Newly Gluten-Free? Me too!

by Anjali Sareen on April 20, 2012

I have celiac disease.

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, and knows SO much about these things, so she’s helping me along the way. I also discovered a fantastic resource for vegans at 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!

Anjali Sareen

Anjali is the creator and Editor-in-Chief of Intellectualyst, as well as a vegan and lawyer in NYC. Read about her life adventures on her blog, She loves trying new vegan recipes and meeting new people! Email her at or find her on Facebook and Twitter today!
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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Terri April 20, 2012 at 10:35 am

I’m also a vegan who doesn’t eat gluten — I don’t know if I have celiacs or not, but I do know that it makes me really sick. And like you, I didn’t find it that difficult to go vegetarian and then vegan. I never miss meat and rarely miss other non-vegan items I no longer eat. I do miss gluten every day, though I don’t miss how it made me feel so I stay away from it.

It’s getting better all the time though! There are some gluten-free vegans at the Post-Punk Kitchen boards, you may find that resource helpful. Good luck!


Rhea April 20, 2012 at 1:42 pm

I didn’t know you were gluten-free. Me too! I don’t have celiac disease (at least I tested negative for it) but I do have autoimmune disorders and I became gluten-free because it’s supposed to help with that, prevent inflammation, etc. Since I have been gf (almost 2 years now, I think), I do feel better and when I cheat, I certainly pay for it.

Most of the recipes on my blog are gluten-free. Baking has been the biggest challenge. It’s a challenge for me anyway but baking gf reminds me of chemistry lab :)

If I can be of any help and vice versa :)


Megan April 20, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Welcome to the gluten-free vegan club! :) I know it might seem overwhelming and a bit sad at first but really when you start to feel worlds better eating this way you’ll forget what it was like to have that icky bread.

Thanks for mentioning my site. I’m happy you’ve been able to get some encouragement and information from it. And those pumpkin chocolate chip cookies were very tasty. I might have to go make some now. They might not be as amazing as the ones from your fiance’s restaurant but hopefully treats like these can help you feel less ‘robbed’ of the goodies you once loved.


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