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I’ve spent a lot of the last month traveling to visit friends or for work. I spent almost a third of my month staying outside of my house. Yeah, it’s fun for the first few days, but traveling can be really hard on my body. I choose my clothes strategically to accommodate and hide my bloat belly. Yup, that’s a thing (click HERE to read about my favorite clothing choices for hiding a bloat baby.). Hi, my name is Devin and I have Celiac disease. Thankfully, I have fantastic friends who are super understanding that my body occasionally hates me. However, my friends had a lot of questions. There is more awareness of Celiac, but lots of people still have questions. So, here are the topics that I wish my friends knew about my disease.
What is gluten?
Gluten is the substance that causes dough to be sticky. It gives dough it’s elastic texture. Gluten is found in cereal grains, like wheat, rye, barley, oats, and other hybrids between these grains. It’s a protein that my body literally can’t handle.
Gluten is sneaky.
I’m not joking when I say that gluten is literally in everything. I kept having heartburn (a symptom that I got just a little), and I couldn’t figure it out! It was driving me nuts because I felt like I was swallowing fire every single day. Well, it was in juice packets. Why would there be wheat proteins in juice?! It’s used as a filler to make the powders thicker. Sneaky, huh? It’s also used in spice blends, salad dressings, and weird things like licorice. Reading ingredient lists has become a form of entertainment. Not really, but it’s vital to my health.
Each flare is different. I know my typical signs and symptoms, but sometimes things can be different. It can be as simple as heartburn and gas pains or as extreme as severe cramping, diarrhea, and vomiting. I don’t always know how my symptoms will affect me. If I had a rough day the day before, chances are my guts won’t be too happy that day either. Something that touched gluten might not affect me on a good day, but on a bad day it could set me off. It’s miserable never knowing if I’m going to feel sick.
Food is my medicine.
I wish I could just take something and make my flares go away, but it’s not that easy. I can mask the symptoms, but that’s just a temporary fix. Pepto, Tums, Immodium, and Tylenol help, but they don’t make everything go away when I’m having a flare. The only thing that truly makes me feel better is watching what I’m putting in my mouth. I need to get back to a diet of foods that are easy on my system to help return to homeostasis.
I have a routine at home. I know what I can and can’t have. I can control what ends up in my food. Having Celiac disease kind of turns you into a control freak so that I can stay healthy. It’s so much harder when I’m not at home. I don’t have control over the spices and ingredients in food. It’s tough eating out because I don’t know how much the chef/cook/maker of my food knows about my disease. If I’m having a bad day, I can’t just pick out the noodles from my soup. Sorry. I also can’t help it if I need a bathroom like now. Actually, it probably would have helped to already be in the bathroom. And I’m sorry if it takes a long time. I truly can’t help it. Please be understanding if I have to cancel plans with you. I’d much rather be spending time with you than sitting on my bathroom floor. Trust me.
Do you have any tips or tricks that help you travel? Or do have anything else you wish your friends knew? Feel free to send me a message HERE.