The month of May is Celiac Disease Awareness month. Celebrating that fact, this post appears courtesy of the good people at The Gluten-Free Challenge.
by Amy Trimm Waczek 4/26/2011
Grand Prize Winner, the Gluten-Free Challenge 2011 Blog Contest
Undiagnosed for 15 years, Amy finally identified her gluten intolerance along with her then five month old son, John. Seven years later, she created amysglutenfreepantry.com, a gluten-free, soy- and dairy-optional recipe index and resource guide designed to offer families the practical tools they need to cook delicious, naturally gluten-free meals.
People ask me all the time what I miss most about being on a gluten-free diet. They’re surprised when I tell them it’s not so much the food I miss, but the conveniences those foods afforded me.
My days are consumed with food: planning gluten-free snacks for my kids, thawing gluten-free cupcakes for an upcoming class party, having really long conversations with confused waiters. Then there’s the food labels and the ingredients: modified food starch, clarifying agents, natural flavors. When you’ve just found out you can never again dip your croissant into your coffee, do you really feel like a round of twenty questions every time you go to the supermarket?
When I get frustrated at our inconvenient situation, I remind myself that we have a condition for which there is a treatment. Not only that, but it’s a condition with a silver lining. Eating deliberately provides health to the entire family; just ask my husband who abstains from gluten voluntarily because he feels better without it. Cooking can be a joyful and creative, shared experience. Reaching out to those within your community can be immensely satisfying. People will watch you and your strange habits and you’ll see that soon enough, someone will find answers to their own health issues simply because you snuck your own food into a dinner party and they asked why.
I’ve grown to celebrate that my kids and I are different, that they’re the only ones pulling special food out of their backpacks. ‘Different’ makes for good stories, thoughtful kids and interesting, reflective adults. For me, I relate the discipline and inconvenience of this diet to a forced savings plan. Before the paycheck even hits our account, a little bit gets diverted to ensure and support our future. Gluten Intolerance forces us into this culinary savings account because each day that we eat safe food, we secure a better, healthier tomorrow.
So go ahead and plan your life. Buy that extra large cooler for all the gluten-free food you’ll bring to the events that will shape your life. Try to laugh when you find that long-forgotten snack at the bottom of your bag that has morphed into an unrecognizable pile of fuzz. Look for grace and humor each and every day. And if that doesn’t work, remember… wine is gluten-free. So is chocolate.
Recipe for Cinnamon Chocolate Snack Bars: http://www.amysglutenfreepantry.com/snacks/cinnamon-chocolate-snack-bars/