No joke guys...it has been 5 years! It seems so much longer actually. I feel like I have been gluten-free my whole life. I guess 5 years is a long time though. I can't imagine my life any differently now. You all know I am not one of those people who hates their disease or who struggles with coming to terms with their Celiac. I embrace it wholeheartedly and will never look back. I feel bad for those who constantly struggle and hate their Celiac. I am in a few Celiac/gluten-free support groups on Facebook and I constantly see people so down on the fact that they must be gluten-free. I understand those who are newly diagnosed, but some are years down the line, like me, and still hate it. Of course there are struggles, but to me, being gluten-free and safe is second nature and doesn't take much thought (even here in college...for the most part). You can't fully embrace your Celiac or new way of life if you are constantly down about it and negative. You have to see the positive and make the most of it!
The thing that makes being gluten-free worth it in my eyes, like I've said so many times before, is how much I've learned along the way. When I think back, I am so grateful for it all, really I am. Maybe I would have learned about all the world's amazing foods, cooking techniques, and health info, eventually from getting involved with blogging, but I also think becoming gluten-free lead me deeper into the blogging world as I started becoming obsessed with food blogs! Going gluten-free lead to it all!
I question if I would have ever fully embraced cooking new crazy foods like millet, quinoa flakes, plantains, even my love for nut butters. Would I have ever looked for these things in the store? I don't know, but I am glad I had to go gluten-free. People say they would never be able to do it since they would miss pizza, pasta, etc. But really THEY are the ones missing out on the real amazing wide range of foods out there! Has the typical person ever had creamy buckwheat cereal? I think not! Some people don't even know what teff is! So I'm not missing out on anything! You can make ANYTHING gluten-free and make it better! The flavors of gluten-free grains and ingredients are so much better anyway 😉
I learned how to not be afraid of trying new things in the kitchen, cooking up whatever I can imagine, experimenting, and making it fun and healthy along the way. To live a good life, I think you need to learn to cook. You need to embrace food and make it yourself (like humans had been doing for centuries before all this processed food). Not only will you be nourishing your body with healthy whole foods, but you don't have to worry about allergens AND you will feel so fulfilled and happy! Cooking is the greatest thing. Being gluten-free has shown me the beauty in food and the beauty in the craft of cooking.
Here are my top 5 things I've learned from being gluten-free for 5 years.
1. Try it! Just try that quinoa or that purple sweet potato! Branch out and expand your food "vocabulary!"
2. Like I said before, get cooking! Don't be scared to experiment, it's only food!
3. Even after all this time, people still don't understand what Celiac is or why I'm gluten-free. Just try to be patient with them, but know that some will never understand. You also need to be kind to yourself as well. This is a lifestyle change (forever). It can take time, so remember to give yourself some love.
4. You have to be so aware! Read every label, every package, scan every food, request your needs, and demand safety! You deserve to be healthy!
5. Lastly, don't stop expanding your knowledge, reaching out, connecting with the community, advocating and raising awareness, and most importantly DON'T STOP LIVING! Bring gluten-free is only going to enhance your life after being sick for so long! Embrace it and know you are not alone and this is what you need!
No, I will never complain or "hate" that fact that I have Celiac. I never want piety or someone to say, "O, that's horrible, I could never do that!" Because guess what, it is not horrible and yes, you can do it when it is the only option to feel happy and healthy again!
Here is to 5 more (any many more) happy and learning gluten-free years!
So tell me:
+ If you have Celiac (or even some other food allergy), what have you learned?
+ Do you branch out and try new foods when you see them?
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