A Reminder

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by Lauren | Celiac Teen on February 11, 2013

January made five.

Five years ago I sat on my couch when the phone rang. It was a call with big news. With news that would change my life forever. A call I will never forget. A call that wasn’t even for me. It was the call that diagnosed me with celiac disease.

My heart leapt that day. Full, big, and joyous. I was given the chance to live. To love. To have health. The fullness of that excitement still bubbles up through my chest and across my face in glowing smiles. It was the start of so many dreams and moments.

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Last year, with a body whose strength I could count on, I leapt again on that day. I flew to Europe, and started a multitude adventures. This January 30th was something else entirely. It was a day, like so many in my life right now. It was filled with laughter, friends, and conversations. There was good news from great friends, in addition to a full day of lectures and tutorials. There were classes that I’m enthralled with, and those lovely in-between class moments when we come together as a cohort, where friendships are made. There was an abundance of high-fives. The quiet and simplicity, that’s what reminded me how lucky I am.

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Gluten is a word I utter, or at least think about every day. It’s part of the course. It’s what I’m always searching for while I read a label. It’s what comes up when a friend offers a cookie or whatever food they happen to be sharing. It’s a necessary part, but it’s not the only part. In high school, I was so incredibly joyous of being gluten-free. While that’s not untrue today, I find that being away from home, people point it out more. At home, mom fed me. She made sure that I was eating balanced and fully. Here, that’s my job. I see it more. Nearly everyone says that it must be hard. It never has been, but now it’s slightly tinged. As if each person insinuating that it’s bad, sad or unfortunate, brings some of that to me. I don’t have the shining ease of home here. That broke me down a little bit. It pushed some negativity onto my plate each day. I became tired of defending that I’m not missing out. In turn, I let myself miss out. I stopped really trying with my food. I just pieced together meals. I made toast. I lost some of that joy from making and caring for myself through food.

Reflections

This week has been different. I’ve not worried about the dishes I make, I’ve just made food. Good food. Nourishing food. Food that leaves me content and food with all the nutrients I need. I’d fallen into the excuse that I only really give an effort when I’m cooking for someone else. But I count, too.

Maybe it’s that diagnosis anniversary, and maybe it’s the love and effort I associate with February and Valentine’s Day. Either way, something’s clicked. With this month of love, empathy, and joy, it’s so important to give to those you love. Including (and perhaps especially) yourself.

Weeknight Curry

Some days it takes a nudge from mom – make the meal, you’ll feel better for it. Some days it takes having nothing but whole, unprepared food in the fridge. Nothing that will be ready in five. Some days good food can be a perfect reason to take a break from homework. Some days it’s a photo. Some days it’s a friend. Some days it’s nothing but the knowledge that a solid meal does make a difference.

In the past five years, my life has been incredibly food-centric, save for the past few months. I’m a happier, fuller person when I’m well fed. Sometimes I just need a little reminder as to what matters most.

How do you feed yourself, and what do you do to take care of those you love?

xoxo
Lauren

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) February 12, 2013 at 4:35 am

Lauren what a gorgeous post. Happy anniversary – look at all you have achieved in the past 5 years! I cannot wait to see where the next 5 take you! XO

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2 Madeline February 12, 2013 at 9:25 am

I know exactly the feeling! Sometimes making food is less about eating and more about spending the time to take care of yourself.

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3 Gluten Free Edmonton February 12, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Thanks for sharing. This post really speaks to parents and raising their kids with Celiac Disease. My wife would say this applies to any child who is growing up with any condition. Parents often “do all the work” for the child, but when the child grows up, they may not realize what it really is like to manage their disease.

When my wife was diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes as a child, she managed to take charge of her own health because she wanted to have sleep overs, and spend time with friends without having her parents interrupting fun.

This certainly helped when she moved out on her own for University, it also helped with her most recent diagnosis of Celiac Disease.

All the best and Happy Anniversary.

–Abisaac

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4 Polly February 12, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Lauren,

As a mom of 3 kiddos with Celiac (ages 8,9, and 10) I have already struggled with the feelings you stated above and we have only been at it a year. I strive every day to point out the positives to them while also giving them room to grieve if they need it. I have tried to avoid the entitlement feeling that “others must provide for them”, and instead empower them with the ability to make their own healthy choices. Your post touched a real chord in my heart and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for so eloquently stating what it is like for you. Your posts give us hope while also providing understanding. Thank you!

