I didn’t always think of myself as a “food girl”. In fact, growing up, I think I was actually normal. My mom gave me food, and I ate it. Sometimes I refused a weird new vegetable. I loved our family habit of nightly ice cream before bed. Pretty normal I think.
About 5 years ago, my relationship with food changed for the first time. I spent my first year of college sick constantly. And by sick, I don’t mean some repeated colds due to the oh-so-sanitary dorm life. I mean, agonizing stomach pains on a daily basis. The brilliant campus nurses repeatedly told me I was stressed out and I had IBS. I would leave the Dr’s office with a handful of pamphlets about my digestive system, and some prilosec. Whoopee. The problem was, I read those pamphlets and I knew I didn’t have IBS. Hardly any symptoms matched and I really wasn’t stressed. I thought about food allergies, but I could seem to pinpoint any certain item that made me especially sick. Then the light came – an article in a health/fitness magazine about Celiac Disease/Gluten Intolerance. Everything matched. I must admit, I have been accused of self-diagnosis, and of course I always recommend getting a doctor’s opinion. So, I marched straight into the campus health department with the article in hand. Sure enough, they gave me the blood test and guess what? Positive for a gluten intolerance. Imagine that!?! My life immediately changed because now I had to THINK about my food. I never would have guessed how much thinking about food I would do in the next 5 years.
The gluten intolerance explained why I couldn’t pinpoint a certain food that made me sick. I was getting gluten in every meal I was eating! My morning waffles or cereal, the famous grilled cheese sandwiches at the dorm cafeteria, my favorite pasta dishes. As I began to eliminate gluten from my diet, I felt SO MUCH better. It took several years though, to go completely clean. I have done a lot of research and continue to find things that i eat that I probably shouldn’t. It’s always the good stuff too. Ugh.
I think the reason I’m such a “food girl” today is because I was deprived for a few years. There wasn’t too much good gluten free food on the market 5 years ago. And if there was, I definitely didn’t have access to it in my small college town. I lived on some nasty GF pasta mixes and mashed potatoes. I also ate A LOT of ice cream. Today, there are delicious options for the gluten free population popping up everywhere. This can be a win/lose for me. I had pretty much come to peace with the fact that I couldn’t eat baked goods (cookies/cake/muffins) ever again – so it’s pretty exciting that just yesterday I was able to eat homemade bread from a mix that actually tasted and had the texture of bread. And I have a bucket of chocolate chip cookie dough in the freezer. The downside is…now I eat this stuff! If it was disgusting or just not available, I’d stay away from it, and my waistline would thank me.
FOOD = LOVE
But I LOVE FOOD. Ask any of my friends and they will be the first to confirm. I LOVE FOOD. I love GOOD FOOD. And now I can eat it. My biggest struggle is not thinking about food every waking moment. Not only do I love eating food, I love preparing it too. I cook dinner for my husband most nights of the week and love every minute of it. I love experimenting with new baking methods for gluten free treats. I even lovethe grocery store. How do I live in balance? Balance is one of my newest goals. I’m a go-for-it kind of girl, and it’s hard for me to ignore my sometimes OCD-ness about food. I try to tell myself to chill out. Don’t worry about what you’re bringing for lunch. You will be ok. Don’t think about the delicious gluten free muffins on the counter. They will still be there tomorrow. How can I enjoy cooking and baking, and not feel guilty about enjoying it?
My favorite gluten free creations:
1. The Gluten Free Pantry – Bread/Pizza Crust mix
2. Banana Zucchini Bread with Cranberries
3. Homemade masa flour tortillas
4. Rustic Oven’s margarita pizza
5. Udi’s chocolate chip cookies
6. Wildberry Buckwheat Toaster Waffles
7. Gluten Free Pantry pancake mix
8. My mom’s recent Easter treat: Pineapple Carrot Cake
9. Lasagna rolls with GF noodles
10. PF Changs GF lettuce wraps
There are so many more…and more to be said about my eating compulsions. Hopefully, I’m getting stronger. Hopefully, I can learn to achieve balance. Hopefully, for my husband’s sanity, I can stop standing in front of the refrigerator for 15 minutes every night….planning.