There is so much negativity surrounding the gluten-free diet – most of which comes from people that don’t understand what the diet and lifestyle entails. I like to switch that gluten-free frown upside-down though, and I prefer to spread g-free love whenever and wherever I can.
I think some of my non-GF friends and family wonder how I don’t cry myself to sleep at night. They can’t imagine a life without gluten, but I think it’s absolutely silly to base happiness on fried food and loaves of white bread.
I usually tell the Negative Nancys that I am happy I live this lifestyle. What some look at as a curse, I call a blessing. Why? Because it has changed my life in so many positive ways:
I used to eat like a 5-year-old, but not anymore.
Okay, sometimes I still do eat like a 5-year-old, but I have gotten so much better since going gluten-free. While growing up, I was probably the pickiest child you could meet. I made my mom peel any and all fruit I put into my mouth, and I sure as heck wasn’t going to come close to any type of vegetable (raw, heated, steamed, roasted – it didn’t matter).
Since going gluten-free, I have tried so many new things. For example – spaghetti squash. Have you tried spaghetti squash yet? If you haven’t, you MUST. This “veggie posing as pasta” dish is a great alternative because we all know how pricey gluten-free noodles can be! When I took my first bite I was in awe that 1) I was eating a large serving of vegetables, and 2) I was thoroughly enjoying each bite. If it hadn’t been for my gluten-free diet, I’d probably still be turning my nose up to any recipe with squash as an ingredient.
I now know how to read labels the right way.
The only thing I used to be concerned with when I read a food label was the calories. That’s what I based my entire day of food on – a silly number. I now know this is not how we are meant to feed our bodies, but it took going gluten-free to teach me that.
I no longer count calories like a crazy person, and instead look for wholesome foods that actually feed the body. For example – last night I added flaxseeds to my overnight oats which I enjoyed in a scrumptious breakfast today. I am 100% positive that I would not have a bag of flaxseed in my kitchen if I wasn’t gluten-free, but now that I do, I am able reap the benefits. For example, the fiber in flaxseed helps to keep me “regular” (yes, that word does exist for our kind!) and can even help lower my cholesterol. It also has been shown to protect against breast cancer, and heart disease in women. Would I know this if I was still a glutton for gluten? Nope.
I used to only think “inside” the box.
I’m not joking; everything I ate was from a box – cheez-its, pretzels, wheat thins, granola bars, hot pockets, Lean Cuisines, chicken nuggets. My goodness, I did not feed my body the way I needed to!
Today, most of my eating is done “outside” of the box. Ninety percent of what I eat on a daily basis is fresh – eggs, fruit, unprocessed meat, baked purple potato chips, veggie stir-fry, fresh salsa…I actually make the food I eat now, I just don’t microwave it.
I found my calling!
My degree is in marketing, and while I was attending a conference as a college student, a presenter stressed the importance of a personal brand. The entire concept of a personal brand was especially important to me at the time: a soon-to-be graduate that needed anything and everything to put myself ahead of the other thousands of graduates going after the same thing as me.
So as I sat there listening to the presenter, I asked myself, “How can I be a brand?” Then it hit me – be G-Free Laura! It’s your niche; it’s your passion; it’s YOU. The decision was made right then and there. When I returned home from the conference I started my blog and I couldn’t be happier with how far it has come.
Going gluten-free has allowed me to find my passion. I care about the gluten-free community and try to spread awareness whenever I can. I enjoy the opportunity to help new brands get their name out there, and I absolutely love connecting with everyone on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest…you name it.
What about you?
How has going gluten-free made you happy? What aspects of your life have changed since going on the diet? Do you ever wish that you could go back to the gluten-filled world?
Laura Hanley, known as G-Free Laura, has been gluten-free since 2009 and reviews products,restaurants, and writes aboutgluten-free experiences on her blog, www.gfreelaura.com.Laura’s passion for spreading g-free love has led her to become a Guest Blogger for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, writing bi-weekly reviews on the Gluten-Free Hot Products Blog. Visit Laura onFacebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, and Google +