I read this recent article on Jezebel about a the difference behind going gluten free for genuine health concerns, and making the choice because it is the latest, greatest diet fad. The poster talked about the complications that arise from having a health concern become a fad, stating that people are now taking the true needs of gluten free by necessity individuals less seriously because many people are doing the diet “just because.”
This post struck a chord with me. There has been something that I have wanted to get off my chest for a long time and this article really just gave me that last push to spit it all out.
I am positive that I have Celiacs disease. I have yet to be diagnosed, because when our daughter was, I was dealing with a hernia. I got that repaired, spent a few months getting strong again and then got pregnant. My pregnancy has been complicated with risks of stroke, etc. Not that any of that would have mattered, since I am not going on gluten for 6 weeks and making myself sick when I have a baby depending on me to be healthy for him.
So needless to day, my full diagnoses has been put on hold for a while.
Should that really matter to anyone else? No. Should I eat gluten simply because I haven’t officially been told I can’t, even though it makes me sick? No.
Unfortunately, that is not the way that many people in my life feel. Sadly, I actually get where they are coming from. There are a lot of people, especially young girls/women, who are making the choice to go gluten free because they think it will help them loose weight. It is due to them that many of the people I have spoken to are concerned for me. As if I need additional validation against the “fad” that has risen out of the gluten free wave.
Let me be clear, I am not talking about anyone who feels they are gluten intolerant, or parents of children who have had to make the choice due to developmental disorders, etc. If you have a genuine medical concern related to going gluten free, or someone in your household does, then I get it completely.
Some facts about my case in particular:
- Our daughter was diagnosed around her second birthday. You can read all about it here.
- I am the carrier of the gene that was passed onto Lilly. We know that. It is in my side of the family.
- I spent nearly 2 years after Lilly was born with tremendous stomach problems. I was eating horrible food at all hours of the day/night, because I was an exhausted new mother. I wasn’t working out, and yet I was the lowest weight I had been since I was 13 years old…something there does not add up.
- Fact about Celiacs Disease, it can lay dormant in a person’s body and be triggered by a stressful event. Such as a big move, marriage, PREGNANCY, etc.
- When Lilly was diagnosed, I quit gluten along with her. It just seemed easier. ALL of my stomach issues went away! Suddenly I was no longer dealing with excess bloating, fatigue and nausea. Also, some issues I had been having with arthritis in my hip stopped flaring up – a common symptom for some individuals with Celiacs if they have gluten.
- Also when I quit gluten, I gained a good 10lbs. I felt healthier and stronger. I had better colour and my close family stopped saying that my face looked sunken in.
Will I go get a diagnoses one day? Yes, very likely. When I am done with all this hernia (which needs to be repaired again), babies and stroke business, then I will go put myself through 6 weeks of hell to get a little piece of paper and validate FOR EVERYONE what I already know.
I am not asking everyone to go out of their way to make my life easier. I can and have been preparing and bringing snacks and food for Lilly and I when we go places. I am not asking for sympathy for the new lifestyle we have.
What I am asking for is for everyone to kindly butt out of my personal health choices and stop saying the contradicting phrase ‘well, you haven’t actually been diagnosed.” Yes, thank you. I am very much aware.
For now, it is my body, my lifestyle, and I will do what I feel I need to do, to be in the best of health I can be for myself and my family.
Ideally speaking, everyone else will kindly back off.
I read this article a while back too and I was so bothered by it! I was officially diagnosed 4 years ago, any my mother was diagnosed in 1990 during her pregnancy with my little brother. I felt like this article is all about what gives celiac’s a bad wrap and asks people to play the ‘poor me, pity me’ card. I love my lifestyle and food choices. Would I have made the switch sans-celiac? Probably not, but it has really changed my quality of life and made me so much more in tune with my own health and wellness. You can sit around and complain about how expensive/high in fat/sugar etc. gluten free food is… OR you can eat naturally gluten free food! I do feel that I get the occasional eye-roll when eating out, but whatever, I get over it and I would not ask some one else to ‘not eat gluten free’ just because of this. I want pity or attitude because I eat gluten free.
I feel that if someone wants to eat gluten free for any reason in the world, go for it. If it makes you feel great, who should tell you other wise. In your case Crystal, I see nothing wrong with a title of self-diagnosis and having the piece of paper to back up your claim won’t change much; if naysayers really need the proof, eat a bagel and invite them over for the next 24 hours (although I would not recommenced it!). I do, however, always laugh a little to myself when gluten free eating is refereed to as a ‘weight loss’ diet. If there is really a weight loss diet that has a special shelf in the grocery store for cookies, doughnuts, brownies, and cupcakes; then sign us all up!
With increased popularity of the gluten free lifestyle, it helps everyone (officially diagnosed, self-diagnosed, or ‘just because’) in the end as companies respond to make better breads and crackers and retail stores stock the shelves with amazing flours and “new” grains that just happen to be gluten free. There is nothing wrong with more demand for better quality gluten free foods. I read another article a while ago talking about Rachael Ray. The article said she did a show on gluten free cooking and did not mention celiac, gluten sensitivity, or cross-contaminant once and criticize her for this. I really don’t find see the problem here, gluten free cooking can just simply be gluten free cooking and it does not have to have the medical labels attached. She did however refer to things a few times as ‘figure-friendly’ apparently.
Thanks for the post Crystal, keep doing what makes you feel your best… and sorry for leaving your such a rant in response!
Oh PS.. ditto on the old-lady hip issues related to gluten!
I totally agree with EVERYTHIng you said! What I don’t get is why when I ask does it have Gluten in it? Do I have to deal with eye rolls, and smerks. I have Celiac, I’m asking not because ‘poor me’ but because I will get extremely ill. Its like someone asking if there is peanuts in something! Just because I don’t die the moment gluten enters my body, doesn’t mean its any less serious then a peanut allergy!