Yep, I’ve become “one of those people.” And what I mean by the latter statement is: I’ve become that annoying person who merrily chirps, “I’m gluten free!,” with the gusto of those who swear by the magical, wizard-like powers CrossFit, veganism, yoga
and crack cocaine.
Buckle up, because here’s how my story begins. In college, I had a propensity for pizza at 4 a.m. (and other shady stuff but I’ll leave that up to you to decide). Said gnarly habit landed me in the hospital with bloody poops (ew!) and ulcerative colitis. I gave up my proclivity for pizza and took some meds and all was good in the ‘hood.
Until the last few years.
You see, every time I ate bread, pasta, pizza (the real villain!), or drank beer (oof!), I would hobble over in pain and feel bloated shortly after consumption. Last month, I ended up in the hospital with acute stomach pangs where I was given morphine (um, yay!) to manage the pain along with anti-acid meds for the heartburn. The episode was really scary and made me re-evaluate what I was putting into my body and the one underlying theme in all my research was: Gluten is not good for me. And maybe you, too. So I decided to give the gluten-free diet a whirl because I was feeling as desperate as one of those vapid chicks on that stupid show The Bachelor.
Now, before tackling the gluten-free diet, let’s get to know our evil culprit. Gluten is a specific type of protein, but one you won’t find in meat or eggs. Instead, gluten is found in wheat, rye and barley. Going gluten-free means avoiding these grains. A gluten-free diet is essential for most people with gluten allergies or celiac disease, a condition which causes intestinal damage when gluten is eaten.
Since my stint in the hospital, I’ve said bye-bye to the usual, store-bought gluten-loaded suspects such as bread, protein bars, cereals, pasta, crackers, breaded foods, cookies, cakes and beer. I now only buy 100% gluten-free bread from KNOW (pictured above) and adore the Glutino line of pretzels, flour and baking mixes from Publix. I still gobble cupcakes from Bunnie Cakes and continue to whip up fresh brownies with my kids. Jen’s Pirate Booty and rice cakes are other snacks I enjoy when I’m hungry and craving carbs. Oh, and wine is still my #BFF.
And you know what? I feel soooo good it’s ridiculous! My belly pains are a thing of the past and I’ve shed 4 pounds (winning!). So if you feel bogged down, bloated, ache-y and just plain miserable after you eat gluten, give the gluten-free lifestyle a try. I know it worked for me.