Wednesday, August 17, 2011

G-Free Girl

I've recently had more and more people ask what's g-free and why I'm g-free, so I decided to share my "g-free story."  Enjoy!

After years of tummy aches as a kid, I always just assumed that I had a sensitive "system" & was made sick easily when under stress.  In October of 2010, my body had put up with enough.  I was sick with one cold after another - I had every tummy bug, head cold, sore throat and flu illness you could imagine.  Just when I thought I was getting better, I'd be sick again.  My immune system was shot.

In February of 2011 a series of more serious symptoms hit, this had to be more than a weak immune system.  Doctor appointment after doctor appointment, nobody could diagnose me.  I felt defeated.  My family doctor recommend I see a gastroenterologist (GI)  and have a colonoscopy done to ensure it wasn't colon cancer or something of that sort.  Colon cancer?  I'm 24 and have no family history of colon cancer.  More frustrated than ever, I had the procedure done and of course, no colon cancer.  

I was sharing my health issues with a friend and she asked if I knew of Celiac Disease.  Celiac Disease?  I hadn't heard of it.  I went home that afternoon and researched Celiac and to my surprise (and somewhat relief) I had experienced every symptom!  Celiac Disease is a genetic disease that doesn't allow your body to break down or digest gluten.  Based on my findings that day, there were two possible reasons for my symptoms - Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance.  Someone who is gluten intolerant can still experience many of the same symptoms of Celiac, but not carry the hereditary gene for Celiac.  I went back to my GI dr and asked her if she thought I could have Celiac.  She wasn't sure, but encouraged me to try a gluten free diet.  Voila!  My symptoms subsided and my immune system began to strengthen.  

As of now, I am on a self-diagnosed gluten free diet.  I have not been tested for Celiac Disease, but do know that for whatever reason, I feel a million times better without gluten in my diet. 

Going gluten free was oh so intimidating!  Gluten is in EVERYTHING (think wheat, barley and rye).  But with a few resources and tools, a friend to guide me, a family to cheer me on and a husband who will eat anything (he's been such a good sport) - I have successfully been gluten free since April of 2011.  While gluten free is not for everybody, I highly suggest you consider it if you've had mysterious health problems.  1 out of 133 people have Celiac Disease and several people have an intolerance or irritation to it and don't even know it.  

Since going gluten free, I have had several friends and family ask why I'm g-free and how they too can become g-free.  This is my g-free story, and I'd love to talk with anyone who has questions or needs help with the g-free life style.  From now on, not only will The Pink Peony be a design blog, but it will contain recipes to my latest g-free creations.  Feel free to try them, share them, alter them and tell me how they turned out and what you changed!  Don't be afraid to try new recipes, substitute g-free ingredients in your old recipes and toss that white flour and all that pasta sitting in your pantry! 

Happy Experimenting....

Below is a list of resources that were helpful in my g-free transition.

  • Elana's Pantry - She has a wonderful section about transforming your kitchen into a g-free kitchen and her book "The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook" is wonderful.  I have yet to try a recipe of hers that I don't like.
  • Amazon - Believe it or not, Amazon has great prices on g-free ingredients (Buy in bulk - it's so much cheaper).
  • The G-Free Diet - This book has been helpful.  A little may be a bit overboard, but has useful info.

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