My Gluten-Free Story: Sharing My Path to a Happier and Healthier Life

Today, I’m excited to share my gluten-free journey with you. We’ve chatted about my gluten allergy before, but let’s dive deeper into my GF story, shall we? No need to worry; I won’t overload you with all the nitty-gritty details. Instead, I’ll just start by confessing that I experienced some pretty odd symptoms for months – and, well, I completely ignored them. Ooops! But guess what? These quirky discomforts were actually signs that my body was nudging me towards a gluten-friendly lifestyle. It was like my body was saying, “Hey, let’s make some changes!” My journey towards being gluten-friendly and ultimately gluten-free had its twists and turns, but it led me to better health, more energy, and a deeper appreciation for the benefits of a gluten-friendly way of living. So, let’s get into it!

Ignoring the Signs

My doctor believes it’s something that developed during pregnancy, and it took me a whopping 11 months after giving birth to figure it out. Yep, you heard me right… 11 MONTHS.

The Mysterious Symptoms

So, what was happening? Well, I started feeling sick all the time. I was exhausted, weak, and after eating anything, even a tiny cracker, I felt uncomfortably full and bloated for hours. I mean, it was unbearable! I even skipped lunch sometimes and had no appetite for dinner. I was miserable in my own body. To add to the fun, I started experiencing terrible bouts of acid reflux, something I had dealt with during pregnancy, and I felt nauseous most of the time. Long story short, I just felt BLAHHHH.

A Wake-Up Call

I ignored these symptoms for a few months, thinking I could power through, but eventually, I couldn’t. I started vomiting after meals, and I finally realized that something was seriously wrong with my digestive system. It was not fun and I wish I never ignored the first symptoms I felt months before.

A Late-Night Revelation

One night, when I couldn’t sleep and felt like I weighed 5,000 pounds (no exaggeration), I turned to an app I have and entered my symptoms. And guess what came up as a possible illness? Celiac disease. I had heard of it before, but to be honest, I didn’t really understand what it meant to have celiac. I knew I had to avoid gluten, but besides knowing that it was in bread, I was pretty clueless.

I reached out to a friend who has a gluten allergy in the middle of the night (she’s a night owl like me!) and freaked out a bit. I didn’t think she’d reply, but not only did she reply in seconds, she also assured me that everything would be okay. Although the idea of giving up bread was daunting, I realized that having a gluten allergy wasn’t the end of the world. It was something I could manage simply by changing my eating habits. And if it meant getting rid of these awful symptoms, I was all in!

Taking Action the Gluten-Friendly Way

I made a promise to myself that I would cut gluten out of my life starting the next day. It just so happened that the next day, I was headed to NYC with my husband and some friends. But that didn’t deter me! If I felt better, great; if not, I would deal with it after the trip. And guess what? I ate gluten-friendly the entire time and felt like a different person immediately! It was actually wild.

Living a Gluten-Free Lifestyle

Every morning, I used to have two pieces of rye bread toast for breakfast, but that was a thing of the past. (By the way, I eventually learned that gluten includes wheat, barley, and rye.) Surprisingly, going gluten-free and living the gluten-friendly lifestyle was relatively easy for me because I never wanted to feel as sick as I had been feeling. That motivation was enough for a lifetime!

Confirmation and Relief

After returning from NYC, I visited the doctor, who confirmed that I had celiac. My acid reflux disappeared, I was no longer bloated, nauseous, or weak – I felt like ME again! And let me tell you, that’s the best feeling in the world!

I’ve discovered that leading a gluten-free lifestyle doesn’t necessarily make you healthier than the average person, especially if you replace gluten with gluten-friendly substitutes like gluten-free bread. But it does limit your food choices at many restaurants and gatherings. I used to nibble on my kids’ leftover food, and now I can’t. If a restaurant doesn’t have a gluten-free menu, I order the chicken sandwich without the bun. So, personally, I’m eating much healthier now, too, and feel so much better because of it.

