I have recently received a letter from my friend Sandra informing me that her sister in law was recently diagnosed with Celiacs and she didn’t know where to start. I have received many of these types of letters and I thought I would post something here to get people started.
Preemptively, I would like to make it clear that I think you should be diagnosed by a doctor. It can be by the blood test or the up the wassoo test or even just an elimination diet test but it should all be performed by a doctor. Especially the up the wassoo test because that is something that no regular person should agree to do for you. If anyone offers to do that test for you, keep your pants on and stay the fuck away from them.
So the Doctor, looks at you and says, “I think you have Celiac Disease”
Step 1: Don’t punch him in the face – despite your deep desire to. He will most likely give you some pamphlets or a website to look at. Ask any questions you want but you most likely won’t remember the answers.
Step 2: After you leave…freak out. Yes, be petty and babyish and stomp your feet and cry and punch things. You may do this only once so make that shit count. Like, go trash a Chuckie Cheese or something.
Step 3: IF you are not having symptoms (which some people don’t) eat everything you think you will miss. I know, I know, you are causing damage to your small intestine blah blah blah. I personally think that one last hurrah is therapeutic. Again, you can only do this once so make it matter.
Literally, go and buy one of everything, a big mac, a taquito, a piece of KFC, loaf of sourdough bread, those mini donuts at the stampede, KD, pizza pops, cinnamon bun, chocolate bars, Chinese food from the mall……you get my point, take one day and eat yourself sick. This will help trust me. Have a good cry and say goodbye.
Step 4: Tell your close friends. DON’T post it on facebook to get a bunch of sympathy and attention from the randoms. Despite what you think, it won’t make you feel better. You will inevitably have the jerky friend who will say something stupid like, “well, it could be worse” and you would have to go to jail for killing them. Text or e-mail or call your best friends and tell them. Their reaction will remind you of why they are dear friends.
Step 5: Eat some cheese – it will help
Step 6: DON’T YOU DARE TRY TO BAKE ANYTHING RIGHT AWAY! This is like someone finding out they got accepted into the army and so they figure they should drive a tank to the mall. Just buy a few things that will get you through:
First Gluten Free Shopping List
- Udi’s Bread (Frozen Section – keep it frozen)
- GF Soya Sauce - I like the San-J brand
- GF Breadcrumbs - I like glutino
- GF Crackers - I like Glutino here too - the square ones are great
- Corn Pasta (or rice but I like corn)
- GF Rice Crispies or Chex
- GF Cookies (2 packages) - Easy life makes some good ones
- A bottle of wine - I prefer a nice Pinot Grigio but whatevs
Step 7: Don’t scream when the checkout lady asks you for the money for these items. You will be tempted to accuse her of robbery….don’t. That’s how much it costs…get used to it.
Step 8: Drink the wine – go back and get more
Step 9: Eat some of the items you bought and realize that it isn’t that bad. I give you permission to eat all the cookies and drink the second bottle of wine
Step 10: Go out to eat. Don’t be afraid. Don’t turn into the creepy lady who wont leave her house full of cats and depends underwear, just go…it will be fine. DON’T go to a diner or a fast food joint, go to a medium to upscale restaurant. When you walk in, if they do not know what Celiac’s is, leave, I’m not kidding, run like its on fire. Please see my side bar for “Gluten Free on the Go” for some more restaurant tips.
Step 11: Create an email folder for Celiac information. Once you announce that you have it, people will send you lots of information. Some of it is useful, some of it is crazy town. One lady sent me a picture of her small intestine. Ummmm thank you?
Step 12: DON’T go buy 15 books on Celiacs. They will most likely all say the same thing and will overwhelm you and then you will cry like a baby again and then need more wine etc etc. Look at a couple websites (Celiac.com), maybe get one book and THAT’S IT. I mean it, don’t make me bitch slap you into submission.
Step 15: After a while, go buy “Gems of Gluten Free Baking” and give baking a shot. It may be perfect the first time, it may suck ass (please see my previous posts) either way, remember to laugh about it.
Step 16: Print off or save this list on your phone to have with you at all times. The website itself is pretty great too but this list is my lifeline when I am reading labels.
Step 17: Post it on Facebook – join some Gluten Free groups on-line, Follow GF people on twitter. Embrace it and keep your chin up.
Step 18: Everyone has the right to feel sorry for themselves every once in a while. You also have this right but within reason. I give you permission to feel sorry for yourself once a week for the for the first month and then once a month after that. THAT’S IT! No exceptions! If you continuously whimper about your Celiacs, your friends will hate you as much as you will eventually hate yourself. You may sit and feel sorry for yourself for 3 minutes and then shake it off and count your blessings.
Step 19: Find a great place to get GF food. I like People Food here in Calgary. I also like The Gluten Free General Store because they deliver.
Step 20: Read this blog…laugh your ass off…repeat
Remember that Celiacs isn’t a death sentence; it’s a new way of living. Give yourself and your family time to adjust. If you go out and buy every product on the market, and every book and take everyone’s advice, you will absolutely lose your marbles. Just relax about it and slowly, over time, it will become just a part of your day without thinking.
Think of it as another personality trait; in addition to having a good ass and a nice smile, you now have Celiacs.
Celiacs is not WHO you are, it is just something that you have. Do not allow your Celiacs to define you. Every day, wake up, count your blessings and be proud of who you are.