Celiac Awareness Month 2017

It’s the 1st of May today, the start of Celiac Awareness month 2017.
I’m really excited about this as it will help my environment understand better what exactly is Celiac Disease , what I can eat and not eat, what happens when I accidentally eat gluten. I’ll start the first post of this month with my story.

I was always very thin and white when I was young, my mother knew something was wrong and I went often to the doctor or hospital to give a bloodsample. I also had discoloured tooth enamel when I got my permanent teeth and I remember how I sat for hours on the toilet with no result, it was so frustrating. When I was 6-7 years old they finally figured that I had Celiac Disease and I started my glutenfree diet.

Very little was know about Celiac in the 90’s and there was not a lot of choice to eat. I remember that there was a small community in Belgium with people who couldn’t eat gluten and they had a file with glutenfree recipes which they gave my mom. She made my bread, cookies etc. and tried everything to keep me happy, but the bread was a horror! The taste was horrible, it was heavy, I kept chewing on it and ended up throwing up often. I remember feeling lonely and sad whenever there was a birthday party or if someone treated with sweets in school. I had to take my own along while everyone was enjoying their slice of cake or beautiful decorated cookies. But not everything in my life was sad haha! Luckily there was a summer camp for children with gluten intolerance where I felt like a normal child and it was nice to see that I was not the only one going through this. I was also getting some colour on my face again after a few years and having lots of energy. There was one store where we bought all my food from where I remember being super excited whenever they added new products. I still love this store.

But when I became 12 I started eating sweets with gluten without the knowledge of my parents. I couldn’t resist it anymore and was not getting visible symptoms so we thought that I was over it. That time people still thought that you could heal from this disease and that it wasn’t necessary to follow it for the rest of your life (If I only knew what I know now!).
So I ate gluten for almost 14 years not realising it was actually destroying me.
I had a lot of the symptoms but didn’t link it to Celiac for some reason. Until I was bloated almost every single day last year. I was trying to figure out what it was and realised it was Celiac Disease and all the symptoms could be placed.

So I’m back on a glutenfree diet for almost a year and i’m feeling much better. I will never touch anything with gluten again and hope that I’ll feel a 100% better soon! My gluten adventure ended when I came back from Belgium. I wanted to enjoy all these goodies for one last time as Belgium is a paradise when it comes to breads, pastries and especially their beers, but I ended up eating more rice crackers than anything else 🙂 Once back in India it wasn’t too tough to stop eating gluten. Indian food is mostly glutenfree and they use besan instead of normal flour in a lot of dishes. Besan is a flour made out of chickpea. They also have a lot of different millets, you can find their flours in every supermarket. And now that eating glutenfree has become such a trend even in India, it’s easier to go out and find food in a restaurant suitable for me.
I’ll write about that in one of my next posts as well as what exactly Celiac Disease is.

Lots of love,

Erika Bhatia

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