Thursday, May 16, 2013
C'est La Vie
I had to really wrack my brain to find a topic for today's Blog Every Day in May challenge; we're supposed to write about our "lot" in life and what we're doing to improve it.
As I sat down to think about it, I realized that, despite facing challenges that come with life in general, I have very little to complain about or blame for anything in my life. I'm so thankful for that.
I've always had family and friends who loved me, I found someone to love and marry and be with for the rest of my life, and I have been successful in other areas of my life. I guess if I had to write about something, it would be about my health. It hasn't been an easy journey for me, but it's definitely something I'm figuring out and working to improve!
When I was 14 I became incredibly sick. I had no idea what was going on and it was really affecting my ability to function. After multiple doctor visits, I was diagnosed with IBS. As of right now, there is no cure and no method of prevention since the medical community doesn't even know what causes the symptoms. Even though that's the case, some doctors believe that certain foods can exacerbate the symptoms. So, I had to make many changes to my diet and continue to monitor which foods seemed to make me feel sick.
Over the next several years I was able to manage my way around it, only getting sick maybe one week out of every six months. But most recently, last year, I became more sick than I'd ever been before. I checked in to the hospital, was put on fluids because I was seriously dehydrated and malnourished (because a common reaction to the symptoms is to not eat because all it does is make you even more sick) and they ran some tests on me, including a CT scan. Long story short, my condition, due to its chronic nature, had developed into something a little more serious- ulcerative colitis. For the rest of 2012, I had to go to extensive doctors visits, exams, and had a minor procedure done to determine the severity of my condition.
Since there is no cure for it, my doctor only had one recommendation- medication. I am not the type of person who runs to get prescriptions every time I have the flu or a cold so I told my doctor I would do more research about the particular drug I was being prescribed. During my research I found that it is and immune system suppressant, seeing as my body believes it has a contaminate that it's trying to get rid of, when in fact it doesn't. It's common in other auto-immune disorders. Basically the drug would cause my immune system to function at a very low level. This is incredibly risky because I would be susceptible to other germs and bacteria which can cause other sicknesses. I called my doctor to ask whether it was absolutely necessary for me to take medication and she admitted that it wasn't absolutely necessary. It's just the usual next step with patients like me. I then felt free to ask about alternative solutions to handling the symptoms and she recommended several diets, one of them being the elimination of gluten.
As is the usual reaction to someone who is eliminating gluten, you are upset, angry, and anxious about what you can eat. Everything has gluten in it!! You shed a fear tears because now you can't eat donuts anymore (a huge vice of mine) and cake is off limits. Well, that's what I thought anyway. It really helped that I already had someone close to me who was gluten-free (my mother-in-law) so she helped me find brands of g-free bread that didn't taste like cardboard (Goodbye Gluten and Udi's are the best). After several months of doing my own research and embracing new foods, I realized how little I was giving up and how actually toxic our everyday wheat is. I went gluten-free officially in November 2012 and honestly haven't looked back.
All in all, my health has caused some roadblocks in the past, but removing food from my diet that was harmful to me has drastically helped improve my health and the way I feel each day!
Here are some of my favorite sources for gluten-free food creativity if you are or are considering removing gluten from your diet. I know that these blogs and sources really helped me so I wanted to share that with anyone who may also need them.
Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef - Her knowledge about the gluten-free diet is so extensive. She has amazing videos where she walks up and down each aisle of the grocery store and points out which products to avoid and which are safe. I learned so much here.
Silvana's Kitchen - Silvana's website has incredible recipes for gluten-free pastries, desserts, etc.
Gluten-Free Girl - This is my gluten-free Pinterest board with recipes, more sources, and information about the gluten-free diet.
My Five Day Gluten-Free Meal Plan
Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Cookbook - I was given this for my birthday. It's a great cookbook that is perfect for g-free beginners! It includes recipes for fried chicken, chicken pot pie, pizza, muffins, pancakes, etc. All you have to do is buy the Bisquick g-free mixture and you're good to go. It's the best book for the newbie.