Saturday, October 30, 2010

Living Without Gluten

Imagine never being able to bite into a chewy, gewy, soft, warm piece of bread again. Or never being able to dine on pizza, subs, pasta, pretzels, crackers, most cereals, fried foods, and breaded foods.
No, I mean
really imagine it!

If you are truly imagining it, you are probably horrified. Well, welcome to my world. It is time I admitted it publicly, it is time for me to take hold of this and accept my new life. So here goes!

Hello, my name is Amanda and I am a gluten free, vegan.

About a month ago, I was diagnosed with Celiac's disease. While I knew this was on the table, I didn't think this is what I had and neither did my Doctor. He thought I had dyspepsia with ulcers. I never prayed so hard in my life for ulcers! It turns out there was a different plan for me. I don't have ulcers, chronic heart burn, dyspepsia, or other GI disturbances. I have an autoimmune disorder called Celiacs disease that creates a toxic reaction to any food containing the gluten (including wheat, barley, rye, and triticale). This reaction causes damage to my small intestine which leads to food being improperly absorbed. The results of the malabsportion could lead to anemia, osteoporosis, vitamin D/calcium/iron deficiencies, and a type of lymphoma cancer only seen in patients who ignore the diagnosis and continue to eat gluten.

Hold up! Cancer? This is too serious to ignore!

So, I have embarked on the beginning of my life-long gluten free journey. Yes, this is something I will have to live with for the rest of my life. If I want to live, and I do, then I'll have to following this diet.

Several people have asked me if I am going to go back to eating meat, eggs, and dairy. The answer is a resounding NO! Just because I changed an aspect of my life doesn't mean that my convictions have changed. I still believe with all my heart that compassion towards animals is my mission and purpose in life.

I am taking this all one day at a time. Sometimes I laugh about it and sometimes I cry. I am hoping my days of laughter will soon outweigh my days of sadness. I know it will come, I just need time and support. As silly as it may sound, I need time to mourn the loss of gluten in my life. I fluidly go back and forth through the stages of grief, but I know I need them all to come out of this as a strong person.

To some this may seem small, but to me this is my new life. Love it or hate it, it is mine.


Alfonso said...

I wish you the best of luck with the new diet. I know you have a strong will and can stick to it. With that in mind, I still hope that they find a cure or something for it in the near future.

Anonymous said...

Hi Amanda: I am so sorry to hear of your diagnosis. However, it sounds as though at least it is something that diet can control. I found this list of gluten-free candies. I haven't checked to see which ones are also vegan.
This list was posted on this site: which might have many more ideas and offer you some support.
I subscribe to a cooking/recipe fb page that oftentimes has gluten-free recipes and links, and that is where I discovered these two links. Wishing you wonderful new discoveries along your new life path. Lucy Moore

Dragonfly said...

Oh, Amanda! I'm so sorry to hear it. When it comes to this, I think I can empathize a little. My sister has Celiac's, and with me being unable to ever eat dairy again...

I hope, for you, that one of the great things that happens is that you get to enjoy the feeling of meals that are pain/symptom free. I remember how much better I felt, in general - and my sister, too!

I know this is going to be rough, but I am so happy to see how many more gluten-free options are out there! Restaurants have gluten-free menus, and there's a lot at the natural food stores that's tasty.

I'll be thinking about you and praying that your new path will be of minimal trouble. You're so wonderfully disciplined already! Here's to your health, lady!


VeggieAmanda said...

Thank all! I appreciate the support and care.
Lucy- I'll have to check out the candy. Sounds good! :-)
Jenn-Thanks for telling me about your sister, the thoughts, and prayers!