Welcome to the Gluten-Free You!
Hello! I’m so glad you’re here! For those of you who haven’t gotten a chance to glance at the home page, my name is Anika. I am seventeen years old, and I enjoy making the most of living a gluten-free lifestyle.
So before we dive right into my story, let me cover the basics. This website consists of blog which is mainly of recipes, restaurant review, featured products every month, and more! You can also access these via the bar under the title “The Gluten-Free You” with the tabs. I know you might be wondering why a high schooler’s perspective on living a gluten-free lifestyle really matters. Well, I do believe that I can help other teenagers by being able to relate to what they are going through. Additionally, since I have carried a diagnosis for celiac disease for numerous years, I do have experience in the gluten-free world. So, shall we begin?
In March of 2006, I was diagnosed with celiac disease. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with it, celiac disease is a fancy term that simply means your body doesn’t react well when you eat foods containing gluten. So, I was to go on a gluten-free diet- indefinitely. But what did that really mean? What could I eat and what couldn’t I eat? The words wheat, barley, rye, bran, malt, and oats* were soon of second nature to me. I quickly developed the ability to scour ingredient labels looking from my new six least favorite words and pouting if they were found. As you can imagine, it was quite lifestyle change for a seven-year-old. It’s definitely not something you can adjust to overnight, but as long as you make it easy for yourself and look, listen, and learn, you’ll be just fine.
The first step is to educate yourself. Clearly, you are on the right track since you’re reading this blog (checking out the FAQs would be a great start)! But as time goes on, you become well informed in the basics of living gluten-free. You learn how to read labels. You always double check the soy sauce. You experiment cooking and baking with new ingredients. You discover a wonderful necessity of life (and a staple part of my diet) called smoothies. You have new favorites: foods, restaurants, places. Soon enough, you don’t think twice about the whole gluten-free lifestyle that you originally made a fuss about. It all becomes second nature.
But let’s back it up for a minute. Back to my story…
As a seven-year-old, a big change in one’s life, like this one, is hard to comprehend. But I knew enough to know that I didn’t want the pain: the knot pitted in the center of my stomach, pulling tighter and tighter. This pain was undiagnosed for more than a year prior to March of 2006. I knew that if living a gluten-free life was the solution, it was an adjustment I had to make and an adjustment my family had to make.
I’m not going to lie, it was hard at first. I still remember the day my parents explained what celiac disease was, and how I couldn’t eat cookies, pasta, pizza, or cake. As a seven-year-old, I was devastated. But once we started exploring gluten-free options, after a year of being gluten-free, my eyes were opened to a whole new variety of choices and brands. However, back then, there weren’t nearly as many options available as there are today. Today, you can find gluten-free isles in your local grocery store, and companies love to draw attention to the fact that their product is gluten-free! This is not only due to the fact that the number of diagnoses of celiac disease have been rapidly increasing, but also that going “gluten-free” has become a trend of sorts.
I remember one of my first days being gluten-free. My family and I were at a corner booth in an old Dairy Queen. I was having a soda, and my brother was having one of those Oreo Cookies Blizzard Treats or the Oreo Blizzard Cake or something like that. After eying the Oreo dessert my brother was having, I asked if I could have a bite. My mom responsibly said, “No, it’s not gluten-free,” but I continued to stare and made sad, little puppy eyes. Finally, my mom gave in and allowed me to share the treat with my brother. I’m sharing this story with you because there are so many gluten-free options nowadays so you too can enjoy a tasty, non-glutinous treat. Also, it’s never worth it to experience the pain or other symptoms you get after ingesting gluten. And lastly, that day in Diary Queen, I put my mom in a very unfair position because mother’s never like seeing their children unhappy, but she knew she couldn’t give me what would make me happy.
In the very beginning, yes, it is tough. But I want to help you out on the start of your journey into a gluten-free lifestyle! If you continue reading my blog, my favorite products, recipes, restaurants and the FAQ’s, you’ll certainly have a smooth adjustment into the gluten-free world!
If you would like to share your story with us, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also feel free to email any question, comments, or concerns! Or simply comment below.
Don’t just live a gluten-free life, enjoy it!
*Some types of oats are certified gluten-free, so those would be suitable for anyone with celiac or a gluten restriction