The number 1 thing you need to know about celiac disease is something most people neglect to realize. They just don't know and in today's society not much is being done to end this lack of essential knowledge.
If there's one thing, the most important thing, you should know about Celiac Disease is that it is NOT a choice.
As with May being Celiac Disease Awareness Month, it's important to bring up this one simple fact. Those of us with celiac did not choose this. We are not gluten-free because we think it's healthier, are paleo, want to follow some awful trend, think was have some "intolerance" (instead of taking the time to look at FODMAPs), or think a wheat-allergy is the same thing as celiac disease, etc.
Celiac Disease is an AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE. Our bodies literally attack themselves when gluten is present, as small as <20ppm can have drastic effects on our health. Over time this damage caused by gluten consumption or cross-contamination will block nutrient absorption leading to a whole host of side effects including, but not limited to: infertility, depression, weight loss, anemia, osteoporosis, hair loss, stunted growth, and even cancer.
And the symptoms we get when we become "glutened" or sadly go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed? Diarrhea, bloating and gas, sharp pains and aches, incredible fatigue, migraines, etc. We basically are either stuck in bed with no energy to move out from under the covers, or running to the bathroom for the next 3 days.
Did I, did we, choose to be sick? No. Did we choose this genetic autoimmune disease? No. Did we choose to have to divulge our health needs to everyone who will be serving us food? No. Did we choose to have to be so very vigilant about every food bought, given, prepared? No. Did we choose to have to worry about our make-up and hygiene products? No. Did we choose to have to make some of the most difficult accommodations requests in college or school? No. Did we choose to have big name companies make a mockery of our illness just so they could jump on the bandwagon and make money off of "gluten-free"? NO!
So is Celiac Disease a choice? NO!
Over 7 and ½ years now, I have learned to manage my illness, thrive and be ever grateful for the passion its created. I don't let this illness hold me back. If I want a bagel, I'll have a bagel! If I need certain accommodations in college, I'll get them. If you think I live this way by choice or chose this for some other reason besides keeping my life, you better be prepared for an angry celiac rant (like this post)!
The takeaway? CELIAC DISEASE IS NOT A CHOICE! Respect that and help advocate and spread real awareness.
So tell me:
+ No questions, just my call for you to stop the myths, show respect, and raise awareness!
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