I’m closing in now on two years since my diagnosis with celiac disease. While that leaves me still a novice compared to some, I’ve noticed significant change in myself. Many of the behaviors associated with being gluten free have become automatic to me. When I look at a product in the store, the first thing I do is read the label. I don’t try samples or eat food someone else has cooked unless I’m comfortable I know what they put in it and how they prepared it. Eating out tends to take a lot of advance planning. And when I read or hear people describing their gluten-filled dishes, my initial reaction is more ‘yuck‘ than ‘yum.’ Business travel doesn’t intimidate me, though it does require more careful, detailed planning. I generally have to have a plan (and sometimes a backup plan) for every meal in place well before I leave and that often means packing some food to take with me.
But it really struck home for me recently when a long distance friend of me wife was diagnosed with celiac disease. She was in that initial, “What am I going to eat?” stage. My wife wrote to her with advice, but she also asked me to write and provide resources and advice. As bits and pieces of the knowledge, the online resources, and way of living I’ve acquired flowed through my fingers, I realized just how much I’ve internalized in a relatively short period of time.
Celiac disease is not something you can ever forget you have.
But food does not rule my life.
There’s something to be said for that.