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My Gluten-Free Journey

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Grab a beverage, find a comfy chair, and catch up with what we have been doing. You can read it all here on our blog page

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My Gluten-Free Journey

Ann Stoll

“Gluten-free” is such a buzzword these days. While there are some who prefer to steer clear of gluten for certain reasons, there are many more who need to avoid it for physical reasons.

I’m not going to nitpick over why gluten is an issue in this post. There are many thoughts about why, from GMO wheat to the herbicide sprayed on the fields. Who knows for sure?

I do know, though, that so many are having similar problems these days.

It can be a tough slog to go gluten-free, but if you are feeling that sick, my friend, you will want to give it a go. However, you need to give it a serious try. You have to be all in to reap the rewards of feeling better.

No cheats. (Sorry, not sorry.)

Oh, the pain of it all! My belly would actually bloat up like I was pregnant!

Oh, the pain of it all! My belly would actually bloat up like I was pregnant!

My Gluten-Free Journey

My journey began about 15 years ago, before being gluten-free was cool.

Most of my adult life, I have had some kind of food issues. Being young and silly, I sort of blew them off.

There was a period in my 20’s where I had belly aches and I lost a huge amount of weight for no reason! I had tests done to find out what might be wrong, but nothing was conclusive.

I even had friends standing outside bathroom doors, thinking I was making myself puke. That’s how thin I had become! I think I weighed 100 pounds soaking wet.

Eventually, I got pregnant with my daughter and things seemed to rectify themselves. I never had a bout of weight loss like that again, but I still had tummy troubles.

So I kept going to the doctor.

Searching for Answers

The doctor told me I had IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), but offered no solutions.

The doctor then said I had a lactose issue and that I could take a pill for it or avoid dairy. I chose to avoid the dairy. This seemed to be a huge help, but it wasn’t perfect.

I still had gut issues.

You’re probably wondering, what was I experiencing, exactly.

After eating every meal, I became severely bloated and sick feeling. It was becoming so bad, that I didn’t look forward to eating anything and I felt bad all the time.

I had no energy, just plain felt gross, and my skin was inflamed with acne all the time.

Something had to give.

Finding Answers

One day, I was on the phone with someone who had a slew of health issues. She was a bit younger than I was at the time.

I had overheard her talking about her problems to someone else, so I called her later to ask about her issues. She asked what I was experiencing, so I told her.

The first words out of her mouth were, “You have a gluten issue.”

What is a gluten issue? I thought.

I had never heard of this before. (Remember, this was happening before much was known about gluten sensitivities). So I jumped on the computer and searched about gluten issues.

I was horrified!

What Can I Eat?

It seemed like I was going to die in a few months from starvation by the looks of it!

Gluten is in more foods than you care to know about. If you are not affected by it, you don’t have to worry about learning where all the gluten is hidden—it’s more than just the obvious foods!

By this time, I was completely frustrated with what the doctor had been offering me, so I thought, “I’ll just go totally gluten-free and see what happens.”

At this point, I had nothing to lose, except a few pounds.

From that day forward, I went gluten-free.

Cold turkey.

Actually, since I do the cooking, my family was pretty much gluten-free, too (when they ate at home, at least). They don’t have issues and therefore don’t need to monitor it, so they can eat whatever they want. But at home, it’s another story—I do the cooking.

Within a few days of going gluten-free, I started to feel better. Each day I felt less sick.

After a couple of weeks, I felt like a new person!

  • The bloating stopped

  • My bowels became more normal

  • I noticed my skin cleared up

I had suffered with acne my whole life. Now, I hardly ever have it. If it does show up, it’s because of too much sugar or I’ve cheated on the gluten.

A New Way to Eat

The main thing, once I realized that gluten is not my friend, was the feeling of panic about what I could and couldn’t eat.

Let’s face it: Pretty much all the foods that contain gluten aren’t good for you anyway. But early on, I didn’t get that (and you might not, either). So I got busy and found cookbooks at the library that catered to the few gluten-free people out there.

At the time, there were hardly any food brands in stores that offered gluten-free fare. We had to make our breads and bakery items using different flours that weren’t very common. So I made my custom flour mixes and baked my gluten-free bakery treats and such.

I lost weight in those early days, but slowly, it started to creep on again. Why did this happen? I had lost so much weight initially! What was different now, a few years into this new journey?

I’m so glad you asked!

The gluten-free lifestyle does not mean low calorie. (Does that surprise you?)

When I first started this journey, I quit fast food and most restaurants. Bravo! That right there was a huge calorie deficit.

I hadn’t learned to navigate baked goods and breads, so I didn’t eat them. Still less calories!

I was left eating whole fruits, vegetables and meats. No sauces, condiments, cheeses (the dairy thing) baked goods or breads. Only whole foods that are the best for us to be eating anyway. And that’s when I lost weight.

When I learned how to make baked goodies again, the weight slowly made a comeback—because those goodies contain the high sugar and carbs we don’t need. Sugar is not our friend, folks.

This is why you won’t lose weight on the gluten-free diet. The replacement foods are just as unhealthy as the regular stuff, minus the gut aches and other disagreeable side affects. The calorie and sugar content is just as high, if not higher. Don’t be fooled.

My Life Today

Today, I feel at peak health when I remain gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free. It’s not always a fun way to eat, but it is so worth it. As of today, I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit, so it’s time to get serious again.

Today, you can buy gluten-free-everything at your local grocer. Even in my tiny town, I can find gluten-free groceries. I don’t need them, but I’m glad to see them, nonetheless. I do buy myself a gluten-free treat every once in a while.

It’s becoming so common that many restaurants mark their gluten-free items on their menus or have special menus specifically for those who eat gluten-free. Don’t forget: The calories will still be high, but for the occasional outing, it’s fine. My favorite “fast food” place is CoreLife Eatery, a gluten-free restaurant. I love it!

Are You Gluten-Free?

The gluten-free lifestyle is so much easier these days. It helps to have a friend to assist you in navigating the land mines that still exist. If you need a friend like that, I’m here. Drop a comment below, or comment on the Facebook page. All questions (and comments) are read and replied to, so let me know if you have any!