A few days ago someone posted on Facebook that they were a vegan who had just received a Celiac diagnosis. They talked about how overwhelmed they felt. How the walls were closing in. How there seemed to be nothing left to eat.
These feelings resonated with me. They took me back to a place of fear and uncertainty. And to an unhealthy relationship with food.
But it also made me realize something else. It made me realize that I’ve ‘got this’ now. At some point over this past summer it just clicked one day. I realized I could walk into the grocery store with no idea what to cook, and come out with items to make a meal. I realized I could walk into a restaurant I’d never been to, and not feel a pit in my stomach fear and anxiety.
I remembered the moment that I knew I could do this. The moment that I realized I was doing it. That I was
But that did not happen overnight. If you want to read more about my food decisions you can find that here. As you’ll find there, we phased foods out in steps – one or two at a time. But it was still overwhelming. And very scary.
The scariest moment came about 3 months after we gave up processed foods and meat. Nathan was incredibly sick, and they were testing him for Celiacs. They told us ‘we would probably have to go gluten free’ and I still felt like I was drowning with the other changes. Another brick on my head and I was sinking under water. 8 days later Nathan’s tests came back negative. Although I still think that he will feel better if he gives up all gluten. And I remember crying. I was happy he didn’t have an autoimmune disorder. I was scared that we didn’t know what was wrong. I was grateful that we didn’t yet have to give up gluten. And I was overwhelmed with what to cook for dinner.
And I stayed this way for a long time. It took about a year for my taste buds to adjust, and to begin to feel comfortable in my own cooking skin.
About the ..exact.. day that I reached the point of comfort with making mostly vegan meals, I was diagnosised with a non-celiac’s gluten intolerance. And I kicked and screamed for about a nano second, but then realized I just had to do it. I felt comfortable with this change, because things were more under control. In my life, and in my other food choices.
When I told people about my gluten intolerance the first thing most of them asked is ‘aren’t you going to start eating meat again, then?’ or, ‘is it possible to still eat healthy if you can’t eat gluten? What about vegetables, they have gluten in them, right? You eat a lot of vegetables’. (vegetables, in general, do not have gluten in them, by the way).
I decided to prove them wrong. I decided to prove to them that I could still eat healthy and delicious food that is vegan and gluten free.
And I did. I can. I am. And you can too.
If you are reading this and you are veggie (or anyone!) struggling with a new gluten free diagnosis, or really any food change, please please feel free to contact me. I am happy to help you think of fun substitutions, to give you some encouragement, or to be a shoulder to cry on, or, a metaphorical wall to punch.
So. Please hear me. It is possible. You can do it. And…it gets better.