“First, glutenfreesage, thank you for this site, this forum of help for all of us to see the possibilities for a healthful life. I’d like to share a little of my story—it might help another.

It often began in the middle of the night. I was about 5 years old, and for as long as I can remember, the stomach aches came regularly. I think it was about every week or 10 days. The pain started high in my abdomen, got closer together as the hours passed, moved to my lower abdomen and then eventually caused me to spend quite some time in the bathroom. Thank goodness for a mom with patience. She would stay up with me sitting on the edge of the tub, waiting for the indescribable pain to pass. As I got older, I would bring my pillow in the bathroom to set in my lap, so I could sleep before the pain started again. This combined with bouts of constipation ruled my childhood. I remember falling asleep in the nurse’s office in elementary school in between bouts of pain and restroom visits, and getting through a vacation car trip with my dad holding my hand and telling me to squeeze it as hard as I could for comfort when the pain got so bad until the next rest stop appeared. Don’t get me wrong, in between these bouts were play and fun and love and lots and lots of pasta in our Italian household. We would try to narrow down the culprit. Dairy? Nuts? But never, never, wholesome wheat flour. No one had even heard of Celiac Disease in the ’60s and ’70s that I know of.

The stomachaches continued through my adulthood and crept into my days at work. I remember praying on the night before my wedding for a stomachache-free week. Just so you know, the wedding day was perfect (big smile). Fast forward to 35 years of age, when a family member got deathly ill from a lack of iron. After suffering test after scary test, we waited for answers to help end her suffering. They finally nailed it. Celiac Disease. Enter sunshine and rainbows! The news for her wellness, although took some time, was the best news ever. My daughter, who was showing the same signs as my childhood, was spared the continued pain after she tested positive for Celiac. Along with a handful of family members testing positive, I began my gluten-free journey, never turning back. It wasn’t easy at first. In 2002, options were limited. But I wouldn’t trade my food plan now for the pain any day. Not in a million years.

Thank you glutenfreesage for recognizing the need for a safe place to go to for ideas, motivation, an ear to listen, and a place to share our voice. You’re not just talking about it… you’ve lived it. I look forward to following you and your awesome insight!”

  Irmo, South Carolina

“I remember my first thoughts after my mom told me we were going to try a new way of eating, ‘What is gluten?’ and ‘I can’t have pizza?!’ That is what any ten-year-old fifth grader would be thinking. I knew I wanted the stomach aches to stop, but I strongly considered not going gluten-free for sake of eating pizza and cake at birthday parties.

I decided to try out this new way of eating by removing gluten from my diet, and immediately stopped having terrible stomach aches. I tested positive for Celiac Disease and began seeking more information from my family members who also tested positive. I crave knowledge, and wanted anyone to tell me more about gluten and Celiac Disease.

Now that I am 23, I am beyond thankful for all of the support from my mom and other family members who are on this journey with me. It was hard at first, because in 2002, there were very limited options for Celiacs. I remember having to explain to my friends at school why I was eating rice cakes and salads for lunch rather than the “normal” peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I am not one who likes to draw attention to myself, so I tried my best to work around this new way of life by “flying under the radar” with each meal.

I am so appreciative of Gluten Free Sage for spreading information that makes it easy to follow a gluten free diet in a healthy way, and for how important it is to TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.  We are a team, and the support is a necessity.    

I also want to give a shout out to all restaurants, events, and family/friends that have carefully planned gluten-free options. It is amazing to be able to go anywhere and have food options. I know it requires a lot of effort and planning, and I wholeheartedly appreciate it. It is no longer a matter of making gluten-free option requirements a nuisance; we can feel like we can go anywhere, and that is the best of part about this journey!

As someone with Celiac Disease, I have never felt better about how far we have come since 2002 and it keeps getting more and more exciting as the awareness of this lifestyle continues to grow!”   

Greenville, SC