I can remember sitting in my biology class in high school when I first heard about gluten. My teacher and a student in the class had Celiac disease. When I heard about everything they'd gone through, I began to research Celiac disease to better understand what they had. I saw that when you Celiac disease, you have red bumps on your arms and legs, like Keratosis Pilaris (what I have), and so I thought that taking gluten out of my diet might help with the bumps. I was gluten-free for seven months and in that time, I felt like a brand new person and the bumps on my arms and legs had calmed down a little bit. But this is a decision that has changed my life.

When I tried to go back to eating gluten, I began to notice how badly my body would react to it. Whenever I would eat it, I would get tired and sluggish. I would have sore muscles and joints as well as constipation and diarrhea. It makes my stomach hurt so badly that it hurts to move or breathe. When I eat anything containing gluten, I had to go to the bathroom with twenty or thirty minutes of eating. But not many people know.

I don't usually tell people that I have a gluten sensitivity for many reasons. The first reason is I don't like to draw attention to myself. When I'm out with people at a pizza restaurant, I try and see if they have a gluten-free option and if they do, then I'll get it. This situation changes if we're all going to split a pizza and just share the price when this happens, I just suck it up and deal with it. I don't mention it because when people hear that you have a food allergy, they can get annoyed. It can feel like an inconvenience and a chore. I just know when I eat gluten what I've gotten myself into.

Another reason why I don't tell people about my allergy is they don't know what gluten is. Whenever I tell someone that I am gluten sensitive, they ask what that means and what gluten is. Gluten is a substance present in cereal grains, especially wheat, that is responsible for the elastic texture of the dough. The third reason is every time I tell someone I am gluten sensitive, it feels like I'm defending myself. It's like I have to prove that I'm allergic to gluten. I end up having to tell them everything that happens when I eat gluten just so they will believe me.

I know that after I went from being completely gluten free to trying to re-introduce it into my life, I went through some anger. I was mad that I could no longer eat a handful of crackers without regretting it an hour later. I was angry that I had to constantly defend my body and what happens when I eat gluten. Over the past six years, my feelings towards gluten have changed. I am now thankful that I tried not eating gluten and realized just what it was doing to my body. I am also thankful for the support that I get from my family.

This is my journey with gluten and the far from over struggle with gluten. I am so glad that there are so many options in grocery stores and in restaurants. I hope that this has told you something I don't normally share with many people about myself and maybe shone some light on gluten sensitivity. I hope that this has helped someone out there and can help you understand something that maybe you are going through.