This weekend marks the 6th week of my gluten free diet. (For those of you who might not know, gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species.) I mentioned it flippantly in a post about a month ago but didn’t really elaborate much. I suppose I felt like if I was going to go into all the details, I might as well see if it was something worth mentioning. At the beginning of February, I was feeling absolutely awful. I was tired all the time, I kept getting the horrible headaches (I’m not sure if I can technically call them migraines but they made me nauseous until I fell asleep). I often would feel sick if we ate out resulting in bloating, stomachaches, and headaches.
Around mid-February, we spent a weekend in Illinois with my 14 year old sister. She has celiac disease and has been gluten free for three years (my mom also has a gluten sensitivity). I explained exactly how I had been feeling and without hesitation she said, “You should go gluten free. Seriously.” It was like a light flipped on and I immediately felt this twinge of hope. The next day I eliminated gluten from my diet and I haven’t gone back.*
*Okay I had to put that asterisk there because I did cheat one day. About 3 weeks in, I started mentally freaking out. “I want a hamburger. I need REAL pizza.” These were the thoughts going through my head. Deep, huh? I caved and ended up eating a burger and fries. I felt sick for the next 24 hours. Not dangerously ill…but not exactly how I’d like to live my life. That’s when it hit me. I need to live my life so that I feel best. I don’t need a blood test proving that I have any type of disease, I don’t need to prove to anyone that it’s for the best, and I certainly don’t need to eat hamburgers. And to be honest, it hasn’t been difficult since that hamburger-nomming day.
So what do I eat? Well I eat a lot of things. Really delicious things. Below is just a sampling of my favorite gluten free brands:
- Udi’s granola paired with yogurt
- Gluten Free Pantry’s sandwich bread! I make a loaf and freeze half. Lasts me 2 weeks!
- Bob’s Red Mill pizza crust. Delicious and we can choose our own toppings.
- Udi’s Cinnamon Raisin Bagels. So so good. Better than regular bagels in my opinion.
- Tito’s vodka. Made in a gluten free facility and pretty darn good.
- Orange San Pellegrino. My guilty pleasure. Who needs candy or pop?
- Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Rolled Oats.
- Annie’s Gluten Free Macaroni and Cheese. So easy. Comfort food.
And really, these are the only brands I really go out of my way to buy. Besides these, we pretty much eat meat, produce, and eggs. It’s so easy to pick up corn chips (instead of flour) or take an extra minute to make sure the cheese you’re about to buy is all-natural and gluten free. Plus, we’re saving money because we don’t go out to eat as much (I’m thankful that if I’m not up for cooking we have Chipotle, Noodles and Co, and Zpizza are minutes away).
So there’s my story. I feel awesome and I’m being intentional with my diet. I truly hope that when people read this or find out, they don’t feel like I’m trying to convince them to do something. If anything, I’d rather encourage people to really look at what they’re eating. It’s so important. I read a lot of what Dr. Mercola writes and his thoughts on gluten are really interesting.
Feel free to recommend any brands or products! I’m always up for finding and trying new things. I’m hoping that every weekend I can take some photos and share some of my favorite GF recipes here on the blog. I’m weird about getting really good lighting when photographing food so that usually doesn’t happen while I’m cooking dinner during the week. I have a GF coffee cake recipe that is 10x better than ANY other coffee cake in existence. I’ll share it next week.