Monday, August 8, 2016

How to Stop Feeling Guilty about Your Gluten Free Diet

When was the last time you felt guilty? When you couldn't attend your friend's soccer game, even though you promised to watch? Or what about when you ate the last slice of cake without asking the birthday boy first? Whatever the reason, guilt is a relatively common part of everyday life.

Lately, though, I've been feeling guilty about something else: my gluten free diet. While research has shown that guilt can be beneficial - by helping maintain relationships, equalize power and, in a way, show that someone cares - this is one kind of guilt that every celiac or person with food allergies needs to scratch from their daily menu. Not sure how? Keep reading to find out!

casey the college celiac

Before my celiac diagnosis, I didn't think about my food that much. I was a foodie in that I ate a lot - especially for my size - and took pride in surprising waitresses with my empty plate. Yet, I didn't question having a brownie sundae after soccer practice or munching on a granola bar between classes. Food was fuel and reward and celebration and everything in between - and guilt had no part in it.

Now, the guilt I've been experiencing recently differs from the guilt that most Americans report. In 2014, clinical psychiatrist Louise Adams described food guilt as an "epidemic" - and, considering the conversations I've had and comments I've overheard, that epidemic hasn't decreased in the years since. Yet, when I feel guilty about food, it isn't because I'm eating too much, too little or "incorrectly" according to a particular diet.

casey the college celiac
How could I feel guilty about this!?!

I feel guilty when I go to a friend's house and can't participate in the home-cooked (but cross-contaminated) chicken dinner everyone else enjoys.

I feel guilty when someone tries to make me feel included - by offering a "gluten free" product or suggesting a restaurant with "gluten free" options - and I have to explain the difference between gluten free and celiac friendly.

I feel guilty when I'm shopping for groceries and my gluten free certified product costs double the "regular" version.

casey the college celiac
As one blogger put it: so delicious, so pricy!

I feel guilty that I can't be the "easy" girl - the girl who can adventure on a moment's notice or stay overnight without taking two bags and a cooler.

I feel guilty that I can't find my favorite, GF products just anywhere - and that planning might as well be my fourth eating utensil.

Basically? I feel guilty that I'm not - and will never be - what society would consider "normal".

casey the college celiac
As proven from senior prom photos...
The longer I am diagnosed, though, the more I realize that I have nothing to feel guilty about. I don't feel guilty about being too short to reach the top shelves of the kitchen or destroying the curve in my college classes or even preferring turkey over beef. These are all aspects of my identity - just like celiac disease - and, as such, they deserve to be embraced not rebuked.

Of course, rejecting gluten free guilt is more easily said than done. But when I cringe at my grocery store receipt, I remind myself that my body needs and deserves safe fuel - and that I am lucky to work hard enough to afford safe food. When my cheeks heat red at a friend's house as everyone eats a gluten-filled dinner, I focus on enjoying the company instead of the food. And when I wish I was less "high maintenance" and worry that my diet will keep me from finding the right person for me, I think of all the people who already love me, like my friends, family and even fellow bloggers.

casey the college celiac
Lots of love!
Because, by definition, "guilt" is a "bad feeling caused by thinking or knowing that you have done something wrong." When we feel guilty about our gluten free diet, this definition has even bigger implications: we feel like at least part of our identity - our diet - is wrong. Following this logic, it makes sense that the opposite of - and solution for - guilt is love and being loved exactly as we are.

In fact, maybe we need to follow Selena Gomez's lead and "kill it [in this case, guilt] with kindness" - to ourselves and to people we have (possibly) wronged. All I know? The next time guilt over my gluten free diet attacks, I won't try to ignore or deny these feelings. Instead, I'll see it as just another step in my celiac journey...a journey that will shape an even happier, healthier me!


*Also found at Wine'd Down Wednesday, Wow Me WednesdaySunday Food & Fitness and Saucy Saturdays!*


Do you ever feel guilty about your gluten free diet? Are you a Selena Gomez fan? Comment below!





2 comments:

  1. This is a Great post!! One of my best friends has Celiac Sprue and struggles with this... I will pass this along! Thanks for sharing this at the Sunday Fitness & Food Link-Up...Pinned!

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    1. Thank you so much Angela! Glad to help! :)

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