When Something (Actually) Changes Your Life

Of all the “life changing” things I’ve experienced in my life, I would say 70-80% were associated with food. The first time I had Artichoke pizza in New York. When cupcakes first became a thing. Discovering Potbelly’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (and their Cookies & Cream Milkshakes). Pretzel M&Ms. Every time I ate stuffed crust pizza and was overwhelmed by the feeling that life was grand. Mac n Cheese too, obviously.

In a nutshell. I love to eat. I live to eat. If there is something warm/cheesy/gooey/melty/aromatic/colorful in front of me, I will eat it. I am known, far and wide, as a favorite among people who love to cook and feed. I will savor and Mmmm, and Yumm, and compliment, and swear, and make sure the chef knows just how damn tasty their masterpiece truly is (or even just how thankful I am that they picked up some potato chips on the way over).

I hope I’m getting my point across.

But amidst all of my fervent eating, I always had nagging stomach aches. I would of course, ignore them, attributing my discomfort to a sensitive stomach, and quickly returning to my large meal (which I always finished, mind you). These stomach aches had always been there. I was used to them, so I never really investigated the reason behind them.

After moving to New York, food became an even bigger part of my life. If something was social, it was also associated with food + drink, and I loved it. But I noticed that my stomach aches were getting a little worse. That certain foods would just knock me on my ass, ruin the rest of my day, and leave me in a total funk. It got to the point where I actually didn’t feel like going out on Fridays. I felt so out of. I just wanted to curl up in bed with a hot water bottle and my endless Netflix Instant Queue.

I decided to go to the doctor, after an especially bad week. I made the first appointment I could get on a Monday morning, and figured he’d prescribe a few pills, and I’d be on my way.

(Just realized this story is getting long… I’m getting to the point.)

In the end, I saw two doctors, had some blood drawn, and ultimately went in for an endoscopy during my trip to Cleveland. None of this was fun, and the more medical stuff I went through, the more I started to freak out. There are a ton of awful gastrointestinal diseases. And I was just waiting for the Doc to lay it on me.

And that he did.

I’m okay. And it’s not the worst thing in the world by any stretch of the imagination (not even the worst in the world of gasto), but last week I was diagnosed with Celiacs Disease. I’m sure most of you have heard of it. Especially with the strange uptick in Gluten-Free diets (which totally stumps me – WHAT? You don’t want to eat soft, warm, buttery bread anymore? REALLY? Though, it is supposed to be much healthier). It’s an autoimmune disease where your body is unable to digest gluten, a protein found in wheats, barley, rye, and sometimes oats. The treatment is simple – cut all of these things out of your diet, and never eat them again. Once you’ve done this, your body is totally healed, your diet is way healthier, and you feel great. You’re energetic, your mood is stable, your skin and hair¬†glow¬†(or so they say… crossed fingers). But until you’re fully adjusted and accustomed, it’s super strange.

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So there it is. A sad diagnosis that ends a long love affair with glutinous foods. Donuts, cookies, cupcakes, breads, beers, pancakes, burritos, pasta, pizza… I bid you adieu. Or at least until I can figure out how to find you or make you in a way that won’t make me want to keel over. Which will be soon, obviously.

I welcome any tasty Gluten-Free recipes (like this, this, and this), and promise to share some of my GF adventures (in case any of you are struggling with anything similar). But in the mean time, please refrain from offering me any crisp, cold beers, grilled cheese sandwiches, or slices of cake (my favorite food)! I will make you feel really bad :)

XO,

AG

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