Celiac.com 06/08/2017 - After thirty three years of a self indulgent relationship with food, my life hit rock bottom and took an unexpected turn, for what momentarily seems to be the worst. As spontaneous and adventurous as I am, I decided to challenge myself and make my already horrid situation, even worse. Or, as you will come to see, surprisingly better.
When I was forced into this drastic change in my life and my world was flipped upside-down, it challenged me emotionally, physically, and spiritually. My health was crashing. I couldn't regulate my blood sugar. I was diagnosed with a stress induced hiatal hernia. I had constant and burning indigestion. My emotions were all over the place and my faith in who I was and what I believed in was tested.
Courage I never knew I had slowly came out of the depths of my soul and spilled over into all the areas of my life. I wanted to press on, conquer, and show how strong I am. I decided to challenge myself even further. I decided for the fun of it, to go refined sugar and gluten-free. I wanted to see if I had it in me to exhibit extreme self control under my extreme circumstances. I ultimately wanted to stretch my faith in God and the power residing within me; that which sustains me. Now to some that may sound silly or easy to eliminate a few ingredients, but to my fellow sweet tooth and carb lovers, you know the kind of uphill battle I was committed to taking on.
My way of eliminating these things was very simple. I just stopped eating them. I didn't wean myself off of them. To me that would be a tease. I can have a crumb but not the cake? Silly, right? To make matters worse, both sugar and gluten are challenging in themselves to eliminate, as they are in EVERYTHING, but putting them together to eliminate and trying to find something to eat seemed nearly impossible.
I had to get creative. I already knew all about eating healthy and the gluten-free diet because my six year old has been gluten-free for the past five years. I know what products to avoid. However, going gluten-free after eating gluten filled food for thirty three years was tough, and even though I knew better by raising my daughter gluten-free, I always found excuses for my own eating habits. I do believe taste buds get accustomed to unhealthy food. But I reasoned in my eye opening feat, that if taste buds can get accustomed to unhealthy food, then I guess taste buds can get accustomed to healthy food.
I have to say that the first and fourth weeks were the most difficult. Week one, I had to keep telling myself no! No one wants to hear the word "no" all day long. Weeks two and three were pretty easy. I was into my routine of making healthy meals, trying new recipes, and baking yummy things without sugar or gluten! I have to say, the cake I made the other day was seriously the best cake I ever ate! Week four was the true test of my willpower. I had rampant cravings. For some reason it seemed like everyone kept forgetting that I was now gluten and sugar free and kept offering me bad things! Smells drove me crazy. I couldn't really be around anyone who was eating things I couldn't. Since then, I have to admit, it's been pretty smooth sailing.
Despite the difficulty and temptations of week four, I began to notice something amazing. My hair and nails were longer than I can ever remember. For thirty three years I've been trying to grow my hair long and it was always thin and would never grow past my shoulders. Looking in the mirror at this long beautiful hair gave me some kind of warm smile inside and urgency to share my good news. I noticed other changes too. My bloating and stomach aches were gone. This was another chronic condition of mine that has been with me for so long that I actually came to accept it as "normal." Horray! I no longer feel like I'm ten pounds heavier than my scale says! Now mind you, I'm a very tiny and petite girl, and with the realization that gluten must have been stunting my hair and nails growth, I can only imagine what other things might have been stunted? You get the picture.
Going gluten and refined sugar free was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It changed me in ways I could never have imagined and it opened my eyes to a whole new way of living and optimizing my health. Experiencing firsthand the kind of care and dedication that I give to my daughter and her health makes me feel like a whole new woman!