Web Only ArticleApril 25, 2013

Happy Moment Living on a Special Diet

Keri Cain's silver lining story

When my sister was first diagnosed with celiac disease as an adult she was devastated. I insisted we would figure it out. We did our best but our first several attempts (at biscuits, cookies, bread and other recipes) were disasters. We finally started having good results but the lesson we learned was that you cannot expect things to be exactly the same. You can make excellent food gluten free but with rare exceptions it will never be exactly like it was when we could cook and bake with gluten. 

When I was diagnosed a year after my sister (at age 29) I was really grateful for having already learned this lesson. As such, I decided all bets were off...my diagnosis freed me to try lots of new (and often odd sounding) combinations. I figured if I could not make things exactly like the gluten-filled goodies that I might as well make something entirely new. My diet today is completely different than what I ate pre-diagnosis, and not just because I have eliminated gluten. I now eat a wider range of food (lots of different ethnic food, plus more things that are good for me like fish and vegetables) and I am happier and healthier for it. Before celiac I was a picky eater, and had I continued that habit post-diagnosis I would have had such a limited range of food available to me that I would be miserable. Now I will try anything (that is gluten free) once, and more often than not I love it! Were it not for my celiac diagnosis I am pretty sure I would not be fermenting my own kimchi, going crazy with all things pumpkin in the fall, or inventing my own recipes involving whole grains like quinoa. (I should also add that my celiac diagnosis was a good thing for my sister...she lets me experiment then steals my recipes.) - Keri Cain (Austin, TX)

Do you have a “silver lining” story of your own? Do you remember how you felt when you first learned you had a food allergy? Help show the millions of people that are newly diagnosed with a food allergy or sensitivity that just because their life will never be the same, it doesn’t mean it has to be miserable… just different.

Share your story by emailing us at facebook@livingwithout.com and it may be featured on our website and Facebook page.

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