When I tell people I’m voluntarily gluten free, I get a different look every time. Usually a bewildered look as they can’t quite grasp why I’d give up some of the delicious gluten-filled things like beer, pizza, pasta, donuts, the list could go on and my mouth waters a bit just thinking about it…. but I digress! After the initial bewilderment has subsided, I typically get hammered with a few predictable questions. What is gluten? Do you just eat salads? Why would you give up beer? Do you ever sneak a little gluten?
All valid questions, because not too long ago I was clueless about gluten. I associated a gluten free food request with hippies and millennials trying to follow a fad. Then enter the love of my life, Aimee. She is autoimmune and somehow makes living with significant health issues look easy. She’s truly inspiring in every way, but I’ll save the details for a future blog because it will make for a lengthy post!
I remember the first time she told me she was gluten free. I tried to act like I knew what it was, but internally I was trying to rack my brain for something intelligent to say. Trying to shift the conversation so I could maybe google it when I had time later in the day. I had so many questions though. I fired them at her in rapid succession. Is there gluten in this or that? How hard is it on a daily basis? Do you have to special order food?
Aimee entertained all my silly questions, sipped her delicious hard ciders, and never batted an eye as I scarfed down burgers or ate my entire dominoes pizza with extra sauce and extra cheese. As time went on, I started to learn a little more. There are gluten free options all over the place. It may be an extra few steps to find where it’s hiding, but they are out there. So as Aimee cooked amazing gluten free food for me, I started to get smarter on gluten and the tasty gluten free options out there. But let me tell you this lady can cook! Aimee’s saying is “its not worth eating unless it tastes amazing.” My Instagram doesn’t do her cooking justice, truly the best food. Had she not crushed it in the kitchen, and I thought I had decent cooking skills, I’d probably still be downing the G.
So time went on, I learned, asked questions, and ate amazing food. Naturally my diet shifted to less gluten, and even though it takes six months for gluten to leave the body, I started to feel better. Less bloating, you know the feeling after eating a big bowl of spaghetti. Soon I realized I was only eating a few products with gluten a week. I made the adjustment, and just kicked it completely.
So was this her master plan all along? Cook me amazing food, educate me, and slowly bring me away from gluten? Nope. Aimee said from day one that she didn’t mind what I ate. Even when I’d order my own pizza and scarf it down, she went un-phased. Even when I ate my box of zebra swiss cake rolls…she went un-phased and still loved me!
I have a choice, she doesn’t. Until she eliminated gluten from her diet, she was debilitated and having to take many types of medication. Eliminating gluten has enabled her to live a more natural and healthy lifestyle, free from increasing autoimmune symptoms. I choose to be gluten free to show support for Aimee. She has positively changed my life in so many amazing ways and showing her some support is the least I can do. Tackling the gluten free world together has made our bond even stronger.
Being gluten free has been a challenge, but I feel better and that’s all the proof I need. I don’t get that bloated feeling after meals. I don’t crave foods or get hungry a few hours after eating a meal. It has helped me to eat more whole foods and pay attention to food labels. It’s not for everyone, but I’m confident dodging the G is the life for me!