Did you know that gluten-free oats contain gluten? How did I figure this out, you ask? For starters, the massive rash on my arm might be an indication, or the solemn look my kind nutritionist gave me when I told her about these veggie burgers I just made (you have to make them!) might have done the trick. Please be cautious when you read articles like these that tell you it’s safe to have oats when you have a gluten-intolerance; it’s simply not true. Since the great majority of celiacs can tolerate avenins (the glutinous proteins in oats)–which differ from the proteins in wheat, barley, and rye, of which celiacs can’t tolerate–oats that have not been cross-contaminated can be labeled gluten-free.
However, for the small portion of the population that have a gluten sensitivity (raises hand and waves it, emphatically), gluten is gluten, and the fact that I’m wearing CALAMINE LOTION TO WORK should give you some indication of my rage.
Massive itch, and an appointment made with an allergist, aside, I’m proud to say that in seven weeks I’ve made a massive breakthrough. The shift was gradual and became more pronounced in the past two weeks, but my diet is 80% plant-based. So much so that when I made my real gluten-free veggie burgers last night, I immediately reached for the greens. My brain no longer makes the association between burger and bread, rather I’m now programmed to ask, Where’s the VEG? (If you’re like me, and part of the Where’s the Beef? generation, you might have just chuckled.)
This is also the first week where my wonderful food coach reviewed my FOOD DIARY and said, KEEP DOING THIS. This is the first week where Dana said, You can see me in two weeks. I confessed that Sakara (the best million-dollar organic meal delivery in the game) played a role in re-framing how I organize my meals (all the delicious veg!). I also said that these cookbooks remind me that living gluten + dairy free isn’t a prison; it’s a window: Oh She Glows, It’s All Good, Veganomicon.
Never did I imagine that I could survive a pasta-free existence. If you told me this a year ago I would have fallen into guffaws, donned earmuffs, shouting, I can’t hear you! Never did I think that a woman raised on butter and potatoes on hot plates would make veggie burgers on the regular. I no longer crave bread or pasta; my desire for a daily, midday sweet has abated, and I’m surprisingly full and sated on less. I have stamina for my workouts to the point where I’m discovering new levels of soreness (awesome!). When it comes to spending time with my friends, I’m engaged, calm, fully present, and can finally carry a conversation without brain fog. I no longer require a Starbucks IV drip to get me through my day. I no longer order lunch at eleven in the morning. I’m not stressed.
Seven weeks later and fourteen pounds lost, I feel changed.
I’m rotten with compliments, but I’m getting better at receiving them. Over the past two months, so many folks have written, friends have pulled me aside–all to tell me just how much I’ve inspired them, it’s hard not to look down and blush. But I say thank you and mean it, and I tell them about all the people who’ve inspired my journey. All the random strangers on Instagram and Twitter who motivate by promoting a mindful, healthy life rather than an idealized body type. All the friends who have celiac and autoimmune diseases, and are somehow relentlessly positive. I’m inspired by a few friends who have battled cancer and are making it to the other side.
I live my life deliberately. I’m surgical about the people who inhabit my small, strange world, and I’m meticulous when it comes to the energy that surrounds me. Either you are on my bus or you are not on my bus. If you tell me my sensitivity is “all in my head,” even after I show you the photographs, know that your emails will go unresponded. If you make me feel uncomfortable while I rattle off my list of food sensitivities when I order out (as if I’m not already anxious about calling attention to myself), I won’t likely dine with you again. I don’t want armchair physicians and people who prattle on with their anecdotes about the friend who had a gluten issue and could still eat gluten; I want people who are doing, acting, changing, settling in discomfort and moving through it. I crave the company of the constantly curious, rather than the comfortably complacent.
When you’re on the other side, or crawling out from under the rubble, you want to surround yourself with those who are on the journey, or those who are willing, and faithfully, ready to take the leap.
Seven weeks. I still can’t believe all this change.