Web Only ArticleMay 2, 2013

A Happy Moment Living on a Special Diet

Sometimes there’s a good side to having allergies and sensitivities

I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease when I was a senior in high school, January 2008.  Summer of 2009 I studied abroad in Italy where I was assigned a family to stay with. I didn't speak Italian and they didn't speak English. Yet on the first night that I arrived they eagerly brought me into the dining room. On the table they had spread out countless different kinds of pasta, cookies and cakes all with the words "Senza Glutine" (Gluten Free in Italian) on them. They were so excited to show me all the different foods that they had found.

I later found out that they had read up on celiac disease, knew to make all of my food in separate pots and pans and were willing to do everything necessary to make sure that I could eat authentic Italian without getting sick. 

The simple act of these strangers making sure that I was able to eat wa smore than some of my friends back home had done and it meant all the world to me that people out there were looking out for me, in spite of our inability to communicate.

Three years ago, my father, who is a minister moved to a new church in a small town. The local grocery stores carried minimal amounts of gluten free food and my mom and I found myself driving farther away in order to get the necessary groceries. I was in college at the time of the move and was thus rarely at church and I didn't know many of the congregation. 

Everyone was made aware of my celiac disease, but not much was said because I wasn't around much.  Yet, every time I go back to visit, someone comes up to me to tell me about some gluten free recipe they had seen, the foods that they've seen at restaurants and tried (just to see if it was good so they could tell me about it) and more often than not they come up with a box of gluten free Bisquick or some other product. You can see the joy in their eyes that they've found something relatively rare in Ashland, Virginia and they are so eager to share it with me. Total, I've probably received about 20 boxes of Bisquick and countless other cookies and snacks. Most of the times, they aren't the best products out there on the market, but the fact that they see these things and think of me and want to make my life easier gives me the greatest feeling. - Grace Hindman


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