School is underway… along with the worry of new teachers, subjects, classmates and possibly a new school. But add living with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, a condition that tends to make one feel isolated, and uneasiness takes on another meaning.
Those of us living with celiac disease certainly know the ins and outs of dealing with new situations. Let’s be honest, we all just want to fit in. Here are some helpful hints that could help you navigate the ‘feelings’ of being different or alone during school.
- Do your best to pack your lunch the night before to reduce any stress during the morning rush. This allows you to pack food that you would enjoy eating.
- Keep appropriate snacks on hand for ‘unplanned’ celebrations. Please remember to label and store them properly to prevent cross-contamination with gluten. This allows you to partake in the impromptu celebration and reduce the likelihood of being tempted to eat food with gluten to ‘fit in.’
- Investigate if a 504 plan is the best course of action for you (https://www.verywellfamily.com/sample-504-plans-3104712).
- Prepare for questions. You’ll get them. Your classmates can be curious. Be ready and willing to take the time to answer questions and educate them. In my experience, you’d be surprised with how supportive your peers are. They become your ‘gluten police.’
Focus on what you can eat…
And finally, focus on what you can eat. When I reminisce about foods from my past, I realized something. It wasn’t the food I really missed; it was the occasion. It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that the memories revolved around the food. But the truth is, the thing I miss the most is the camaraderie, the times I shared with my friends and colleagues.
Enjoy spending time with others…
Today, I’m making new memories with new friends. And yes the occasion might revolve around a meal, but it’s never about the meal. It’s about getting together with people whom you want to spend some quality time with. Once you remember that, having to be selective about what you eat becomes less important.
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