Thankfully Gluten-Zero

Thanksgiving table
As my twelfth gluten-zero Thanksgiving celebration draws ever nearer, I can't help but think back. Honestly, I cannot remember the exact details of my first gluten-zero Thanksgiving.

I'm sure I was a jumble of nerves. I was only 6 months gluten-zero, still trying to get a handle on all of this, not 100% confident in my food choices [no labeling regulations existed in 2003], worried I'd get sick, and then try to explain all of this to family members. GULP!

I have been graciously blessed and my heart is filled with much gratitude and thanks. I have an amazing wife that has always supported and believed in me, even when I doubted myself. Without her, I would not be what I am today.

I have the best family and friends. They respect my choices and always watch out for me.

The members of GIG of ECW and the gluten-zero community in general. It's you, my peeps, that inspire and motivate me, keep driving me forward as a human being and support group leader.

"The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away."

~ Pablo Picasso

I am eternally thankful for what Melissa Diane Smith calls “The Gift of Gluten-Free”. All those years ago when I was lying on the living room floor in the fetal position, I could not have imagined what was in store for me [besides death]. I gave up gluten, but what I have received in return is beyond measure.

I realized that I was given an opportunity to use my skills and talents to help others. Heck, there were talents that I didn't even know I had! The biggest item unearthed in me was a passion – a purpose – something that was lacking in my life previously. I was given a gift, and I was shown how to give it away. It was a profound awakening.

I invite you to think about your gluten-zero life and list the items for which you give thanks. Consider all aspects of your life – physical and mental health; your relationship with friends and family members; your eating habits; your spiritual practices [things that feed your soul]. You might be surprised at the number of items you have on the list!

I also invite you to inventory your gifts and find out what can be given away. What you receive in return may rock your world. You won't know until you try.

Stay strong. Be well.

Your humble servant,

Al Klapperich – GIG of ECW Branch Manager