Celiac Counsellor’s Corner – The Gift of Limitations

  • When your parents or in-laws are gluten-clueless and unwilling/unable to learn, staying with them may no longer be an option. How can you deal with this limitation that celiac disease has introduced into your life?

Sherry Scheideman Counselour 2

Sherry Scheideman, Registered Clinical Counsellor

Celiac Counsellor’s Corner* is a place where Sherry Scheideman, M.A., Registered Clinical Counsellor, responds to your questions about the emotional and social issues that celiacs face. Diagnosed with celiac disease herself in 2001 in Victoria, BC, Sherry draws upon personal experiences and a Master’s Degree in Counseling to support you in transcending this ‘life transition’ and turning it into an opportunity to live your best life – ever.

Do you have a comment or question for Sherry?

The Gift of Limitations

Celiac disease introduces new limitations into our lives. Some of these limitations are obvious: we can no longer choose every item on the restaurant menu; we can no longer eat some of our old favourite foods; we can no longer have a bite of the sandwich our friend offers us.

Other limitations are less obvious. These include where and with whom we can stay on vacations or when we’re in a pinch.

celiac staying with familyOptions that we always took for granted now need to be re-examined. For example, maybe we always knew we could temporarily stay at our parents’ or our in-laws’ place if we were short of money. Now, though, when we go there as a celiac, we may notice that they are gluten-clueless and unwilling/unable to learn! In this case, staying with them may no longer be an option.

It is difficult to accept that staying with our gluten-clueless parents or in-laws is no longer an option, but in some cases this is simply one of the new limitations in our reality.

To see that old options are no longer functional requires clarity. Celiac disease demands that we develop this clarity. GOOD! Clarity helps us in every area of our lives.

celiac looking in fridgeLet’s do an exercise on clarity:

Identify our true options for places to stay when we are short of money:

a. With the bears in their cage at the zoo

b. With our gluten-clueless parents who are unwilling/unable to learn

c. Other

Choosing “a” is not a true option, because we might get eaten by bears. Choosing “b” is not a true option, because we might go hungry, get glutened, and grow resentful. Choosing “c” is our only true option.

celiac making good choicesIdentifying our true options is a challenge. This is where celiac disease gives us the Gift of Limitations, by driving us to become more resourceful, creative, good at planning and organization, and true to our own integrity.

Instead of doing what we’re expected to do, or saying “I have no choices, or fewer choices now” — we begin to look for and create more choices that really work for ourselves as we really are.

Cultivating this skill benefits us in every area of our lives.

Next week, I will provide some tips on how to come up with true options when our old way of doing things is no longer a good choice.


“Life happens! Why not love it?”

“Being diagnosed with celiac disease and going gluten-free has challenged me to develop inner resources that I never knew I had, and I’m grateful for that. As a counsellor, I love to help other celiacs find their own gifts within the challenges of the disease, and to facilitate healing. Why not let your celiac disease motivate you to be your best self?”

Sherry writes about the issues that we as celiacs face in Celiac Counsellor’s Corner. The following topics – and more – will be addressed:

sherry.scheideman MC, RCC

  • blaming ourselves or feeling guilty for having the disease
  • feeling frustrated and sad about all the food we can’t have anymore
  • facing social, familial, and workplace difficulties because we can’t eat what everyone else is having
  • being afraid we might not be able to get anything safe to eat when we’re out
  • having to ask endless questions about food to make sure we can eat it
  • having to endlessly refuse offerings of food in order to stay safe
  • occasionally getting “glutened” and then enduring not only the illness but possibly also the blame from ourselves
  • how to handle gluten-free shaming

In her articles, Sherry will examine how we can feel like victims as we face the issues that celiac disease presents — and then will explore how these issues give us the opportunity to become our best selves as we rise to meet their challenges. We may find that we can even be grateful to celiac disease for giving us the challenges we need.

  • As Pema Chodron notes, “When we reach our limit, a hardness in us will dissolve. We will be softened by the sheer force of whatever energy arises – the energy of anger, the energy of disappointment, the energy of fear. That very energy pierces us to the heart, and it opens us. Reaching our limit is like finding a doorway to sanity and the unconditional goodness of humanity.”

  • *Information and perspectives provided in Celiac Counsellor’s Corner are intended to provide general information, without independent verification on the part of The Celiac Scene for the accuracy of the information provided to it. The information is specifically not intended to be a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment by your physician or other health care professional. You should always consult your own physician or other health care professionals about any medical questions, diagnosis, or treatment, especially before trying any diet. The Celiac Counsellor’s Corner does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on any content contained herein.