As with anything in life, sometimes laughter really is the best medicine. And it feels good to find humor in even the most stressful of situations. Paying attention to how we deal with every day obstacles can make a tremendous impact on our happiness and success. Although Celiac Disease is obviously extremely serious and nothing to make light of, I sometimes find that making light of things and laughing about it is exactly what I need.
For those of us with Celiac Disease, we know that it is here to stay. There’s nothing anyone can do to change that. Sometimes I do get down about it. And sometimes a solid rant feels amazing. But most of the time, nothing beats the feeling after a good, long laugh. So with this post, I’d like to do just that:
- One of my favorite places to stop on the web when having a rough GF day is the @gfreeblondie tumblr page called “When I Went Gluten Free.” I have never not laughed until I cried after reading her posts. My favorite thing about it is how relatable her topics are and how it makes me feel like I’m not alone. Here are a few screen shots of her posts:
- And as we all know, Pinterest is always a gold mine. Search something along the lines of “gluten-free humor.” Here are a few screenshots of what I came up with today:
Laughing yet? If not, here’s a buzzfeed.com post I discovered today. It should do the trick.
Eating gluten-free is pretty straight-forward in the comfort of your own kitchen. But what happens when you’re on the other side of the country or world? Don’t panic. There are a few things you can do to prepare yourself for traveling with Celiac Disease:
- Plan Ahead. I cannot stress this enough. When I travel, whether it is short distance or long, I always reserve space in my luggage to bring something for every meal as well as a few snacks for in between. It might seem like a hassle, but it takes a lot of the burden off of your shoulders and helps bring stress levels down. It’s good to know, that no matter what, you have something with you.
- Check out the route. For road trips, look for what restaurants are in your path or what hotels offer gluten-free accommodations. You’d be surprised; I’ve experienced amazing gluten-free meals at hotels. Don’t be afraid to even call ahead to restaurants or hotels on your route.
- Utilize your connections. Chances are, someone in your social media network is gluten-free and has traveled to where you’re going. If you’re like me, you follow lots of gluten-free bloggers and accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Reach out to them! There’s nothing more reliable than someone else’s own personal experience.
If you are traveling outside of the U.S., check out a few travel sites that might offer gluten-free help. For example, ellenmorsetravel.com offers gluten-free itineraries for several different countries. Developers are also creating apps that can help you order food in another language.
It is so important to be prepared before traveling GF, but it is definitely a ‘learn as you go’ process.
Celiac Disease. The name surely doesn’t give anything away as to what the disease is all about. As Celiacs, we struggle daily when friends, family and coworkers ask even the simplest questions. How detailed do we really need to be? It becomes a small dilemma in our everyday lives.
Source: Scientific American
As difficult as it may sometimes feel, educating family and friends makes living gluten-free a lot easier in the long-term. If the people you surround yourself with understand your dietary needs, a more stress-free environment is created. You’ll hear less of those annoying comments and questions. “Can’t you just have a little?” is one that gets me every time.
This is how I like to answer a few common questions that family and friends ask about Celiac Disease:
- What is Celiac Disease? Celiac Disease is hard to sum up in a sentence or two. I usually like to explain that it is a hereditary autoimmune disease. When I eat foods containing gluten, my body attacks it as it would an invader causing a range of awful symptoms.
- What is gluten? This one is easy. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and oats.
- What happens when you eat gluten? I really despise this question. While I want to tell people what really happens when I get glutened, I will normally generalize my response. I’ll say something along the lines of being in pain for hours and getting physically sick. I also like to add that the effects of getting glutened will stick with me for a few weeks. It depends on personal preference and who you are talking to as to how you might answer this question. The most important thing is that the seriousness of a reaction is relayed.
- So what CAN you eat? Every Celiac has been asked this question, even by the most empathetic person. I sometimes get frustrated when people ask me this question. Depending on what type of mood I’m in, I’ll either make a joke out of it or explain that I do a lot of cooking at home. It is important for people to understand that we don’t just eat fruits and vegetables.
I’ve noticed that it takes awhile for friends and family to fully understand what Celiac Disease is and how frustrating a gluten-free diet can be. The most important thing is to be patient with people or you’ll start to become slightly crazy.
How have you helped family and friends understand your dietary needs?