As Bruce (Springsteen) would say: “Is there anybody alive out there??” Yes…it’s 4:57 in the morning. Yes…I’ve been up since 2. Yes…I’ve been working since 3:30. Yes…I’m on my second cup of coffee.
Today’s post is for those who are struggling to maintain the gluten-free diet. I get my share of emails from those who just cannot stay on the diet. Personally, I don’t have that hard of a time staying away from something that is trying to kill me. But that doesn’t mean I don’t get the struggle. Especially for those new to celiac. It suuuucccckkkks.
Here’s an email I received this week:
Dear Gluten Dude,I really need some advice. Last year I started having stomach problems and went through pain and agony for almost 8 months trying to figure out what’s wrong with me. I found out through a scope going down my throat that I have Celiac disease and that I needed my gallbladder out.
Well I’ve been diagnosed with CD since March or April and have still yet to start eating gluten free. I don’t know how to cut out every single little thing that has gluten in it, including medicines I take for other health issues. I don’t know what I need to do. I have yet to sit down with someone who can explain what the heck is going on.
I’m only 16 years old and I feel like I’m killing my self everyday because of eating gluten.
Please help and respond.
Gluten Dude at your service. When my blog was still in diapers (as compared to now, where it’s in the Depends stage), I wrote a five-part series called “How to Go Gluten-Free”. It touched on all aspects of going on the diet: the mental aspect, the desire, eating in and eating out. Since I had about 3 visitors a day back then, I don’t think many read it and if I do say so myself, I think it tackles the subject well.
What I’ll do here is talk about each step briefly and then link to the full blog post for that step. Sound good? Good.
I would think it would also help to reach out to your fellow celiacs for some support. This is a great community here. I launched a forum recently for celiacs to connect with people in their age group. Here it is. I am hopeful this will help you.
Oh…and about your medicines. If your doctor or your pharmacy will not help you (surprise, surprise), try calling the manufacturer directly. If they won’t help you, send me the name of the medication (privately, via email) and I will see if I can find out for you.
Ok…now let’s get you gluten-free!!
How to Go Gluten Free – Part 1: In the Head
It all starts upstairs. If you’ve just gotten diagnosed, your head is spinning. What do I do? Where do I start? Take a breath…relax…I promise you, while not easy, you can and will do this. Before you go crazy emptying the gluten-free shelves at your grocery store (a typical newbie reaction), you need to mentally accept that you can never have gluten again. I will say it again…you can never have gluten again…ever. I know…ouch. You have to rise to the mental challenge or you will never succeed in going gluten free.
How to Go Gluten Free – Part 2: In the Heart
Guess what? You have to WANT to go gluten free. Going gluten free is all about embracing your new lifestyle. You’ve been dealt a pretty shitty hand. Accept it. Embrace it. Take all the negative emotions associated with the many crappy things that come with celiac disease and turn them into positives.
How to Go Gluten Free – Part 3: In the House
Be the master of your domain. It’s pretty easy to keep gluten out of most of the rooms in your house. The bedroom? Unless you’re into some unusual practices (none of my business), I’d say it’s pretty safe. Bathroom? Should be good. Family room? Iffy if you’ve got kids, but not too bad. But the kitchen? Unless your entire house is gluten-free, this is where the majority of the nasty gluten critters will be lurking. How do you keep it safe?
How to Go Gluten Free – Part 4: In the Restaurant
When you’ve got celiac disease, going out to eat sucks. I wish I could sugarcoat it for you a little bit, but there are just no two ways around it. Why does a regular person go out to eat? To try new foods. To eat in a different atmosphere. To get waited on. To steal from your kid’s plates when they’re not looking. But almost everything that is fun and spontaneous about eating out can be overshadowed by the anxiety of whether you can get through your ordeal unscathed. Just follow these steps to minimize your risks as much as humanly possible.
How to Go Gluten Free – Part 5: Now What?
Are you mentally prepared to go gluten free? Check. Are you emotionally committed to a gluten free life? Check. Is your house a gluten free sanctuary? Check. Will you be your own best advocate when going out to eat? Check. Well…you’re off to a great start. You are indeed way ahead of the game. And I wish I could say it’s all downhill from here, but the truth is, my friend, your journey has just begun.
That’s it. It ain’t easy, but you got this. Now go out there and you do that voodoo that you do so well (movie anyone?).
Oh look…the sun’s coming up. I’ll see you all further on up the road.