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People look everywhere for their happiness. They continually search and think they’ll find it outside themselves, but it’s right there within reach—in their own hearts.

I always say, if you wake up in the morning and you’re breathing, walking, you can hear and see, and you’re NOT sick, then that is happiness! It is true that we are certainly lucky if we have our health, but happiness is defined by personal effort. I don't rely on chance and put a lot into the organization, goal setting, working smart mixed with adequate sleep, exercise and an attention to single ingredient food choices. It’s a discipline that—in the long run—will leave you feeling pretty darn grateful.

We can’t control the world, but we can identify and take responsibility of just enough in our lives that are within our control like sleep, diet, mental and physical fitness, compassion, and gratitude.

Each and every day is a gift. Practicing gratitude on a daily basis shifts our focus on hope, inspiration, and optimism—giving us the strength and courage to persevere in the face of adversity. And, it doesn’t have to take an illness or setback to feel this way. We can have a full out, lover-of-life mindset on even the most ordinary of days. Don’t let anything or anyone stand in your way. Stay optimistic. Think good thoughts. Work hard and smart. Keep a broad focus. Spread kindness.

My number one thing while I was raising my kids was that if my kids are healthy, I’m okay. If you have personal health and your family is healthy, you have a tremendous responsibility to be grateful. I can’t begin to explain how it felt to be so appreciative for my boys, yet so sick at the same time. But even when I was 100 pounds, exhausted, and didn’t know why, I kept this perspective: Healthy, safe, happy kids equal an everlasting joyful, healthy life. Not everyone does this, I understand, but it totally works for me.

family celiac disease

I’m lucky that I come from a big family. My mom had six kids! Imagine being responsible for six children every day, truly sacrificing everything for the well-being of your children. She was an only child (and a spitfire athlete) so we reaped many benefits having her for a mom. Soft, but strong.

Momma Annabelle used to say, “Love with all your heart. Fight for the great stuff. Do the right thing. Kindness matters. Be nice, you don’t know the troubles people are fighting.” True words of wisdom.

I know that’s how I got through my undiagnosed celiac life. I was super focused on family, living by my mom’s example, and making sure everyone was healthy, a good person, and discovering the things that made them happy. That was my focus. It gave me this unbelievable strength. I could not fail, even when I was ill.

The thing that both fires me up about celiac disease as well as motivates me, is that celiac is so SILENT. I was doing all the things we’re told to do to be healthy, and still couldn’t understand why I was anemic and constantly fatigued. I was in the dark. I could let that make me angry, but I’m a fighter. And now I’m fighting for YOU.

It’s common, too. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, an estimated one in 100 people have celiac, and 2.5 million Americans are undiagnosed and at risk for long-term health complications. In this article from Allergic Living, a recent study discovered that when celiac is silent, going gluten-free might improve your quality of life, even if you don’t realize it needs any improving.

The article reports that researchers used blood tests to screen 3,031 people over the age of 18 who had relatives with celiac disease. None had any serious health complaints. The result: 40 tested positives for the antibodies associated with celiac. Of those 40, half were randomly assigned to go on a gluten-free diet while the rest continued to eat whatever they wanted. The results were stark. After a year, the subjects who didn’t change their diets showed no change in their digestive system and vitamin levels, while the gluten-free group showed “significant improvement.”

In my heart, I knew I was always happy from within. I just didn’t know that gluten was a bully. That’s why this is so important to me. I want to help you live your best life and determine what works for YOU. Healing and treatment vary from person to person. Because when I finally was diagnosed, celiac still beat me up pretty hard.

I learned from experience that gluten-free replacement carbs aren’t healthy either. There’s too much refined sugar, empty calories, and additives in most processed replacement foods and what my body needed to heal was single ingredient, nutrient-dense foods.

We’re all a little Pavlovian when it comes to certain foods, especially cookies, pastries, and breads. It was hard for me to imagine a life without pasta. Oh my… I’m Italian. I know!

Every day I see people looking to be well online and through social media. They search endlessly—and there it is in front of them on their kitchen table wrapped in a beautiful gingham cloth in a lovely wicker basket. A wolf in sheep’s clothing: Gluten.

zoodles zucchini carrot noodles

Natural, whole foods—not processed foods—are what brought me a higher, more energetic quality of life. There are so many creative and delicious ways to satisfy our cravings without the bad stuff. For example, zoodles (or zucchini noodles) in place of pasta. Have you tried it? Soooo good!

In order to make sustainable changes, we have to create new behaviors that become habits. You’ll most likely have to remove many foods from your diet to figure out what works best, but you will. This you can control and learn to master. Slow and steady.

Now that I feel good, I want everyone to feel this way. Figure out if you have celiac. Once you know if that’s your personal health culprit—with a proper diagnosis—then focus on getting well. Trust yourself and rely on YOU. You are your own best friend.

Happiness is within you. Your clear mind, your strong muscles, your relentless spirit, and your lungs full to capacity – breathing in appreciation for each and every day your heart is beating. It’s good karma to work with love from all your heart. ‘Cause nothing is heavy for those who have wings.

*A copy of Jet and Kristen's latest book "Gluten-Free Soul Pilot" is available on Amazon. And remember to shop through Amazon Smile and list us as your charity to benefit!



About Jet Widick

Jet WidickJet Widick, the author and poet behind the popular Gluten-Free Sage blog, is a wellness expert and advocate for Celiac disease who has worked to share her story in hopes that others will find inspiration and hope. Jet, a nickname her sons bestowed her once she became healthy and transformed herself, has seen creative endeavors blossom since she published her first two collections of poems. She and her partner in crime, Kristen Alden, continue to expand their exploration of poetry with projects like their Poetry in Motion series: http://www.jetwidick.com/animated-poetry/
Website: www.jetwidick.com and www.glutenfreesage.com

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