Feeling down about being gluten free? Sometimes you’ve got to flip the glass over.

If you’ve been gluten-free for a while, you know that it is really easy to focus on the negative aspects of the diet.  Specifically if you have celiac disease (or some other need for strict avoidance of any cross contamination), the world is filled with reminders of all of the things you can’t have or can’t do anymore.

Who among us hasn’t found themselves on the verge of tears while wandering through the grocery store?  I’ve been there.  Heck, I’ve been beyond “the verge” and found myself trying to wipe the tears off of my face before strangers start to try to console me.  (Luckily, I have only been on the receiving end of some odd stares.)

At times, the glass seems perpetually half-empty…

When I was first coming to grips with this, I did all the pep-talk stuff to try and take myself out of this slump.  I bought a bunch of GF junk food to make up for the lack of Oreo Double-Stuf cookies, I told myself that I would be healthier now that I wasn’t going to be eating as much processed fast-food crap, I cajoled myself into numbing my emotions because I had to be strong for my daughter (who is also GF).  And while much of that helped in the short term, the only thing that I can consistently go back to when I start feeling low is a complete change in perspective on how I look at a GF diet.

Here is how the narrative goes for me:

When I was diagnosed, I was a smidge away from having lymphoma from celiac disease.  For those who live under a rock, lymphoma is a type of cancer (and one which celiacs are prone to getting at a higher rate than non-celiacs).  That’s right:  the big C-word.  And let’s face it:  cancer sucks.  It kills people.  It can kill them fast, or kill them slow; but I don’t know anyone who has told me that it killed painlessly.  Because it isn’t painless.  And neither are the treatments.

So, I think of the people I know who have battled (or who are battling) cancer.

And then I think of how GRATEFUL they would be if only their cancer could be cured by simply avoiding a certain protein found in certain foods.  Think of how the medical world would be in awe of such a discovery.  A cure for all of that suffering and death being as SIMPLE as not eating gluten…. We would all be joyously amazed!!!

And suddenly it does seem more simple.  And easy.  Because while avoiding gluten doesn’t cure cancer, for me, it sure as heck can prevent it (and a host of other issues).  And if I ever got cancer, you’d better believe that I’d be praying for a cure, no matter how complicated…and that I’d be so relieved if it were something I could do by simply switching my diet.

While Glutino sandwich cookies are great, home-made food is better for my health, and my daughter has it easier knowing that we are in this together, the thing that keeps me strong is the thought that everything is relative.  While being gluten free may be tough from where I am, if I look at it from a little farther down the scale, it looks amazingly easy.

So, when you feel down about being gluten-free, and that glass looks like it will always be half-empty, do yourself a favor.  Flip that glass over.  Because sometimes you need to see it empty in order to be reminded that perhaps it was half-full in the first place after all.

About AccidentalCeliac

I am an architect living in Minneapolis who was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I also am a mother of two children, one of whom has Celiac Disease, as well. This blog is about all things related to navigating the many terrains of gluten-free living. I hope to share tips and experiences, post news and fun ideas, vent a little, and share anything else that has to do with this lifestyle that so many people are now living with.

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