Monday, October 21, 2013


FYI - this post, though relevant to my journey, could be filed under "TMI" for some of you...

About 6 months before The Spicy Chicken and I got married I had a physical. When the doctor asked if I had any issues I wanted to talk about I reluctantly mentioned that I often suffered from a painful cycle of constipation and diarrhea.  She smiled politely and told me it was probably just the stress and nerves of planning for my upcoming nuptials.  When I mentioned that I'd been dealing with this since I was a teenager (long before I met The Spicy Chicken) her response was that I probably had something called Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), but about the only thing I could do about that was limit my stress and/or just accept it.  Unfortunately working two jobs, attending graduate school and planning a wedding didn't leave a lot of time for stress relief, so I went with Option #2 - just accept it

Though this was not a particularly comfortable option, by the time I was in my mid-twenties I had, sadly, gotten used to living this way.  It wasn't until college, when I was living in close proximity to and sharing bathrooms with lots of other women, that I even realized it wasn't normal.  (Yes, I actually thought it was normal to be painfully constipated one day and have explosive diarrhea the next. It was all I knew. Why would I think anything else?).

It wasn't, however, until recently that I finally decided to do something about it.  (This turning 40 thing has sure made me wise!).  I'd done enough research on IBS to know that certain foods tend to trigger reactions for some people (plus, let's face it, you don't have to be a doctor to recognize there's probably a link between food and digestion...). I first removed red meat from my diet for a month to see if it would help.  This, however, resulted in no significant change. So, I went to the next thing on my list - dairy.  Unfortunately, 4 weeks later the results were the same - nothing.  Last on my "List of Things I Should Try to Give Up For Better Digestive Health" (you have one of those lists, don't you?) was gluten. 

Gluten was last on my list for several reasons. One - I have very close friend who suffers from full-blown Celiac's Disease. While my digestive issues are no fun, I certainly don't suffer as badly as she does, so I kind of convinced myself that gluten couldn't be the problem. Secondly, "going gluten-free"  has become such a trendy thing to do lately that I didn't want to seem like I was just following the latest diet fad. And lastly - and let's face it - most importantly - I put off giving up gluten as long as possible because it freakin' sucks. I, like many other people, love all things gluten. Pizza - pasta - crusty Italian bread....don't even get me started...

But as I said earlier, with age seems to have come a little bit of wisdom and I knew that I had to at least try it.  And five months ago I did. Within days I felt changes happening in my body.  That achey, arthritic feeling I always have in my hands? Gone.  The unexplained mood swings? Minimal.  Middle of the afternoon naps? A thing of the past. My ring became too large for my previously fat little fingers.  My shoes required tightening. And m digestive system actually started to feel....normal.

Hooray, right?

Well, yes, but did you notice, by chance, the sentence where I said I did this five months ago? Yeah, it was hard, and I fell off the wagon hard after about 5 weeks.  You know that old Kate Moss quote "Nothing tastes as good as looking good feels"?  Apparently Kate had never tasted Dr. Ho's Bellisima pizza!

But here I am back on the "G-Free" wagon again.  It took me a long time to hop back on it and trust me, it was not done without a lot of research, consideration and several preemptive Bodo's bagels.  I knew, however, when I added gluten back in five months ago that it was eventually going to come back to this.  There was no doubt in my mind that I felt 100 times better when I was eating gluten-free, and that it was going to have to be way of life eventually.

I spend a lot of time and money doing things to make my body feel it's best: hours in the studio at Clay - miles walking and hiking with Scout - buying organic and hormone-free groceries - even learning to cook for myself....There's no reason for me to not be doing this one additional thing (that I know makes me feel better).  
So, this is it - Week Three G-Free - here I come! 


  1. CRAP. See, I have the same TMI issues. I like to just ignore them. But last year, when I lost so much weight I was nearly g free. I say nearly, because, well, pizza. But I felt so much better. There was so much less bloat. I know. I know I feel better but pizza and bread. I know they are my enemy. You saying it out loud is more proof. (It's the ring thing almost more than the bathroom situation!) CRAP! I'm going to have to do this aren't I?

    1. I'm not going to lie - I miss pizza, but the fact that I feel so much better is SO worth it. Jen is totally right - there are so many options out there now for gluten-free products (even pizza!). And guess what I found out last night? Talenti Gelato is gluten-free! Silver lining, my friend!

  2. Oh, you poor thing. I'm so sorry you've had those issues for so long and that the solution is something that's going to be challenging. One thing in your favor is that there are so many GF options available these days. I have an aunt with celiac and when she was first diagnosed, she had a hard time finding things she could eat. Luckily, Trader Joe's, Fresh Market, and Whole Foods all have amazing GF foods for you to try.

    1. You are so right, Jen! There are so many options available now. As I was making breakfast this morning it occurred to me that I really should be grateful that there's a solution to my issues. More veggies and creativity in the kitchen - seems like a small price to pay for feeling SO much better!

  3. Oh goodness, what an awful thing to go through and live with for so long! :(

    You'll have to try my zucchini crust pizza. Nothing ever beats the real thing, but it's still delicious. You should look into Paleo recipes too. They are gluten-free and there are so many creative, delicious options!

    So great to see your posts again!

    1. I'm definitely going to follow your lead on spaghetti squash, too! I've always been afraid of it, but you've motivated me to try!