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Frances and Tran

Frances And Tran’s Gluten-Free Love Story

Frances And Tran’s Gluten-Free Love Story

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Frances and Tran
PHOTO: TRAN LE

“Frances and I met back in mid-December of last year, right before Christmas. I’m very much about organic meetings, but the truth is that we met through a lame dating app. I’d love to say that we met at a park or at the grocery store, but honestly I’m just grateful that we found each other at all.

In hindsight, I know that Christmas came early for me in 2015. Our connection was unlike anything I’d ever felt, and I knew we had something special. What I couldn’t know from scrolling through Frances’ beautiful photos was that she had something special of her own – Celiac Disease.

I got my bachelor’s in community health several years ago and have been a health coach ever since. So I’m a little embarrassed to say that prior to meeting Frances, I had no knowledge of Celiac Disease and all that accompanies it. Feeling that I should’ve been better informed on the matter, I googled endlessly to learn more.

As I got to know Frances better, I also got a firsthand education on the effects of Celiac Disease. Witnessing her get “glutened” for the first time left me feeling helpless, as she painfully curled up in the fetal position.

I saw the absolute dread in her face when we would go out to eat at restaurants that either didn’t offer gluten-free options or presented the possibility of cross-contamination. I could see how much of a struggle it was for her to enjoy going out for a quick bite to eat or out with friends and family, as she did her best to ensure that there would be appropriate accommodations.

I absolutely love cooking, but had gotten away from it prior to meeting Frances. Since she’s come into my life, I’ve happily embraced the opportunity to get back into it, and we buy nothing but fresh and raw ingredients – which helped me to also eat a lot cleaner. We’ve even managed to come up with safe alternatives for her occasional bread and pizza cravings (Udi’s and other gluten-free companies offer great options)!

I now have a directory in my phone entitled “The Go-To Celiac Bible.” This is a combined list of Celiac-sufferers from all over the world who wish to share their experiences and knowledge. I refer to if ever I’m at the grocery store and am unsure about a certain product or food.

Over a short period of time, I began to fall deeply and head over heels in love with Frances. The more I fell in love with her, the more I understood the daily challenges that she faces, as gluten is in EVERYTHING – from foods to makeup to lotion to deodorant to shampoo – I mean, anything and everything.

I now enjoy seeking out new restaurants that offer gluten-free menus, cooking delicious and safe meals, and more so than anything not seeing France get “glutened.” Over time I’ve watched her become more comfortable about its “inconveniences,” as she realizes that she’s not a burden, is no longer alone in this journey, and that Celiac Disease would now be my concern as well.

Today, I also eat gluten-free (gluten-free pizza is seriously the bomb!) and together we’ve mastered (at least, we think so!) the art of gluten-free banana pancakes, flourless chocolate cake, and even quinoa-crusted chicken nuggets!

What Frances might have perceived as a burden has been in many ways a blessing to me. Thanks to her I’ve become a much better health coach, as I’m far more conscious of what healthy eating truly consists of. Love has been the catalyst for my own growth as a professional, and a person.

I honestly didn’t know about Healevate until I came across one of your articles that Frances had shared on her Facebook page. I hope that she stumbles upon our story and lights up when she realizes that a huge audience of readers, or even just one single person, might be inspired by our unwavering commitment to healthy living, and to one another.” – Tran

If you have a personal health story that you’d like to share, send it, along with a photo, to [email protected]

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