Welcome to my canvas of thoughts! Here's a bit about my story:
As a child, I grew up eating bread. Lots of bread. I habitually had Trader Joe's Mac n' Cheese, savored pasta with Parmesan cheese, and loved my garlic-cheesy bread. Whenever we went out to eat, I always ordered pasta. However, I failed to recognize that the pain, discomfort, and nausea I experienced after each meal wasn't normal. My whole life, I unknowingly battled issues with my gut, naively thinking everyone suffered those symptoms after they ate. Nothing could convince me otherwise, not even the several episodes of throwing up following a meal.
In 2009, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease, an autoimmune disorder, which ultimately led to a major shift in my relationship with food. I began on a gluten free diet, however as my body continued to rebel, I was forced to strip old beloved foods from my ever-slimming palate. As my lifestyle was swiftly characterized by numerous nutritional supplements, the escalating frustration of a new diet, and a quest for answers, my frustration grew.
Tears of frustration, days of agonizingly vexing pain, and a sense of hopelessness accompanied each day as I was forced from the comforts of familiar foods, knowing that a trace of indulgence could lead to weeks of my body’s repulsive reactions. As my body rejected more beloved foods, I felt like I was being pushed into an impenetrable corner. Social gatherings and vacations were no longer relaxing pastimes, but complicated situations that required intricate planning and left me embarrassed, jaded, and crushed in spirit. During Christmas, as my family savored my mom’s famous homemade cinnamon rolls, I somberly sat, grieving past aromas and flavors that sprang to mind, flavors I could never again enjoy. While the pain I would undoubtedly suffer by succumbing to temptation haunted me, disheartened and drained, I battled the desire to sacrifice healing for temporary reprieve from this fatiguing cycle of change. Sometimes I just want a moist bagel with cream cheese!!
Allergies to gluten, corn, dairy, and sensitivities to soy, strawberries, peanuts, sugar, nuts, eggs and all grains has led to a huge adjustment, and I'm still learning. As I entered the gluten free world before it became a widely-accepted trend, I had to learn how to manage my diet in a gluten-dense world.
As more foods were taken away, months of the same boring lunches and breakfasts made me frustrated. Sometimes I wanted to throw in the towel and eat that bagel! But soon, I was challenged to become creative and make up my own ideas. I've always loved cooking and baking, but following the Paleo diet forces me to be creative with a variety of fruits, vegetables, and meats. Many frustrating days were spent throwing away less-than- appetizing creations. It's been a long process, but now I actually enjoy what I make. I know I still have a lot to learn, and I'm excited for the process.
Within the last year, my gut has begun to heal and I've been able to add new foods back. I am so thankful for the healing that has come, and looking back, would have never imagined I'd get to a point where I felt great. Not just great for having an autoimmune disorder, but truly great. I was able to add eggs and nuts back into my diet, along with a larger amount of fruits. This ability to add these food groups back into my diet is a testament to the healing that has come to my body.
It has been quite a journey to get to this place, but honestly I have never felt better in my life, and I am thankful for the lessons I have learned along the way. I know I have much more to learn, but I am excited for the healing that has come in my body and my heart.
It has been such a joy to help those I know who have had to go gluten free as they learn how to navigate in their new diet. I do not profess to be a whiz in the kitchen or an expert with the camera, but I hope that you again find the joy of cooking and join me on my ever-growing journey. I'm thankful that God has used my experience to grow my heart and to help others. I hope to share my successes and failures as you journey on your own health adventure as I learn to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle!