After years of intestinal discomfort, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease is an auto-immune disease triggered by gluten (the main protein found in certain grains). The gluten severely damages the small intestine so that nutrients are not absorbed properly. As the disease progresses, the manifestations will become more severe and increasingly complex. If not treated, people with Celiac Disease often develop other auto-immune diseases and are at an increased risk for esophageal cancer, non-hodgkins lymphoma, thyroid cancer and intestinal adenocarcinoma. This is not a disease I will ever "outgrow" which means I have to be pro-active and avoid gluten for the rest of my life.
Growing up in Santa Fe, NM I was raised on red-chile and homemade flour tortillas. Naturally, I thought that this diagnosis was the death of me. I honestly didn’t know how to go on a diet and I really wasn't excited about restricting items from my daily life. I have always had a deep love for pumpkin ravioli, warm focaccia bread, craft-beer, and northern New Mexico food. I thought, how in the world am I going to survive this? I felt sad, lonely, and mad that this had to happen to me. After weeks of grief, sadness, denial and anger, I snapped out of it. It was going to be a very lonely life, if I felt depressed about food and having an auto-immune disease.
My outlook on having Celiac disease has dramatically changed and the best part of this is that I don’t have to take any medicine for my disease. I am healthier than I have ever been and feel great. I can control how I physically feel by the tasty food I put in my mouth. Fortunately, I live in a town where living gluten-free is very popular and many restaurants are educated about gluten intolerance and cross contamination issues. I have a passion for delectable and simple foods. They are what keep me happy and healthy and I hope that you'll find that same enjoyment!