Gluten-Free is a term we often hear and may or may not understand what it is all about. My first introduction was volunteering as a parent at a pizza event at my kid’s school. A few of the students had to have Gluten-free pizza. At that point, I thought it was maybe a fad or perhaps the kids had some kind of an allergy, like peanuts.
Boy was I wrong!
2018 I found myself riding in the back of a ambulance after becoming very sick with dizzy spells, vomiting and overall horribly sick. Rounds of blood work and MRI’s determined it was possibly vertigo or a touch of a bug. This was one of two visits I would have to the ER that week with no answers. I had a follow-up with my doctor and she ran some additional blood work to check out some other possibilities. Later that week, I was told that I met 3 out of 4 “markers” for gluten issues with a possibility I could have Celiac Disease. In order to be confirmed, I would need to have a biopsy of my small intestine to confirm. What?!! Seriously?!! What the heck is Celiac and what do you mean I need to eat gluten free food?!! I LOVE Pizza too much!
For years, I have had problems with neck and shoulder pain and soreness. I have had dizziness/vertigo fairly regularly and chalked it up to being a working mom of two kids and having recently lost my mom. Stress and I were really good friends so I ignored some of the symptoms. Once I received a confirmation that I in fact had Celiac Disease I needed to look at everything I ate but also many, many other areas of my life.
So Gluten-free does not only affect what you consume, but your shampoo, toothpaste, lotions and even your toaster. Even pots and pans can carry gluten and can affect your well being. It truly is mind blowing when you start to research what you can and can not do, eat or use. Gluten hides in many forms so educating yourself is imperative to your health. Not removing these from your diet will continue to harm your body and can cause additional problems and health risks.
For anyone that could be concerned they might have gluten issues or know someone that does, I am hoping this will give you some insight.
Before you start to remove gluten from your diet you must get tested first. If you start beforehand it won’t be a true result. Contact your doctor and discuss your concerns. Everyone responds differently from being gluten intolerant. They can range from stomach issues or general aches and pains. Once you have been tested and determine you are gluten sensitive you need to move forward to start to heal your body.
- First thing is to pick up a good book like “Celiac for Dummies” to use as a starting point in your journey.
- Second, join a Facebook or a support group to lean on or help with questions.
- Third go through your fridge and cabinets to see what you have that is ok or not ok for your new diet.
So you have started, but there is so many more parts to the puzzle. You will want to move forward with the changes, but not to be too hard on yourself. You and your body will be going through many changes and it can be very tough physically as well as mentally. You have to potentially make a huge change in your lifestyle and the comforts you once enjoyed, but you can do this!
I was a HUGE bread, doughnut and pizza kinda eater. Did I mention bread? This was going to be very tough. My main focus became finding my new favorites. I was not a very healthy eater. Rarely ate salads or vegetables and never had a granola bar unless I was on my last breath. I had to be open minded and give everything a try. First things first, was to find my bread! I needed my staple items and they needed to taste the same as what I usually ate. I will be honest no matter what is your “must have” favorite gluten free replacement it will take a few attempts. I must have bought 5 brands before I found “the one”. I proceeded to by 5 loaves so I always had it on hand. I found that freezing the bread not only lasts longer, but give the crust a flakier texture. My go-to brand is Aldi’s. I LOVE their white bread because it could easily convince the most die hard white bread eater that it is just regular bread. They also have a few other options so give them a try!
I have found a number of other items at Aldi’s that taste really good and are very inexpensive.
My next requirement was finding my pizza. Aldi’s has a frozen one that is a quick fix, but I wanted a cheesy, hot, good pizza. There are a number of restaurants locally that carry gluten free (Uno’s or Broadway Deli ) but my favorite is Deborah’s Sweet Treats in Liverpool. Again, you have to try them all to find your favorite. Deborah’s also has many other items to take out or you can dine in. Baked goods to die for too! Make sure to check her out!
Other great places for baked goods and breads are:
http://www.tccglutenfree.com or Bliss Bakehouse who has a Facebook page and can be found in Fayetteville Farmers Market.
If you are looking for regular groceries my favorite places to go are below:
- Trader Joe’s
You can find items at the other chains, but I find more options to chose from at the above stores.
Eating out will never be the same, but it can be done. Do your research because one slip or “cross contamination” can set you back. As you can see there is much more involved with being Celiac or gluten sensitive. It’s a serious problem that you need to address head-on, but it can be done! Good Luck!