Gluten-free: the bandwagon that you’ll want to jump on.

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In my month of going gluten-free, I have come across many other people who have tried it for multiple reasons. Not a single one of my new gluten-free friends has anything bad to say about their decision and have seen only good things from abstaining from gluten. As for myself, I have noticed that my stomach appears flatter and I feel so much better for being more conscious about what I’m putting in my stomach. With it being the middle of bathing suit season, who doesn’t want to be less bloated and look better at the pool or beach? Raise your hand!

It will be hard to avoid the grains and bread that scientists and the government say you’re “supposed” to eat every day. (I learned a lot about how current nutrition guidelines actually make us sicker from the New York Times bestseller Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis – visit his blog at http://www.wheatbellyblog.com.) You’ll catch yourself with a warm, buttery roll in your hand at the dinner table, wishing you didn’t have self control so that you can shove a plate of pasta in your mouth, and drooling over a massive sandwich…or maybe that’s just me. However, if you can stick with it and feel for yourself how amazing it is to be gluten-free, it will get easier to order a salad or some meat and veggies. It’s not like I’m telling you to give up cheese or frozen yogurt.

Here are some testimonies from some other people who have gone gluten-free and what effects gluten has on them:

The always stylish, Liz Martin: I started trying the gluten free thing last year when I had some serious stomach problems, and after the GI didn't help me and didn't even ask me about my diet at all, I went to a holistic "doctor". I think one of the people I met was a nutritionist. They did stool samples and other tests, and basically told me I had a lot of yeast overgrowth in my gut. So they recommended I just strictly go off gluten "not even a bite" so I could tell if it was giving me problems.  I did so for a couple months, and was starting to have more energy. Before that I had been so tired after work that I was needing to take naps! Eventually I wound up getting a test done anyway, but it was negative.  That was a little frustrating in a way because my body obviously liked me removing gluten from the equation. Now I use being "gluten free" as a way to help me avoid processed foods and junk I shouldn't be eating anyway. Even though I'm not allergic to it, maybe something else that is in the foods that contains gluten was making me feel bad.. yeast? I'm not sure. I think eating "gluten free" bread or crackers probably aren't great for you either.. but from what I've read, usually wheat is so mass produced and is more processed than it used to be, so I like to think if you eat something made with rice flour or almond flour it is probably LESS processed, but still not necessarily as good for you as unprocessed whole food.  It has affected my lifestyle because it's kind of like built in self control. I just decided "I'm gluten free"  because it made me feel better so it has become a good excuse to say no- to cupcakes or doughnuts at work or too many sandwiches. It is challenging to find things to eat for lunch sometimes because it's hard to shift from a sandwich mentality. In general it's allowed me to just feel more normal.. I don't really always notice it unless I cheat for a special occasion. But one beer starts to make me feel super bloated now, whereas before I think my body was just more used to eating and drinking processed stuff and now it's more noticeable when I deviate from eating whole foods and no gluten. When I do "cheat" it just reminds me those things really don' t make me feel good so I'm doing it less and less often... but I do really miss beer and croissants!

The always stylish, Liz Martin:
I started trying the gluten free thing last year when I had some serious stomach problems, and after the GI didn’t help me and didn’t even ask me about my diet at all, I went to a holistic “doctor”. I think one of the people I met was a nutritionist. They did stool samples and other tests, and basically told me I had a lot of yeast overgrowth in my gut. So they recommended I just strictly go off gluten “not even a bite” so I could tell if it was giving me problems. I did so for a couple months, and was starting to have more energy. Before that I had been so tired after work that I was needing to take naps! Eventually I wound up getting a test done anyway, but it was negative. That was a little frustrating in a way because my body obviously liked me removing gluten from the equation.
Now I use being “gluten free” as a way to help me avoid processed foods and junk I shouldn’t be eating anyway. Even though I’m not allergic to it, maybe something else that is in the foods that contains gluten was making me feel bad.. yeast? I’m not sure. I think eating “gluten free” bread or crackers probably aren’t great for you either.. but from what I’ve read, usually wheat is so mass produced and is more processed than it used to be, so I like to think if you eat something made with rice flour or almond flour it is probably LESS processed, but still not necessarily as good for you as unprocessed whole food.
It has affected my lifestyle because it’s kind of like built in self control. I just decided “I’m gluten free”
because it made me feel better so it has become a good excuse to say no- to cupcakes or doughnuts at work or too many sandwiches. It is challenging to find things to eat for lunch sometimes because it’s hard to shift from a sandwich mentality. In general it’s allowed me to just feel more normal.. I don’t really always notice it unless I cheat for a special occasion. But one beer starts to make me feel super bloated now, whereas before I think my body was just more used to eating and drinking processed stuff and now it’s more noticeable when I deviate from eating whole foods and no gluten. When I do “cheat” it just reminds me those things really don’ t make me feel good so I’m doing it less and less often… but I do really miss beer and croissants!

