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Dear Dude: My Girlfriend has Celiac and Cheats

Dear Dude: My Girlfriend has Celiac and Cheats. What Do I Do?

I was laying bed last night at the ungodly hour of 3am wide awake. After another brutally long work day, my mind was simply too wired to fall into a slumber. I learned a trick many years ago if you have having trouble falling asleep. You try to find five different sounds that you hear. In the still of the night, not an easy task. The idea is that your mind will stop racing, which will help you fall into a relaxed state.

So I gave it a shot. And you know what I heard? Silence. Utter silence. Sure…occasionally one of my pups would snore or Mrs. Dude would scream out how much she loves me in her sleep, but I couldn’t get to the five sounds. And then it came to me. The lack of sound wasn’t silence. It was peace. It was tranquility. It was gratefulness.

There is no war outside my bedroom. My family is not going to bed hungry. There are no riots in the streets. I have a home. I have friends. Dang…I’m a pretty lucky guy. And with that…I fell asleep.

What does this have to do with celiac? It’s a stretch, but there’s a connection. Here is an email I received recently:

Hi Gluten Dude:

I have a good friend who is a bartender. She has Celiac Disease. She continues to drink craft beer. What are the long-term ramifications of this behavior? The rest of her diet is gluten-free from what I can tell. I’m talking more than 3 beers & sometimes it’s way more at least 3-4 times a week. What should I do as a friend? My experience with Celiac is limited, but I have been reviewing articles & see some of the side-effects associated with consuming gluten in her. What happens if she doesn’t stop this behavior? Is it going to kill her? Or just make her life uncomfortable? Thank you for your time & website.

Here’s the deal. Who knows what will happen if she keeps cheating on her celiac disease. She may develop intestinal or stomach cancer and die an awful (and unnecessary) death. Or maybe lymphoma.

Researchers at Columbia University announced in 2013 that patients with celiac disease who had persistent intestine damage (identified with repeat biopsy) had a higher risk of lymphoma than patients whose intestines healed. The study shows that “celiac patients with persistent villous atrophy-as seen on follow-up biopsy-have an increased risk of lymphoma, while those with healed intestines have a risk that is significantly lower, approaching that of the general population.

Or she may live for another 60 years, but I guarantee it won’t be a fruitful 60 years.

So those are the “health-related” reasons why she should stop. Now here is my personal opinion. If she’s drinking 3-4 beers almost every night, the issue may go beyond celiac. I bartended for many years back in my youth, and I’ve seen some bartenders who couldn’t handle being behind the bar without partaking in the spirits that surrounded them. It ain’t pretty.

But it goes deeper than that…and now I’ll finally swing back to how the heck this relates to my dream. If you are a celiac and you cheat…you’re weak. If you are a celiac, feel like crap a lot and yet you eat really unhealthy food…you’re weak. If you’re more concerned with being normal than being healthy…you’re weak.

And yeah…we all have weak moments, but instead of being weak, be grateful. If celiac is the biggest issue in your life, then you’ve got a pretty good life. And if you are going to cast that aside just because you want to drink craft beer, there is nothing I can do to change your mind.

Find that tranquility. That inner peace. That silence. And sleep like a baby tonight.


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