About 6 years ago, I developed severe stomach problems. I spent days in bed that spring of my junior year of high school — all without any clue as to why I suddenly couldn’t eat and digest normally. Initially, I was a WebMD addict, but I’ll pardon part of that hypochondriac behavior since stomach cancer runs in the family. Well, no conclusions were made that year. Or the following years. Hell, I still don’t have answers.
It wasn’t until college that I realized how certain foods make me feel like… crap. Pasta made me feel bleh, beer made me feel bloated, and sometimes even a little piece of bread with a meal would send me overboard. But I couldn’t isolate these at the time. It wasn’t until my half-brother and nephew were both diagnosed with Celiac disease. I had also been tested before, but it had never come up positive. Nonetheless, my symptoms sounded a hell of a lot like theirs.
So, on January 1, 2015, I gave up gluten.
Yeah, I’m going to need this shirt.
Okay, okay. Time to own up and say I wasn’t perfect in this. It’s a challenge! Everything was going great the first two months or so, but I slipped up here and there. But it was just last week, the end of March, that one slip up hit me hard. One little slice of pizza and half an IPA at an event left me bedridden for over 48 hours. I couldn’t think straight, my head was in a fog and my eyes couldn’t focus on anything. My gut was wrenching, a headache seized the base of my skull, and room-spinning nausea washed over me throughout it all.
Never before had I experienced something like that — pain like that.
Now, I’m reaffirming my stance on being gluten-free. I have to commit to not being a bandwagon gluten dispelling consumer, like so many have become. Instead, I plan to educate myself better on what I can and can eat, to hopefully put these pains aside and come out with an overall better diet in the end (especially important now that I’m getting back into my running and training).
Do you have tips on going gluten-free? Favorite recipes? Tried and true methods to really, really stop craving that slice of pizza? Let me know in the comments!