Eat Smart. The Life You Save May be Your Own.

Got celiac? Eat healthy

This is a post about attempted suicide and how our amazing community helped. But first…

I try my best not to preach here. I share what works and doesn’t work for me, I share stories from others in the community, and from that I hope to help my fellow celiacs lead better lives. It really is that simple.

Sure…I call out BS; I make fun of B-list celebrities who go gluten-free for a day and brag about it to their minions; I allow people to vent by posting their celiac rants. But at the end of the day, I just wanna educate, entertain and assist.

I’m real passionate about eating right though. Not eating perfect. Not depriving yourself. Just being smart about what you are putting into your body. The celiac body is a compromised body. And all of the gluten-free garbage on the store shelves just compromises it even more. But what do we all do upon diagnosis? Yep…we run to the gluten-free aisle and proceed to buy “replacement foods”. I did the exact same thing. And it took me YEARS to heal, and only after I realized I was putting tons of shit into my body just so I could have [fill in your favorite food here] still.

So I stopped. I healed. And while lord knows my health is not perfect, I’ve come a far, far way from where I used to be. I’m grateful to Alysa Bajenaru for originally telling me about the Whole30. And I’m beyond grateful to Jennifer Esposito for making my taste buds come alive again and showing me that you can indeed eat healthy and delicious.

If you think eating unhealthy just doesn’t make you feel well, it can go deeper than that. Much deeper. I received this email yesterday.

Dude!!!

I spent 50 years feeling like crap! At about 50 years, I couldn’t take it anymore and attempted suicide, which landed me in ICU for 4 days on life support. As tears roll down my face, I think of how much you have helped and encouraged me and others; I thank you for your humor, your wisdom and your knowledge, while eating my breakfast of meatloaf filled with veggies, riced cauliflower, and kale.

Every day that I feel well, I have you to thank. Because of you, I now eat unprocessed foods most of the time and the suicidal thoughts are now rare. In essence, you (and this support group) saved my life. I know I am just one person, but I hope you know how important you are to SO many of us!

I will be forever grateful to you.

My reaction?

1) Pretty damn speechless.
2) Meatloaf for breakfast? Bring it on!
3) Forever thankful this person is still with us.
4) Grateful that this community helped her see the light. If we can help one person, we can help many.

So keep spreading the word to the celiac community folks. Eat right. Eat smart. You may not just be saving your own life, but others’ as well.

And by all means…be good to yourself. You deserve it.

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9 thoughts on “Eat Smart. The Life You Save May be Your Own.”

  1. I love this because it points to an aspect of celiac and ncgs that medical professionals often ignore. That being: what you put in your body can influence your mind. Studies show it time and again—mental health patients with issues like bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety make statistically significant improvements when they eliminate gluten. And far more psyc patients are celiac than in the general population.

    I hope for a day when doctors run a few tests—nutrients, antibodies—before offering antidepressants. “Feeling awful” like for the person writing this email isn’t just about stomach pains.

    1. I highly agree. I would love to see the medical profession consider diet before prescriptions of chemical altering medications. In my own experience, removing gluten has changed my mental state and it’s no longer a struggle to live (especially in winter when it would get worse – and I realize I consumed far more gluten foods in that season).

  2. Even when eating healthy foods, you have to be careful to make sure you’re getting the correct balance of nutrients for your body. Even though I was eating healthy foods, I was eating way too many foods high in copper and not enough foods containing enough zinc to counter them. I’ve had to modify my diet to get copper and zinc into balance, and later I realized I also had to balance vitamin E and iron. The only vitamin/mineral supplement I take now is 400 IU of vitamin D, since it’s difficult to get enough of it naturally, and I make sure to eat enough foods with vitamin A throughout the day to balance it. Getting vitamin A through food is significant because those foods also contain other important nutrients like vitamin K and magnesium. I’ve never really followed a specific dietary protocol and call what I do the “What Works for Me” Diet, as we all have to find out what works specifically for our own bodies. Best of luck and better health to all of us!

  3. Fellow celiac and licensed marriage and family therapist here. It’s so nice to hear that with support this woman was able to make it through. I’ve been struggling with my health again the past few months and realize how much this celiac effects my mind. I don’t feel enough people are educated on that. When my body feels like sh*t, my mind is cluttered, angry and sometimes sad. We need more advocacy on the mental health side. Something I hope to develop soon in my practice.

  4. Your advice about not eating replacement foods is the most important tip I can think of. Just a couple weeks ago I bought a well known certified GF brand of bread after not eating any for many months. After eating just one slice I felt like crap again. Certified GF, clearly cross-contaminated. I am giving up on the bread, thank you very much. Feeling terrible physically absolutely affects your state of mind and makes someone depressed. We’ve all been there.