Embracing the Change

The day I got back from NYC, I cleared out my pantry, freezer, and fridge, and I gave all my gluten-filled foods to my mom (except for a few of the kids’ favorites). My household is now completely gluten-friendly, and thankfully, my husband is on board with it too. Since adopting this lifestyle, I’ve come across some gluten-friendly foods that are downright gross and others that are absolutely amazing!

This Is My New Normal Now

You won’t hear me complain about this allergy. It’s become my new normal, and what’s there to complain about when I’m feeling pretty great every day? Plus, living in Chicago is probably the best place to have this kind of allergy because nearly every restaurant here has its own gluten-free menu. I’ll never take that for granted – it’s amazing!


Almost every recipe on my blog is gluten free! Find them all here in my Easy Recipes tab. A few of my favorites are This Healthy Baked Boursin Spaghetti Squash Recipe, This Easy 2-Ingredient Pesto Skirt Steak Air Fryer Recipe, and Yummy Boneless Sticky Chicken Thighs to Cook in the Oven Tonight!


If not, what are you waiting for?? We have fun over there, and I would love to have you join our little mama community!! All it takes is 2 seconds! So, click here and hit that follow button now!


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Comments +

  1. Courtney says:

    One of my good friend’s has Celiac’s and so he’s always bringing GF snacks to share with us! I didn’t realize that you could develop food allergies while pregnant!

    • Dana Ivy says:

      Thanks for sharing, Courtney! I bet you like the gfree snacks just as much, right?! There are some pretty great brands out there that are certified gluten-free! And I know right?! One of my friends went from having perfect eyesight to needing glasses after she was pregnant. So bizarre! Have a wonderful day!! Xox

  2. Dara says:

    I’m so happy you figured out the cause of all those symptoms, because that sounded awful! Now you can move forward! And yeah for loosing a few pounds along the way!

    – Dara //

  3. Staci Hauk says:

    We are BIG UDI fans, love, love, love their blueberry muffins! Gluten free is actually pretty tasty, don’t you think? Glad they figured out what was wrong and that it was an easy fix! XOXO!

    • Dana Ivy says:

      Ooo yes, those Udi Blueberry muffins are delish too! And yes! So tasty! When you find the good brands, life becomes so much better! Thanks for stopping by the blog! Xox

  4. Stacey says:

    I am not gluten free, but I LOVE the gluten-free pretzels at Trader Joes, they are so delish. Also, love your blog! We are spending a month Chicago this summer visiting my family and the suggestions for things to do with a baby so so helpful!

    • Dana Ivy says:

      Wait, I’ve never tried TJ’s gluten free pretzels!! I totally should!! Thank you so much for the kind compliments about my blog! You are so sweet, Stacey, and I really appreciate it! Oooo you are going to have so much fun visiting the Chi this summer! Some fun things to do with baby: eat lunch and walk around Millenium Park, where you can also visit the bean, the shedd aquarium is always fun if you’re looking for an indoor activity, going to Lincoln Park Zoo is a must! And you can’t go wrong with shopping on Mich Ave! Many summer weekends have art fairs on main streets and areas, so I suggesting checking one of those out too! Hope that helps! Maybe I’ll write a blog post about this?! Xox

  5. Lily Ayala says:

    A few months ago I decided to go gluten-free, not because I’m allergic or anything like that, I just wanted to because I’ve heard it helps with fertility. I can’t say I’m completely GF, but I do make better choices. I need to try Udi’s products!! Thanks for sharing, Dana! Glad you are feeling much better!

    xo, Lily
    Beauty With Lily

    • Dana Ivy says:

      Omgosh I never ever knew that about the fertility thing! Interesting! Yes!! Try Udi’s products.. they are the best, Lily!! And thank you, me too! Xox

  6. katelyn ryan says:

    i’ve always wanted to try the chocolate chip muffin tops, they look so good!

  7. It has to be hard to be gluten free at the same time I see so many more items at the store these days that are. I had a co-worker who was gluten free and he told me all about it. Glad to hear you have found some yummy snacks that agree with you!

