There are many downsides to having coeliac disease, but there are also many positives to having it as well. If you’re recently diagnosed, or you’re simply thinking of getting tested, this post is to highlight, that whilst it’s a big lifestyle adjustment, it doesn’t have to limit how you live your life!
The bad things about being coeliac
– I lack confidence eating
Whether it’s eating something a friend has cooked you, or eating out at a restaurant, it can be very difficult to muster up the courage to swallow the food.
– I feel like I’m constantly washing my hands
In work, I have a pot of hand sanitiser and I use it like it’s going out of fashion. When birthday cake is lying around uncovered by the tea area, it makes me anxious, ‘what if some cake has got on the teaspoons and I stir it in??’. So I’ve started bringing in my own tea spoon for when I’m lacking in confidence.
– I’m on edge when someone else makes me a cup of tea
For similar reasons as above, other people aren’t as on edge as you are, obviously. So I do find it hard to trust people.
– I also feel like there isn’t much awareness around cross-contamination
This is particularly in restaurants. I was recently invited to a blogger evening to test a menu relaunch and I was contacted through Twitter direct message by the PR company handling the event. I asked if they cater for coeliacs and the PR woman came back to me and said yes they do but the food is prepared in the same area. Well, that’s not catering for coeliacs then, is it!
– I don’t like people touching my stuff
When I see someone eating their lunch, and then they wheel over to my desk, I’m on high alert – hoping they keep their gluten-covered fingers to themselves.
– I’m worried people think I over-exaggerate
Everyone with coeliac disease has differing symptoms, some people don’t even get any symptoms. I am highly sensitive to gluten, and I’ve only ever experienced the symptoms from a trace of gluten. I dread to think what would happen if I ate something that was incorrectly labelled as gluten-free and it wasn’t.
– There’s barely any lunch options to buy
I hate lunchtime, but meals and breakfasts I can make things from scratch, but lunch? It’s hard to find a substitute for bread. IF the gluten-free bread didn’t taste disgusting/more places sold them, I’d probably have a sandwich!
The good things about being coeliac
– I experiment with my foods
There are so many foods I miss since diagnosis, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try them, and perfect them, at home! I have done that with many of my favourite foods, the best being my newly perfected vegetable spring rolls.
– I think it’s made me more healthy
I cook all my meals from scratch. This way I know exactly what’s in each meal, and it’s got no added salt or sugar. Most of the time it’s cheaper, too. Unless you buy pre-packed frozen foods – that’s ridiculously expensive.
– You appreciate tasty food
I recently visited an all gluten-free restaurant in Liverpool, called Jam, and I was so unbelievably happy I could have cried. Sitting in a restaurant knowing I wouldn’t get ill is the greatest feeling. Their menu was massive as well, so there was some great stuff to choose from. I think not being able to eat certain foods makes you appreciate it a lot more if you manage to make it from scratch.
– I’ve saved money on lunches
Because I take my lunch in every day, despite expensive brand name gluten-free foods, I’ve actually saved money. I used to buy my lunch pretty much every day beforehand, so it has helped me save!
OK, so I’ve come up with more bad than good points, but overall, it’s better to be diagnosed than it go unnoticed, obviously. When you begin your journey on your strict gluten-free diet it can take a long time to adjust, naturally, it’s changing your entire lifestyle! But, when I think of all the times I missed out on at university because I knew I’d have a sore stomach, I wish I’d have thought of going the doctors then, but I’m so glad that I know have a known cause for why my stomach was excrutiatingly painful all the time.