Chapter 4 Living the Life – Becoming a T-Totaler
At some point in the Gluten free life, you will come to a crossroads, as my son did, where you decide whether or not you are going to adhere to the lifestyle or live defeated and cheat. In many cases, kids cheat because of peer pressure and adults cheat because of sheer desire. Because Celiac and severe gluten intolerance is not an anaphalactic food allergy, many people play Russian Roulette’ with their health. So what does it take to become a T-Totaler and go all in with the lifestyle. It literally takes a lot of heartache, and a realization that everyone is flawed.
Heartache sets us straight in many areas of life and gluten free living is no different. When Nathan cheated, he paid the consequences severely, but it wasn’t until it started to affect his work outside the home, that he began to take notice of it. When he couldn’t perform calculations quickly at work, and when he would have emotional outbursts that almost ruined important relationships in his life, is when he began to see that it was time to embrace his calling. You might be saying, “Did you really just refer to his gluten allergy as a calling” ? Yes, as a matter of fact I did.
We are all called to a life of imperfection, as human beings, and we all must carry burdens here on this earth. The perfection that we seek, is non-existent. To be called to this chronic disease is to embrace the fact that we are human and that we are all here to help one another. We can only do this if we learn to carry our particular burdens well. We will face many burdens that are short and long in their time with us, but this one, was chosen to go the long haul with Nathan, so he had to learn not to live against it, but to live along side of it.
Once he began to have a relationship with his gluten intolerance, it began to get better. Cheating is not even on the table, and cross -contamination is rare. Once you decide to become a T-totaler, what are some of the things that a gluten free person must embrace:
a. Read all labels, more than once, if needed
b. Know your additives and preservatives that contain forms of gluten
c. If a restaurant can’t tell you what’s in the dish, don’t eat there.
d. Prepare and seek opportunities to be the cook for special events!
e. Inform your friends and family about your intolerance.
f. Bring something to parties that you know you can eat and bring enough for everyone to share
g. Begin to see yourself, as a caring, unselfish human with a gluten intolerance, not as an intolerant person with gluten issues who has to be catered to.
h. Embrace that you do not deserve the cake that everyone else is having. It’s okay, not to have it. You can have a sweet anytime.
i. Remember that it’s your choice to be healthy or unhealthy, so be happy in your choice to be healthy. Be excited that you feel good. Be mindful of how you are feeling when you are feeling really good.
j. Carry your burden well, do not let anyone else carry the load for you. They already have plenty of their own to tote around!
k. Embrace technology to assist you with menus and fine gluten-free eating establishments
l. Accept that all gluten free foods are NOT healthy and be about the healthy eating of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, alternative whole grains, and sweets that can create at home instead of nasty gluten free products that offer no nutritional value to an already compromised body.
m. Embrace blood work testing to get nutritional levels up to par, especially folate levels.
n. Diligently seek comfort in the Lord who is our sustainer when we are weak, our “bread of life”.