I have a confession. I’ve got about 6 blog post in my drafts, just waiting to be finished and posted. However I’ve been feeling blah, and haven’t taken the time to finish them. I apologize. Hopefully soon, as sitting here typing this out makes me yearn to get back into writing and sharing my ramblings. Please pray for me, as I pray for the Lord to show me how to best utilize this blog for His glory.
In the meantime, I came across this old post from my husband when looking through his facebook page today. It is a “note” he wrote almost two and a half years ago when he first went gluten free. The months and years leading up to that were some of the most difficult in our marriage. Perhaps one day, if the Lord leads me, I will share my side of the story. For now, just know that his health was failing. He wasn’t truly “living” or enjoying life. I didn’t know what to do or how to help him. I was so thankful when he finally hit rock bottom and went to the dr. – finally understanding that he couldn’t fix it on his own.
My husband, for those of you who may not know, was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at age 30. He chose not to go on medication for it at this time, although he is not opposed to it should the need arise. For now he is treating himself through diet, and it is working to manage his pain. As always, do what is right for YOU. Do not go by what some random blogger on the internet post. Be smart! Talk to your dr., do your own research through well documented and published medical journals and reviews. Knowledge is power, but so is common sense! We are not medical professionals, and we are not offering advice. This is just my husbands ramblings about his experience in cutting gluten from his diet. There. That is my disclaimer.
Why am I sharing this here? Because it made me laugh. It made me remember that dark time, and rejoice in how good God is. AND because my husband has been feeling the desire to “cheat” on a regular basis here lately, thus resulting in aches, pains, and migrains. I think he needs a friendly reminder of how bad he felt, and then how great he felt when he first started this “thing” as he likes to call it. So, my precious, this is for you. <3 Me!
One month and one day ago, I went gluten-free..and I have survived! (I’m sure you don’t hear or see anything right now, but there’s a ticker-tape parade going on in my head. It’s awesome. I just received the key to the city.) I started gluten-free living not because I wanted to stick-it-to-the-man and avoid buying their gluten laced goodies nor did I give it up because I wanted to brag about having to go to Whole Foods just to eat and live (which, by the way, you don’t.) No, these are not the reasons why I made a drastic change in my diet. My reason was a little more personal–pain.
My body was in pain and not only that, it was locking up more than Tin Man without his oil can. I didn’t know it at the time, but I’ve been suffering on the inside due the ailments of rheumatoid arthritis. After some blood work which confirmed it and some web searching, I was not about take any RA medicine. So, what is a man to do? Turn to his wife, that’s what.
Google called Amanda and told her to lay off the searches because she was burning up their servers. She searched more sites and sources than I care to count and, at the end of all her research, her solution boiled down to just one word: gluten. That just means no Wheat Thins, right?…Wrong.
After the tears, emotional outburst, and tantrums at the thought of not eating pizza again, I calmed down and listened to “Dr. Wife”. I didn’t like what she had to say, but I couldn’t ignore her because 3 things were floating in the back of my mind:
- I’m in pain from the moment I wake up until I fall asleep at night,
- I just bowed out of teaching Pre-K because I flat out didn’t think I could physically do it next school year, and most importantly,
- I could not play with my daughter and son.
I listened to Amanda rattle on about no-wheat-this and no-pizza that, but I’m glad I did. I don’t recall the last time I had this much energy or the last time I didn’t have pain just from walking down the hall. I’m
back to my old self again a new person. With all that being said, I have not mastered the gluten demon. I’m still a greenhorn trudging on one meal at a time, but I’ve learned some things along the way…all 31 days of it. (Wow…that’s it? 31 days? Oh well, at least I feel better :)
4 Things I’ve Learned From Going Gluten-Free (+1 Bonus!)
1. You will get depressed
Depressed? (Way to start out glass half empty, Cody.) Over food? Seriously? Yes, seriously. Think about it: You are having to make changes in your day-to-day life you don’t want to make in the first place. For people, like me, who are used to swinging through Taco Bell/Sonic/Chick-fil-A/(fill in the blank) at any time of the day, you just took out a fun-run to go visit Target! What’s that? You want a Hot-n-Ready Meal Deal from Little Caesars which comes with a medium pizza, a package of Crazy bread, dipping sauce, and a 2-liter drink for only $9.74 and feeds the whole family? That’s a gluten filled nightmare! (Oh, you think the dipping sauce isn’t made with gluten? You better check yourself before you internally wreck yourself!) Oh and don’t think it’s limited to restaurants. I know about those Girl Scout Samoa cookies you have hidden on the top shelf behind the garbanzo beans and flaxseed for those late nights thinking the rest of the family doesn’t know about them. You might as well hold graveside services out in the backyard this evening for those cookies. (We never did eat those beans, by the way.) I miss my go-to foods some kind of bad and you will, too. It’s okay. This, too, shall pass.
