Happy National Celiac Awareness Day! Whoo hoo! Time to par-tay! Without any cake or bread of course.
I have an autoimmune disorder called Hashiomoto’s Thyroiditis. It’s like the best-named autoimmune disorder on earth. But it’s not very fun to live with. In short, my immune system is attacking my thyroid. The condition makes me incredibly tired. It makes my hair fall out. It makes my brain foggy. It makes my joints stiff and my muscles twitch. It gives me hives and strange rashes. So actually for something with such a cool name, it really blows.
A lot of people who have Hashimoto’s also have Celiac or gluten-intolerance. They’re kind of like BFF disorders. They like to stick together. I've been diagnosed with a gluten-intolerance. It’s unclear, however, whether I have full-blown Celiac or not because when I was tested I’d been off gluten for a few months and the results came back mixed. You have to be eating gluten to have accurate results, and gluten makes me so sick I wasn’t willing to put one morsel of bread into my mouth to find out if I was officially allergic.
But I didn’t need a diagnosis to tell me gluten wasn’t good for me. Twenty minutes after eating pasta, I’d have to rush to the bathroom with everything coming out of everywhere (TMI, sorry). I had seemingly permanent rashes all over that miraculously went away when I stopped eating gluten. I was bloated after meals. And that was just the external symptoms.
Inside gluten was likely partially responsible for my autoimmune disorder. How? Gluten contains a protein called gliadin that has a similar molecular structure to the thyroid gland. So when gluten protein leaks from the gut into the bloodstream, the immune system is alerted of a foreign body and goes after it and tries to destroy it. The antibodies that are attacking the gluten protein then attack the thyroid. Fun!
Eliminating gluten from my diet was a life-saver. Probably literally.
Being on a gluten-free diet isn’t a piece of cake (ha ha ha). The first time I went to the grocery store after being diagnosed, I stood in the aisles and cried. “What the hell am I supposed to eat NOW?” I thought. Sometimes I dream of having a real slice of New York pizza or a chocolate croissant (yummmmm).
But the thing that drives me most insane about being gluten-free isn’t the inability to eat everything. It’s the judgment of people who make comments or roll their eyes when I say I’m gluten-free. The people who think I don’t eat gluten because it’s a fad. Cause that’s just cray cray. Who would give up real bread for the cardboard-tasting gluten-free substitute just to be cool? Not me!
So today I’m going to celebrate not being a bloated mess by having a big ol’ piece of gluten-free cake. Yay me.