Amy Graham, diagnosed with Celiac Disease: I started having symptoms of Celiac Disease at 10. My stomach would hurt all of the time, especially after I ate. I thought that's how everyone felt when they ate too much. Every time I would drink a beer, I would throw up. People thought I was just a light weight, but I knew it was something more. When I started losing a lot of weight, which ended up being from malabsorption of nutrients, I went to the doctors. I got officially diagnosed with Celiac Disease at the age of 23. At first, I didn't know what to eat. I just ate steak, chicken, and vegetables. It's gotten a lot easier. Every time I feel like I want gluten, I think about how bad it makes me feel. I've had major reactions since I've gone off of it that have made me really sick. The longer that I've been off gluten, the better the alternatives taste. It's a lot better than what happens if I eat gluten. Like, gluten-free donuts don't taste like real donuts, but they're still good. Overall, being gluten-free has improved my quality of life. I am happier and healthier than I ever was before.

Amy Graham, diagnosed with Celiac Disease:
I started having symptoms of Celiac Disease at 10. My stomach would hurt all of the time, especially after I ate. I thought that’s how everyone felt when they ate too much. Every time I would drink a beer, I would throw up. People thought I was just a light weight, but I knew it was something more. When I started losing a lot of weight, which ended up being from malabsorption of nutrients, I went to the doctors. I got officially diagnosed with Celiac Disease at the age of 23. At first, I didn’t know what to eat. I just ate steak, chicken, and vegetables. It’s gotten a lot easier. Every time I feel like I want gluten, I think about how bad it makes me feel. I’ve had major reactions since I’ve gone off of it that have made me really sick. The longer that I’ve been off gluten, the better the alternatives taste. It’s a lot better than what happens if I eat gluten. Like, gluten-free donuts don’t taste like real donuts, but they’re still good. Overall, being gluten-free has improved my quality of life. I am happier and healthier than I ever was before.

The health-conscious Ashley Morgan: Gluten update!!! I just try to stay away from it because it isn't good for you and can put on pounds. I have a family full of nurses so they can give you the science behind it. But I don't eat a lot of carbs anymore  (which gluten is in a lot of times)  and I think it made me a little leaner. I feel better. Sometimes I do cheat and eat bread..but it makes my stomach hurt when I do. So, I very rarely cheat with bread...only ice cream for cheating  usually lol. I don't think I have an allergy...purely health reasons.

The health-conscious Ashley Morgan:
Gluten update!!! I just try to stay away from it because it isn’t good for you and can put on pounds. I have a family full of nurses and my sister is Paleo so they can give you the science behind it. But I don’t eat a lot of carbs anymore (which gluten is in a lot of times) and I think it made me a little leaner. I feel better. Sometimes I do cheat and eat bread..but it makes my stomach hurt when I do. So, I very rarely cheat with bread…only ice cream for cheating usually lol. I don’t think I have an allergy…purely health reasons.

The Marleys (See more on their awesome gluten-free food business, Good To Go, below!) Ben: Gluten makes me short of breath. I grew up with asthma, but I only need an inhaler now before exercise. When I eat gluten now, I immediately fell lethargic. Later, I feel anxious. Most recently, my stomach cramped and I thought I'd have to leave work early. Shonda: My stomach feels bloated and then it cramps and I get sick...I knew you wanted to know that. :) You're welcome.

The Marleys (See more on their awesome gluten-free food business, Good To Go, below!)
Ben: Gluten makes me short of breath. I grew up with asthma, but I only need an inhaler now before exercise. When I eat gluten now, I immediately fell lethargic. Later, I feel anxious. Most recently, my stomach cramped and I thought I’d have to leave work early.
Shonda: My stomach feels bloated and then it cramps and I get sick…I knew you wanted to know that. 🙂 You’re welcome.

I can’t stress enough that it’s easier than you think to avoid gluten. Many restaurants have gluten-free options, grocery stores (including Walmart) have gluten-free aisles, and some awesome people will cook you gluten-free food and have it ready for you to pick up at a specified location. This last option is awesome for people like myself who only have almond milk and cheese in their refrigerators. (As much as I love the queso, sometimes a gal needs something of actual sustenance in her belly.) So, if you’re near Charleston, South Carolina, check out The Marleys who have started Good To Go. They have tested many gluten-free AND paleo-friendly recipes and have perfected the most delicious ones. If you can’t decide what to get, I hear their salmon cakes are to die for. Find more information on their website, http://goodtogofit.com.

Here's a preview of some of the delicious foods that Good To Go has to offer. My favorite is the sausage stuffed apples- who knew that sausage and apples even goes together?!

Here’s a preview of some of the delicious foods that Good To Go has to offer. My favorite is the sausage stuffed apples- who knew that sausage and apples even goes together?!

Hopefully my friends and I have shown you that you have nothing to lose by going gluten-free. I dare you to get out of your comfort zone for a month and see if you don’t feel the difference in your energy, stomach, and the pants that will get a little baggier.

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