Why Gluten Free?

Because I’m such a fan of the brand, I am thrilled to be an Udi’s Gluten Free Living Ambassador. As part of this program, I will be posting once a month on a topic related to gluten free living.

Why Gluten Free?

This is a question I get asked often. It’s not like I bring it up intentionally. “Hi, I’m Jo-Lynne. Nice to meet you. I have three kids, a blog, and I eat gluten free. How about you?”

But since social situations usually involve food, it does seem to come up a lot. And people are always curious.

It used to be that people weren’t even sure what gluten is. Now gluten free living is becoming common enough that most people at least know that it involves wheat. But they always want to know why I’m gluten free, and if I have an allergy or if I’m “gluten free by choice.”

The “by choice” label always cracks me up. Like I’m living this way for the fun of it. Or worse, to follow the latest fad or get attention. I mean, really. Would YOU give up pizza and cupcakes and croissants and sandwiches for the fun of it? I can think of a lot of better ways to get attention and a lot of fads I’d rather follow.

Yes, technically, I am gluten free by choice. Meaning, I have not been diagnosed with Celiac Disease so I wasn’t forced to give up gluten for health reasons. But my decision to go gluten-free wasn’t an easy one, and every time I fall off the wagon and let some gluten into my diet, I am immediately reminded why I chose to give it up in the first place.

I have what they call non-Celiac gluten sensitivity. Meaning that I cannot tolerate gluten and experience symptoms similar to those with Celiac Disease, but I lack the same antibodies and intestinal damage as seen in Celiac Disease. So gluten doesn’t cause the same degree of damage to my body as it does those with Celiac, but it still makes me feel like crap. My symptoms range from gas and bloating (pardon the pretty talk!), brain fog, dizzy spells, increased IBS symptoms, and heartburn/reflux. Good times!

If you’ve hung around my blog for a long time, you have heard this before. But for those of you who have found me in the last couple of years, I thought it might be helpful to explain how I got to this point in my gluten-free journey.

I have currently been living gluten free for almost 3 years. That seems CRAZY to think about! At first it was hard, but now that I have figured out what I can and cannot have, learned how to make gluten-free substitutions for most of my favorite dishes, and discovered brands like Udi’s for my splurge food items, it’s just business as usual.

Social occasions still have their challenges, but my day-to-day existence living doesn’t center around gluten.

udis snickerdoodles

Yes, THOSE are gluten free!!!!

The best part about gluten-free living (besides feeling tons better) is that it forces me to have a more well-balanced diet. I love my carbs, but we are waaaay too carb-focused these days. I can still find plenty of gluten-free carbs if I want to (rice and potatoes are naturally gluten free, plus all sorts of gluten-free baked goods and snacks and pastas are readily available at your local grocery store) but pre-packaged gluten-free foods are expensive, and there is only so much rice and potatoes a person can eat. So living gluten free has forced me to cook with more vegetables and make more meat-based dinners rather than meals focused around pasta or pizza or sandwiches. I think that is better for me and for the whole family.

If you’re newly gluten free or considering taking the leap, let me know if there are any questions I can answer for you. Even though gluten-free products and information are more readily available than ever before, we are still very much in the minority and it can be a lonely row to hoe.

Learn more about living gluten free! Visit http://udisglutenfree.com/

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Udi’s Gluten Free. The opinions and text are all mine.