  5. Thank you Gluten Dute, finally someone who gets it. When I was diagnosed with Celiac I went of gluten, but still felt like @#$. It didn’t take me long to lay the link and I started to integrate the AIP diet. Yes it is work, yes some days I feel sorry for myself and feel that someone has put a mean joke on me because I cannot be spontaneous around food anymore. I am not there yet to feel good, happy and alive, but I am getting there. Somedays I am still in the grieving process of being a celiac (this might be a subject as well if you haven’t already). I am still not where I want to be, but I keep on feeding myself fresh food, meat etc. etc. while trying to love myself in the midst of it, so slowly I am starting to dance to my new song. A few weeks ago, I cheated, had some GF gummie bears. The anger and emotional outburst I had the next day are not worth it for me. So thank you for posting this, for reminding people that most of the GF stuff bought in the store is Junk. So I get the meatloaf filled with good stuff as I eat soup in the morning with some type of meat and I really enjoy it. I laugh while I type this, if someone would have told me this before my diagnoses I would have said; No Way!

  6. I can say that I completely understand this writer’s experience. I have lived with suicidal and depressive thoughts since high school. Last year, after doing an elimination diet and finding I had a huge problem with gluten (and researching it to death) I found by no longer consuming it, my sucidial thoughts are gone. On occasion, one of the first ways I notice I’ve consumed it is because I immediately wake up and feel like I wish I could die.

    So, thank you for writing this site and for sharing all that you do. I found your site during my research time period and you encourage me to keep going on this pathway that I know has changed my life in more than just physical ways.

  7. WOW! this really hits home for me. I have fought deep depression and recently suicidal thoughts. I posted this last last Nov. 18 in the anything goes forum here (it’s a little long, but then my life’s a little complicated):

    ’15 months GF and my 59 year old body and emotions are still a roller coaster. My wife of 31 years divorced me about 2 years ago and I was going through that when diagnosed with CD. My mind has started to clear somewhat and I realize that I’ve been in a foggy brain, depression state for at least 10 years. I’m angry and frustrated because I might still be married if I had been diagnosed and gotten treatment sooner, and have been hoping for a reconciliation.

    I went to lunch with my daughter a week ago Thursday where she informed me that my ex-wife was moving in with her Dept. Manager (we both work at the same company which has made the divorce particularly hard for me). I also think I was glutened (I only eat at 3 restaurants that I trust, well used to trust) and my doctor put me on new meds for my spinal stenosis which are actually anti-seizure meds and they have lots of side effects including depression and suicidal thoughts. A trifecta of depression. By that night I was freaking out, my mind a paranoid mess of thoughts and anxiety. I quit the meds, but they also have withdrawal side effects. I broke down crying in the supermarket, at work, at home. It took me a few days of some of the darkest despair I’ve ever had before I realized I had been glutened. The suicidal thoughts scared me so much I gave my handgun to a friend to keep. I’ve lost another 5 pounds in a week and I really can’t spare those pounds. My best friend and confidant was my ex-wife and I don’t have anybody else I can talk to about this kind of stuff. In desperation I have called my daughter and asked her to come stay with me a night last week so I wouldn’t be alone, but it’s stressing her out and she has health issues of her own, so I feel guilty about that.

    It’s been 10 days and I thought I was doing better, but broke down crying this morning at work.

    It’s so dark and lonely in here, and I feel so sad. Shit, losing it again. My life is fucked.’

    I was overwhelmed and feeling unable to cope with my depression and anxiety. My first counselor appt. is Jan. 22, but I had to initiate it and when I asked if there was any way they could find me a counselor with CD experience or knowledge they really didn’t know what I was talking about . The mental health aspects of CD are definitely not fully understood or emphasized by PCP’s and it seems that most mental health care providers are unaware of the implications of CD and mental health.

    I am moving forward, trying to put the past behind me and focus on getting healthier and happier. I want to give thanks to the Dude and this site for the valuable information and support. Again, thank you Lee Graham for your support.

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Who I am. And who I'm not.

Who I am. And who I'm not.

I AM someone who's been gluten-free since 2007 due to a diagnosis of severe celiac disease. I'm someone who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to going gluten-free. And I'm someone who will always give you the naked truth about going gluten free.

I AM NOT someone who embraces this gluten-free craziness. I didn’t find freedom, a better life or any of that other crap when I got diagnosed. With all due respect to Hunter S. Thompson, I found fear and loathing of an unknown world. But if I can share my wisdom, tell my stories and make the transition easier on you, I’ve done my job.

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