Regular Grocery Bill: $168.00
2 small bags of gluten-free snacks from Earth Fare: $100.00
And so begins the journey.
A few years ago I started noticing small food allergies. My lips would blister and swell when I ate Thai food. Chinese food made me feel like I was legitimately having a stroke. I determined perhaps I was allergic to Thai food and after paying a little more attention determined I was also allergic to MSG. I probably still have those food allergies....now with a much bigger one attached.
Fast forward to a few months ago and a 10 pound weight gain in my stomach only and I realized I may have a bigger problem. Food was becoming my enemy. If I could make it through the day without eating at all I would have done it! Unfortunately, I become quite HANGRY when I don't eat so I continued to eat my normal foods with the terrible side effects afterwards. I actually can't believe I'm posting this picture, but it helps to show what certain foods were doing to my body. Granted, no one has ever accused me of having a 6 pack, but my stomach has only looked like this once before and it was December of 2006 when I was 9 months pregnant!
|This was me after a veggie burger, salad, and water. Yep...9 months pregnant....but not pregnant.|
I was so incredibly miserable after every meal. I would spend my nights sweating and writhing in pain. My bladder became so weak I could barely go an hour without using the bathroom (and for a teacher, that spells trouble). I had terrible heartburn and indigestion. I was so fatigued that I was falling asleep behind the wheel of my car in the middle of the day. I basically had every symptom of being pregnant without the fetus inside! KJ was so alarmed after meals when he would look at my stomach and feel how rock hard it was. I knew something was very wrong with my body but I had no idea what it could be.
Long story short, I had blood work done about 2 weeks ago and sure enough my levels came back abnormal. The disease it pointed to was Celiac. I had heard of it before, but had no clue what all it entailed. I was scheduled for an endoscopy to biopsy tissue from my small intestine. I had this procedure done this past Friday. I had a nice anesthesiologist and a very nice nap. The doctor came to see us in recovery and said she doesn't normally like to make a diagnosis before the biopsy comes back, but there was more than sufficient evidence that showed the effects of Celiac disease in my body. I immediately knew that although this "gluten free" thing may be a fad for some, it was about to become a required lifestyle for me.
So.....there we have it. Food really was poisoning my body! It's hard to think about changing my food for the rest of my life, so I just have to take it one day at a time. It will be expensive, inconvenient, annoying, and frustrating, but it can be done and I can do it. I will be the annoying person at restaurants, the friend at the party who "can't eat that", but I will also hopefully start to feel better, sleep better, have more energy and not be carrying the literal weight of what gluten filled foods do to me. This auto-immune disease stops here.
I'm on day 2 of my journey and I've already stood in the aisles of the grocery store and cried. My budget can't afford this lifestyle, but I have the support of a loving husband-to-be who will excitedly eat gluten free with me even when he doesn't have to and family who I know will support me with ideas, recipes, and healthy cooking when I'm with them. I also have the cutest 8 year old who asks me "Is that gluten free?" before I put anything in my mouth...ha! He's so concerned!
What is your job? IF you have any experience in this area at all please send me anything you think would be helpful! Tips, recipes, snacks, restaurant ideas, etc.! I'd love to hear from you!
My tip: Gluten Free Donuts are Bomb-Diggity. That's really all I've learned so far! :)