Going Gluten-Free...And The Challenges Ahead

Yes, I know...it's been a while. I guess you could say I've been going through a bit of an identity crisis...or maybe an early mid-life crisis? (I have always been mature for my age, and I did give away my entire wardrobe...then I bought a new one! LOL) And now my life is drastically changing again...I'm going gluten-free. No, I'm not trying to be trendy. I actually have a pretty valid reason for this dietary experiment.

You see, for the past few months, I haven't felt well physically. Those of you who know me personally probably know that I struggle horribly with recurring sinus infections and migraines. On a daily basis, I deal with mild to moderate sinus pain and pressure and a low-grade headache. It's not fun by any means, but sadly, I've grown accustomed to it. I try to keep a positive outlook, but some days my body declares war. It's exhausting, and it's taken its toll on me over the last few months.

A few months ago, I had a CT scan of my sinuses, and then paid a visit to an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor who sent me home with antibiotics and scheduled a follow-up appointment. Six weeks later, when I went for my appointment, there was no difference in the way I felt, and my sinuses were still terribly inflamed, so he referred me to an allergist. She did a skin test for 126 allergens (yes, that's 126 holes in my back and arms) and sent me away with yet another antibiotic and a slew of other prescriptions. Now here I am, three weeks after all of that, and I don't feel any better...and I have an official diagnosis of chronic sinorhinitis. Sounds fun, huh?

So, last weekend, I made a decision to take matters into my own hands. I cut out gluten...completely. (Are you giving me the same strange look everyone else gave me?! Well, stop it because by Wednesday evening, I felt better than I have felt in years. Yes, I said years...lots of them.) After riding high for a few days of feeling better but still not fully convinced that gluten was a devilish beast, I got a little lazy last night and didn't really feel like cooking. Instead, I threw a frozen pizza in the oven...and proceeded to eat almost half of it. Yes, half...don't judge! :) I was hungry, and it tasted so good. And I figured the damage wouldn't be that bad...until I woke up this morning and felt like I'd been hit by a train. It was full-on body aches, a horrible headache, and a head so full of congestion and swelling that I got dizzy when I got out of bed. Happy freakin' Saturday! OK, I learned my lesson. It was a painful lesson, but I've learned. No. More. Gluten...Ever.

And now my life will never be the same. Lil Ol' Me, who loves to bake delicious, glutinous treats like breads, muffins, cakes, and cookies can no longer eat these things?! Seriously?! It's the end of the world as I know it. I've slowly come to this realization. Like the lesson I learned this morning, it's been a fairly painful realization. I've cried. More than once.

Luckily, the Internet is overflowing with bloggers who are faithfully posting gluten-free recipes with which I can experiment. Though I don't necessarily intend to join them as gluten-free bloggers, I'm not really sure where this journey is going to take me and this blog, but I hope you'll still stop by occasionally to visit. Your support means a lot to me.

The only thing I know at this point is that, after looking at gluten-free recipes I've found online, there are a ton of ingredients listed that I've never heard of. I have no idea what they do, why they're needed, or where to get them. Looking at these recipes, I'm lost. I have to learn to bake all over again. It's daunting, and to be honest, I'm a bit scared. But I refuse to live my life without baked goods and pasta...or with only store-bought, processed garbage.

Please join me as I wade through what feels like Jell-O on the path to gluten-free enlightenment. Advice is welcome, support  is appreciated, and recipes and tips are always welcome. :)

Thanks for listening. Mangia Bene (and gluten-free)!

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