Friday, March 30, 2012

My Gluten Free Journey: Brian of This Gluten-Free Life

I'm always interested in reading about other people's gluten free journeys. There is often so much I can relate to in them and I always feel an immediate sort of bond with others who are also gluten intolerant (I'm not the only one, am I?). Because of this I've been wanting to start up a *new series for awhile highlighting other people's gluten free journeys. I am grateful to Brian from This Gluten-Free Life for helping me get the ball rolling.

 My Gluten Free Journey: Brian of This Gluten-Free Life
"How I Became Gluten-Free"

I believe it was around the end of 2009 or the beginning of 2010 when I started feeling physically different.  I had always been in decent-enough shape my whole life, but I began feeling constantly fatigued and just generally sluggish.  Digestive issues and side pains also became a common occurrence for me.  Like most people would do, I headed to the doctor to see what he had to say.  He couldn't really pinpoint a problem though, and just told me to "eat better and get some physical activity".  I left the doctor's office feeling frustrated and defeated.

Since I am independent and curious, I looked all over the internet for answers to my physical ailments.  Well, it should be no surprise that I found about a hundred different things that could be causing these problems.  I started thinking the problems were indeed caused by my diet, but how was I to know which part of my diet was the culprit?  I felt horrible after every meal.

In November 2010, my girlfriend announced to me that she was starting a gluten-free diet.  She had been suffering from some problems of her own, and her doctor recommended it to her.  After reading that many people lose weight on a gluten-free diet, she was even more willing to give it a go.  Since nothing I had tried up to that point had worked for me, I decided to go on the diet with her.  I wasn't expecting it to really help me; I was just trying to be a good boyfriend and show some support.

Within a day or two of starting the diet, I started feeling MUCH better.  I thought it was just a fluke and that the horrible feeling would return soon, but a week went by and I continued to feel amazing.  Could gluten really be what was causing these issues for me?  There was only one way to find out.  I went out and ate a huge portion of pasta with garlic bread (which was delicious, by the way) to see what happened.  Sure enough, all of the problems returned.  The next day I had a horrible migraine that had become so familiar over the last year.  I avoided gluten for another week, and just to really make sure, ate something with it again.  Same result: headache, side pains, general sluggishness.  Right then and there, I made the decision to never eat gluten again.

Even though I was thrilled to finally know what had been causing my health problems, starting a gluten-free diet when you have eaten gluten your whole life is no easy task.  When I realized how many of my favorite foods had gluten in them, I became a little overwhelmed.  Eventually, I hit a major turning point when I learned that anything and everything can be made gluten-free if you just take the time to get the right ingredients and cook them at home.  Just because I can't go to Pizza Hut and order a pizza doesn't mean I can't make a truly delicious homemade pizza at my house.  Cooking up tasty gluten-free meals has become a fun, healthy hobby of mine in the past 18 months.

I decided to start my website This Gluten-Free Life for a couple reasons.  The first was to share my recipes and other gluten-free tips and information with other gluten-free eaters all over the world.  The second reason was to show my family and friends evidence that eating a gluten-free diet actually is NOT super boring and dull.  They all seemed to think I was stuck eating rice and beans and chicken breasts with no sauce for every meal.  It feels great being able to help people that were going through the same problems as I had been.  I only get excited when I think about how far the gluten-free world has progressed in the past few years, and how gluten-free friendly the world is going to be 5-10 years from now.
Thanks for sharing, Brian! Thank goodness his girlfriend's doctor knew something about gluten intolerance or else who knows how much longer he would have gone feeling awful (and good for Brian for being a nice boyfriend and doing the diet with her).

Be sure to check out Brian's site, This Gluten-Free Life, to see all of his delicious-looking gluten free recipes, info and more!

*I would also love to hear your gluten free journey story! If you'd like to participate in this new series, please send your story about your gluten free journey to me at (I plan to keep this as an ongoing thing, so if you're not ready to write it now, feel free to do so sometime in the future and send it my way.) 

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