Adventures in Living Gluten Free

Gluten free banana bread….a mix….not motivated yet to really bake from scratch.

This year has been a year of many new changes and decisions. I feel like I am heading into unchartered territory. Making a change or trying something new is scary and exciting. One thing that is fairly new is having to live gluten free.

Being gluten free is not an option I would freely choose, so this is not really a happy change. It is a necessary, life altering change. I know I have to live this way because my body and my doctor tell me so, but honestly I miss many delicious things and I hate living in a constant fear of “poisoning” myself or glutening myself. I also miss baking. I try still, but it is not the same. Christmas was particularly hard….I missed grandma’s cookies. We bought some from a bakery that is strictly gluten free (they were okay-maybe great, but I was in a funk). I was appreciative that my hubs had zero issue spending what we spent, but I missed the familiar taste of Christmas.

Eat like a cave woman to stay safe!!

I am very aware that there are far worse things in life to deal with. I am not having a pity party for myself-just being brutally honest and trying to find the ups. I know how amazing I feel now that I don’t have gluten in my system and I know there are so many food options that are naturally GF or made to be GF, so those are total ups. People have told me this is a better time to live GF than in years past. A couple of the grocery stores I shop in now have very publicized GF sections. This makes it a more relaxing shopping experience-less reading and searching.

However, I occasionally mourn the loss of pizza, perogies, cake from our favorite bakery, subs and donuts….there are many things. I know that there are safe options, but some days I just don’t want to think….will this make me sick? I hate questioning and reading everything I put in my mouth. I know it is totally babyish, but I just want to eat in peace.

It is true I am no longer being that girl who ruins a good time with her need to be near a potty, but now I am that girl that is a pain to eat with…..still! I am questioning friends and family, praying they don’t gluten me. I feel horrible doing that. They are just trying to be hospitable, offer me something they took the time to prepare. Some people really get it. I have awesome people in my life that want to make sure I am safe with the menu and want me to feel thought about and considered. …mental hugs to my tribe!!!! Then there are the people who question and wonder “how much is true”….insert sad face. I honestly do not understand people who choose this as a diet. How do they not want to eat real bread?! I wasn’t even a bread basket kind of girl before this, but it it looks so good sometimes. Also, being GF does not make you skinny. I can find plenty of high sugar or high fat foods that are GF. Any weight loss I have had is from better choices and exercise. Exercise has been huge. I am now longer in total body pain. All the inflammation in my joints has gone away. Life changing-total up here!!!!

The crazy thing is as I think that…I just want to eat in peace…I haven’t been in peace for 20 years with the former gluten filled diet. My stomach and digestive issues started in my early twenties. Food has not been kind to me, but it did taste good! Once it was chewed swallowed-game on. I suffered with misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatments for years. I don’t want to go on and on about that because it doesn’t serve me. I would like to think previous doctors thought they were right. With all of the ups and downs over 20 years of living in the potty, inconveniencing people, making my husband race me home, taking medications that did nothing and feeling terrible about being annoying-one would think being GF would be so much better. I have my days were I accept it and don’t care-then there are the days that I am mad I am not able to consume what the heart wants. I do not cheat. I tried this. It is so not worth it. Feeling like I have the flu is never going to be worth a piece of cake or pizza.

So because I am trying live my best life, most positive life-I am now only going to focus on the ups!

  • Yoga-I can now do this pain free. My joints are not inflamed.
  • Weight Loss- I have dropped 12 lbs. and it is staying off.
  • Cholesterol- it is down 50 points.
  • Energy- I do not say I am tired all the time.
  • Eating Out- If I eat safe…of course….I can do more than just dinner (no racing home).
  • School-I can now sit through sessions not in pain or stressing about when the 40 minutes would be up to race to a restroom. I have my full attention on my work.
  • Feeling Good- I can function much better for work and my home life….that is kind of priceless. Vacations are so much better!!!
  • Speaking up- I have been preaching to students for years that they need to advocate for themselves….well now the teacher is the student.
  • Saying Yes- I would never have started a blog before…I was to sick and exhausted.
  • Feeling Zen- I am not as anxious as I used to be. Even with the learning curve of a new diet….less anxious. It gets easier. Breathe in the future & exhale the past.

My people have been awesome through this learning process. They have learned about hidden gluten and are often reminding me to double check. Love them. They eat GF with me at home, not 100%, but they try with dinners- to eat what I am eating. I think that is huge. They could live high on the gluten hog, but they know it is still a learning curve for me and they respect the struggle. I have made some very gross GF dinners. I am getting there, but substituting or altering something I once cooked with success can be an epic fail some nights. Thank goodness for cereal. I started this post because tonight they got pizza…pictured above. I ate leftovers. I say this happily. They should sill enjoy their best life and if they need a GF free night….pick up the phone and order.

Like I stated….you see all the naughty food….GF does not = Skinny. You can still live large!

Parties might be one of the hardest things. We recently went to a 40th birthday and I called the restaurant where they catered in from. Ugh. Really? Yes. I wanted to eat. There were still very limited options, but the food looked and smelled beyond delicious, so I had to call. Totally embarrassing and totally worth it. I know I can not expect to have people go full GF because I am coming, but not eating sucks and looks weird.

However, like I mentioned I have some sweet people in my tribe that go out of their way. When I attend book club I can eat most of the snacks. They are thoughtful ladies (tribe members). I am very lucky to have them in my life. We have family friends who always make sure I am not going to starve! I also do not want to be the person I have read about who brings a lunchbox or eats before hand. That would make me sad. Very sad. I do always carry a snack, but I don’t want to be the weirdo not eating at all. A party is supposed to be fun…..and I am not even going to go into my endless google searches about what cocktails are safe. I am not a regular drinker-but one is fun sometimes. It used to make me so sick and I just thought it was IBS. I have never liked beer, so no loss there, but I like something fun and fruity, maybe with an umbrella or straw. Now that I know alcohol may contain wheat I decline if I feel like I can’t trust it and feel ridiculous having to explain that I am not having a cocktail for fear of wheat, but I know it is necessary. I recently let loose at a charity event and enjoyed a heavenly lemon drop martini….or two. Thank you Titos. Another up-breathing out that misconception/misdiagnosis and breathing in knowledge. Knowledge is supposed to be power, well I am soaking it up or sipping it up.

This year for my birthday we discovered this ice cream place that makes gluten free waffle sundaes. This was so good on so many levels. Happy Birthday to me. So with another year older and another year (hopefully) wiser. I am trying to find the upside to this new culinary adventure. I can do hard things. I can adapt. I can find the sweet life.

You can always drop me a line, comment, like, follow or share back. I would live to hear from you. If you follow me I am sure I will be sharing more….I’m always learning new things.

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