So I have an intolerance to gluten. I would say that this is a blessing and a curse. For me, eating gluten free isn’t bad at all. Before I develop my intolerance for this protein found in most grains, I loved breads and almost anything baked, which is why I wasn’t in as good as shape as I am now. I remember back in high school I used to buy a whole box of Little Debbie Strawberry Shortcake rolls, which were 6 per box, and eat the whole thing in one day. One day! Yes, everyone has their vices and sweets were mine (still is…but fruits). I loved cakes and cookies. But after I had my son, my body was not the same. It did not tolerate foods like it once did. I could not eat dairy or gluten without being in extreme pain. I was left with little to no energy and I was quite depressed because I was in pain ALL the time. I look at it as a blessing because at this point I had to stop eating it to be pain free. This situation allowed me to take my fitness in a direction I never thought possible. What we eat is more important than exercise on the road to great health and fitness. With this intolerance, I HAD to be cognizant of everything I subjected my body to. Instead of eating foods with gluten in it such as breads, pastries, desserts, snacks, pasta, and other processed foods, I started eating brown rice, buckwheat and quinoa, which all are really good grains and good sources of protein. To make things easier for me, I just started eating whole foods which would eliminate me guessing if it has gluten in it or not (though I still like my brown rice cereal…I can’t help myself). But since eliminating it out of my diet, I have never felt better. My fitness, spirit and soul are singing! My health has changed for the better and I can enjoy life such much more.
Now on to the curse part….though I do enjoy eating a clean and gluten free diet, it can make it difficult for others. I find myself having to explain myself all the time to others who don’t truly understand it even after the explanation. There have been many times during office functions that I would have to turn down cakes and pies. It really does not go over well with others who don’t really understand it. It can lead one to shy away from social settings at the fear of it being awkward and having to explain yourself repeatedly. At times these situations can be depressing. No fault to others though. Even preparing foods at home can be depressing. My family likes (loves) certain foods like pasta and spaghetti, but I can’t partake in such a meal. I always end up making another meal for myself to eat. This is frustrating in the fact that I am a busy mom and work full time, so coming home and preparing two meals while making sure the kids get a enough attention when I get home, can drive one insane sometimes. Most days I spend more time on the meal for the family, than for me.
Let me tell you about going out to eat! I love food (okay let me clarify here….good, clean food) and it is very important to me, but going out can be extremely difficult. Conversation over a good meal is a great past time in our society, but having a gluten-free lifestyle will make for a lot of frustration during such a time. Depending on where you live, finding restaurants that serve good healthy foods can be difficult, and to top that, offer gluten free foods. There are some, however. My favorite is Seasons 52. I love, love this place. They have a wonderful selection of good clean foods and are extremely delicious, but I digress. It can be very challenging deciding on a restaurant when everyone else around you does not eat clean or gluten free. They might chose southern restaurants or buffets and Italian places. Where I live, there are not many good healthy restaurants around besides Japanese or restaurants like Moes. So choosing somewhere to eat can be a challenge for both parties involved. For the most part, I have very understanding family and friends which I am very appreciative for that fact. All in all I am very happy to be in good health and fit.
If you are faced with having to eat gluten-free or just want to do it for health reasons, there are many sources to draw from. Many products in grocery stores are now offering gluten-free alternatives because of the rise in gluten intolerance in individuals. One piece of advice I would like to offer is to be open with family and friends about it. They might not understand or know about it but try to get them to understand you and your reasons for not eating certain foods. This will help create less awkward moments in social settings.
Till next time….put that bread stick down!