My long and bumpy journey to gluten and dairy free.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Wow! It's been a while since I was on Spark and blogged and I wish I had done it more because it's been a journey. According to my blogging I first started to notice and have stomach problems in 2010 after I gained a lot of weight. After college I had floated around 180 lbs without problems, without much attention to my diet, and with a lot of physical work in the jobs I held. In 2010 I suddenly shot up to over 200 without even changing anything except for the fact that I got a new permanent job that I had to commute to. Granted the commute, especially in the winter, is very stressful and takes up an hour and a half a day with 90 miles. I eventually got an apartment so that I wouldn't have to commute. I had been off and on with dairy because my Natropath told me that I was allergic close to 10 years ago, but it was more of a nasal congestion allergy than a stomach problem. I had become accustomed to using rice milk and not eating a lot of cheese. I had discovered SO Delicious coconut milk and I enjoy it so much I was using it even when I was unaware of my dairy allergy, even though I was still eating cheese, butter, and the occasional ice cream.

In 2011, I ran my first marathon relay race (4.5 miles) and was feeling pretty good about myself, but still struggling with my diet. I begun examining a hypoglycemic diet low in carbs, and that made me feel a lot better, not realizing that cutting back on carbs was also making me cut back on wheat. In 2012 I was working on becoming gluten-free, because my coworker's daughter was a celiac and I thought it would be worth a try, but I was still drinking beer up until 2013. I was trying more of an avoidance diet, just taking out the most obvious sources of wheat, but not replacing it with anything else.

In 2012 I ran in the race a second time, and at this point I was eating mostly gluten-free so I made the poor choice of eating steak and potatoes before my race. This was before the olive garden had gluten-free pasta options and I wanted something for fuel for the next day besides salad. I cramped really bad during the race. At this point I was still eating gluten when I would go to someone else's house and just cooking gluten-free at home for myself. I remember caving one time, I stopped at a local bakery and bought a loaf of my favorite Jalapeno Cheddar white sandwhich bread. Best bread ever! I thought I could never give it up. But we have more animalistic instincts that we'd care to accept. If you are eating something that makes you feel bad, it's akin to eating something toxic, and your desire for it fades. I think of my cat and how he rejects anything that smells or tastes bitter. He knows innately that it's bad, even though he's never had it before.

The last beer I had (intentionally) was Superbowl 2013, and I got so sick from half of an unfiltered wheat beer (probably the worst choice) that I haven't touched one since. In Spring 2013 I had a horrible stomach infection and thought that I had ulcers and went to urgent care for help. They gave me a strong antacid and I went home and still had some of the worst stomach pain I can ever remember having in my life including food poisoning. I called Vickie, my natropath in Cedar City and luckily she had a phone consultation open. She got me on course to heal from a bacterial infection that took me a few weeks to recover from. I found out in July 2013 about my dairy allergies and quickly made the transition to dairy-free. One of the last foods I figured out that had wheat and cut from my diet was soy sauce.

I have been totally gluten free, including beer for one whole year and I have been dairy-free now for 7 months, with of course the occasional slip-up by trying to eat out and not asking enough questions about what's in my food. Going out to eat used to be one of my favorite things to do, and now it is something I hate. It is akin to being poisoned every other time you go out to eat. You tend to get a little gun-shy!
I have found that sometimes I can handle a little bit, for example soy sauce in a marinade, or popcorn at the movies, but if I know I had some "poison" and then have it again within 24-hours I usually have a reaction. I found that out when I made a dish with soy sauce and then ate the leftovers for lunch the next day and got really sick.

I know have an arsenal of recipes and supplies that I use to make my life easier and enjoyable and I would love to share that with anyone who wants to know! It has been quite a learning process, but everyone has to know they are not alone! Not only are there tons of people with food allergies, but fad diets like the Paleo diet also work for this kind of lifestyle. Now that I have the timeline down, I am considering creating a blog with the recipes that I love to use and I consider easy to make to share with others that are traveling down this bumpy road.
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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