I am hoping while writing this that I am not the only one … But here goes.
Falling off the wagon, putting that gorgeous gluten filled treat in your mouth, was it worth it? We all know the answer is a big NO!!
Researching for this blog I have come across many people with Coeliac disease cheating on their gluten free diets, even though it can cause Osteoporosis, infertility and even cancer. These are obviously very long term complications but why do some of us dealing with Coeliac disease put ourselves at risk?
So I will be the first to hold my hands up, I AM A CHEATER! Yes, a big fat cheater. I have cheated on my diet a few times over the years and the only answer I can give as to why is stress.
I touched on this a little in my first blog and I make no secret of the fact that I have had a tough time with depression through most of my life and this has taken me to some pretty dark places. The one constant comfort for me at these times is running back to my old comfort foods. I would have been having a bad week and the stresses that we all have to deal with on a daily basis, Money worries, Work, Life in general just become so overwhelming and I feel like my emotions used to spiral out of control, at which point I would jump in my car go to the nearest drive threw of my favourite takeaway and gorge myself on whatever I bloody well wanted because life sucked. Is stress eating a good enough reason? No it’s not, is it worth the weeks of pain that come after HELL NO! But in that moment it feels to me like the only level of control that I have, it’s my choice, my decision.
Luckily for me I’ve been in a good place for a while now, through a great support system and seeking medical advice on how to deal with those low days, but there are so many other reasons why we put ourselves through eating gluten. In the beginning when I first got diagnosed friends and family were a huge support to me and I couldn’t have got through this far without them, but at the time they were also the ones poisoning me on a weekly basis due to a lack of understanding (I love you guys), the amount of times I would just sit and carry on eating even though I knew that they had made a mistake, it’s so hard in this situation as you already feel singled out, different to everybody else and now with food that you shouldn’t be eating in front of you, we have two options 1. Explain that you can’t eat what they have kindly provided for you, risk the eye role from various people around the table and never get an invite back or 2. Sit and suffer in silence. Unfortunately, I always seem to pick the latter just to keep everybody happy and not make a fuss. Due to cross contamination at other people’s homes I now just take my own meals wherever I go, a quick call ahead to ask what cuisine they will be preparing and I try and make something Gluten free /Dairy free /Low Fodmap/ Low lipid to match, which is sometimes bloody impossible but give it a try to make myself feel included.
We’ve all made mistakes in the past, I am the worst for not reading labels properly and we’ve all been victims of companies who decide to change their ingredients without advertising this correctly, but there are still a select few that choose to eat ‘a little gluten’ now and again for no other reason than to eat something tasty, but what drives these people to eat something that eventually could kill them? Most stories I have come across are from people thinking ‘a little gluten won’t affect them which is dangerous as not all people with Coeliac disease show symptoms (Lucky them) but that little bit of gluten is still doing a massive amount of damage regardless of symptoms. In the same way that you can’t be a little bit pregnant, a little bit gay or a little bit vegan you cannot as someone with Coeliac disease have ‘a little gluten’. So moving forward I don’t intend to ever fall of the wagon, it is nobody else’s job but my own to maintain my diet and keep myself safe, and as much as I would love to indulge now and again it’s just not bloody worth it.
Photo by Pedro Figueras on Pexels.co
I am very strict with my diet, not showing many symptoms it took me years to get diagnosed. The GP was testing me for liver cancer just before I got diagnosed with CD. I have bone density issues to contend with. Like you I suffer periods of depression which I believe are linked to being glutened. It’s difficult to turn down something that you know someone has tried hard to prepare for you.
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I’m very strict and I still mess up. About once a month I trust something too much and bammo. So I guess I don’t cheat because I know I can’t avoid it. My sensitivity level is so extreme I can sense a tiny bit of gluten in a mixed spice, even if I only put a bit on. I had to throw out all my plasticware, tupperware, etc because no matter how much I washed it, I got sick every time I used it. Not the “OMG rush me to the hospital” sick, but enough to ruin several days. I guess I’m so grateful I found anything that works that I don’t even have cheating on my radar. It took me more than a decade to figure out why my health was spiraling downward and to me, the gluten free diet is the feeling of control. It might be because I figured it out later in life. I might have a different opinion of it if I was diagnosed as a child and had to go through puberty or dating like this.
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I am also a cheater, I write this after having a wheat wrap for my breakfast this morning as it was in the house and quick and easy. As a silent coeliac who was diagnosed by accident i get no symptoms so I am terrible at being strict. I never think about CC and when I am stressed or tired (like this morning) I have the very occasional cheat meal. I find GF alternatives unpleasant and whilst my cooking has become far more creative since diagnoses in November there are still times I just want the comfort and ease of something gluteny. I generally find telling people and talking about it helps as it shames me into not cheating .
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When I was diagnosed over 4 years ago, the doctor gave me 5 years till I developed cancer! The doctor could not even give me a reading as to what level my celiac was as it was off the chart! The thought was scary to say the least. Since then I have not cheated intentionally. If I have any wheat now or should I say cross contamination, within 2 hours I’m violently vomiting! It really is awful and takes me a couple of days to recover. I envy anyone who can cheat and not feel how I do. I would love to cheat 🙈
Sorry for the late reply for some reason I wasn’t notified, how awful and I hope that things are looking up for you, your reactions are similar to mine, vomiting and for some reason my heads swell lol which isn’t ideal, I would also love a good cheat day but the reality is to scary hehe