Well folks, you asked for it, and I am going to attempt to deliver.

At the beginning of this year, we decided that this blog would be transition to a faith-based lifestyle blog. I want to let you guys into my day-to-day life a little more, and what better way to start than sharing with you the fact about me that pretty much controls half of my interaction with the world: what I can and cannot eat.

We have all heard the jokes about gluten-free diets. A year ago, Ryan ReynoldsScreen Shot 2018-01-25 at 11.41.15 AM tweeted, “People in LA are deathly afraid of Gluten. I swear… you could rob a liquor store in this city with a bagel.”

Just before my senior year of high school, I started having trouble keeping my food down every time I ate. After struggling with a mild eating disorder a few years before, my mind didn’t know what to think this was. I kept it quiet from my family because I was afraid of what they might assume of me.

Eventually, when I had finally convinced myself that something was seriously wrong, I went to my mom. We immediately made appointments at Vanderbilt to see if we could figure out the problem. After months of failed tests, a family friend suggested to my mom that I stop eating gluten.

I rolled my eyes.

“I already got tested for celiac and I don’t have it. It couldn’t be that.” She eventually convinced me to try it for two weeks. Only two weeks.

Two weeks later, I was eating my words.

Not only did was I able to eat again, but I had a new energy, my body was less bloated all the time, and I could actually breathe better. My whole world changed by avoiding bread. It was both the happiest and one of the most disappointing thing I have experienced.

So what is gluten?

To make a long explanation short, it is a protein found is wheat, barley, and rye. It’s basically the stuff that holds the grain together. If you have ever eaten a cookie, piece of bread, or anything else made with gluten free flour, you have noticed it tends to be dry and crumbly.

The thing about gluten is that it hides everywhere. Sure, you have your basic flour products to avoid: bread, pastries, pasta, and anything of that nature. But it is also found in soups as a thickener, seasonings as a filler, breakfast cereals, and even oats.

Why avoid it?

So here’s the thing. If you are like me, you want to avoid gluten for obvious reasons. There are about a million theories people have come up with as to why some of our bodies can’t process gluten as well as others. Some have a predisposition, some have celiac, some are born with it.

If you don’t have any of these issues, switching from whole wheat bread to gluten-free bread is not going to change your life drastically at all (other than the fact that you’ll be paying more). 

Yet switching to foods that are naturally gluten-free could change your life drastically.

Naturally Gluten-Free Diet

When I first stopped eating gluten, I was working at Chick-Fil-A. Yeah. It sucked. Worst ofIMG_6661.PNG all, they had just come out with their chocolate chip cookies, and staff got to eat them for free.

Yet I found that my day-to-day diet didn’t change a ton.

I grew up in a home where my mom cooked every night for dinner. She had always stuck to pretty basic meals: meats and vegetables. Foods that were naturally gluten-free. We didn’t replace wheat rolls with rice rolls. And when we did have food where bread was part of the meal…

I started eating salads instead of sandwiches.

I started eating fruit instead of toast.

I used potatoes, bananas, and corn, and occasionally rice for my carb intake (which didn’t need to be terribly high anyway).

What does that mean for you?

Here’s my challenge to you: Go naturally gluten-free for two weeks. When I went off gluten, I realized that there was a lot more wrong with my body than not being able to hold my food down. I was retaining a lot more water weight and I was continually sluggish. My lack of energy effected my ability to be active, it made me feel like I needed a lot more caffeine than I did, and it kept me from enjoying my day-to-day as much.

Worst case scenario? You eat foods that come from the earth for two weeks rather than downing processed junk.

I have created a meal plan below with some of my very favorite recipes linked. Will you take the challenge with me? If you are going to do it, stick to it! It takes two weeks for gluten to leave your system and to start really seeing how your body feels without gluten.

The point is, our bodies may not be running at their full potential because of what we are filling them with. It may not be gluten for you. It may be something else. It may just be treating food as an idol. Whatever reason, change something if you haven’t already. Use this as an opportunity to learn more about how your individual body was created and what makes it run best.

For more info, check out this video with information about my story and how this has totally changed my life. It may change your life like it has changed mine. It may also show you that eating well can be delicious and totally worth it.

Give it a try, and let me know how your body responds in the comments below! I would love to hear how it goes for you guys!

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Two week meal plan

Snacks

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