Going Gluten-FreeJune 15, 2010

What’s Good for Us

I remember when asparagus came in a can and I thought it grew that way. When I found out that farmers planted it, I wondered how they could stick those mushy stalks into the ground.

This sums up my relationship with food 20 or 30 years ago. It was overcooked, underappreciated and came in a corporately branded can.

Then I was diagnosed with celiac disease and told to go on a gluten-free diet. My relationship with food changed completely. I had to know what was in everything I ate. I found a new appreciation for ingredients and products. I became connected to the food chain in ways I never imagined.

Last week, I attended the Gluten Intolerance Group’s annual conference in Minneapolis and strolled hallways lined with gluten-free vendors. Some of these companies were new to me. Some were small and some were large. Some company owners had been old friends for years. Some companies had grown out of personal need. My mission was to get to know these vendors and their products better, to forge relationships that would bring me closer to the gluten-free foods we need to eat and closer to knowing that a manufacturer understands our special diet and looks out for us when they make their products.

Today I buy locally grown fresh produce whenever possible. I also buy gluten-free products from producers I know and trust, like those I saw at this event.

My knowledge of nutrition, which started with a can of asparagus, has developed into full food awareness and conscious eating. Today, I select the foods and food products I eat as if my very health depends on it--which it does. But isn’t this true for everyone, whether they have celiac disease or not?

Comments (1)

I agree that celiac disease can make one better aware of nutrition and good eating habits. But my situation is complicated by the fact that I have kidney disease, so many of the "good foods" for celiacs are on my "limit" list. Some days I'm tired of the whole thing and just want to go into a pizza joint and pig out. But some days I'm actually grateful to the gods for giving me a disease that has allowed me to lose 120 pounds in the last year or so (mainty by limiting my carbs). I appreciate your comments about support groups, which is the next hurdle I must scale. I'm not a joiner, but I'm getting awfully lonely!

Posted by: Bonnie M | June 23, 2010 7:02 PM    Report this comment

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