It is amazing how much going gluten free has benefited my heath. I have learned a lot about myself and my body over the past 1.5 years. There have definitely been more downs than ups. Transitioning to college while starting the gluten free diet was not easy. But I did it. And here I am, healthily and happily saying this! It has become a part of my life that I have grown used to. I truly believe that one cannot 100% master the gluten free diet. It is always a learning experience that we grow with year after year. Mistakes will be made, cross contamination will happen, new recipes will be discovered, and that is what makes it a learning process. Good or bad, we are all going through the same process, and that is the most important thing!
In fact, even after 1.5 years, I would still consider myself a gluten free "newbie". I know much more than I did 1.5 years ago, but I am still having new experiences (both good and bad). And you know what, I am OK with that! Here are a few examples:
1. I still struggle with cross contamination.
This one is often hard for me to admit. I am very sensitive to cross contamination, and I have definitely learned that reading labels and calling companies is imperative if I want to have a happy tummy. Here is my most recent culprit: Arrowhead mills puffed rice.
This cereal is naturally gluten free because it only contains rice, but it is manufactured on equipment that produces other wheat based cereals. I realized this after my crippling 4 day stomach ache and brain fog that left my retracing all of the food I had eaten in the past week. I ended up calling the company to check about the manufacturing process of the rice puffs, which is where I found my answer. The lesson learned here is to always always always call a company if you are not 100% sure the product is gluten free.
2. I visited my first gluten free bakery: Bittersweet Bakery.
I went to Bittersweet Bakery, a local Minnesotan owned gluten free bakery, with my mom over Thanksgiving break, and I had a fabulous experience! It was very exciting walking into my first 100% gluten free bakery and seeing that I could safely indulge in every single baked good in the vicinity. My eyes lit up with happiness when I saw all of the options!!
I had a hard time deciding on which items to try because they all looked so amazing! My mom and I finally decided on a peanut butter cookie, cinnamon pecan coffee cake, banana bread, and loaf of country style bread. Everything was moist, fresh, and just plain outstanding! My favorite was the banana bread, which I warmed up and added spoonful of peanut butter and banana slices. I will definitely be returning to Bittersweet Bakery soon, and I might just have to order my next gluten free birthday cake from them!
3. I have finally found out gluten free pizza crust that I LOVE!
I have been looking for a good gluten free pizza crust for the longest time. I can not even tell you the number of failed pizzas I have made in the past 1.5 years, which can be very frustrating. Yes, it would be easy to pop a pre-made pizza in the oven, but #1, since I am lactose intolerant, that makes it more difficult, and #2, I would much rather make my own personally designed pizza. Enter: gluten free Bisquick. A winner, yet again! I have made amazing pancakes with their gluten free mix, and I thought I would give their pizza crust recipe a try. The recipe for pizza crust was on the back of the box, and I simply added my own toppings of Go Veggie! dairy free mozzarella, black olives, red peppers, and pineapple. The crust was crispy and thick, and it was the perfect welcome home meal for the start of winter break!
Gluten free perfection!!
And now, I am going to return to my post finals routine, relaxing by the Christmas tree in my grandma pants and fuzzy socks.
Just remember, the gluten free lifestyle "will never get easy--but it will get easier! (I love this quote from Celiac and the Beast's new book!)
Have a great week!