My Road to a Gluten-Free Life
Updated: Aug 21, 2019
I’ve always been an active, athletic person. I started riding horses in competitions when I was 10 yrs old, I have been a swimmer and about 15 years ago started doing gym-oriented work-outs with long cardio and strength training. Back then I was not gluten-free but knew I had “food allergies” of some sort which I managed with medications. For about the first six months of working out I was able to get pretty fit but would regularly have to drag myself to work out. My legs and body felt tired and drained even before work-outs.
A friend suggested that I try “The Zone” diet. It focuses on eating mostly protein, vegetables and fruit and very little in the way of grains. After a week of following the Zone pretty strictly, I felt like a different person. Work outs became easier, the after-lunch crash stopped, my mental focus and clarity was hugely improved, and I was very successful in my riding competitions. I knew that staying away from the starchy carbohydrates was making a big difference but I was not aware that a big part of it was the gluten.
Several years later a holistic practitioner helped me to figure out that my body did not tolerate gluten. I had done an elimination diet, so by the time we realized that gluten was the culprit it was too late to be tested for Celiac Disease (you have to be eating gluten for most Celiac testing). Regardless, I knew that being completely gluten-free was my reality.
So many people would (and still do) look at me with pity that I can’t eat regular bread or pizza or cookies. I don’t see it that way. I feel lucky that I clearly know what makes me feel healthy, strong and energetic. Not being able to eat all those “normal foods” is what inspires me to be creative in my cooking.
Last week for the first time, I put my work-outs to the test by running in a 5K race. A 5K is 3.1 miles and even though I do no more than 2.5 miles as part of my regular routine, I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was. I think it’s a testament to not only being fit but also to listening to what your own body needs to be at its best.