Maiden Voyage

Well here it is. I’ve been wanting to blog ever since college so here I go! I have so many passions to write about so try to stay with me. I think I’ll start with my anniversary of being gluten free.

This year marks 10 years of being gluten free. I was a junior in college on a trip to the National Track Meet when I got taken to the ER yet a 3rd time that year. Each time I would go they would give me some bogus diagnosis just to get me out of there. I literally vomited on a daily basis for six straight months. It was horrendous; I even remember training myself to eat my food in under 10 minutes because I knew I would throw it all up anyway. I’ve heard of even worse cases from other people in support groups I’ve been in. When I lived in Omaha, I had a great support system through our local Hy-Vee stores. For the last seven years or so though, I’ve lived in Hastings so we don’t have as big of a gluten free crowd out here.

When I found out in 2007, my track bus was driving to Denver to fly out to the meet in California. The last fast food sandwich I ate was a chicken sandwich at a Burger King in Ogallala, Nebraska. I didn’t know it was the last chicken sandwich I would ever have. I don’t really miss them though.

After eating, we loaded up the bus and started driving. Within minutes my stomach just started attacking me. I was in my own seat and I remember being in the fetal position and crying into my pillow from the pain. It was worse than I’d experienced in a LONG time. I called my mother and she told me I needed to let my coach know I needed to see a doctor.

We found the Ogallala hospital and it was there, that a doctor from Denver was working for the shift and he told me to simply try the gluten free diet. He gave me a print out, called my mother as well, and said good luck. I wish I could find that doctor and tell him, “thanks” because he saved my intestines from more years of pain and suffering. My hair had quit growing since high school. He said that a disease or life altering event usually triggers celiac disease. When I was 17, I got West Nile disease and then when I was 19 I got Mononucleosis. So it was only natural that at 21, I was discovered to have celiac disease. My poor mother, too. She felt so bad that I was always so sick and rarely felt well. I used to have so much energy but those illnesses just drained me.

When I got home from the track trip, I will never forget the day I cleaned out my cupboards. My mother researched what ingredients I had to stay away from so I had to give away all of my favorite foods. After cleaning the cupboard, I remember sitting on the kitchen floor crying. It occurred to me that this was going to be a permanent change. No more pop-tarts. No more PB&J sandwiches. No more grape-nuts. To this day, grape-nuts are the ONE thing I cannot find a good replacement for. Maybe someday I’ll figure out how to make my own, GF grape-nuts.

Back then, in ’07, my mama did more research than a college student simply to be able to educate me and help me get better but also to be able to live a full life without eating gluten or my favorite foods. I owe every bit of my GF knowledge to my awesome mama. She bought so many books, cookbooks, and she learned. Man did she learn. She learned how to make her own flours, she bought a new Nutrimill that would be used only with GF grains. She already was a super mom who could bake the best whole wheat bread on the planet. But after my experience, she became even more of a super mom who learned nearly everything there was to learn about GF cooking and living at that time.

Ten years later, I still bake my own breads, experiment a LOT with new recipes, and rarely buy boxed things if I can help it. I plan to put my recipes on here as I get a chance. Maybe even some videos (I do video production, after all). I try all the gluten-free products I can and I also love to review restaurants, etc.

So here’s the the last ten years of living this way. I do not choose this lifestyle. It’s like a prescription. There is no cure for what we have. We can simply only manage the symptoms. So now, here’s the the next ten years of discovering even more gluten free goodness in life.