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5 Shannon Brown February 12, 2013 at 1:51 pm

I totally understand. We often take care of others but don’t take care of ourselves. I want some of the dish with the avocado on top. Yum.

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6 Dani February 12, 2013 at 2:27 pm

Hi Lauren, what a great article! Would you mind if I submit it to the Edmonton CCA newsletter? I think it would be great to share your thoughts with others, and I can link it back to your site. Let me know! :)

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7 Valérie February 12, 2013 at 2:50 pm

This is a beautiful post. These days, for me, making food is about nurturing, and creating an environment at home where cooking and eating are pleasureful experiences, where we take the time to enjoy things.

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8 Olga @ MangoTomato February 12, 2013 at 3:40 pm

BEAUTIFUL post! Happy anniversary. You are so worth it! I make meals for myself: some are slightly more elaborate than others: it’s just whatever I want to do.

I also buy flowers for myself and other things that make my condo pretty and a home!

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9 Karen February 12, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Recovering from Chronic Lyme Disease makes it difficult at times to eat properly. I find myself falling back on fast food (1/2 avocado with salt and pepper, apple with peanut butter, handful of nuts…) instead of peeling, chopping, mixing, cooking…it can be overwhelming. I’ve learned to do a couple dishes on the weekend in big amounts that will last me through the week. My doc assured me that as long as I don’t eat the same thing week in and week out, I’ll get my nutrients. So having a pot of soup, some muffins, and a casserole along with salad makins and eating that all week is helping. As I get stronger I’ll do more. I miss enjoying the cooking and freezing ahead that I used to do.

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10 Pink Peppercorn and Paprika February 12, 2013 at 9:45 pm

more than a great message for those with Celiac and gluten intolerance, but a great message for everyone. love yourself, love others. thanks for sharing.

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11 tea_austen February 13, 2013 at 12:52 am

What gorgeous images and words here, Lauren. I am hoping you take the care you need, and notice when that might be fading (sometimes it’s hard to realize until it gets really out of whack, I find). So much of this growing up thing (an ongoing process!) is about learning how to take care of yourself. I’m still learning.

I try to get myself out in nature for a walk when I’m feeling out of whack. A ramble in the woods always puts me back to sorts, and makes me hungry for what I need. xox

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12 kellypea February 19, 2013 at 5:58 am

Congratulations to you on your five years, Lauren! I wish you continued good health in the years ahead. Although I do not have celiac disease, as I age, I have become increasingly focused on food as more of a fuel source and specifically think about what good it can do my body. Ultimately that affects my sense of well being which affects so much else in life — like noticing and appreciating the simple things. Your photography as always, is lovely!

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13 Jenny February 25, 2013 at 8:12 am

Hello Lauren.

Your blog’s description on the Gluten Free Global Community page at http://simplygluten-free.com grabbed my attention, and I’m glad it did. We’re the same age, and not knowing anybody else my age, nor anybody in my country, allergic to gluten, I was curious about your personal experience. Living in France with this dietary restriction has been difficult and socially isolating, to say the least. But you’re completely right, Sweetheart, even when you may be feeling down and not worth the extra effort, or you’ve absorbed one too many “sympathetic remarks” regarding your “disease,” taking a good moment to nurture and nourish yourself can turn your whole perspective around. Your mind and health will thank you for it.

Bon courage,
Jenny

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14 josie March 13, 2013 at 2:07 pm

looking for a good gf bakery and found your blog, which is very nicely organized and attractive!

i was wondering if you had any recommendations for a bakery in edmonton? i need several gf cakes for birthday party. i’ve inquired at the K bakery and am not sure about them (check out their weird bunny cake for easter on their store site :-( any advice would be greatly appreciated. cheers!

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15 Laurie November 3, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Hi I have two teenage girls. Tyler Brooke my youngest was Dx T1D 3/26/12 then celiac on 5/14/13. She is very easy going about what she eats. In fact that’s the one thing she is easy going about. Then on Tyler’s 16th birthday 8/8/13 my older daughter was Dx celiac. She has always been a finicky eater. She’s done well so far but today she came home and said she can’t take it anymore. Everything is expensive and tastes like crap. She will be 18 in six months and I really don’t have much time to help her learn how to do this on her own. Not that I think she’s going anywhere right away but she can’t give up. There must be something I’m doing wrong I need help making the food taste better. What would you tell her? Thank you
Laurie

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