Today’s “Dear Gluten Dude” comes from a newly diagnosed celiac who is paralyzed by the fear of her new life.
And because of this fear, she continues to eat gluten.
She needs some guidance in making the transition to a gluten-free life, physically and emotionally.
We’ve all been there. Let’s help her realize that gluten-free is nothing to be afraid of.
Here’s her email…
Dear Gluten Dude:
After reading through your wonderful blog, I knew you were the guy to come to for advice.
I’m a twenty-three year old girl and I was diagnosed with pretty advanced Celiac about a week ago.
First, I decided to wait a couple days to go gluten-free, as it was my boyfriend’s birthday and I wanted to have a “last hurrah” with gluten, so to speak. Now, I’ve pushed the transition back a few more days because “I can’t waste all these gluteny leftovers.”
Excuses, excuses — what I’m dealing with here is fear.
All my favorite foods contain gluten, and I have so many memories tied to those foods (i.e. foods my deceased mother used to make me, the microbrew my boyfriend and I shared on our first date), that when I think about NEVER EVER having them again, for the entire rest of my life, I feel like crying.
The people in my family have a long-standing tradition of neglecting our health in favor of epicurean delights, so I’m battling my own upbringing here.
I am afraid of change.
What if cutting out gluten doesn’t make me feel better, and I’m depriving myself for nothing? How will I cope with never being able to go out for beers with friends, or eat birthday cake, or treat myself to doughnuts for breakfast? How can I live my life in fear of being accidentally glutened all the time?
There’s part of me that wants to say, f*** it, I’m just going to eat gluten anyway, but I know that’s a horrible idea.
I’ve read a lot about the biology and logistics of celiac and living gluten-free, but what about the emotional/psychological side?
How can I stay motivated to go (and remain) gluten-free? How can I make the transition to a gluten-free lifestyle less depressing and traumatic?
I know it’s just food, and I’m probably being silly, but this really sucks. I’ve always been a huge foodie (and beer-lover), and I’m afraid of losing part of myself along with the gluten.
What you’re feeling is totally normal. Don’t beat yourself up over it.
Celiac disease can be an overwhelming diagnosis. You don’t just take some medicine and you’re all better. Your entire lifestyle must change, so you are not going to come to terms with this right away.
Give yourself time to mourn the loss of your old life.
It’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to be pissed. It’s ok to be afraid.
You WILL adapt to your new lifestyle. Honestly, you will.
The fact that you’re reaching out for help says a lot about you.
But I will say this: You need to stop eating gluten immediately.
You’re done…the sooner you can accept that, the better.
You don’t have to love the idea. None of us do.
But you will slowly kill yourself if you continue to eat gluten.
And I swear to you…it’s not so bad on the other side.
You will adapt. You will adjust. You will succeed.
And if you are having issues, reach out to the awesome celiac community for a little hand-holding.
That’s what we’re here for.
(Note: I wrote a five-part series called “How to Go Gluten Free” last year for those newly diagnosed. It should definitely help you. Here’s the link: http://glutendude.com/gluten/how-to-go-gluten-free-mental/)