My Journey to Gluten Free Part 1- My Reason

**Let me first start out by saying I am not a dietician, nor do I know all the ins and outs of nutrition. I am sharing my personal journey and the twists and turns I am about to face. If you feel that you have any digestive issues, I highly recommend that you seek professional help first. **

Ever since I can remember I’ve always had some sort of issues with my gut. Being a kid and now as an adult, I was in denial that there were any real underlying issues. I just knew that if I ate or drank certain things I would “pay” for it later. A doctor that I saw in my early 20’s said it sounded like I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome and prescribed medication. I had very little relief from the medication. I would then make the choice, and my husband and I would joke if I ate one of my trigger foods, of what was to come. Except it really wasn’t a joke and I would be miserable, but I learned to deal with the pain; and it was intense. So intense infact, that when I went into labor with my first child, I thought it was the Mexican food from the night before. Thing is, it wasn’t and unbeknownst to me, I was pushing for about 4 hours before it dawned on me. When I called my husband at work to tell him, he offered to come pick me up, but after I explained as best I could the prior 4 hours I decided to drive myself to the hospital. Probably not my brightest move, but I made it.

New momma and her babe...
New momma and her babe…

The funny thing about pregnancy is that it does a J-O-B on your body and not just in the normal ways one would expect. Talking with a lot of my mommy friends we not only talked about our birthing stories, but the stretch marks, inability to not pee when laughing or jumping etc, all that came from being pregnant and having children. The hard part is, no one can tell you exactly how your body will respond, if at all. I know many a friend that have no lingering effects from pregnancy and/or giving birth. I had two c-sections so aside from a low scar no one can see and some minimal stretch marks, I thought that I faired pretty well. Until I had my second child.

I noticed a small little patch on my scalp and it felt like it was the size of the tip of a pencil eraser. No big deal except it itched like the dickens. I pointed it out to my hair dresser and she said it was a little red, but nothing alarming. As time when on, the area grew larger and it was embarrassing because it looked like I had dandruff. I tried dandruff shampoo, but nothing worked. I decided it was time to talk to my dermatologist. After she looked it over, she said that it looked like psoriasis and was brought on by stress. Well seeing that I had two children under the age of 2 and working full time, you could say that I had a bit of stress. I asked her what my options were and she said eliminate the stress (ha!) or she could give me a topical spray.

No stress here, just a newborn and 17 month old.
No stress here, just a newborn and 17 month old.

The spray burns really bad, but it worked. However, in order for me to make sure that I hit all the areas, I would need my husband to help me, and nothing is hotter than “baby come spray my flaky head!” *sigh* Needless to say it would come back because inevitably I would miss some spots. By now, it has spread to behind and inside my ears. Changes in weather make it worse. So embarrassing.

Whenever I heard someone say they were going gluten free, I would roll my eyes. I am not a fan of fad diets of any kind and I felt like this was just that. Until my best friend from college told me of her diagnosis of celiac disease and later additional auto immune issues, and we discussed the ins and outs of her going gluten free. Curious, my husband and I started doing our own research. What we found was that my gut issues and my psoriasis may be connected and it all may be related to my diet and you guessed it, gluten. Talking to my friend it was one of those things you couldn’t just go halfsies on, you had to commit. The few things I had tried that were gluten free were not all that good and I was reluctant. Not to mention the fact that my husband and I are avid beer connoisseur’s and that would have to go for the most part. I opted not to even try and just “deal” like always.

Unfortunately our oldest daughter inherited a lot from her father and I. She has horrible allergies, exercise induced asthma, gut issues, and just this year started developing scalp issues of her own. I decided that if anything we need to change, if not for me, for her. She couldn’t help what stuff we brought into the house to eat, we controlled that, and I didn’t want her to go through a lifetime of just dealing with the outcome of her dietary choices. Because of her gut issues, we had already switched to almond milk and have eliminated most dairy with the exception of some cheese, and all of that seemed to help. I did take her to a GI doctor just to rule out celiac and that came back negative. Thank goodness, but we still felt like we needed to make the change.

From my own personal experience, I do better when the change is my choice and not because of something I “have” to do. My helpful friend recommended Danielle Walker who is the author of “Against all Grain.” From the second I read her cookbook, it felt like I was in college all over again. I took notes, made lists, and tried to soak in so much new information. This stuff was intense and while her cookbook is very well written and carefully laid out, I still felt a sense of being overwhelmed. I told my husband that if we had any chance of being successful, we needed to take this transition SLOW.

Probably one of the best written cookbooks!
Probably one of the best written cookbooks!

As I looked through our pantry, I realized that a fair amount of the stuff I was already buying was gluten free. Yay for us! However, there was still a whole bunch of stuff that was not. Take our spices and sauces for example, none of it will work in our new lifestyle. To not break the bank, we decided to slowly start adding new ingredients in as things were running out. Recipes we were already cooking, I would use the Ms. Walker’s cookbook to help with the ingredient swaps.

Right now I would say we are still in the information collection with slow execution of this lifestyle change. It is a little overwhelming in the fact that I want things to taste good and my kids are the toughest critics. On the other hand, I want us to do this to help them avoid a lifetime of just dealing with repercussions of their choices. What better time than NOW to instill healthy lifestyle choices with them.

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