It all started in the spring of 2010 – I was starting to get some side pains after eating. It wasn’t like a splitting pain, but it definitely felt very uncomfortable. I also didn’t know what was causing these pains; it seemed very random when the pain would come. I finally decided that I should see a doctor and try to get to the bottom of it.
I headed off to the doctor and told him what my problem was. He asked me a few questions (which I can’t recall now) and eventually just came to the conclusion that it was nothing and I should let him know if it gets worse. Well, I knew it wasn’t “nothing” so I left feeling a little down. I continued having these side pains for a few more months, during which my digestive system seemed to get completely messed up. I thought maybe I was drinking too much soda, so I quit that for a few weeks. Nothing changed. I honestly wanted to go back to the doctor and tell him this wasn’t normal.
Eventually in November of 2010, my girlfriend told me she was going gluten and dairy-free. I really wasn’t sure what gluten was, other than the fact it was found in grains, pasta, and bread. I decided to try it with her for a little bit, sort of as support and to see if I felt any different. Amazingly, within two days, my side pains and digestive issues completely went away. I thought it might have just been a fluke so I stopped and started eating gluten a few more times and the results were conclusive to me – my body could not process gluten for whatever reason. So, I decided to stop eating foods that contain gluten altogether.
When you have been eating gluten your whole life, it is a pretty big adjustment to just avoid it completely. I quickly realized I had been consuming gluten during 95%+ of my meals. I loved deli sandwiches for lunch – you could find me at Subway, Quizno’s or Jimmy John’s almost every day. The first few days of being GF, I just felt pretty lost. But after awhile, it gets much, much easier. Do not get discouraged if it seems like a huge mountain to climb at first. I found a great gluten-free bread called Udi’s that I now use to make my own delicious sandwiches. I also eat quinoa pasta, buckwheat pancakes, and tofu with vegetables. Once you get in a habit of eating these new foods, it becomes so simple to keep on the gluten free diet. I feel so much better now than I did back then; if you are having digestive problems that no one can seem to figure out, it might be worth it to try a gluten-free diet for a little while and see if anything happens. Who knows, maybe avoiding gluten will clear up your problems too!