Focus on the Positive of Being Gluten Free

Posted on February 27, 2015

The other day I took my celiac daughter to a local ice cream shop. I knew from previous visits that the store manager also has celiac disease. Because I like my daughter to meet other people like her (to know she isn’t alone), I said, “Sweetie, she is also a celiac.” To which the manager replied, “Sucks doesn’t it?” My mouth fell open from shock — first because she said something a bit inappropriate to my young daughter, but also because of her overall negative spin on celiac disease.

Why is there all this negativity around being gluten free? Before you say anything, I get it. I know it isn’t always easy, and sometimes you just want to be “normal” and eat a big scoop of what everyone else is having. But continually focusing on the negative only perpetuates the same. How about focusing on the positive and see what happens?

On the other side of the spectrum, my daughter and I attended the Celiac Skate held in Highland Park last week to support the University of Chicago Celiac Center. There was an ice rink full of people who were celebrating being gluten free. At one point, the announcer asked for those with celiac disease to raise their hands. My daughter’s arm shot in the air. She looked around, saw all the other people who were just like her and broke out in a huge grin. There wasn’t an ounce of negativity in the air. It was wonderful!

When my daughter was first diagnosed, she got several kids books to help her understand her diagnosis and what being gluten free means. I think they can teach us all a bit about being not-so-negative about celiac disease and are fantastic for anyone who is newly diagnosed.

One of them, Mommy, What is Celiac Disease by Katie Chalmers, specifically focuses on the positive: “So, remember to think positive and look at the sunny side of Celiac. Other than some food, everything else about your life will be just like other kids. And anyhow, eating is such a small part of life, isn’t it? There are so many more fun things to think about…”

Let’s think of the fun things, the positive things, the good things about our lives and remember that being gluten free is just a small part of who we are. There are so many great things in life. Let’s focus on those instead.

If you are looking for a children’s book about celiac disease or being gluten free, here are some suggestions:

Adam’s Gluten Free Surprise by Debbie Simpson

Eat Like a Dinosaur by Paleo Parents

Eating Gluten Free with Emily by Bonnie J. Kruszka

Mommy, What is Celiac Disease by Katie Chalmers

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