When I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance 2.5 years ago, my life changed forever. In the beginning, all I could think about was all of the wonderful things that I could no longer eat or indulge in. I love to cook and eat…who doesn’t like to eat, right? My pantry went from packed to almost bare overnight and so did my joy. I was angry and confused.
I had no idea that my now least favorite 6 letter word, gluten, is in almost everything…well, except for fruit, veggies, and freshly butchered meats. I went from a mostly carb enriched diet to a paleo diet overnight. Looking back, I probably should have not gone cold turkey. But, when someone tells you that all of your horrible symptoms will gradually subside if you abstain from gluten, I was all hands on deck. All in!
I have not purposefully eaten gluten since the day I went cold turkey. It is just not worth it to me. There have been many days that I have craved one of my former gluten filled tantalizing favorites like tiramisu, hushpuppies (oh, how I miss thee!!), and garlic bread, but not a crumb containing gluten has purposefully crossed my lips since January of 2009.
I lost about 15 pounds during January and February of 2009. People were asking me if I was sick and I said yes, sick and tired of eating the same 8 things every day. I thought I was going to start growing feathers from eating so many eggs. I spent way too much money on new gluten-free products, some of which tasted like cardboard. However, as time passed, I was able to figure out what worked for me and what didn’t. I found numerous GF websites and recipes. A friend of mine introduced me to “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon. It is a cookbook that changed my life.
Along the journey, my amazing husband joined me in the GF world and even though he cheats occasionally, he has been my biggest supporter. Last week, we were celebrating his birthday (I shall not dare say which year!) at a restaurant. I have learned the hard way that the only thing I can order from most restaurants is a grilled chicken salad with olive oil and vinegar for the dressing. Mind you, most restaurants marinate their chicken breasts in a mixture that usually contains gluten. It takes me about 5 minutes to order my food. Something that some of you already have been privileged to witness!
I proceeded to order my salad and asked about the chicken…”yes, you said a plain chicken breast, correct?” I nodded my head for our waitress and thought all was well. And it was, until the next day when my symptoms started. I had been GLUTENED!! Not fun, my friends, not fun at all! I had forgotten about how bad I used to feel all the time. All is well now, and I will be even more careful about ordering in a restaurant. We don’t eat out very often and this is why!
I have learned many things on the GF roller coaster. I am no longer angry and my joy has been renewed. Perhaps the most important shift I have been able to make is that even though I have chosen to say no to gluten, I have also chosen to say yes to so many more things. My health is the most important thing I have said yes to. When I say no to gluten, I am saying yes to so much more. This shift has enabled me to focus on what I can have instead of what I can’t have. I CAN have SO many things and thankfully, I love to cook! I love to try new recipes and my family usually likes them!
When I say no to Angry Birds and go to bed, I feel much better the next day. I am saying yes to sleep. When I say no to taking on more than I can fit into my 16 waking hours, I am saying yes to my family. When I say no to using my credit card and spending more than I have, I am saying yes to being debt free in a few months. When I say no to gossiping about my neighbor, I am saying yes to honoring God with my words. When I say no to keeping a spotless house, I am saying yes to spending invaluable time with my children. Okay, I feel better about the condition of my house now!! ( :
The bounty I have received as a result of saying no to gluten is truly immeasurable. What do you need to say no to? Remember, when you are saying no to something that causes you pain and heartache, ask yourself what you are saying yes to as a result of saying no. Saying no is sometimes the best way to say yes…