Six letters formulate a single word that has been affecting lives across the nation. This word is GLUTEN. While many are familiar with the word, people do not know what this actually means. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barely, and certain oats. If you are reading this and do not have a gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease it’s still important to have a clear understanding of it, seeing as how more people have been diagnosed than ever before. People like myself, living with Celiac Disease do not have the antibodies to break down and process food the same way a person without Celiac Disease can. The villi of a person with Celiac Disease is flattened whereas anyone living a normal lifestyle has villi standing up that absorb the nutrients.
Now that you have a better understanding, this is how my story begins. I graduated from Jericho high school in 2008 and after a few years of feeling sick, bloated and several trips to the ER with kidney stones my parents and I recognized that there was a problem that needed to be fixed – I was not living my life the way a 17 year old should. When I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease a week before starting college at Penn State University I was nervous and overwhelmed. At that time, even though it was just 4 years ago, very few people were familiar with this disease and the implications it can have on your life.
Upon my diagnosis, which was first done with a simple blood test and later verified through an endoscopy, I turned to WebMD to answer some questions (not a good move). Not only was I highly uneducated, but I didn’t know where to turn for information. I was about encounter the challenges most graduating high school seniors face when making the transition from high school to college, and now I had to add this ‘disease’ to my list. Looking back now, at the age of 21 and post graduation, I can confidently say that I have overcome many hurdles and I want to share my experiences to help make someone’s (maybe your) life a little less stressful. I am putting the pen to the paper so to speak to tell my tale of a girl who is YOUNG WILD AND GLUTEN FREE! I know what it’s like to go out on a date and quickly hit a boys hand before he puts his gluten contaminated fork in your dish. I know what it’s like to have everyone at a party ask, “Oh my god, you can’t drink beer, how do you survive?” But most importantly, I know what it’s like to take something that you may think of being negative and turn it into a positive.
Through this blog I will share with you:
– Restaurants in the New York Area
– Travel information (what to pack/where to eat)
– My involvement with Kicking 4 Celiac Foundation(http://www.kicking4celiac.org/)