When I became gluten free, it was a long and bumpy process. It isn’t hard especially now to find gluten free food for the most part. My struggles were centered about being diagnosed later in life and giving up foods that were comfortable and familiar. As I became more consistent being gluten free my reactions when “cheating” became more severe. After having my youngest son (The Bear) who is also gluten intolerant, I became very strict because I was nursing and he would get sores that would bleed when he was exposed. Talk about a way to stay on track!
I think of gluten free people in the following two groups:
1. Diagnosed early in life
2. Diagnosed in late teens/adult
*There is also a difference between people who have been gluten free for two years vs. twenty years when it comes to taste in food. It is much harder to please taste/texture of some one who has had gluten more recently but we will save that for another day.
I think that both categories have challenges. I am in the second category, raising a child in the first. One of my main challenges is traditions attached with food. Figuring out how to make my favorite meals gluten free and learning to deal with replacement foods not tasting as good as the originals (oh bagels how I miss you) is more of a struggle than I would have imagined.
While The Bear doesn’t have anything to compare gluten free food to, he has to navigate events such as birthday parties where he can’t eat what everyone else has and he is not old enough to fully understand why. I am very blessed that he is sweet about it when I say it is not gluten free.
Both groups deal with people’s lack of knowledge about being gluten free and also the indifference some people have because gluten free eating is very trendy right now. We have run in to multiple situations when people think it is a choice rather than a serious health issue including my brother being “glutened” a few weeks ago at a local restaurant.
If you sit and think about the things you normally do – grab donuts, go for ice cream cones, eat cookies your great grandma made, those are all things that involve gluten. It is not just the actual food itself but the memories made while doing those things. Memories my husband I have from growing up that we want to pass on to our children. We have chosen to create new traditions for The Muskrat and The Bear centered around things we can have. It is not a bad thing, just different.