I don't think people realize how important the foods we eat are, not only to our health but our overall quality of life. This post is about just that. How I've found my happy through the foods I'm eating and choosing, and hopefully, how you can too.
It’s been 1 month since I have gone 100% gluten free. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that my history with eating gluten free has been rocky. And if you just started following along, let me recap you so you are all caught up. It’s storytime, ladies and gentleman!
Back in 2012, I was diagnosed with a severe gluten intolerance after months of bloating, basically looking pregnant, and uncontrollable gas that kept me home most nights instead of out with friends because...embarrassing! Cutting out gluten eased these symptoms almost immediately, and I was grateful to finally find a way of eating that worked and didn't' send me running to the bathroom after each meal like I had done since I was a little girl.
All was fine and well until I started dating my then boyfriend, now hubby, Vasken. I didn’t want to be a high maintenance eater (even though he NEVER made me feel that way and even researched restaurants for gluten free options while planning our dates!) so I decided to slowly start incorporating gluten back into my diet. My stomach issues came back, but I wanted to ignore them, because I had missed all my gluten-containing foods SO much. I lived for bread baskets at restaurants, Panera cookies, and of course, my beloved Wetzel Preztel cinnamon bitz. I kept going back to my gluten free diet when I started feeling sick again, then hated the deprivation and went right back to binging on all of my favorite gluten-containing foods. It was years of this on again, off again routine with me, and I hated the inconsistency and the stomach issues that it was causing. I also wanted to be “free” with my food choices, but now I realized I was wanting this freedom as a way to binge on all of my favorite foods when times got tough, and at the expense of causing severe digestive distress, as well as brain fog, allergy symptoms, dark circles under my eyes, and constant anxiety. This went on for years and years, and the frustration with my health, stomach issues, and binging grew.
During pregnancy, I was also able to eat pretty much whatever I wanted, which I have heard happens with pregnant women and food sensitivities. Your body is so focused on the BABY, so those types of things take a backseat. And once Emma was born, with breastfeeding hunger and the craziness of life with a newborn, I didn’t really worry about what was going into my mouth. But I hated the fact that I had to cut some nursing sessions short because of my urgent need to use the restroom, or that I couldn't console Emma when she woke up because I was yet again, in the bathroom.
On top of that, going back to work was so hard on me, that I basically binged my way through work days on Oreos, crackers, and chips. This added to my stomach issues, stress, anxiety, and my waistline. At the end of October, I found myself 13 lbs heavier from when I had gone back to work back in August.
So, the morning of Emma’s 6 month birthday celebration, 10/29/17, I decided that enough was enough. I decided to start back up on my gluten free diet then and there. I KNEW that I would feel deprived, so I already had a plan of attack: finding the BEST gluten free and paleo recipes (Against all Grain has been my saving grace!) I could find for my favorite treats, so I would never feel deprived again.
And you know what the crazy part is? I saw improvements, not only in my health and weight, but in my anxiety and moods. I’ve been happier, less stressed out, I don’t cry at work anymore, I don’t binge at work anymore, and I have a more even temper (just ask my hubby). Yes, I lost the 13 lbs I gained, but to me, I’ve gained so much more:
- More restful sleep (which is hard with a baby!)
- More energy for my workouts
- Less anxiety/stress
- Less tears going to work
- Clearer skin
- Clearer mind
- A more positive outlook on life as a working mom
- Less urgent trips to the restroom
- Less bloat
- Trying on clothes I would “never” wear and actually feeling GOOD in them
- ...and my jeans fit again!
And yes, not ALL of this may be attributed to cutting out gluten, but I know many people who have experienced similar benefits when they clean up their diet and start avoiding gluten. I know that I like this version of me way more than the anxious, stressed out, and teary one. I am more energetic, I am a happy healthy mama, I am a better wife, and I am enjoying the heck out of the foods I’ve been cooking and baking!