Has Celiac Disease Made You a Better Person?

  • Celiac disease can help us become less prejudiced against people and situations in the world around us.


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?

When physical or emotional celiac pain is strong or persistent, it’s hard to not tense up and wish it weren’t happening. But the more we practice re-framing pain as sensations, and relaxing into those sensations, the more skilled we get – and the less pain is in our life.

I’m starting to think that prejudice originates in the body: by labelling some physical and emotional sensations as good while rejecting others as pain, we are practicing discrimination — passing judgement on what is acceptable/tolerable and what is not. This is a closed-minded, narrow perspective.

If we have a closed-minded and narrow perspective on the inner workings of our body, we are likely to have a closed-minded and narrow perspective on the workings of the outer world. After all, our body is where we really experience the world.

So, if we aspire to be more open-minded, accepting, and tolerant on a social or political level, we need to be open-minded, accepting, and tolerant of our own physical and emotional bodily experience.

sherry scheideman celiac transformation5Celiac disease can really help us become more open-minded, because it relentlessly presents us with physical and emotional sensations that are easily judged as painful. When we work to welcome such sensations as valid parts of our life experience, rather than judging them and building walls against them, we drop old prejudices. We open to the goodness and instruction that is there.

With this process of acceptance going on in our own body, we see the world through accepting eyes. We see abundant goodness and kind instruction all around us.

Our bodily experience is our way of living in the world. We can’t control everything that happens in our bodies, just like we can’t control everything that happens in the world… but we can work to experience it kindly. Our reward is to then see kindness everywhere.

Thank you, Celiac Disease, for challenging us enough to make it worth our while to develop kind eyes.


“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.