Getting sick and having to go gluten free years ago was a mission and a half as we all know but I never realized just how lucky I was to have gone through that journey on my own and at my own pace. If I made a mistake, I could back track and figure out exactly why or what I ate that triggered my reaction once I gluten proofed my house.
In the beginning, it took months to really understand that just the tinniest bit of wheat that was in my shampoo (for example) was the culprit for my skin rash that was getting worse by the day. It wasn’t just about the wheat that was in the food, that was causing me harm. But, I was able to use my detective skills and finally figure it all out.
And, in truth it took a good year and a half before I finally started to feel better and some real relief but I stuck with it and every day made small but better choices for my health… Yes, a year and a half before I had my health under control. Does that mean that I didn’t still didn’t get glutened - nope…. All that means is I didn’t feel like crud every single morning when I woke up. So it always amazes me when clients remove gluten for a week or two and magically expect to feel better. It doesn’t work that way!
Unfortunately, It’s not that easy. In many cases by the time you finally know that gluten is an issue for your body, it has been years and years of you not feeling well with no real explanations and yet somehow many people expect their bodies to rebound in a matter of weeks as if nothing has happened. Your body has been trying to let you know in many causes for decades that what you were eating was actually hurting you and not helping you.
If you are lucky enough to get a diagnosis of celiac disease, you have to understand that this is an autoimmune disease and your body is literally attacking itself, so just getting your body to stop attacking itself will be a monumental task on your part and that means removing gluten from your life. Gluten hides in many foods which I have talked about before here on this blog - but it truly it working to remove this form your every day life. Ever gluten mistake sets your immune system back 3 months (it only takes 1/ 1000 of a gram of gluten (that’s equivalent to one crumb) to get into your system, to set off and trigger an immune system response in your body for the next three months excerpt from my book Gluten Free Guide to a Healthy-Do-Over (Kindle Locations 842-843).
For me, removing gluten from my food was just the first step because I still felt like shit after 9 months of zero gluten free foods in my home and cooking all my foods during that time so I could get to the bottom of this issue. I also became sensitive to other foods, which is very common especially during this time when your body is learning to adjust and realize that you will no longer be poisoning it with gluten - your body has to learn to stop attacking itself and you have to learn to stop taking your health for granted and understand that you are absolutely in control of how you feel. When you eat crap, you feel like crap - you can’t really get around that when gluten is your enemy!
So because this process was painstaking difficult to uncover all the hidden sources of gluten in my home, I declared it a 100% gluten free zone. Zero gluten anything was allowed in my home! And, I have lived that way for a good five years now and I can honestly say my health has improved immensely. Is it perfect - heck no! Do I still have issues - absolutely! Are they days when I feel like crapola - absolutely! But I am able to quickly make the necessary adjustments when something is off…. until my Dad started spending more time in my 100% gluten free zone.
Gluten is not an issue for him and to be honest he has zippo clue what it took for me to get my health to this point. He just knows that I can’t eat gluten but since he doesn’t cook and has never read an ingredient label in his life, that’s Mom’s job (they have been married 48 years now) he just doesn’t understand why when he’s there I am in a panic. I become on guard and if he goes into the kitchen - I cringe internally as I hold my breath until he comes out, praying he isn’t going to make me sick by accident again. My Dad would sooner cut off his arm than hurt me intentionally but that doesn’t mean he’s careful enough. He brings gluten into my home on a regular basis and I had an absolute melt down when he used one of my pans to put his gluten filled foods in to heat it and then used my utensils and plates - yeah that was not a good moment! I’ll admit, I freaked out big time and it was not my finest moment, but I'm pretty sure we have all been there! :)
Did we have yet another conversation about my health - yup, about what gluten is - yup, where it hides in his foods - yup, why he can’t use my anything because of cross-contamination - yup and this time I set some really boundaries and guidelines so that I am not constantly going to kill him or be on the verge of a mental breakdown - yes…..
What we came up with is that anything that he brings into my kitchen that has gluten on it, needs to be eaten on a paper plate with plastic utensils and if anything needs heating than it can be wrapped in tin foil and heated in a pouch that way only - in order to protect me and decrease the chances of me getting cross-contaminated.
I would love to know what your secrets are dear reader for staying safe when sharing a gluten-free kitchen. I know gf labels are options but I just am not comfortable with having any of it in my kitchen. I truly believe that if a celiac can not be safe in their own home and their own kitchen than they will never be able to heal their body.
Healing looks verrrrrry different than just eating gluten free for years and I am determined to keep my body in healing mode and have no more backslides that I can control. What do you do to ensure your healing? Do you even know what that looks like? feels like?
Trying to keep the peace and keep healing in my life. Sure hope you all are doing the same.