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Going Gluten Free or: How to Start a New Life!

Napa Vineyard

The Decision: Going Gluten-Free

I suppose I should take a second to talk about the gluten free thing!  If you’ve been following my posts, a lot of the older ones contain a huge amount of food with gluten in it. Part of becoming a chef is cooking all that is gluten-y and great.  However, long ago (almost 10 years!). I was having tons of health problems with no real clue as to why.

I not only had big problems with my stomach, but I was also in a really bad place mentally and going to physical therapy two or three times per week for my arthritis. I was in my twenties! It was terrible.  It was also incredibly expensive.

Naturally, I started doing research. Fortunately, learning is something that I love, so I happily spent tons of time trying to figure out what was going on. Article after article, book after book, more and more of my health issues were explained away by an aversion or intolerance to gluten.

So, I figured, why not give it a shot? Why not go gluten-free for a month?  I wouldn’t be out anything! I was already spending a fortune on my health and was constantly miserable, so what did I really have to lose? Giving up pasta, pizza, and cake would be a bummer, but as far as I knew, it wouldn’t be life-threatening! Whether the problem is gluten, wheat, pesticides, or some other thing that we don’t even know about yet, it seemed like a lot of people were discovering health by giving up the same few foods. I had to try it.

Though the idea of never having a decent plate of pasta again felt like it might, in fact kill me, it did not! (For the record, I have also had a number of phenomenal plates of gluten-free pasta.) In fact, without bellyfuls of wheat I started feeling better. A lot better. Soon, I was starting to feel like a completely new person! That’s not to say that it wasn’t difficult! We are raised to believe in the power of wheat. We believe that we need wheat morning, noon, and night, and if we’re very good (or bad/sad/tired/happy…) in the middle of the night as well!  Honestly, it was getting past that message that was the hardest part of the whole thing! Once I moved from focusing on what I couldn’t eat to what I could, everything changed. It was like a bright light bursting to life inside my head. What I was giving up by going gluten-free was the tiniest piece of what was available to eat! I could still have meat, fish, dairy, vegetables, fruits, sugars, most other grains, and so on! When I really realized that, this change seemed unbelievably minor! When I embraced it, when I got past the initial feelings of loss and change, that’s when I really started to change myself. That was when I realized that I could taste food in a way that I had never tasted it before. That was when I got the energy to pursue my dreams. That, really, was when I decided that I wanted to devote my life to cooking, to leave home, and to travel the world.

I have never looked back!

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