Why Gluten-Free? My Quest For Better Health

It was about 2004, and I started asking my doctor about some digestive issues I was having. I had an immediate family member that was diagnosed with celiac disease, so I asked for the celiac blood test. It came back negative, and my doctor sent me to a gastroenterologist. I was told I had IBS, given prescription medication, and sent on my way.

I more or less just dealt with my issues for a while, unsure of what else I could do. In 2006 I attempted a short, 3-week gluten-free elimination diet, just to see if the blood test was incorrect. I saw no difference, and reintroduced gluten. I also had a different celiac/gluten intolerance test, as well as genetic testing performed and everything came back negative. Again, no difference, and no answers.

But starting in 2007, I finally turned a corner in how I was taking care of my body. I started learning to cook from scratch and eating a bit healthier. I started trying to exercise on a more frequent basis. By 2008, I started Tasty Eats At Home, embracing my love for cooking. I slowly incorporated more and more healthy, sustainable habits into my daily life.

But I wasn’t feeling better. The IBS still bothered me. I also was dealing with terrible acid reflux. I felt run down often, getting sick more frequently than I once did. I was talking with several family members who were also gluten-free, in June 2009, I went gluten-free.

I didn’t see immediate improvement. But over time, I did notice that my acid reflux was gone, and I wasn’t getting sick as often. When I reintroduced gluten, I had a lot of digestive issues and felt wiped out. So I cut it from my life completely. My IBS never went away, but it subsided a little. In 2010, I also eliminated dairy as well in an attempt to lessen digestive issues.

Over the next 4 years I tried many things to find the root cause of my digestive woes. I had allergy testing, I did more elimination diets. None of it worked. I’d pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I’d be dealing with these issues for the rest of my life.

But meanwhile, I was gaining momentum in my gluten-free lifestyle. I was determined to find ways to make delicious gluten-free food that wasn’t just good “for gluten-free” – I wanted it to be good, period. Over time, trial, and error, I found reliable gluten-free brands for prepared foods (like Udi’s bread, for instance), and I learned how to make cookies, cakes, and breads from scratch as well. I discovered that there are SO many more flours/grains out there in the world, many of which are gluten-free. I learned how to navigate a restaurant with good success, and even had tackled the whole gluten-free traveling conundrum. But overall, a gluten-free diet opened my eyes to a wider variety of foods, and gave me the motivation to become creative with the foods I could eat.

In the past 6 months, I’ve realized that my digestive system has gotten better. I explained a bit more about it here, but finally, for the first time forever, I can tolerate more foods without adverse reactions. I can handle dairy. I am even handling gluten. That being said, I still don’t eat gluten all that often. Cooking at home is gluten-free, and many times, even eating out is mostly gluten-free. There are many more gluten-free options today than ever before, and I love that. I don’t feel the need to eat gluten all day, every day. A varied diet in my mind is a healthy one, and 3 gluten-heavy meals a day isn’t all that varied. Besides – I still have many gluten-free family members that come over for holidays and other meals, and I want to be able to serve them tasty gluten-free foods the way I always have. My mission has always been that gluten-free food should taste GOOD, and so I’m always working to discover new gluten-free food adventures so I can share them!

Learn more about living gluten free! Visit http://udisglutenfree.com/

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi’s Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.