  8. I have such a weakness for pretzels, love that they make them GF!
    Green Fashionista

  9. I have quite a few friends who discovered their gluten allergy randomly! I’ve also heard amazing things about those chocolate chip cookies

    • Dana Ivy says:

      It’s so weird how it happens! One minute you are fine and then next you’re the opposite. So strange! Udi’s is the best!!!! Xx

  10. WhatWouldVWear says:

    I heard of the benefits cutting gluten out, and your story was just eye-opening! So glad you’re feeling better now, Dana! And those snacks sound great too! So glad you found them!

    xoxo, Vanessa

  11. Biana Perez says:

    Thats crazy that it was developed after you had the baby and also a little frightening! I’m glad you’ve been able to make the change and so happy that you’re feeling so much better! Being sick and not knowing what is causing it is really scary! xo, Biana –BlovedBoston

    • Dana Ivy says:

      Right?! I guess many people develop a gluten allergy randomly so who knows?! That was just what the doctor predicted! And thanks friend – are we friends now? haha – I’m glad I’m feeling better too! Xox

  12. Jalisa says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Dana! I’m glad that the doctors were able to confirm what it was that you were experiencing and now, you’re able to manage those symptoms with a gluten free diet! These days, I’ve noticed that supermarkets have much more options labeled gluten free than before, making it easier to discover alternatives. I shared with you on Instagram how we’ve been trying to switch over to gluten free in my house because we thought that I had an allergy as well, come to discover I don’t, but after researching what gluten is and how it really isn’t good for anyone to consume much of, we decided to make some changes anyway. Thankfully, my husband is on board, too, because I’m sure you know, men can be so difficult when it comes to changing eating habits, haha! We LOVE Udi’s, too, specifically their white bread, which tastes SO buttery and uber delicious when used to make an Elvis sandwich, yum! I also love their rye! I haven’t tried the other ones you’ve shared here, so I’ll definitely have to check them out the next time I go food shopping. What I don’t like is that they can be a bit pricier than regular or even Ezekiel bread, but I’ve found that Stop & Shop sells them much cheaper than Whole Foods or Mrs. Greens! I also find it to be annoying when dining out that the options aren’t really there for gluten free, other than pizza, but hopefully this will change! Thanks so much for sharing, beautiful, and I hope you’re having a wonderful week so far!



    • Dana Ivy says:

      Jalisa you are oh so thoughtful every time! I feel super lucky to live in a day in age where being gluten-free is super common! Awesome that you and you hubby are going gf too – I predict that in 20 years everyone will be! Isn’t Udi’s the best?! Need to try their white bread! It is expensive but well worth the price! There’s no stop & shop but I usually buy most of my gf food at Target. Ours has a huge selection! You’re the best!! Xox

  13. Shauna C says:

    Wow, what a scary story. I’m glad you were able to figure out what it was that was ailing you! My sister had the same thing happen to her so she went gluten free last year. She says she’s never felt better! I know there are many benefits to cutting it out :)


  14. Mademoiselle Coconath says:

    Thanks for sharing your story!
    Great post!


    Mademoiselle Coconath

  15. Ashon says:

    Thanks for sharing, Glad that you were able to figure it out quick! Great post!

    Kisses Ashon

  16. So glad you are feeling better! I can’t imagine how horrible it must have been to feel so sick!

    • Dana Ivy says:

      Thanks lady! It was pretty horrid but an easy fix once we figured it out! Thanks for stopping by the blog! Hope you’ll be back to read more!! Xo

      And PS my fave flowers are lilacs =)

  17. Charity says:

    So my son, myself and hubby have gone GF. No major health concerns but my son was always complaining that his stomach hurt etc. after he ate so we all decided to make a health change. My daughter isn’t completely on board but our house is slowly becoming 100% gluten free and I ADORE everything Udi’s! It’s the best isn’t it? My son (he’s 12) has a hard time ordering when we are out to eat but is getting used to it. We find that a lot of restaurants-especially Mexican-don’t have a gluten free menu… I’ll have to check out your GF recipes girl!

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