I tried clean eating in hopes that it would help my unpleasant symptoms and make me feel better. I think I did that for about a month. I would occasionally feel better, but it really didn't work for me (and it was incredibly difficult to follow). Last November I did an elimination diet and the results were life changing. I went two weeks without any dairy or gluten, then in the third week I added dairy back in and the fourth week I added gluten back in. It was incredible how easy it was to tell what the culprit of my sickness was - gluten.
Anyone who has eaten a meal with me in the past seven months knows I am now completely gluten free. (By the way, I can't believe its been seven months already!) As I was going back and reading those old posts about clean eating and the elimination diet and reading all the symptoms I was having, I can hardly believe that I was even functioning like that. I remember how terrible I would feel every single day. I still have some not so great days (in addition to a gluten intolerance I also think I'm sensitive to dairy and highly processed foods), but for the most part my headaches, stomach aches and irritability are gone.
When I tell people I'm gluten free they either look at me with pity that I'm deprived of their favorite treats or they think I'm doing some fad diet that will pass. Neither is true, I don't miss the sweets too much because I never was really into desserts to begin with and you can make virtually everything gluten free. This is also not a fad diet because, first of all, its not a diet in the traditional sense. It is a lifestyle change.
The benefits far outweigh the negatives about this change though and that is what keeps me going. I never want to go back to how I was feeling last summer (I've lost 16+ lbs and have never felt healthier or stronger). The biggest struggle isn't actually resisting temptation to eat foods with gluten, its the stress that comes with eating a meal with other people. I never want to come off as high maintenance, but I also don't want to be sick for three days. Its definitely a huge thing I struggle with and most of the time I get anxiety about going out to restaurants with people other than my husband or eating at someone's house other than a select few that totally get my situation (thanks mom!).
We're in a bit of transition now, so completely changing our eating habits is difficult right now, but once we're in our new house I'd really like to get into cutting out as much processed food as possible. Gluten was a huge step for me in getting my health in order, but there are still plenty of processed foods and "bad" things I can still eat...and I do.
If you're interested in finding out more about becoming gluten free, here are some great tips to follow when first starting out. I'm such an advocate for trying the elimination diet, its difficult at first, but definitely worth finding out what is making your body react the way it is.
Image Source: A delicious gluten free chocolate cake I've been meaning to try :)