Hi!! I was diagnosed with celiac disease at 18 months old. I have such a severe reaction, that I became malnourished and critically Ill. I had an endoscopy done, and they found that I had celiac disease. I was the first in the practice (2001)! I was so young when I was diagnosed that I don’t remember what gluten tastes like. Some challenges were that gluten free items were not trendy yet, so my mom would drive hours to get gluten free bread and other items. She is the best mom! It wasn’t very known back then so we had to do extensive research. Growing up, I had severe anxiety due to having celiac disease and being nervous that i would get my reaction while i was out of my house. I would be very scared to leave my mom and go out to eat. I felt embarrassed when I would be out with friends and have panic attacks because of potential cross contamination or mistakes in the kitchen.

I feel like nowadays it’s turned into a fad which is great because now it’s more well known and there are more options out there, however it’s also horrible because people won’t take me seriously when ordering food. They think I am doing it to be “healthy” so they may not take as much time to warn the chef of my allergy or they may not take it seriously and bring me the wrong dish.

Overall, my friends and family have always been supportive and as I grow up and have a deeper understanding of my celiac disease, I am more comfortable and confident navigating food and restaurants and have grown from my anxiety!!