In the 5 years since my diagnosis of Celiac Disease, I have learned to cook, bake, be prepared and truly love the food I eat. Prior to my diagnosis, I was a fast food kind of girl. I never learned how to cook, and it didn't matter what I ate. I was always severely underweight, and I because fast food was such a large part of my diet I tried eating McDonalds every day for 30 days long before the movie Supersize Me came out--except I didn't gain an ounce. I also tried other crazy things like eating a pint of Ben & Jerry's every day for 30 days, but that didn't work either.
Little did I know that if I were to cut one (not-so) simple thing out of my diet, I would learn what it felt like to feel "normal." Little did I know that my bones were slowly deteriorating, my teeth were falling apart, and my body was essentially passing everything I ate through it without digesting anything. I thought it was "normal" to sleep 10-12 hours a day and still feel tired. I thought my doctors were right when they said I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and that I should eat more bread and crackers when my stomach was upset. I feared the inevitable stomachache that would send me rushing to the bathroom I would get each time I ate because I had been accused of being bulimic far too many times.
The last 5 years has taught me amazing things. I still don't like it, but I'll risk offending someone when I need to stand up for myself and insist I am not willing to eat food that could possibly make me sick. I didn't only learn to cook, I learned I love to cook. I also learned that cooking and baking from scratch is much more enjoyable than making a cake from a box or making hamburger helper will ever be. I've learned to enjoy the little things in life whether that is wasting an hour with my pets or going to a restaurant and getting to safely eat a cheeseburger on a BUN with a gluten-free bottle of beer to wash it down.