Celiac Disease / Uncategorized

Celiac, Depression & Richard Simmons


If you’ve got a Google alert on “gluten” or “celiac” (and you do, right?) you’ve been seeing a rash of articles that highlight the study that shows being diagnosed with celiac disease and following a gluten-free diet could turn you into one depressed lady with an eating disorder.

Happy New Year!

I’ve been reading the articles (okay, skimming) and I know that not every single woman who gets a celiac diagnosis and then jumps all over the diet that stops the hellish burning of her insides becomes a depressed anorexic. For example, me. Naturally, before my diagnosis I was not a happy camper. But after I changed my diet — even though it’s a massive pain in the ass — I had one less thing to stress me out. One HUGE less thing. And the reason I know I was in the literal and metaphorical shitter before I knew what was happening to my body, comes down to my last pre-diagnosis interaction with one man: Richard Simmons.

You see, we had recently moved to Los Angeles from Brooklyn and my sister-in-law (who is a gem) decided the best way to make me love LA was if we went to work out with Richard Simmons in his studio and participate in his mini-therapy session he has on Saturday mornings. You guys, I won the lottery with my sister-in-law. Does yours insist you go workout and have “Project Me” time with Richard Simmons? No? Then your sister-in-law sucks. I’m sorry, but it’s true.

Working out with Richard Simmons is truly life-changing. For only $12 he will kick your ass and scream profanities at you then turn around and give you the biggest, sweatiest, hug you’ll ever be alternately disgusted and overjoyed to receive. It wasn’t my last trip to little Dickey’s studio, but it was getting harder to summon the energy to keep up with that crazy old guy.

So on one particular Thursday evening I was feeling like ass. Not much different from any other Thursday except that I should have been stoked to be in the presence of the bejeweled one. Just like the intuitive he his, Richard stopped mid-jumping jack when he noticed I had picked up the tiny barbells instead of the big ones. “Didn’t I say 10 lb weights? What are those? Five?” His fiery — yet tinged with great love and longing — look had me stammering my excuse, “I’m feeling a bit low energy today.” But no sympathy from Richard, “What, are you on your period?” I love that man. Yet I wasn’t on my period, I just had every nutrient in my body zapped due to undiagnosed celiac disease. And when you can’t even get up the energy to pick up a 10 lb weight and dance with Dickey Simmons — well, that’s effing depressing.

All of this is to say, I was a heck of a lot more depressed before my diagnosis and lifestyle change than I am now. And to prove it, I think I’m going to drop in on Slimmons next week and bask in the love of a complete psycho in shiny shorts. Unless I’m on my period.

Seriously, I LOVE him.

Are you a depressed celiac?

Image via Richard Simmons DVDS

11 thoughts on “Celiac, Depression & Richard Simmons

  1. Okay, first? I have relatives in LA…I now have a reason to go and visit them, woot!

    Re: the study. Somehow, I’m missing the hordes of depressed celiacs in the community. All the ones I see are those who were very depressed or suffering from anxiety attacks before the diagnosis, and now they’re much improved and able to cope with life again…and Richard Simmons, heh.

    It always makes me curious what they use for their data points to diagnose this stress and depression. I recall reading some random blurb the other day that was associating ‘socializing less’ with depression. A lot of celiacs I know choose their socializing experiences a bit more carefully these days, so they’d end up positive for depression by that kind of testing. I really, really wonder if that’s the type of thing that will show up once the details of this study are published fully.

    • One point made in the article I linked to I could agree with, which was it’s stressful to go out and eat with groups of people, go over to people’s houses when food is involved, etc. I totally agree. But I never let that stop me from going. EVER.

      And sure, I’ve had moments of pure frustration when I walk into a situation unprepared and there’s nothing there for me to eat. But it’s not going to knock me into a full-blown depression. I think if it does, you have some other issues. Not judging, we all have issues. But I think just celiac (treated) and a gluten-free diet do not a depressed person make.

      Untreated celiac, oh hells yeah.

  2. Only if I’m in the room with beer and fresh sourdough bread. Otherwise, I’m actually happier! I think I make healthier food choices in general now.

    Richard Simmons would be fantastic to work out with. That is awesome.

  3. After going gluten-free, I have felt better than I have in years. Years. I have lost some weight, I have more energy, I don’t have a constant sinus issue, I have only had 1 migraine (when I used to have one a week). Not sure if these are all related or not…but in general terms, I feel better than I have in a long long long time.

    • Well, they can be related. Frankly gluten-free diet can have some negatives effects on your body such as iron or zinc deficiency which when untreated can lead to anemia but fortunately this is not very common. However deficiency of these minerals can cause some minor psychological and physical problems but they can be very mild when compared to how can you feel when you accidentally (or knowingly?) ingest some gluten.

  4. Shut up! Seriously? You worked out with Richard Simmons in the flesh? Amazing.

    Also, I’ve been seeing all of those depression articles too. When I went GF, I felt a ton of a lot better too. I guess for some, giving up bread/pasta/etc. is depressing at first. And def in situations where you’re not prepared (dining out, parties, etc.) but usually you can always find SOMETHING to eat. Oh wells…it takes getting used to.

  5. I feel so much better after going gluten free (and dairy free)! I’ve heard that the supposed lack of carbs causes the depression in Celiac’s and the gluten intolerant…however, I haven’t had any problem getting in plenty of carbs. Unless people are living under a rock, there are a ton of gluten free food choices out there if someone is just dying for carbs. I swear, I think the media is on a mission because they’re pissed that someone might take their wheat away.

    I also had never even heard of Google alerts! Had to Google it of course, and now I’m set up for gluten intolerance and dairy intolerance alerts. Thanks!
    Love you blog by the way! 🙂

    ~April

    • Thanks! And I’m glad you’re feeling better. Yeah, I have zero trouble finding carbs to make up for the loss of wheat.

      I think you’re right about people fearing a wheat ban across the world. The over reaction is startling.

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