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!
LOOKING FOR GLUTEN-FRIENDLY RECIPES?
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!
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