THE GLUTEN-FREE GAL
Just over six years ago, I was struggling with a lot of stomach pain and many other problems. After several tests, even a colonoscopy and endoscopy, my doctor’s had only found IBS to be the problem. So I continued to eat gluten and infiltrate my body to only become inflamed and more sick. It wasn’t until my move to Grand Rapids, MI for school that within my second year, I was given a referral to a new gastroenterologist. Gastroenterologist is something I often call a gastro for short---as the word itself is hard enough to spell. This gastro, had made it their mission to find out why I was having continuous symptoms and problems outside of the IBS. After two years of tests, it wasn’t until my second or third, colonoscopy with an endoscopy on top of it that they found celiac disease.
It was then that I realized no more Kraft mac and cheese, or grilled cheese on “regular” bread, no french toast or even pizza. All of my favorite foods were gone within seconds. My doctors told me how severe the celiac disease was and how important it was for me to stick to the diet to avoid further problems in the future. It took a lot of label reading to get to where I am today. Gluten is in the most random products that we may not even realize. Gluten is stored in our coffee creamers, in candy, seasonings, many types of alcohol and more. It’s in makeup, in toothpaste, in our shampoos and conditioners. Gluten hides within many items as a thickener but also just to make foods “better”.
Having anxiety for so many years, I have always been told that your mind and gut have some sort of correlation. I am continuously practicing a gluten-free diet and now a dairy-free diet as well. I started going dairy-free when quarantine began in March of 2020. This is when my newfound love for cooking began. Going both gluten and dairy-free has helped my inflammation levels so much. For me personally, my health has really improved since this change. Eating much healthier and better meals has decreased my sick days.
Yes, I am still figuring it all out, myself. I still get sick days where I am exhausted and feel so nauseous I don’t want to move but thankfully, I have found a way to manage it all. It wasn’t until I took my diet and my health into my own hands that I started to get better. Most importantly, when I went out to eat I made each server aware of my allergy. This is so important when choosing to go out to eat. With experience in the restaurant industry, I know that several people touch your food in the kitchen. If not alerted, cross-contamination could definitely be a huge factor in making someone sick. For those who are unaware of what that is, it’s when your food gets touched or made with using the same materials, gloves or machinery doing the process of making it. There are several ways for cross-contamination to happen, so it’s important for your server to know just as much about how severe your allergy is. I have gotten countless bad reactions after eating at certain restaurants. When researching what restaurant to go to, utilize their online menus and do not be afraid to call and ask about their options. This may be the best way depending on your level of sensitivity to gluten or dairy.
My biggest piece of advice I have learned is to try to cook more meals at home. I know it often takes time and feels like an increased grocery bill but you actually end up saving more money than every time you eat out. I learned this the hard way, sadly. Making your own meals allows for confidence in the making of your food and less sickness!
When creating this blog, I wanted to create an open space for people to share their experiences and their good gf df recipes with me! I felt when I was going through this life change, it was so difficult and I felt like I had no one I could relate to. It may sound silly to most that this was so hard on me but imagine re-learning everything you ever knew. As said previously, I am still learning. I love to hear what tips and tricks others share with me.
Thank you to all who have reached out, thank you for following me on this journey, and wanting to be a part of my story.
Made with love,