Oh, the woes of food allergies. A long time ago, back when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth... oh, wait, I guess it wasn't that long ago. But it does feel like a lifetime when you can no longer eat pizza. Or quesadillas. Or grilled cheese. Or mac and cheese. The list goes on.
I always used to say that I'd rather die than give up dairy. It just wasn't an option. Dairy comes in everything I love. Every meal. Every day. And what about wheat (gluten)? My gosh, that one is even more prevalent around these parts.
Coming to terms with the food that was making me sick and tired was a little bit like participating in a WWF wrestling match. The journey was filled with drama, sweat, KO's and bouncing off the ropes. Everything but the costumes, my friends.
I spent years thinking that it was normal to feel drunk after eating a plate of pasta - without consuming a lick of alcohol, mind you. The kind of drunk where I didn't want to drive home at night because I couldn't see straight. My legs would feel like they weighed a thousand tons and it took everything in me to make them move so I could go about my day. My brain would be so fuzzy it was hard to follow conversations from start to end, let alone think clearly and creatively for my job. And although quite satisfying, caffeine never seemed to be the answer.
It was only when my firstborn child couldn't seem to kick his baby eczema that the clues started to piece together. What started as normal baby eczema quickly turned into a terrible, nightmarish head-to-toe rash that didn't let up for five months. After seeing every expert and professional in the area, we were finally given our first clue. Celiac Disease was at the root of the problem. His gut was so damaged from his inability to process gluten that his whole system was out of whack. Way out of whack. Fix the gut and we fix the other problems.
And so we adopted the gluten-free lifestyle in our house to support him in regaining his health. At first the rest of the family ate this way simply because it was too hard saying to my three year old, "Oh no no baby, you can't have any of Mommy's pizza. You just eat that rice cracker, trust me it's delicious."
Surprisingly, many months into the new gluten-free and dairy-free diet, my husband and I started to notice changes in ourselves. And even more surprisingly, every time we "tested" gluten or dairy we suffered through harsh consequences. Sickness, sore throat, lethargy, painful gut, diarrhea, Guillain-Barre syndrom, shingles. And the list goes on.
The only connection between all of these aliments is that they would develop within hours or days of gluten exposure. No gluten - no sickness. Enough was enough. We realized that we'd rather have our health than our fluffy cheesy greasy pizza. We'd rather have our energy than our whole wheat al dente pasta. And so it goes, we happily don't go anywhere near gluten or dairy and we continue to feel all the better for it.