Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Down to the nitty-gritty

I suppose the most important thing to clear up before we begin is WHY I have chosen to be gluten-free, and WHAT that even means. In order to do this, we’re going to need to go back.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been plagued with unfortunate, funny (to some), digestive “issues”, we’ll call them.  My doctor and I chalked it up to  IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) . Some of my symptoms included bloating, gas, cramps, constipation, and the dreaded d-word (you-know-what). I found myself having these symptoms directly after meals, especially. Sadly, it became a way of life.

So next I tried to cut things out of my diet to see if I could find the pesky culprits. I first tried dairy products. Next I tried changing up the amount of fiber I was consuming. Then I figured it was greasy foods, so I tried avoiding those. With all of those experiments, I came up empty handed and confused. I decided to live with it. Eating something as simple as bowl of cereal gives everyone diarrhea, right?

I lived with it for a while. I was in my last semester of college, and my schedule was flexible enough that I could handle my issues when they arose (as unfortunate as the situations were…). After graduation, I went to visit the B-E-A- utiful Turks and Caicos Islands in the Caribbean. During our amazing trip, I hit a wall with my digestive tract. It was that week that I decided I was going to figure this out. I deserve to enjoy my life without being handcuffed to a bathroom.

I also want to note that I am, and always have been a pretty healthy eater. I eat my veggies; limit my junk food, etc., but in the same token, I love food. I’m not one of those super health nuts that counts calories. Nope, not me. I do not own a scale, and don’t plan to get one. I am, however a girl, and all girls/women are insecure about some part or parts of their bodies. I’m no exception, but I am an active, average gal and am not looking to make drastic changes. I’m happy. With that being said, I like to look and feel healthy, regardless of the numbers.

Anyway, after my Turks and Caicos adventure, a friend who I usually swap pooping stories with, told me that he had cut out gluten and noticed a difference within a week. I had never considered gluten as a possible issue-causer, and the thought of giving up things like bread, cake, cookies, BEER, and pizza sounded miserable. There was no way being “gluten-free” would be worth just a traumatic loss. I talked myself into trying it for a week, just to see. First, I had to research what “gluten” even was. It basically consists of products containing wheat, rye, barley, and some oats. Over the course of the next week (which also happened to be my first week of my big girl job), I ate 100% gluten-free, and by the end of the week, I felt like a new person. My symptoms almost disappeared!

After going to the doctor with my findings, we decided I probably have gluten sensitivity, or gluten intolerance, and that if a gluten-free diet is working for me, keep it up! For me, the benefits outweigh the costs. As much as I miss certain things (mostly beer, pizza, and fast food), I’m GF for the long haul.

So that brings me to today.  If you’ve seen other Gluten-free recipe blogs (there are some great ones out there), then you’ve seen the endless GF recipes with crazy ingredients no one’s ever heard of and certainly can’t afford. Well, this is not that kind of blog. I have taken more of an easy-way-out approach to eating gluten-free. Instead of experimenting with wild and crazy GF ingredients, I spend my time eating things that are naturally gluten free and easy to cook! I’m no chef, and don’t plan to be, but I want to eat well and avoid unnecessary bathroom breaks. Through this blog, I plan to support, inspire, and document my journey through life as a gluten-free non-cook. I have days where I’m tempted beyond belief, I have days where I can’t for the life of me decide what I want to eat, and I have days when I can’t get enough, so stay tuned!

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