As a child, I had a lot of bellyaches. As an adult, those bellyaches turned into some horrible episodes of all kinds of unspeakable digestive issues. After a relatively stressful time in my life (good stress is still stress), my health reached a crisis level where I couldn't function like a normal, healthy human being should be functioning. While my doctor tried to help me during this time, nothing we did changed my health for the better. During this very scary time in my life, my husband and I happened to go out on a date. Interestingly, this wasn't just any date; this date became a turning point in my health. We were eating subs, and as I took the first bite of my sub, a reaction I had been experiencing for several months occurred once again: my blood pressure dropped, my throat started closing up, my heart started beating rapidly, and I was overwhelmed by a sense of dizziness. Later, as my husband and I were processing what happened, he said that he noticed I often had that reaction when I was eating. The more I thought about what he was saying, I realized that he was right.
I hadn't been driving for awhile because this reaction was occurring when I was in the car; therefore, I was literally afraid to drive (especially with two little kids in tow!). I realized that even that situation was connected to food, as I was often grabbing food to go from fast food restaurants while I was driving: donuts, little pies, fish sandwiches, wraps; etc. The one thing all of these food items had in common was...gluten. So, I made the decision to omit gluten from my life. Within twenty-four hours, I noticed many of my more severe symptoms were gone. After two weeks, my severe bellyaches were a thing of the past. I still had some health issues after that, as my poor body was stressed out and deprived of the nutrients it had needed and wasn't getting for probably my entire life (due to eating gluten). Working with a good naturopath who helped me know what to eat, what not to eat, what vitamins/nutrients I needed, and how to change some things in my lifestyle, I was able to overcome those issues. Other symptoms which doctors never seemed to be able to explain (purpura, hair loss, and bouts of extreme fatigue) also went away. Now, several years later, I can honestly say that I, finally, for probably the first time in my life, feel good: not merely okay, but good. I'm still off of gluten, and I don't ever plan on eating it again.
My husband and I eventually noticed some symptoms in our son that would also indicate an issue with gluten. Because I hadn't known that there even was a blood test for any issues related to gluten, I had not been tested. At this point in my life, I am not going to reintroduce gluten in order to get tested. My son, however, was still eating gluten, so we asked his doctor to test him for celiac disease. When the test came back negative, our son's doctor gave the diagnosis of gluten intolerance. So, now there are two of us in a family of four who cannot eat gluten. At first, this presented a challenge as I attempted to make two different meals several times a day. I eventually figured out that it was easier for us as a family if we all ate mainly gluten-free. There are certain meals, however, where I can easily adapt what we're eating to include a gluten and a gluten-free option. (It's all about keeping it simple!)
The hardest part of this journey has been the change. Things that were once easy for me do not always seem so easy anymore: gluten-free food costs more, eating out can be more difficult, going anywhere where there is food now involves planning, social events revolving around food (um, that's most of them) can be nerve-wracking, once favorite recipes need to be reworked...and the list goes on. So, my goal for myself--and for you--is to SIMPLIFY this gluten-free life. Simple is NOT the first word I think of when I think of being gluten-free. However, it's time to change that. Welcome to a "Simple Gluten-Free Life."