Thursday, December 1, 2011

Life After Gluten

On a warm day in May I decided to give up gluten with the hope that the new diet I was about to embark on would cure what ailed me. At the time I thought that what ailed me was just arthritis. We had just endured a long, rough winter and a very cold, and rainy spring. I had suffered day after day with deep, agonizing arthritic pain and the cold, damp air only seemed to make it worse. I had read that living a gluten free lifestyle could help with inflammation. I was willing to try anything just so I didn't have to experience that type of pain again.

So on Friday, May 13th, 2011, I quit gluten cold turkey. Within days I could already feel a change in my body, but it was not anything like I had expected. I still was having pain and inflammation in my hands, mostly because of all the rain. What I noticed the most was how great my stomach felt. I began to wonder how long my stomach had been hurting and at what point did I begin to view that type of pain as normal or acceptable? Over time, I would also discover that my once or twice a week migraines would vanish as well. You mean it's o.k. not to have a headache or a stomach ache all the time? Why didn't someone tell me.

The past 6 months have definitely been a journey. A journey my eldest son has been on for over 4 1/2 years now, but one that we are now on together. What began as an experimental diet has now become a way of life. In May I didn't think I could make it a week without bread, crackers, or cookies. Now I can't imagine a life with migraines, a bloated, painful stomach or gluten. It's funny how your mindset changes as you age. Things you once thought were important or you couldn't live without are quickly replaced by choices and possessions that are more practical and meaningful.

Along the way I've met so many wonderful people with similar stories. We've learned what products are good and the ones that should never be marked for human consumption. I've re-discovered my love of baking. It's slightly more challenging without gluten but totally achievable. A great big "Thank You" to Silvana Nardone (Cooking for Isaiah) & Jules Sheppard (Jules Gluten Free) for their recipes, guidance and inspiration. Gluten free cooking wouldn't be nearly as delicious without you.

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