Air… that was on Jonathan’s menu when I first spotted him on Instagram. I could see the sarcastic expression on his face in the photo, so I could see we had a similar sense of humor. It’s ok to crack a joke or make light of a tough situation.
You will read below in Jonathan’s story that he does not have it easy… but he keeps a positive attitude and does his best to help those around him. A lesser known fact… he lives about an hour from my favorite bakery, Rainbow Bakery, in Bloomington, Indiana… so I may be asking him for a favor later!
Check out his story below!
1) Your story…tell us a little bit about yourself!
“What’s up everyone? My name is Jonathan. I was diagnosed with Celiac disease in 2014. Shortly after, I developed multiple food intolerances including dairy, soy, and rice. After a lifetime of being able to eat whatever I wanted, this was quite an adjustment. I also wasn’t the greatest cook before all these food issues began, so this has also been a huge life change for me.”
“In 2016, a medicine I was taking caused me to have a horrible reaction called Stevens Johnson Syndrome which put me in the hospital for a month and almost killed me. Between this and celiac disease, I realized just how strong of a fighter I really am. I decided to start my own blog, The Food Challenged Guy, as an outlet for me, but more importantly as a way to reach others who have food issues so I can teach them what I’ve learned! “
2) Why do you eat gluten free food?
“I have to stay on a strict gluten free diet because I have Celiac disease. No cheating here!”
3) What is your favorite gluten free snack? Where can we find it?
“I have two. I love Boar’s Head turkey pepperoni. It is amazing! I sometimes eat it for breakfast as weird as that sounds. I also love Hail Merry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough bites. They are gluten, grain, dairy, egg, and soy free and amazing!”
4) What’s your favorite gluten free recipe?
“Easily the 20 Minute Southwestern Beef Sweet Potato Skillet!”
5) What’s one thing you wish you knew when first went gluten free?
“Honestly, I wish I had known about the amazing gluten free blogging community. I feel so much less alone now. These people are going through the same things that I am and I feel like I’ve made a new set of friends because of it.”
6) If you could only eat one gluten free meal for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
“My mom’s gluten free meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and peas. Heaven!”
7) What advice would you give someone who is about to go gluten free?
“This is not going to be easy but you WILL get through this! Utilize your resources. Go online and see if you can find a gluten free support group that’s in your area. If not, there are several Facebook groups and websites out there that have forums where you can connect with other gluten free people. It’s important to find other people who get it and understand what it’s like to live this way. And most importantly, allow yourself to feel your feelings. Don’t suppress anything. If you’re sad, cry. If you’re angry, yell. It’s essential in helping you move on with your life!”
8) What’s your favorite thing about being gluten free?
“It has taught me how strong I am. I have so many people tell me all the time that they could never avoid all the foods that I do. It’s made me realize that not everyone has the strength to live this life day in and day out. I’m proud of my tenacity.”
9) What is one thing you dislike about being gluten free and what do you do to mitigate it?
“I think the hardest part of being gluten free is the social aspect. So much of our social lives are intertwined with food, whether it’s parties, celebrations, potlucks, weddings, business lunches, romantic dinners, get-togethers with friends, etc. Many times you can’t participate in the same way as everyone else because you can’t eat what they’re eating. I combat that by bringing my own food, having a sense of humor about it all, and by drinking wine. Wine always helps!”
10) How can other people find you?
Jonathan, thank you for sharing and connecting! Also, thank you for your commitment to the gluten free community! I really enjoy the content and layout of your website. Looking forward to keeping up with your content!