Deciding to live Gluten Free

This January I decided to take the giant leap and go gluten free for my health. It has been a challenge but it has made an enormous difference.

A little back story on what brought me to choose the gluten free life- I suffer from migraines. My entire adult life I have had a constant headache. From the time I wake up to the time I go to bed I’m in pain. On a scale of 1-10 my pain ranges from a 3-8 on any given day. It’s not ideal but it’s my life.

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I have been to numerous doctors and neurologists who ran a gambit of tests on me concluding “it’s all in my head”. Yes, the pain I suffer has no physical cause but it is still there. I have also been on a ridiculous amount of medications that did little to alleviate the symptoms yet giving me some or most of their side effects instead. Medications ranged from Excedrin Migraine to Botox and everything in between.

It had been over 20 years of being on and off medications and I was tired. Tired of pain, tired of doctor’s appointments, tired of medications that didn’t work- never mind the cost of that physically, mentally, and my pocketbook. I was running out of patience and options. Medications didn’t work, doctors didn’t work, no one was willing to search and find the cause of my migraines, they just were quick to treat the symptoms.

Over the years I have found triggers that make the pain worse- barometric pressure changes, stress, and certain foods that I cannot tolerate. I can’t change the weather especially living in New England and stress is inevitable (kids and a husband). However, food is something I can control a bit more. Certain foods I have found increase my pain- citrus fruits, MSG, sulfites, sulfates, and caffeine. These food will give me a worse headache than I so they just aren’t worth eating even if I do love them. I have not had an orange or grapefruit in over a decade and still miss them dearly.

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I do not cook or bake with citrus because of my migraines but I still love to be busy in the kitchen. I was baking some of my allergen free treats one day while chatting with one of my oldest friends, who was diagnosed with Celiacs disease, about allergies and whatnot and she mentioned one of her symptoms when she accidentally “gluten-ed” herself was a horrible migraine. I thought about her comment long and hard and had a feeling maybe I was giving myself more migraines because of my diet. What did I have left to lose by cutting gluten out of my diet?

I made the decision for my New Years resolution to give up gluten and see what happened. The first week I did great! The second week I was craving all the gluten filled foods I love. The third week I accidentally ate gluten for three days due to cross contamination (always read labels!). I was miserable that week and realized my body and head functioned much more efficient when gluten wasn’t in the equation.

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I have been gluten free for almost three full months now and I feel much better. My migraines are still there but nothing like they used to be. My pain scale is more of a 2-5 staying closer to 2 rather than anything higher. Yes I still have constant pain but much more manageable. Being gluten free may be more expensive but there’s no doctors or medications involved and I will keep this up for as long as it keeps me feeling better.

What made you cut out gluten? Was it a diagnosis or preference? Any great gluten free products you can’t live without? What products surprised you by being gluten free to begin with?