A Disease of Chance

Celiacs is a gambler's disease. Not to mean that all those inhaling the smoke of Las Vegas casinos will suddenly be struck down by gluten. If only avoiding it was that easy. No, I mean that celiac disease thrives - survives, really - off of chance. The chance that the stomach of this girl will attack gluten while 133 others are spared. The chance that one random restaurant will have a gluten free menu comapred to the other. The chance, even, that a celiac could eat the same gluten free pizza twice, and be glutened only the second time.

I've always been a cautious personality. No risks, no rewards? Fine with me. Since celiac disease, though, I've learned that my life is a number's game and that I might as well embrace it. Like I did yesterday. 

I mentioned in a recent post about my childhood memories of riding a bike years ago. What I didn't say is how long my butt's been separate from the seat. Give or take  a year or two? So, when I joined my dad for a bike ride, I wasn't quite sure how many times I'd (probably) crash. Especially since my leg muscles are still twigs. Nice twigs, but still twigs.

Despite my fears, though, it was an awesome ride. Of course, I probably spent 20% of it walking next to my bike. Hopping curbs? Flying up 70 degree hills? Um, I think I'll pass. But, by the end of the ride, I managed to avoid: getting steamrolled onto the pavement by a car, falling off the side of the mountain, or running over some unsuspecting pedestrian. Score one for Casey! 

Smiling after surviving The Mountain 
Just when I thought I'd taken all the risks I could in one day, my Dad mentioned that we were passing In the Mix. AKA, home of delicious (and gluten free) frozen yogurt

Now, I don't want to call myself a stalker, but I basically stalk nearby gluten free eateries online. Not all of the places I find meet my standards - Buffets? Talk about cross contamination? Salads only? What am I, a cow living off grass? - but In The Mix is an exception. When I learned about their ten gluten free flavors this month a few weeks ago (thanks Internet), I basically wanted to lick my computer screen. So, without even thinking about it, I automatically reverted back to my pre-diagnosis self. Dessert? Heck yes! 

By the time my brain mentioned that frozen yogurt contains dairy (hopefully my thinking will quicken once college starts, or else I'm in real trouble!), I was already drooling over the GF options with a cardboard cup in hand. I've been avoiding dairy since diagnosis, like many new celiacs. I haven't had traditional ice cream or frozen yogurt in months. And you know what I thought? The heck with it. I'm going for it! 

I'm not suicidal. I didn't load up on gluten or risk contamination by sprinkling on toppings. Instead, I filled my cup with three gluten free flavors - peanut butter, strawberry banana, and chocolate/vanilla swirl - and shared it with my Dad. My taste buds partied hard with every spoonful! And when we finished and biked home, no regrets weighed me down. 

My delicious $3 concoction 

The fact is, I took a risk. I broke my dairy fast and it scared me a bit. No person wakes up in the morning wanting to spend the day running from the bed to the toilet. In the end, though, I only suffered a slightly upset stomach that the thrill of enjoying a "normal" dessert easily overshadowed

I don't know whether guts or stupidity drove me to test my stomach's limits, but I'm grateful for either. Now I know that in small, rare portions, dairy products are tolerable. My college, Point Loma, boasts a small yogurt store close to campus, and I'm so excited that when my friends ask if I want anything from the midnight yogurt run, I can say, "Heck yeah!" 

The bottom line? Don't let your diagnosis of celiac disease be the only chance in your life. Challenge your stomach's boundaries; perhaps your dairy intolerance disappeared ages ago. Test your limits; they may be weaker than you believe.

Sometimes, improving one's life is as easy as a deep breath, a savory mouthful, and a (safe but) risky swallow. 

How do you experiment with gluten free? What's your most rewarding chance taken? Comment below! 


  1. I'm glad all your risks worked out! Trusting your gut isn't so easy when...well...you can't trust your gut, but I'm glad you went for it and didn't feel sick. Fro-yo...yum!

  2. Thanks! It's definitely not something I would eat all the time, but at least I know a little dairy won't kill me. And yes, fro yo was definitely my favorite treat pre-diagnosis. Bad celiacs! haha. :)


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