Updated: Mar 1, 2021
If you are new to the gluten &/or dairy free train, I welcome you!
I am not a nutritionist, a doctor, or a professional in the medical field. Things I will discuss is based on my journey and before starting any diet you should consult your doctor. :)
I am an avid believer that food brings illness & healing. I have gone on this insane journey with illnesses, food allergies, and life changes. Although, our lives may not resemble completely we all have had things that impacted our lives.
About 5 years ago, I went through two major life changes, having to leave an incredibly toxic and a close family member being diagnosed with cancer. The amount of stress this took on my body was not something I understood at the moment, but later came to realize that this was just the beginning. After those things happened, my body started developing an intolerance to foods. (Trauma can bring this on) I was so frustrated, because it felt like I was allergic to everything! I began to keep notes with what foods I would eat that triggered the pain. My belly would swell like a balloon and you couldn’t push it back in. I had various people ask me throughout the years if I was pregnant. I was mortified!
As time went on I was able to see that gluten was the primary suspect to the pain. Another culprit was dairy. Since birth I have always had an intolerance/allergy to dairy. I was still eating cheese and having gluten on and off because I loved them so much. No matter the pain I would still consume them; It was a problem.
The side effects started getting more severe! Not only was I swelling, I felt sharp pains in my
abdomen, headaches/migraines, rashes, psoriasis/eczema, crohn's disease and more. It was out of control. When I was stressed I would treat myself to pizza, some bread, or some chick-fil-a fried chicken sandwich. Instead of grabbing an alcoholic beverage I was grabbing gluten items. It was like an addiction. I knew it was bad for me but I would think about it all of the time. Awful!
From 2015-2018 there were periods that I would stop eating gluten on and off. September 2018 I started getting intense migraines when I would eat gluten that would blur my vision. The next month I was at work super stressed out and went and grabbed some pizza. The headaches started shortly after. As I was going to leave my job everything went black. I held onto the wall and my co-worker came to check on me. It was for a few minutes and then I regained sight. I was terrified. I went to my car thinking I should wait a little while and I would be ok. I drove off and missed my turn because everything got blurry again. I called a friend to tell him what was going on and make sure if something happened someone knew what was going on. Afterwards, I called my mom and told her I was going to stop at the applebees next to my job, rest and see if things got better. If it didn’t, I would stay at the hotel next to the mall because I had to open the store the next day. I was at applebees for over 2 hours and then drove an hour back home.
I was terrified and over it; I had to listen to my body. I could have crashed! Sometimes our body knows what it needs more than we do. Starting November 2018 I vowed to cut gluten and dairy completely from my life. It has been 2 years since I have been gluten and dairy free. Now, I will say there have been a couple times that restaurants messed up orders or there were cross contaminations. Those were painful experiences. One time my throat started closing up. When you stop having something for so long, your body may freak out. That is the problem going on and off certain foods, your body may not process it well.
Throughout the last two years my body has changed a lot. I am much happier now and experience less pain. I get a lot less flare ups with my endometriosis, digestive issues, and skin conditions. I was cured from chron’s diseases by cutting these two things out and some other things. I had visited many allergists, doctors and holistic doctors along this journey. It has not been an easy journey. I will not lie about that. I do crave gluten every once in a while, but it isn’t as strong as it used to be.
Trying to find new brands and recipes can be a little frustrating and expensive. I would love to say I eat everything “whole foods/natural” but I do not. Going gluten and dairy free means you need to read the labels of everything you are consuming. This is not only food, but spices, drinks, makeup, & body products. They have put this stuff in so many things that you would be surprised! I didn't realize they had it in makeup until I was shopping one day in Ulta and I noticed that the one product said gluten free. I then thought about the makeup products that were/were not giving me allergic reactions. All my favorite brands that didn’t cause a reaction were gluten free. That bit of gluten in a lipstick can make a difference depending on your allergy.
There are many articles and documentaries that show how gluten and dairy are not really great for you. Before you mention well you need dairy for calcium. That's false. I've had higher calcium levels the past two years I've been dairy free than years ago when I consumed milk & cheese. You can do some research on the gluten and dairy industries. If you plan on doing any diet changes, speak to your healthcare professional. Starting or stopping anything will have some affects on your body. Plus, not everything that is gluten free is healthy. I love french fries and they are usually gluten free. Eating french fries everyday will shoot my cholesterol thorough the roof!
Quit eating, drinking, things that are causing you harm
Although, it may be tempting to wait on quitting a food you love, you have to understand that some of these reactions have more lasting effects. If you have celiac disease (I have the same reactions as them) the gluten starts tearing away at the lining of your intestines! There are more issues you can find at the celiac foundation. A healthier version of you is waiting.
Go to a nutritionist & do your research
I know it may sound like something only celebrities or rich people have, my nutritionist helped save my life. I was really depressed and had anxiety eating anything because I was getting reactions most times when I ate. She was able to help me narrow down what other foods were affecting me and we tried different diet changes to help me stay nourished! If you are in the state of NJ I can pass her information along. Although she was great I also did research on my own. I needed to educate myself. She wasn’t with me 24-7 and I had to be an advocate for myself. What foods cause certain things. What else could I try? Doctors are great but you are the pro at listening to your own body. There were some doctors that said nothing was wrong. If I didn’t do my own research I would still be suffering!
Going through life changes can be very overwhelming. The constant comments from people
on top of you not being able to eat what you want is exhausting. I was the only one in my household that did this diet change. I had to eat different foods and learn to cope. I found some people to talk to and also discussed my frustrations with my therapist. It helped me feel better. Finding people that are doing the same thing as you makes you feel connected and you get get great tips! It helps to get advice on shortcuts, and foods so you're not spending a fortune yourself.
Use your resources
Listen, we live in the age of information. There is the internet, books, podcasts, etc. Pinterest was and is still my best friend in this journey and instagram comes right after. I was able to find so many recipes, products, and healing advice. I am thankful for the bloggers or writers that take their time to get information out there. A lot of them do it for free and to help others.
You can find recipes and products on my pinterest. I hope you make some fabulous things. Send me pictures of the foods. I try to keep it updated with products, but it's an ever growing list! Also, using these resources to understand going gluten free is not just gluten. Its looking for things. Read this article for the list.
Be patient & have discipline
Lastly, I want you to be patient with yourself, with learning how to maneuver in this new world, and with others. Not everyone will understand why you are doing this. Whether you are allergic or you are doing it for health reasons. Stand your ground and remind yourself why you are doing this. Have it written down. Know what are the pros and cons from eating/not eating these things. Create a discipline in what you are going to eat. Meal prepping and looking at restaurant menus ahead of time help cut down stressful food times. Don’t share cooking equipment with others if you can. Clean the stuff really well because you don’t want cross contamination.
When you can be firm with yourself in this and not let others convince you otherwise, you gain internal power.
Prep your holiday meals in your head and make sure you have everything you need. When I would celebrate with the family I would ask what they were having ahead of time and make your recipes match theirs but within your diet. That way there is no food jealousy. :)
Stay safe and healthy this season!
happy 2 year anniversary to me <3
If you have questions please feel free to comment or shoot me an email at email@example.com