Why I Decided to Go Gluten Free

Hello and Happy Friday, friends!

 I wanted to share my journey into a gluten-free lifestyle with you. Now, I’m well aware that everyone has their own opinion about eating gluten free and the reasons why people choose to do it, but I’m here today to share my story.

I think that especially in circumstances of diet, it’s important not to assume someone’s doing something to be “healthier” or “trendy.” Put yourself in other people’s shoes before making a judgement about a decision that they’ve made for themselves.

Okay, onward!

Here’s a little background for you:

Have you ever accidentally stared into a super bright LED light? You know how you see the bright flashing lights with your eyes for a couple seconds afterward? Can you remember how hard it was to see when those flashing lights were restricting your vision?

Imagine having those flashing lights last not for a few seconds, but for several hours at a time. Welcome to the life of someone who suffers from migraines with auras. Many of you have probably experienced what you thought to be a migraine at some point in your life, but it’s been hard for me to find common ground with anyone who has experienced what I have.

Being gluten free requires you to be more aware of what you put into your body.

Migraines with auras, or ocular migraines, can cause you to see flashing lights, shimmering auras, or zig-zag lines of light, obviously affecting your ability to see. For me, the flashing lights can come out of absolutely nowhere, blindsiding me (literally and figuratively lol) and turning my entire day upside down.

Anyone who has migraines knows how it feels to go about living every single day worrying in the back of your head about whether or not you’ll have a migraine that day. 

No one really knows what causes ocular migraines, but some think it has to do with genetics, hormone levels and even certain trigger items that are specific to an individual. For the longest time, my doctor couldn’t explain why I was getting them to such an extent, especially because no one in my family has ever had ocular migraines.

It’s so easy to cook gluten free! Just takes a little effort.

People who haven’t experienced an ocular migraine, or to the frequency that others have, blame stress as the only cause, which isn’t necessarily wrong, but it’s also not the whole truth. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve been told by others that my migraines are just me stressing out. I mean yes, I do stress out — I’m human, but never to the point that I thought it could be the main reason for my migraines.

Let’s flashback to 8th grade when I got my first migraine. I remember it so vividly. I was sitting in study hall reading “A Tale of Two Cities,” and out of nowhere my vision started to go all wacky. I closed my eyes for a few minutes, thinking it was just the fluorescent lights in the classroom, but when I opened them and realized the auras were still happening, I was fully convinced that something was horribly wrong.

The first few times that I got migraines, I was completely immobilzed by them. I would get physically ill and have to sit in complete darkness with absolutely no sounds. Migraines took over my body. But, as time went on, I think that I built up defenses against them, and they started to affect me less.

After eight years of suffering from ocular migraines that neither I nor my physician could explain, I knew it was time to make a change for myself. I’d been scrolling through my library’s Kindle books and came across one called “Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar — Your Brain’s Silent Killers” by David Perlmutter, MD. I was instantly intrigued, so I decided to check it out. Little did I know that this book would literally change my life.

Two of my favorite cookbooks for eating raw.

I won’t go into too much detail about the book, as it contains so much well-studied medical information. Whether you’re interested in the topic or not, it’s definitely an informative read! Anyways, here’s the gist: Gluten can cause inflammation in your brain. If you have an intolerance to gluten, it can cause an increased amount of inflammation in your brain, which often results in migraines!!!! Who knew that the reason I was getting migraines was because I had developed an intolerance to gluten!

If you’re looking for more information on this topic, check out this article.

After I finished reading “Grain Brain,” I personally decided, on my own watch, that I was going to try going gluten free for one week to see how I felt. After one week, I felt as if a non-existent weight had been taken off of my shoulders. But, like anyone who suffers from a health condition, I wasn’t going to let a little good news be the determining factor as to whether or not I was “cured.”

Well, I think it’s safe to say I’ve figured it out! It’s been eight months since I went gluten free, and I haven’t had a migraine since then. This is the longest amount of time in the past eight years that I haven’t had a migraine. It’s a truly humbling feeling that I can’t even begin to put into words.

Salmon with Watermelon Radishes.

I’m not one of those people who is like, “Oh, everyone should be gluten free!!!” No. It’s an extremely hard lifestyle to maintain. I miss eating bagels and crispy crust pizza, but ya know what? Waking up feeling great and not worrying about a migraine, feels even better to me than eating bagels.

I’m not a doctor, and under no circumstances should you listen to advice about your health from me. Definitely consult with a physician before you make any changes to your diet or lifestyle. Discuss the pros and cons with someone who has studied this kind of stuff for years.

Cookbooks to check out if you’re interested!

I hope that you were able to gain a little insight into why I decided to go gluten free. I’ve been getting a lot of questions about it recently, so I figured that sharing my story on the blog would be the best place!

Thank you so much for coming along on this journey with me, and for reading this rather lengthy blog post! I hope to share more posts like this very soon if it’s something you all are interested in!

I hope your weekend is full of great vibes and good times!

Until next time!

Alicia <3

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