Hello and happy Monday! Well, today you are in for quite a post. You see, as an Udis Community Leader, we are often asked to share our gluten free journey. The purpose of sharing our story is to help and encourage others who may be new to gluten free or seeking help. Either way, it’s about supporting one another!
My story/journey has a few bumps in the road but I thank God for it, every bit of it, because it humbled me and strengthened me at the same time.
So here goes… grab some tea or kombucha and sit back.
In 2006 I spent a month in Africa working at an orphanage. Those weeks were the best weeks of my life. I’ve never experienced such joy in being part of those kid’s lives! We often gave our food away during the day and ended up chowing down the one meal our African chef cooked us. That or going into town and eating at Subway (yes, they had subway, sort of). Either way, I had no idea where my food was coming from, I was just glad to eat food. Period.
Well, it was long after my Africa trip that I started feeling stomach pains and couldn’t keep weight on. I ignored it. I kept training, I kept running my run club and racing, I kept on going. I then met my husband and I moved to Hawaii. I taught classes 4x a day a resort. I worked as a race director for triathlons. I traveled a lot. I still felt sick.
It wasn’t till after I was married and we moved back to Austin that things got even worse. Every other week I would get really sick. I mean hours in the bathroom. Then I’d be totally fine the next day, minus the weight loss. My husband was worried, I was worried.
I saw a specialist and he thought maybe it was parasite (from Africa) and recommended I start a GF diet ASAP. I was scared. I was anxious, but I had a lot of support. I had more tests done but really didn’t what my body was through. All I knew was that eating gluten free helped, for the time being. I researched it. When we were in New Zealand, I stocked up on everything gluten free (it was more prevalent there). I made a lot of my own food. I did my best. And you know what? It worked. I gained weight back and felt better.
It was then I returned back to my routine. Going going going. I kept a gluten free diet, took my supplements, but ignored my crazy lifestyle. I taught more classes so we could earn more money. I trained for a marathon. I stressed over my husband’s career, his injury, everything.
My stomach pains came back. I couldn’t hold onto any nutrients. I lost more weight.
This is when we decided to pack up our lives and move to New Zealand for 3 months, which was probably the best thing that could happen to me (us). I found TRUE rest, but I also got down to my lowest weight and sickness. I realized that my body couldn’t function without supplements. I had ran out them while in New Zealand and my body was no longer absorbing anything.
As soon as we returned to the states I got a colonoscopy. My doctor wanted to “clear” out everything so I could start from scratch with my colon. I’m pretty sure that was the best thing to ever happen to me, honestly! I stuck to a low FODMAPS diet, as well as gluten free and dairy free diet. I took my supplements (you can read about them here). I drank my GOOD GUT SMOOTHIE every day. I made Gluten free foods from scratch. I rested. I didn’t work at the gym or workout. Yep, I TRULY took it easy for 8 months!
Guess what happened?
I started absorbing my food/nutrients. I gained weight back. Over 20lbs. I started to absorb nutrients. I gained my life back.
Today I eat a low lactose and gluten free diet. It works for me! I also try not to stress over food. It only does more damage to over think things (in my opinion). I don’t compete or race much (not now at least), I only teach 2x a week at the gym (versus every day), I take sabbaticals from work and from running Healthy Bites (to recoup and recharge), and I play Sherpa wife the rest of time. This is where I am in my gluten free journey, almost 6 years gluten free, 7 years of ups and downs, and a little over a year of feeling TRULY healed. I plan to keep these healing years going with the help of a great support system!
Cheers to journey that has made me stronger and wiser!
Are you on gluten free or having to eat a special diet? How has your journey shaped you? I know–> so deep and insightful. Corny Cotter here.
Now you know the main reason why i started Healthy Bites. All part of the journey!
Learn more about living gluten free! Visit http://udisglutenfree.com/
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi’s Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.