Yes, those are Lego Hobbits. In a wheat field. Hopefully it’ll make sense in a moment.
Those who know me know that I’ve followed a gluten-free for over 4 years. I’ve been dairy-free for over three. I’ve also followed many other diets involving elimination of foods. (Paleo. Anti-candida diet. High-raw/plant-based. Low-FODMAPs. I even went through allergy testing and removed those “potential allergens” for a while.) I struggled with digestive issues before this time and during this time. It seemed I could not find relief, no matter how strict I was, no matter what I eliminated. Those who have similar stories can empathize, but needless to say, it was exhausting. There were many, many days I wanted to just throw my hands up and give up entirely.
What I didn’t know was, for me personally, this process of restriction caused more issues than it solved. Wanting to be healthy caused me to be anxious about everything I put into my mouth. I demonized foods. I ended up many times not eating enough to support my activity levels or allow my body to heal itself. I began to fall out of love with cooking, which was the whole reason for my starting this blog over 5 years ago.
However, starting about 5 months ago, I began to turn a corner. I have been on a personal journey towards understanding that perhaps what I’d been doing wasn’t helping my healing process. In short, I’m now eating enough food to heal my body and my metabolism, and I’ve been incorporating a wider and more varied amount of foods. I’m also learning to chill out about my food choices. As I’ve gone through this process, my body has thanked me by rapidly improving my digestion and my general well-being. I have more energy and better digestion than I’ve had in many years.
But here’s where the (potentially) unpopular stance begins. A wider variety of foods in my diet means that I’ve incorporated grains. Sugar. Some beans. Occasional treats that I would have never ever allowed myself before, like a small piece of candy. In the past few months, I’ve reintroduced dairy into my diet. (Attempts to do this in my past have always failed.) And most recently, I’ve begun testing gluten as well.
Full disclosure: I do not have celiac disease. I don’t even carry the genes for celiac disease. I never received any positive diagnosis for gluten issues, in spite of varied tests I’ve had conducted over the years. Going gluten-free for me was a move that was spawned because of family members with celiac disease and gluten issues. I was hoping it would solve all my troubles. I seemed to get better in some ways, but in others, like my digestion, I didn’t.
However, for years now, getting even the smallest amount of gluten caused me to react. My reactions weren’t extreme – not to the level that my family members experienced, for instance – but I still noticed I had trouble with it. But now that I’ve had several straight months of improved digestion, my trials have been successful. I feel fine. No brain fog. No heartburn. No diarrhea or constipation. It would seem I have no real issue digesting it. (Mind you, I haven’t gone full-out and had a gluten feast. I don’t intend to, truthfully. I’m increasing amounts as I go through my trial, but as I mentioned before – I am someone who enjoys a varied, healthy diet, and a diet heavy in gluten, or any single thing, isn’t all that varied or healthy.)
So it may be that my future path is one where I am not 100% gluten-free or dairy-free. Where I don’t have to restrict any food in order for me to be healthy. What does this mean?
For me personally, it means I’m feeling healthier than ever. I’m less anxious about food (and in general), and my body is responding positively. I’m falling back in love with cooking and with food. I have more energy. I’ve researched, and I’ve listened to my body. I truly believe this is the best path for me at this moment in time.
As for this blog, it will remain gluten-free and dairy-free. After all, this is how I eat most of the time anyway. I eat a healthy diet based in whole foods. It’s how my body works best. And honestly, I don’t crave eating things with gluten in them, for the most part. It’s rare when I really want a sandwich, pizza, or pasta. (Most people I know think that’s strange.) I love that my gluten-free journey has taught me that there are dozens of different flours I can use for baking, many of which are gluten-free. Also, I love sharing delicious recipes, and I wholeheartedly believe that gluten-free living doesn’t mean you should sacrifice on taste. You will continue to see recipes for both healthy, gluten-free foods and gluten-free treats. And even healthy gluten-free treats.
I’ll still continue to fully support the gluten-free community. After all, I know many people suffer from celiac disease and gluten intolerance. It’s a shock to deal with the drastic changes associated with removing gluten from your diet. I know that support is one of the greatest gifts someone who is dealing with this transition or living the gluten-free lifestyle can receive. There needs to be increased awareness of celiac disease as well. I have always been a huge supporter and will continue to do what I can to be there for the gluten-free community.
And of course, I am not promoting that you or anyone else eat gluten or dairy, simply because I choose to do so. If you have celiac disease – there are many, many studies out there that state that even small amounts of gluten can cause continued damage. But even if you don’t have celiac disease, and gluten makes you feel ill, then by all means, don’t eat it. I am not a doctor or a nutritionist, and I don’t wish to prescribe that any person do/not do something for their health. It’s not my place, and it’s not my goal.
My mission here is to support those that need support, with as much information as I can find. I’m also here to share my passion for tasty, nutritious food, and occasionally, cookies. ‘Cause everything is better with cookies.
“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” – Friedrich Nietzsche