Gluten-Free Mind Games
By Ginger Vieira
Ginger Vieira has lived with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease for over 11 years. She holds 14 national, drug-tested powerlifting records and the Vermont state record for the female bench- press. Today, Ginger supports people with health and chronic illness challenges in her businesses, Living In Progress, as a cognitive-based life coach. She also writes about living with Type 1 Diabetes at HealthCentral. You can learn more about Ginger’s coaching, or see her powerlifting videos on YouTube.
My mother bakes the most amazing chocolate chips cookies. My brothers and father would have traded every action movie they owned just for a plate of these cookies, but I honestly never really cared for them… then I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and was told that these cookies and everything else with gluten would now be now off limits.
An entire list of foods, I could have lived the rest of my life without, suddenly became the things I wanted and the things I felt were now actually being kept from me. My twin brother’s cinnamon swirl bread, totally boring hot dog buns, Hostess Cupcakes, my mom’s fancy whole grain bread, Triscuit crackers, and even Fig Newtons! I have never enjoyed a Fig Newton or a Triscuit cracker in my entire life, but when I was told those things were off limits, I wanted to have them.
From the age of 14, when I was diagnosed, until I was about 18 years old, I did my best to avoid gluten and follow the guidelines, but I always resented these rules, and I even cheated on occasion (I was fortunate enough to have very, very mild symptoms in response to gluten despite the damage it was doing to me inside my body, so I would eat a brownie here and a slice of pizza there). During the first few years of college, though, I really let my rules go out the window. I began eating gluten whenever I pleased. And no, I didn’t feel good.