I remember sitting in my car outside of the doctor’s office frozen in fear. Having been diagnosed with gluten intolerant I was told to go gluten-free from there on out.
My tummy rumbled crying out for lunch, the lunch I had missed to make this appointment and had planned to make up after the appointment. But at that moment I had no idea where to go or what to eat. I feared the food world.
While I look back on that moment today and laugh at my drama queen status in that moment, having to go gluten-free is a very big change in your life. Even though I had friends in the past that were gluten-free, I was prepared to feed them a snack not a whole lifetime of meals.
Thankfully, I snapped out of my drama queen attitude before I starved, but today I realize how many items you can eat when gluten-free. Going gluten-free for even just three days I felt like a new person already. I woke up refreshed, wasn’t exhausted at work, the headaches, severe bloating, extreme pelvic pain, and constipation all went away in just a matter of days. That was when I knew this was the right track for me. I dedicated myself to learning about gluten-free as I never wanted to feel that terrible again.
Before going gluten-free I would work out six days a week and have a bloat that made me look pregnant, it was not motivating. I worked out to lose weight not gain more weight. On top of working out I would eat healthy, always cooking for myself and packing lunches for work.
Right from the beginning I download the Gluten-Free Scanner app and went through my kitchen scanning the barcodes on all of my food to check for gluten. Unfortunately, gluten hides in various forms besides just bread and I found that over 75% of my pantry was gluten, my kitchen was very bare after that. Donating the food to my boyfriend and making muffins for my coworkers quickly got the temptations of gluten out of my apartment.
I quickly learned how to shop for gluten-free snacks I ran into problems when it came to meals like lunch and dinner. I am still learning in that area, but what I have truly learned is that eating healthy with slight modifications will keep you gluten-free. Sure you have to watch out with salad dressings and seasonings, but most rice and meat are perfectly gluten-free.
Going out to eat
Going out to eat is where I run into trouble. I find that I don’t particularly trust individuals especially when they are like “Yeah I think it is gluten-free, oh maybe not.” Ice cream has been my biggest challenge so far, it seems like every place I go to “Oh I don’t know about gluten-free” or has gluten in their ice cream. I’ve had to compensate by buying ice cream at the store since I can read the ingredients.
Gluten-intolerant vs. Celiac disease
While I am sure some of you are like, “but Lauren you are only gluten intolerant not celiac.” Yes, I do understand that I do not have as severe reactions as those with celiac disease but the pain and bloating I do have stops me from going through my day. The pain use to get so severe that I would go to the doctor’s or take the day off work because it hurt and I couldn’t hide the tears. I may not have celiac disease, but I have not felt this awake and alive for so long plus the lack of pain has been a lifesaver.
Many individuals think those who are gluten-free are doing it as a diet or fab but just cutting bread out of your diet doesn’t remove gluten, it is in so many products, and for some of us it is crucial that we don’t consume gluten. Celiacs before me, but I did suffer heavily and have given up eating ice cream with friends just so I don’t take the risk. If the individual cannot guarantee that the item is gluten-free I can live without it. No pain is worth having one item for, not to mention how much healthier I have been eating, even better than before.
At my work we have a food table and for birthdays or milestones food is made and brought in, before being gluten-free I would snack on items throughout the day. Now, unless I know what is in it, which is usually gluten, I do not attempt it. This has cut back on the snacking whether that be in a class or at work. I pack my own snacks and lunch so I don’t take the chance of cross-contamination. No one will be as careful with your food as you.
On the bright side, I have learned how to make gluten-free cookie dough and gluten-free brownies are amazing.