When a Merry Christmas Isn't: Celiac Chat on Life
When the days are snowy and bright, but the tables are piled with celiac blight. Christmas-tide is full of food. What time isn't? But that's a good thing...unless you have a disorder which makes the larger portion of the food not just inedible, but dangerous.
Perhaps a greater challenge in a holiday season is the focus on food, for feasts require feasting, and that means edibles. But the Western tradition is heaped high with edibles inedible to us.
It does make a wicked opportunity for creativity.
...or a wicked excuse for isolation.
When a happy Christmas isn't happy, it's time to troubleshoot.
Chat about your challenges with a friend
Find something new to do or try
Disorders are ditches in our lives, not the roads
This season, I met up for a date at a little cafe around the corner from St Paul's near Harvard. As we unbundled, and ordered tea & coffee, gluten free came up.
"Seriously," I quipped after a fairly blase remark from him, "You have a surprising lack of knowledge about celiac and autoimmune miscellany for a med student."
"I don't know," he said, a little thoughtfully, "I guess I just equate you more with your philosophy, and ideas, and, like, bachata dancing than a disease."
And I was quiet.
It took a few minutes for me to sort what I thought of that response.
I appreciated it.
He was seeing the bits of my life that would still be there, were I diagnosed celiac or otherwise -- and the segments that even a medically restricted food regime couldn't or hadn't flattened.
During the holidays, celiac disease might be a challenge. But the greater challenge, year long, year round, now and later, is having an identity that isn't swallowed by an accident of circumstance. For me, the greatest opportunity in living with celiac disease is being grateful to be able to live as more than it -- as me.
Keep it simple. Happy Christmas!
And if you go for a coffee date, bring a pocketful of gluten-free tea cakes. I got to scramble out the below recipe in a few quiet moments during Advent.
GLUTEN FREE CACAO CHAI TEA CAKES
[ gluten-free, vegan, nut-free ]
:: ingredients ::
1/4 cup tigernut flour (I use Organic Gemini)
1 tbsp oat fibre (Nu Naturals)
1/4 Organic Cocoa Powder (Nu Naturals)
2/3 cup pureed beets or pumpkin
1 tsp Nu Naturals Chai Stevia Syrup (works best...but can sub chai spice + 1 tsp sugar)
:: directions ::
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F. While oven heats, sift dry ingredients, then slowly
fold into wet + sweetener.
2. When dough is smooth, spoon onto parchment lined sheet in rounds.
Your cakes should silver-dollar-sized, but peaked/tall.
3. If dough is too wet, add oat fibre. If too dry, a little coconut or almond milk does well.
4. Bake about 25 minutes, leave on rack in turned-off oven to set another 5-10. Serve with