• Katey Ladika

5 Takeaways From Being 1 Month Gluten Free

Constant fatigue, anxiety, hives, tummy troubles, and even migraines are just some of the problems I was experiencing a few months ago. Now, one may think that the combination of these symptoms could come from a variety of illnesses or are just everyday life problems, however that wasn’t the case for me.

After doctors visits and research, it came to my attention that I had a gluten allergy, meaning I was severely allergic to proteins found in food items made with wheat, barely, or rye. As a person who seemed to eat some sort of bread for every meal, I was panicked by this news.

How was I to eat? What was I to do? Could I ever eat at a restaurant again?

Of course, there are people in the world who have worse allergies than me and I am lucky that I am only having to change one element of my diet, but this truly opened a door into the unknown.

I’ve been gluten free for around a month and a few things have stood at to me:

1. There are plenty of alternatives to gluten items.

The first few days of changing my diet had me at a loss. I didn’t understand how to go about eating without running into gluten. Given that I worked a very busy schedule, I often relied on pizza, pasta, sandwiches, or cereals to be my main source of food. Although not the healthiest way to eat, it became what I knew.

I remember walking through the grocery store nearly in tears as I found gluten in all my favorite treats. My boyfriend then took me aside and told me this change was for the better. He knew I had health problems and was willing to help. He took me through each aisle, read each label, and was a real trooper when I was grumpy. He also introduced me to some foods I never even dreamt of trying.

I’ve been learning what brands offer gluten-free options, what items work best at replacing wheat-based products in recipes, and how to eat healthy. There are so many companies who offer great alternatives and I’m ecstatic at getting a chance to try them all!

2. Some things say they are gluten-free, but really aren’t.

On the flip side, however, I have been in quite a few scenarios where I find my gluten-free option really isn’t gluten free... Imagine my panic after having a snack that said “Guaranteed Gluten Free” on the front of the package, only to break out in hives moments later. Confused, I flipped the bag over to see that it had wheat listed under the ingredients.

I’m not certain if the company did this on accident when printing or if they misunderstood the concept of “gluten free”, but I don’t think I’ll be purchasing their items again.

3. I now have a surplus of energy and it feels so good!

To say I was a sloth in the last few months before my diet change, wouldn’t really be an exaggeration. I would come home from work completely exhausted. I would spend a good portion of my days off in bed. I wasn’t living like a 23 year old woman should.

But let me tell you, after leaving the gluten behind, I feel like a new person! I have so much energy and wake up early to take on the day! My productivity is through the roof and I’ve begun working out again.

Several months ago, I was running a 5k every day. Mind you, they were virtual because of the nature of Covid-19, but I would hit the treadmill, sync my fitbit to the tracker app, and run those miles like a champ! This stopped around August when I just physically couldn’t bring myself to do anything requiring a substantial amount of movement. My energy levels were zero. I was depleted.

I’m so glad that now I feel as if I can take on the world again! I signed up for Disney’s Star Wars 5k and I’m looking forward to getting back into shape.

4. I can see changes with my body.

The first week of being gluten free I lost five pounds. Two weeks hit and I lost ten. My body is enjoying the new fuel source of proteins and vegetables and I’m losing weight! Of course, that's not the only change. Other than the high energy levels I mentioned earlier, my hives have vanished and my skin looks wonderful! I don't have the stomach pain I had before and my migraines are less frequent.

Who would have thought such a simple grain would cause so much harm?

5. I still have so much more to learn.

This life change is exactly that. I’m changing the way I eat, the way I think, and it can be rather scary at some points. I know I still have so much to learn about being gluten free, but I am taking steps in the right direction everyday! I look forward to the positive impacts this has on me in the months to come.