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Brittany: Using Her Experience to Educate Others

As she continually learns more about her disease and what it means to eat gluten free, she has sought ways to share her experience with others. In her words, Brittany’s story:

Brittany | Sacramento, CA

“My name is Brittany, and I have lived with Celiac Disease since 2008. I also live with Type 1 Diabetes, which is how, after a routine doctor’s visit and complaining about my symptoms, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.

Transitioning my diet to gluten-free was very hard in the first couple months, because there were not a lot of gluten-free products in the supermarkets in my area, and finding restaurants to cater to my dietary needs was difficult as well. I began to read many books to gain the knowledge of what is and is not gluten free.

I always had the support and help of my mother, who tried her best to make my life easier by going on the gluten free diet with me and finding out what foods I could eat. Then I transferred schools and started to attend CSU Sacramento. It was hard because the dining services would not cater to my dietary needs, so I learned which foods to eat and avoid. This led to a love for Mexican food and french fries, which I know are not the healthiest, and so became a vice for me most of the time.

When I met my boyfriend in college, he pledged to support me, and go on the diet as well. We now frequently shop around markets trying to see which products they have, and he finds a lot of gluten free products are quite tasty and enjoyable to eat!  I am happy to see more and more gluten free products in supermarkets. Slowly, too, the school has started to add gluten-free products at certain eateries and markets. It makes life a little bit easier, but I feel like there is more to be done.

This past semester, I became a writer for the school newspaper, The State Hornet, and was encouraged by my editors to write about living a gluten-free lifestyle. I found writing about gluten-free living is something I really enjoy. I have written about restaurants dedicated to making gluten-free food, the dining options on campus, and provided tutorials on cooking breads, doughnuts, apple pie, and the like.  Writing for the newspaper also led me recently to start working at the Gluten Free Specialty Market in Sacramento, which has also helped me become more aware of products and information on the disease. I also run a Facebook page called Gluten Free at Sac State, which shares information on gluten free news, food, tips, facts and what to look for in Sacramento and on campus that is gluten free. Many students and people have praised my articles, and it makes me happy to know they reach so many people, and may hopefully help them too. One day, I hope to have a blog or column, and am dedicating my summer to coming up with future gluten free topics to write about for the newspaper in the next year.

Being on the gluten free diet has helped me feel healthier and happier every day. I hope to influence more college students in my school and area with my writing. By reaching out to each other, we can become more aware of gluten free products, learn more about the disease, and how to make life easier by living on a gluten free diet.”

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