That might be one of the first times I’ve ever said that. You see, I was recently diagnosed (recently, as in, less than week ago) and am still trying to adjust to this new part of my life.
I’ve had hypothyroidism (like celiac sprue, hypothyroidism is also an autoimmune disease) since I was 11, and have had it fairly well-managed with synthetic thyroid pills due to my (amazing!) physician father.
Celiac disease is something I didn’t expect, though. Perhaps I should have, as the two often go hand-in-hand, but I never imagined that my beloved grains could be making me so sick. Thankfully, I’ve been lucky as far as symptoms go: I’ve only had slight tummy troubles, a bit of fatigue, and a generally icky feeling.
What’s surprising is that when I went vegan, cutting out animal products entirely, I never felt that it was a huge adjustment. I was devoted to the cause of eliminating my part in animal suffering as much as I could, and it never felt like a sacrifice. At first, I was happy to find Vegenaise, Follow Your Heart cheese, and the Accidentally Vegan lists, but eventually, I settled, rather gleefully, on eating things straight from the Earth, in largely the same form as they were on the tree or in the ground.
Giving up gluten, though, is a completely different story. I feel as though I’m almost mourning losing my favorite foods which (unfortunately) have often included refined carbohydrates like store-bought bread and pasta. For the past few days, the list of what I now can’t eat seems to be getting longer in longer in my head. Chocolate chip cookies from my own fiance’s restaurant? Out. (Luckily, they do have some pretty awesome gluten-free cupcakes…but the point is the same – I loved those cookies!) Whole wheat pasta? Out. Soy sauce…my BELOVED soy sauce? OUT.
Although I am so thankful that it’s a disease that is easily managed through dietary changes, I can’t help but feel a little sad. The life I had once where I could just grab a veggie wrap here or some vegan Thai food there is largely now gone.
I have been very lucky in that I have some great friends who are food coaches, experts, and just generally knowledgeable. One of my closest friends is actually a health coach at TheFitFlexitarian.com, and knows SO much about these things, so she’s helping me along the way. I also discovered a fantastic resource for vegans at TheGlutenFreeVegan.com. Besides having a WEALTH of helpful information, there are also some pretty fantastic-looking recipes on this website. (The featured image on this post is of her amazing recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies! Yup, you heard that right – pumpkin!)
I suppose, like all things, it’s an adjustment. And even better – I’ve heard that after discovering celiac disease, many people feel a lot healthier and happier with their new diet. So, here’s hoping that’s soon to come – because for now, I sure do miss those cookies!