Doctors Orders: Going Gluten and Dairy Free

December 12, 2013

Ashley eating pizza

For those of you who know me and my eating habits, you know how in love I have three true loves in life: bread, cheese and pizza.

In fact, last night at Chianti with my sister we consumed what felt like almost an entire loaf of bread.

Today, however, I visited my doctor to go over a routine blood test I had taken three weeks ago to make sure everything’s working properly in my body.

I’ve had hypothyroidism since I was 13, a common auto-immune disorder that impacts memory, weight, and a variety of other little things. Because I’m all over the place half the time, I will admit I have a hard time keeping track of taking my synthroid on a daily basis to help keep my levels at bay and retain the optimal health that I’m always looking to achieve.

When the doctor walked in the room and opened her folder, she looked at me and said “well, we found some pretty interesting results from your blood exam.”

Still, I was expecting her to tell me that my thyroid was really out of whack or that my levels were totally off (which they are), but instead she first told me that my liver results came back 3x the normal levels. What it could be, perhaps, is what they call “leaky gut syndrome“, something that occurs in the intestines when your intestinal lining becomes porous, thus allowing undigested food molecules and more to flow freely into your bloodstream.

Immediately, that resulted in panic in my mind, which in turn got me thinking the absolute worst.

When it came time for her to recommend treatments in the long-term process of figuring out exactly what’s going on, she asked if I had any newer intolerance’s that I knew of.

Sure, occasionally when I have cheese I get a stomach ache, or after a big pasta dinner I feel slightly bloated, but I imagined that was just part of the digestion process.

I thought wrong.

It was then that my doctor gave me the strict order to eliminate all gluten and dairy foods from my diet.

My heart sank. No more pizza?!?! No more burritos?!? No more beer!?!??

How in the world am I supposed to be the Saratoga Food Fanatic when I can’t eat gluten or dairy?

After a minor panic attack and a little bit of overreacting, I realized how many other people suffer from these intolerance’s as well, and how I, as a food writer, can use this obstacle to help not only myself get healthier, but those people who have been struggling with dining out while having these dietary restrictions as well.

Today, I am officially gluten and dairy free, at least until we figure out what the hell is wrong with my liver.

For the next 8 weeks, I will continue doing my job and dining out, cooking at home, going to events, etc, but I’ll be doing it a little differently and will share the difficulties I have along the way.

Not only am I now looking forward to this journey ahead, but I’m looking forward to helping others understand the challenges and surprises that one goes through while being dairy and gluten free.

I hope you all continue to follow along on this journey with me, as I find the true beauty of food sans the dairy and gluten.

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  • Reply Terry December 12, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    Try “The Blood Sugar Solution” book and cookbook. 🙂

    • Reply Ashley December 12, 2013 at 9:00 pm

      Thanks for the tip! I’ll definitely check it out!

  • Reply Julie December 12, 2013 at 11:59 pm

    I have been GF for 5 years because of leaky gut. You will feel so much better soon. I went to a naturopath and healed my body. I don’t eat gluten because I am afraid to but dairy is a small part of my diet with little to no issues! Good luck! I look forward to your posts

    • Reply Ashley December 13, 2013 at 9:57 am

      There are so many more people who live GF lifestyles than I ever knew. I appreciate you reaching out and I look forward to this new journey! 🙂

  • Reply Samuel Jeffery December 17, 2013 at 2:30 am

    I think that by eliminating gluten and dairy from your diet you’re going to notice many positive changes in your life including more having more energy, better digestion and improved mental clarity. It’s a challenge, I’d like to take in the New Year.

    • Reply Ashley December 17, 2013 at 10:29 am

      It’s definitely challenging, especially as a food writer who LOVES going out to eat and consuming copious amounts of bread. But that’s besides the point. Regardless of whether or not I have the issues my doctor spoke of last week, I’m still going to challenge myself to do this, at least for a month to experience it for myself. If nothing else, it gives me greater perspective as a food writer for those with dietary restrictions.

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