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It’s been a year now since I was diagnosed with celiac disease. They always say you’ll never forget your last (intentional) gluten meal. Mine was an egg salad sandwich immediately after my upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. Prior to my surgery, I had to do a fun fast and drink a cleansing solution since I also had a colonoscopy at the same time so I had not eaten in over 24 hours. The nurse in recovery asked me which sandwich I wanted: egg or turkey and I was craving egg salad something fierce. Probably because I didn’t know yet but I was pregnant. Anyway, it was the best sandwich I’ve ever eaten. Or maybe that’s the starvation.
Leaving the hospital, I was advised not to eat gluten again. I cried in Target because they didn’t have gluten free soy sauce. But since then, things have gotten better! Not easier because the world still treats gluten free diets as a fad but better because I know what to look for and our home cooking is off the chain. Not to brag.
We’ve totally branched out with how we cook at home. Getting creative to get the foods that we want to eat. It’s not always a hit though – still haven’t mastered gluten free gyoza but fried shrimp, done. Fried chicken – just you wait, it’s the best. I also found a few good gluten free products. Gluten free soy sauce from Kikkoman is my favorite. I tried tamari sauce but it’s too salty for me. Udi’s bread is also my go-to. Looking at cookies, Schar has never let me down and I’ve been working on rebuilding my dessert recipes.
Other health benefits that I have noticed is that my hair isn’t falling out as much anymore. I am not as sleepy, my husband used to comment how often and how much I napped but since I’m not pregnant anymore, I haven’t been so lethargic. My joints aren’t swollen anymore which is great but I just resized my wedding set because they were too small and now they’re too big. Can’t win for trying.
But it’s not all rainbows. Eating out at restaurants is still terrifying. A lot of restaurants have gluten free options but they’re still cooked in a gluten filled kitchen so cross contamination is high. They should really be called “gluten aware.” Unless they have a celiac certified kitchen area, it’s always a gamble. A few restaurants that have certified foods are California Pizza Kitchen, Chuck E Cheese, and Culvers. They all either have a separate kitchen space or deliver your gluten free food to your table in sealed bags cooked at certified locations off site. It is so appreciated. Also appreciated is restaurants that have a dedicated fry fryer and use 100% oil with no wheat additives (like most fast food places do). Smelling French fries and not being able to eat them is nothing short of torture.
Another crappy thing is making food for my kids. They still get to eat regular bread, kraft mac n cheese, whatever. I cook it for them and have to wash my hands approximately 3,000 times before I eat – which means I need lotion and coconut oil more and more. I can’t try the noodle to see if it’s cooked. While I rarely eat peanut butter, we have a strict no double-dip rule. Didn’t get enough the first time? You better get a new knife. My daughter also sometimes exhibits signs of celiac so I am going to get her blood tested when I go to get my 1 year blood draw.
This was 1 year down of the rest of my life. Will they ever find a cure or vaccine? I sure do hope so because I miss McDonald’s fries.