Allergies, stomach aches after you eat, feeling in a fog, tired, headaches? These have all been symptoms of friends and family I know who have found out they have an intolerance to certain foods. This was also me. I’ve been asked numerous times how I became gluten and dairy free, and what exactly I eat; so I thought I would share everything with you all!
I am not the only one in my family with a food intolerance. Both my sister and dad are also gluten free. My first symptom I noticed was I started having headaches everyday. I was getting plenty of sleep, drinking enough water, and all my vitamin levels were normal. However, I started realizing after I ate I would feel bloated or nauseated, especially after eating at a restaurant. After discussing with my mom, I decided to have a food panel test done at an Integrative Health Doctor. They take a blood sample and after a few weeks I found out which foods I was sensitive to. A food intolerance is when you have difficulty digesting certain foods. It is similar to a food allergy, except it may come on gradually over a longer period of time. Because I ate gluten and dairy foods my whole life it “messed up” my gut. This is sometimes referred to as “leaky gut syndrome”; which “is the result of damage to the intestinal lining, making it less able to protect the internal environment as well as to filter needed nutrients and other biological substances. As a consequence, some bacteria and their toxins, incompletely digested proteins and fats, and waste not normally absorbed may “leak” out of the intestines into the bloodstream.” After seeing my doctor I began my new diet and started taking probiotics. Probiotics are the good bacteria in your body and can help heal your intestines.
So I will admit it was really hard at first. When I went to the store for the first time after changing my diet I cried in the middle of the cookie aisle; what was I going to eat?! I started doing research, changed up recipes I loved, and talked with my family on what they ate. Fast forward almost two years later…it really isn’t too bad! And I feel SO much better.
If you are thinking about changing your diet, or have recently found out you have a food intolerance I have some tips for you!
1.Take everything out of your house you can’t have. No need to tempt yourself! Out of sight out of mind
2.Things to think about when going to the store:
-Most grocery stores have labels on the shelves of items that are gluten free
-Some stores even have their own gluten free section
-What to look for in labels: you will need to check out the ingredients on everything! If it doesn’t have a “certified gluten free” label you will want to make sure it does not have something you are sensitive to. The easiest way to tell if something does or does not contain gluten and dairy is after the ingredients there is a section that says, “CONTAINS:” This will list all the main food allergies such as wheat, milk, nuts, soy etc. It is still a good idea to read all ingredients though.
3.Yes it is more expensive….BUT if you search various grocery stores and do your research you can find some good deals!
4.You CAN have desserts! They make a lot of gluten/dairy free cookies, brownies, cupcakes, cakes, pies, and ice cream
5.Google it. I have googled countless recipes when I am craving something. I cooked our whole Thanksgiving dinner gluten and dairy free (including macaroni & cheese and pumpkin pie!)
6.Here are some dairy free alternatives for milk and butter: almond, soy, coconut, and rice milk and Earth Balance and/or Smart Balance Butter
7.When going to a restaurant:
-It is important to tell the waiter/waitress you have food allergies
-Ask if meats are cooked in butter (if so, see if they can cook yours in oil)
-I love the Find Me Gluten Free app on my phone. It is great when traveling to unfamiliar cities to see what restaurants are close by
-Ask if they can change their gloves to avoid cross contamination
-Be aware that some fast food restaurants cook all their foods in the same fryer
Great Fast Food/Chain restaurants that offer gluten and dairy free options:
-Chick fil a
It hasn’t been easy, but it is worth it. My hope is I inspire others to think about what you put in your body, and even the symptoms you may be having. I am not perfect. I eat way too much sugar and gluten free bread everyday, but I do feel like I have allowed my body to heal and I have a greater appreciation for what I do eat.