Saturday, September 24, 2011

1 Amazing Year Gluten-Free

One year ago, I made a decision I had been thinking about and avoiding for at least a year. I decided to fully commit to trying the gluten-free diet. I'd wrestled with the diet here and there, but never stuck it out long enough to see if it made a serious difference in my health.

Before I began following the gluten-free diet in September of 2010, a few of my immediate family members were diagnosed celiac or gluten intolerant and had been following the diet for a year or so. Despite knowing in the back of my mind for a good year that I needed to be gluten-free, I had a moment of clarity last year. I was home visiting my family and started to connect the dots that the health symptoms I've had for years were identical to my family members who were now gluten-free. Last September, I decided to fully commit to the gluten-free diet and see what happened.

The outcome has truly been a blessing. Within days, the health symptoms I had experienced for many, many years were gone. I realized that the problems that plauged me were not a way of life and they could easily be avoided. I felt SO much better; I felt incredible! Since then, I've stuck to my mission to find and create simple, gluten-free recipes that taste As Good As Gluten!

I will be the first to admit that it wasn't easy at first, but it wasn't hard either. I loved a lot of gluten foods and was worried that I would have to give up my beloved pasta and brownies. Luckily, I had my family's experience to learn from about what foods I could and could not have. They also taught me which gluten-free food brands were good and which ones tasted like cardboard. Even more importantly, they taught me how to replace gluten with gluten-free substitutes and still maintain a good nutritional balance (i.e., use healthy flour blends and not all startch). I also quickly discovered the wonderful world of gluten-free bloggers that made the journey easier.

I'll admit, the first month or two of following the gluten-free diet was hard and I cheated a few times. I always felt the repercussions. I eventually stopped lying to myself and learned that yes, I really need to follow the gluten-free diet. Cheating with non-gluten-free foods were not worth it. I honestly do not even miss those foods anymore. Partially because of how bad they make me feel. But, also because I can easily create a gluten-free version that tastes As Good As Gluten (and in many cases, better than gluten).

I started As Good As Gluten a few weeks after I started following the gluten-free diet. My soul purpose was to share my recipes with many of my family members who are gluten-free. A blog seemed like the easiest way to do so, without having to remember who asked for a recipe and if I had sent it him/her yet. I had absolutely no idea how much As Good As Gluten would grow. I've found a passion and a hobby I enjoy. I have friends, friends of friends, and total strangers reading my blog and trying my recipes.

Being gluten-free has been a blessing. It has rekindled my love and passion for cooking and baking. Before I started following the gluten-free diet, my husband, Mike, and I had a regular rotation of meals we would make. Over the past year, it's actually become the "special occasion" when we make a recipe for a second or third time. Despite how much we love almost all of the recipes that I blog on As Good As Gluten, I'm creative and there are just so many more recipes that I'm anxious to create or put my own spin on.

Thank you, gluten intolerance for giving me one amazing gluten-free year! I'm looking forward to always living a gluten-free life and seeing where it takes me!


Judee @ Gluten Free A-Z said...

Congratulations on reaching a full year of being gluten free. It is life changing!

gluten free gift said...

Congrats on year one! I have been gluten-free for 40 years... and can tell you that I don't regret it one bit. It's much easier these days, and the work it takes is all an expression of self love. May the years ahead be full of great gf adventures! Claudine