made me smile! And yes I totally get that jump-up-and-down excitement feeling when finding something gluten-free in a cafe. This post really reminded me to be grateful about being coeliac and reflect on my own gluten-free journey – thanks! I’m going to share it with my friend who was just diagnosed, I think it’ll be a great thing to read for newly gluten-free people 🙂
    From Jasmine

    • August 25, 2014 / 16:54

      Thanks Jasmine, and I hope it helps your friend. I’m trying to be a bit more positive and sharing this post with you guys has certainly shown what a bunch of positive, lovely people you all are too 🙂

  6. August 25, 2014 / 12:56

    I had a laugh reading this …Thank you! It is amazing what we can eat without getting glutened. I really enjoy shopping for GF food too…wifey gets annoyed cos it takes me ages…lol

    • August 25, 2014 / 16:53

      I’m glad it made you smile! I always find shopping exciting, trying to find something new every time!

  7. Rachel White
    August 25, 2014 / 19:27

    This is a beautiful post. I have just been Leeds Festival and whilst everyone was munching on burgers and all that crap..I was cooking myself amazing soups and casseroles on the stove. Wasn’t jealous one bit..I think that is when you really appreciate and learn to love who and how you are! 🙂 I love being a Coeliac!

    Rachel xx

  8. September 9, 2014 / 11:50

    I love the way you think. Positivity outpours in your personality. I am very happy reading your blog, it will surely uplift those people having a coeliac disease as well.

  9. September 15, 2014 / 14:41

    Thinking or looking at the light when everyone sees darkness. I love your positive outlook and I couldn’t agree more, it is true that while most people think being a coeliac is awkward but just look at it, your body is more healthier. I have read a lot of blogs about GMOs and everything else and it is quite scary to think of what is in our food nowadays.

  10. September 20, 2014 / 09:38

    I SO agree with you! When I was first diagnosed I lost a lot of so called friends who just didn’t understand it and didn’t want to try.

    I will never risk gluten again, I don’t see the point! As you can see from my username I am proud to be a Coeliac 😉

  11. October 25, 2014 / 04:58

    I admire your optimism. I really battle with my diet. I end up just not wanting to eat some days as i am too scared of reacting badly. Todays is one of those days. Thanks for lifting the spirit. I find it difficult to make time to make creative meals like you said. Quinoa is even such an effort to make to take for lunch. Whats your go to quick meal when you are pressed for time?

  12. October 25, 2014 / 15:21

    I never thought about it this way but I totally agree! 🙂

Leave a Reply