This past summer, I was diagnosed with celiac disease, and I can honestly say that it has been a life-changing experience. The idea of eating any food with gluten in it is so foreign to me, but in reality, I was eating a diet full of gluten less than a year ago, without even knowing that I was harming my body.
The first time I experienced the symptoms was about 2 years ago in my senior year of high school. I thought that these pains were just from having a fast metabolism since I am fairly athletic. I thought the food I was eating had few nutrients and that is why it was going right through my body. I ignored the symptoms, simply because I did not realize the severity of them.
The next year, I went away to college and experienced the pains to an even more extreme degree. However, I thought the food was upsetting my stomach because it was made in the college cafeteria, and many of my friends also said the food hurt their stomachs periodically.
Once I returned home for the summer in May, I gave myself a few weeks to see if I felt any better after eating home-cooked meals. Unfortunately, nothing changed when I ate.
Finally, I decided to get blood-tested for a food allergy or disease. The results came back positive, and I was honestly in shock. I did not know how I was going to handle a gluten-free diet for the rest of my life.
The doctor wanted to verify the results with an endoscopy, so until I had the procedure, I was free to eat all the gluten I wanted, for possibly the last time in my life. The results came back and verified that I did indeed have celiac disease. From that point on, I knew that I had to eat completely gluten-free, and it honestly frightened me.
Over the past several months, I have become significantly more knowledgeable about celiac and how to eat gluten-free efficiently. It has not necessarily been an easy process, but I feel so much better after I eat a meal. I am so much more comfortable, and I am doing the best for my body that I can, and that is the most important part.
It is definitely difficult to eat gluten-free in college, and even sometimes at home, but it has become a much more prevalent fad. Many people are eating gluten-free because they have to, but some are also doing so because they want to improve their health. This fad is causing more stores and restaurants to become more aware and attend to gluten sensitivity.
As much as it can be frustrating and difficult at times to have a gluten-free lifestyle, it is possible to do. Being knowledgeable about a gluten-free diet and having a good attitude are key to making it a more positive experience.