2. Don’t compare apples to oranges (or to gluten-free bread, for that matter)
Amanda, my wife, is awesome in case you didn’t know already. She has prepared many meals over the years which were very healthy trying to get the whole family to eat better and I, for the most part, always gave her the “this is great and all, but…pizza is who I am” look. So for her, this gluten-free cooking proposal gave her the go-ahead to make any kind of crazy meal she wants. (I really think I heard an evil genius laugh coming from the direction of the stove one evening. Don’t ask her. She’ll deny it.) Even though she has made some kick-butt gluten free meals over the past several weeks, there are some things she has yet to produce GF. (That’s shorthand for gluten-free. That’s right. I’m in the know.) By “things” I mean bread. I really…really want some bread. So, what does my awesome wife find for me (at Wal-Mart, of all places)…GF BREAD!!
I’ve never wanted to make a sandwich so bad in all my life as I did that day. I’m talking meat, mayo, lettuce, cheese, pickles, and bacon. That’s right. Bacon. It looked so good sitting on my plate. I just knew this was going to be the best sandwich a GF guy could have…until I actually took a bite. It was an anomaly unknown by human taste buds. In case you didn’t know, bread without grains doesn’t taste like bread at all! Therein lies the problem. I wanted my GF bread to taste like non-GF bread. It isn’t happening, Jack, so quit trying. Don’t compare your new food to your old food. It will lose every time because it’s not what you’re used to eating.
3. Stockpile your new go-to snacks
I messed up starting this new lifestyle at the beginning of summer. (I hate saying “lifestyle” so can I just say “thing”? Thanks.) When I’m at work, I’m busy. I don’t have time to snack all day. When I’m at home, though, I can make our pantry look like Old Mother Hubbard’s in about two days. My name is Cody. I am a snacker. (There. I said it.) When you can’t eat most of the awesome food in your house, you need a fallback snack…and a LOT of it. Why? Because you’re weak. You know you are. You’ll start twitching at the sight of chips, cookies, and cereal still in your house because everyone else can have them. You need something to get you through the 9:00 hour. (I’m not talking about PM. I’m talking about 9:00 AM. Not too far after breakfast. Don’t hate.) For me, it’s GF Honey Nut Chex Cereal, Blue Diamond Baked Nut Chips w/ sea salt, and Enjoy Life Soft Bake GF Snickerdoodle cookies. Whatever your go-to snacks are, stock up on them. They just might save your sanity.
4. Get an app, because you’re going out to eat
All kidding aside, I cried when I realized I will never taste the savory goodness that is Chick-fil-A nuggets again. Of course, that just lead my thoughts on a downhill roller coaster ride of all the other delicious restaurant items I will never partake of in the months to come. Enter Gluten Free Restaurant Items and Find Me Gluten Free. (Hit the links for the Google Play version for all my Android users out there. iPhone folks. They’re out there for you, too. I’m just a Droid man. Sorry.) The first one is my favorite so far. It has a long list of fast food chains listed as well as sit-down restaurants. All it does is pull gluten-free info off of each restaurant’s website and conveniently puts it all together in one spot for you. Better yet, it stores the info on your phone (or tablet in my case, which is wifi only) so you always have it readily available. It isn’t free, but it was worth it to me. The other one just takes your location (or provided zip code) and displays a list of restaurants with GF options near you. This one isn’t robust as far as info goes, but hey, it’s free and it gets the job done. I’ve been out to eat multiple times now and I haven’t had a problem yet. I have a feeling neither will you. Just don’t think you’ll be eating the before dinner rolls, though ;).
5. Get yourself some Awesome in your life (a.k.a. My Wife)
There is no way in the world I could have or would have done this without my wonderful doctor/cook/therapist/researcher/drill sergeant/partner. I say partner because you see in theory, if I were Richie Rich, I could have my meals and the rest of the family could have their meals. But, alas, I’m not. We can’t afford to buy my food and their food. My food is their food. It’s a family thing. If I try to go solo on this, I will crash and burn (and be broke). So, Amanda searches for recipes and GF food tips/tricks that are super tasty, but also tolerable by me. That’s love right there. I don’t have awesome websites to post for you, because I have a helper and she has taken up that task. Like I said, you need some Awesome in your life. I don’t know who that is for you, but here’s mine.