You probably clicked on this headline because you think I’m crazy for saying this. I have Celiac Disease, I’m highly sensitive to gluten, and I haven’t been able to digest gluten for 8 years. Dating in high school was extremely difficult, going to social gatherings as a 20 year old has been difficult, feeling included with friends when food is involved has been difficult. Sound familiar
I’ve been gluten-free since I was 13 years old so I know the struggles of celiac disease and how tough it can be. I wish I didn’t have this disease and I wish I could have gluten at times. We probably all wish we could eat gluten without pooping our pants for 3 days…right? Ok, I hope I’m not the only one who has pooped their pants as a fully grown adult. As crappy (literally) as gluten has been to me at times, there are times I have a lot to thank gluten for. Without gluten, I wouldn't be able to experience these 5 things.
1. I realize I feel better than I’ve ever felt before.
I can’t even begin to tell you how bad I felt before I stopped eating gluten. If I had the option to eat gluten whenever I’d like, I honestly wouldn’t do it. I’m beyond thankful I have good health all from removing this one ingredient (and of course other things) from my diet.
2. I appreciate food so much more.
Do you know the feeling when you find a really good gluten-free bread or (insert favorite food here)? God, it’s just otherworldly. I’ll tell ya, when I first found a good gluten-free bread that actually tasted like...well...bread, it changed my life. Where would that experience be if I could have gluten every day?
3. I’m more self-aware of my body and everything that I put in it.
Before going gluten-free, I ate the worst foods. Fast food, mac and cheese, sugary foods, carb heavy stuff. It’s just all I knew! Now, I love cooking my own meals and discovering new recipes with my family and girlfriend. Not to mention, I’m very aware of every pain or discomfort and have learned to take very good care of my overall health. Thanks gluten!
4. Being gluten-free helped me discover some amazing people in my life.
Truly, the gluten-free community has helped me meet some of the greatest, kindest, most influential people in my life. Adversity is what brings the most compassionate people together. I’m sure you have discovered some true friends and kind people in your life due to the adversity that removing gluten has brought you. I’ve found that the relationships that you have with friends are some of the most valuable things in life. Being gluten-free has happily brought me a lot more of these amazing relationships to me.
5. Being gluten-free makes me stand out from the crowd and it’s only a part of who I am.
I know I have some quirks and that I’m far from perfect. It can suck to not be able to fit in with everyone else who can eat gluten. But you know what? It’s just part of who I am. It’s something I’ve grown to own. I love who I am as a person because I know I’m different from everyone else. If you learn to accept the things about yourself that you can’t change then it can make a huge difference to the happiness you have in your life. That’s one thing that being gluten-free has taught me and for that I am very grateful.
Some of my "gluten-free family"!
My final letter to gluten:
Without you, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I wouldn’t feel as healthy as I do now. I wouldn’t have a diverse food pallet and I wouldn't love discovering new recipes with my family. I wouldn’t be as aware of my body and the nutrition that I need to fuel myself every day. I wouldn’t have the amazing people in my life who care about me so much. Most importantly, I wouldn’t be the Taylor Miller that I’ve grown to be. Yes, you and I have a love hate relationship and I certainly do hate you more than I love you at times. But all in all, you’ve helped me grow into who I am and you’ve taught me a lot about myself. So thank you gluten. Although I don’t have you around anymore, I’m happy you exist..but even happier that we can exist apart. Keep making other people happy! Just know that I am perfectly happy without you and doing well.
A happy gluten-free dude