I contemplated for a long time of where to begin this post, what to say, what point I wanted to get across…
And I decided I should start with, I’m not a doctor!!
Quickly, I will just say that Celiac is an autoimmune disorder where the lining of the small intestine is damaged when gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, barely, and triticale) is consumed. For more information to better educate yourself, study up below :)
So, since I’m letting others take care of all the facts and science behind it all, I thought we could dive into what it is like to live with Celiac – feelings and stuff, you know?!
I actually stopped eating gluten long before I was ever diagnosed with Celiac. I had countless health issues going on all around the same time and eating gluten free just made me feel better, so I did it. This isn’t to say I didn’t cheat from time to time because I totally did!
A year or two down the road when a doctor found out that I’d never been tested for Celiac, he thought I might be wasting my time eating predominately gluten free. He suggested I give gluten a whirl and then do some actual testing, see what we could find out. I was directed to eat gluten twice a day for 14 days so that I’d have enough gluten back in my system to be tested.
First off, YES!! FUCK YEEEESSSSS!!! Bagels! Cheez-Its!! Bugels!! Honey Bunches of Oats!! Little Caesars Pizza! Cheesy Bread!! Fried food! Chicken wings! Arby’s!! An excuse to eat gluten! Guilt free gluten sesh!! GOING OUT TO EAT AND FEELING NORMAL!! It was unreal the emotions that swept over me, all over food!
And then came the, “Oh shit, shit ,shit!” Figuratively and eventually, literally…
Those two weeks dragged on for what seemed like an eternity. My “Fuck Yes!” moment only lasted so long as the more gluten I ate, the sicker I became. Every single bone in my body ached. I was exhausted, fatigued, cranky as hell, puking, burping, farting, and pooping like it was nobody’s business. As my Opa would say, “Celiac is not for sissies.”
After two weeks of pure physical trauma, I got both an endoscopy and took a blood test… I can’t remember in which order now, that was a solid 9 years ago…
Anywho, I tested negative for Celiac. HA! Science schmience.
Okay, let’s be real, I do love science, it is totally rad! As is medicine! I’ve spent a mini lifetime reading and researching both trying to cure my other illness(es) but this time, it didn’t do right by me. Apparently, it is very rare but false negatives do happen in Celiac testing.
The doctor had offered that I could continue to eat gluten for another 4 – 6 weeks and retest but I politely declined. I was perfectly fine not having a medical diagnosis, I knew my body better than any doctor or test out there and it absolutely loathed gluten.
After that fiasco, my days of cheating were over.
I was officially gluten free for life!!
When you first start eating gluten free your life is kind of turned upside down. If you’ve been there, you know. If you are reading this and have yet to get started, don’t freak out!! Eventually your life swoops back around to normal...plus, on the bright side, now you’ve got me!
I remember the first time I went grocery shopping and printing off a list to take with me of all the chemicals, additives, and preservatives in food that contained gluten. I read each and every ingredient label, comparing it to my “DO NOT EAT” list. I called the 1-800 numbers on bags and boxes to see if they used shared equipment and if so, how they washed it in between batches. I’d be Googling on my cell down all the aisles trying to figure out what maltodextrin was or what the heck was in natural flavors, smoke flavors, artificial flavors, and caramel color. Grocery shopping was not made easy for the Celiac newcomer.
Talking about not made easy, I wouldn’t even know where to begin on the subject of going out to eat. But, I do have the perfect story that I believe sums it all up :)
When Ben and I first started dating he was an absolute stud when it came to me eating gluten free and going out to eat. He was never embarrassed when I had to ask the waiter/waitress 101 million questions; not even when I first had to explain what gluten was before I could possibly get to my questions at which I'd be passed off to another employee so the circus could start all over again…
I learned quickly to always call ahead or ask before sitting down what gluten free options were available. Nothing was worse than flustering the waiter/waitress, which would then perturb me and soon enough I’d end up drunk after drinking wine for dinner. It happens to the best of us...
Carrying on, Ben and I went out to eat once at this local, hip joint and we had called ahead to confirm they had gluten free options. When they brought us our menus I politely let the waitress know that I was Celiac and I understood they had some gluten free options per my previous phone call.
The waitress was lovely and greeted me with a huge smile and said, “We aren’t that busy tonight, let me go grab a sous chef. They know more and can go over the menu with you.”
OMG!! How wonderful!! A dream come true, someone who cares!!
The sous chef came out, introduced himself, inquired about the severity of my allergy, and then went over the two menu items I could eat: salad or nachos. Big decisions, I know! HA! I love nachos though so just to be sure I was in the clear, I asked, “Do you fry the corn chips for the nachos or do you bake them?”
He responded confidently, “We fry them but it’s okay because the heat is so high in the fryer that it kills all the gluten.” I must have looked like deer in headlights!
WTF? Come Again?!
I thanked the chef for all of his help and as kindly as I could, let him know that, that’s not how it works. We finished our drinks and went back to my place to cook up a homemade meal. Ben and I still laugh hard about that night to this day; it was definitely one for the books.
From 3-hr grocery store trips to epic fails at one too many restaurants, I decided that I ought to cook and bake more at home. And that is exactly what I did!
I think this is where many Celiacs have ended up and thus, this blog, the cookbook(s), and flour blends to come!
When starting this blog I wanted a few things for my recipes:
- To empower Celiacs! Life without gluten is DAMN DELICIOUS and doesn’t have to be difficult!! I am here to share all my recipes with you to prove it!!
- Use awesome, fresh, well-made ingredients from brands we can trust.
- Be upfront about what main allergies are in each recipe. Look for RylieCakes Allergy Symbols at the top of each recipe :)
Whether you have been Celiac for years, are just entering the world of gluten-free, or have no allergies at all and just love good food – whoever you are, wherever you are, thank you for joining me on this mission to make the world a more GF friendly, scrumptious place!
Lick the Bowl - You Only Live Once,