8 years ago, I was about 30 lbs heavier, sick all of the time, and completely devoid energy. To top it off, I was diagnosed with Alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that causes the body to attack its hair follicles. Overweight, bald, and sick was not the way I wanted to spend my early 20's.
The more time that passed, the worse my health got. I was in and out of the doctor for everything from stomach pain and digestion issues to skin rashes with no clear diagnosis or relief in sight. Trying to go to work on a daily basis seemed like an impossible task and my social life was nearly non-existent as it was hard to explain to people what was wrong with me when I didn't know myself. I felt very alone and very depressed.
One morning I was watching TV and stumbled on a morning show discussing Celiac Disease and gluten intolerance. I vaguely knew what Celiac Disease was but I always thought it was a childhood onset disease. But as they listed off the symptoms, it sounded like my life! I immediately got on the computer and researched Celiac Disease and gluten. I had tried cutting things out of my diet, like dairy, nuts, soy, but never gluten. I gave myself a 30-day challenge of no gluten to see if I saw any symptom relief. At this point, I had nothing to lose.
To start a gluten-free diet, I needed to research exactly what gluten was and what foods it was in. I knew had to give up my favorite breads and pastas but I was shocked to learn how much of what I ate actually contained gluten. Everything from soy sauce to cereals to even salad dressings was now off-limits to me. I was completely intimidated by a gluten-free diet, but I was determined to give it a try. Armed with brown rice pasta and Pirates' Booty, I started my 30-day challenge.
Within weeks of starting a gluten-free diet, I felt like a new person! I no longer had constant pain in my stomach, I had more energy, and even my skin looked better. 30 days of being gluten free became 60 which turned in to three months. After three months of almost no gluten (I was still getting some from hidden sources that I'll blog about later) I had lost 15 lbs., I had tons of energy, my stomach pain was gone, and I was in the process of growing back a full head of hair. I knew that being gluten-free was not just a diet for me, it was a lifestyle.
After discovering what was causing my ailments, it took another year and a half of countless doctor's visits and referrals, blood tests, and two upper endoscopies to finally get a definitive diagnosis of Celiac Disease. I cried with joy in the doctor's office finally getting confirmation that I was not crazy.
Over the past couple of years, I have worked hard with my dietician to create a truly gluten-free lifestyle. It wasn't easy at first, but the gluten-free world has changed dramatically in the past few years. It is amazing to me that people can now go to a restaurant and order a hamburger with a gluten free bun like it is nothing!
I decided to start this blog to share all of my resources, recipes, and tips for how to be gluten-free in a gluten-filled world. I call the blog "Gluten Free Lifestyle" because not only is being gluten free a lifestyle, not a diet, but it truly changed the way I lived my life. Hopefully, I can offer help to those who are starting their gluten-free journey as so many others supported me when I started.
Thanks for letting me share my story! On this blog you can find my gluten-free recipes and resources as well as tips for all of the fun things I am doing in my "post-gluten" life. You can find resources for running, craft projects, and read about my home remodel with my new husband. Hopefully, in a few months, you'll get to see all of the pictures of my new, completely gluten free kitchen! I will also share tips and articles for people who are dealing with alopecia.