Today I am doing a guest post over at Eating Rules about going “unprocessed” and what that word means to me as a mom raising a gluten-free family, so head on over and check it out!
I did not want to go too deep into how I ended up on this new path in life in my guest post on Eating Rules. The theme of October: Unprocessed is about food afterall! If you are interested in more of the medical odyssey that went hand in hand with my journey to becoming “unprocessed,” the following is a partial summary. There are many other issues that I have yet to share, and I will when the time is right.
I did not begin my journey 5 1/2 years ago by choice, I was forced into it after being diagnosed with celiac disease. Initially, I did not embrace my condition because I had none of the “classic” gastrointestinal symptoms of celiac disease. I thought my doctor had confused my blood test with someone else’s! How could gluten possibly be bad for me if I didn’t feel ‘sick’? If celiac disease is genetic, how on earth could I be the only person in my entire family who has it? A more accurate term would be that no one in my extended family has been accurately diagnosed, which is very different from not having the condition.
It would take 3 years of cheating on the gluten-free diet, the diagnosis of four autoimmune diseases (I shared some of my personal story here), the death of my beloved uncle from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the celiac diagnosis of my then five year old son (I wrote about Sam’s conflicting celiac test results here), and a little “professional help” before I finally decided to get real with myself. I had no choice if I wanted to live well and prosper. I had no choice if I wanted to be a positive role model for my son who I knew would be watching me closely as he grew up. If he saw me making poor food choices, then he would make them too and I want better than that for him. Just recently, my 3 year old son was diagnosed with non-celiac gluten sensitivity, a casein intolerance (a dairy protein) and an egg allergy (I shared some of Luke’s diagnostic test results here).
I have spent the past two years of my life personally challenging every aspect of my life. This was the real “a-ha” process for me: changing your diet is more about changing your lifestyle rather than just changing the food you consume. It takes changes in your relationship with food, which will naturally lead to changes in your family dynamic, social settings, general health choices, and on and on. A “diet” is so much more than the food you feed yourself: it is truly about everything you feed yourself and can require some serious thinking about past decisions and their history.
I had to “unprocess” the entirety of my life. Who I was, where I came from, and most importantly where I was going. Being forced to “unprocess” has turned out to be the greatest gift of my life: it now puzzles me when people feel sorry for me because I have to be gluten-free. I am now free of a lot of things that bound me before.