I’m Abby B, a 10th grader who has had Celiac for two years. I play multiple sports and go to a small private Christian school, now located at my house because of Covid-19. I was diagnosed with Celiac disease when I was in 8th grade, almost two years ago. Since I go to such a small school I am the only one in the high school that has celiac disease and the only one who must eat strictly gluten-free, which is hard because many people and teachers don’t know or remember that I am gluten-free.
Since Covid-19 has hit it has been a whirlwind for everyone. As a teenager with celiac disease the virus has made my life easier in some ways, and harder in others.
It’s been easier because I am eating at home for basically every meal. That means everything that I eat is controlled. For people who have celiac disease, eating at home in a controlled environment is less stressful and easier. Even though, my Mom would rather eat out every day and gets really tired of making so many meals! It is also easier because I am able to find the right balance of nutrition throughout the day. At school, I am limited to eating only when allowed but at home, I can eat whenever so that I am always energized (which is amazing for me but it drives my mom crazy because she wants us to be hungry at dinner time instead of just eating snacks).
In other ways, it’s been more challenging because it’s harder and harder to find gluten-free food in the grocery stores. Some of my favorite foods like Barilla pasta or King Arthur’s muffin mix are never sold in the stores anymore. My parents have ordered online and managed to find the foods I need such as baking flour and pasta, but each time the delivery dates take longer and longer and based on my mom’s description of the grocery store, it’s clear many people are buying gluten-free food because the regular things (like pasta) are out. They may not be gluten-free, but they buy it anyway and that has been especially frustrating.
The good news in all this (especially for my Mom) is that despite the fact that most places are closed, there are some places that are open for takeout and have amazing gluten-free options! Some of my favorite places that we have ordered takeout from are American Flatbread in Portsmouth, NH, Rev Kitchen & Bar in Beverly, Burtons in North Andover, and Chick-Fil-A in Woburn. My parents have been to all of the places and I have come to some of them in the car. They are very aware of the social distancing rules. Everyone wears gloves and masks and you have the ability to pay online so you don’t come in contact with them. My food is always labeled and in a separate bag or box. These were some of my favorite places before Covid-19 and it’s helped me feel a sense of ‘real-life’ to order from them. Plus my mom is happy that she doesn’t have to make dinner every night!
Sure being isolated in your home isn’t fun, but eating can be. I love eating. Since Covid-19 has hit, I have felt much safer about eating because I am able to control what goes in my body, compared to when there might be cross-contact at schools, sports events, or at restaurants that do not observe strict gluten-free rules. I know that having a home-cooked meal at the end of the day has been super helpful. But it’s also nice to order out every now and then! I’m sure that all our parents would appreciate it if the gluten-free supplies were better stocked at the stores and someday we all hope a restaurant or two will open up again. I know mine would!