Head vs Gut

Whenever people ask me…better yet, whenever I contemplate to myself about what my favorite food is, my answer is always pizza. What is there not to love about pizza? Nothing beats the precise amount of hot delicious gooey cheese layered upon a delicate amount of marinara sauce; and lets not forget about the fluffy (or crunchy) crust that is responsible for keeping this work of art held together.

No matter how many people try to convince me there are delicious glutard pizzas out there in this world, I have yet to find one. Due to my constant disappointment I have had to take a break from my neverending search; yet I continue to stay optimistic and believe that someday somebody will perfect this recipe and will teach me their ways…or at least sell it in grocery stores near me. It is heartbreaking; nonetheless I know if I do cheat on my required diet change, the effects that gluten has on my gut and my bowels are far more devastating.

I have not been formally diagnosed nor do I know the official term to why my gut is so temperamental. What I do know (more like what I constantly learn day to day) is that if I eat certain foods that contain certain ingredients (mainly gluten) my body will have a temper tantrum that makes five year olds jealous. Best case scenario, it will take about a month for my body to be liberated of all side effects.

If I were to claim my every day diet is perfect, that would be a lie. Every day I struggle between eating what I crave and love or eating gut friendly food. The only thing that motivates/requires me to change my dietary habits is due to the painful and uncomfortable side effects that result from my lack of self control . I wish I could provide more insightful ways on how to change ones diet and provide tricks, how to’s, etc…. but I cannot.

A quick disclaimer: I do not believe everybody should be a glutard; to tell you the truth many glutard products contain just as high and in most cases higher amounts of carbohydrates than the products that do contain gluten. So if you are thinking that cutting gluten out of your diet will aid to loosing weight, you should probably rethink that idea. Not to mention, many products that do contain gluten have necessary vitamins and minerals that benefit the body. As many say, consult a doctor before you change your diet; or at the very least, visit credible websites and research the h** out of your diet so you can be somewhat knowledgable about how to keep your body nourished and healthy.

The History Behind the Big Decision 

I always joke that whatever I enjoy eating is exactly what my gut does not tolerate; and sadly enough that statement is true. To tell you the truth, most memories I’ve retained from my 23 years of life have a common ending…me running to the nearest bathroom. It all started with being lactose intolerant. I was not a happy child when I learned I couldn’t binge eat cheese and ice cream without any repercussions. As I grew older I luckily grew out of my intolerance to lactose. For about two years I binged on anything and everything that my college budget could afford. It was not until I was studying in Puerto Rico, when I started feeling the beginnings of my current situation. Not only was I constantly gaining weight, but on top of that I constantly felt uncomfortably bloated…shout out to the copious amounts of Medalla I was drinking and all of the deliciously addicting fried Puerto Rican delicacies.

Other than the fact that I felt like a whale from the 20lbs I gained during my stay in Puerto Rico, I felt more like a pregnant whale due to how bloated I was on top of my weight gain. I stopped liking the photos of myself, I started developing health issues, and I just felt uncomfortable. It was then when I decided to do take action and change my bad habits. A life lesson that my mother and my experiences have engrained in my puny brain, was to start with changing my diet. Many people would be surprised how having a healthy diet can change various health issues. The first thing I cut out was beer. Luckily for me, the only reason I was drinking beer was because it was generally cheaper; because beer is not my go to drink, I happily came to terms that I would just have to pay a couple more dollars extra for something I enjoy more and doesn’t make me feel like a pregnant whale. Although my body was relatively happy for this choice, it wasn’t the reaction I was hoping for. So I spent MONTHS reflecting and researching how certain foods affected me. This usually meant either cutting out certain food groups until I found the corporate; or it meant find certain foods that upset my gut and finding the common ingredient. That is how I came to the conclusion that it was gluten.

I actually discovered my sensitivity a lot sooner than later…meaning I probably knew about a few weeks into my investigation that the corporate was gluten. But I had to gather enough evidence to come to terms with this unfortunate discovery. It is a huge life decision to go completely glutard; I mean gluten in almost everything. If you don’t believe me just visit: https://celiac.org/live-gluten-free/glutenfreediet/sources-of-gluten/ 

It has been about two years since my discovery. I can say that majority of my diet is gluten free; but like I mentioned earlier sometimes my self control…isn’t that controlled. Although the repercussions I experience are usually a reminder for me to stay on my glutard diet, I try to always remember my mothers mottos: “How you treat your body when you’re young, is how your body treats you when your old.” and “Nobody is required to be responsible to take care of your body, but you.”

Difficulties of Being a Glutard

  • Not being able to eating delicious pizzas, bagels, fresh bread, or amazingly delicious desserts.
  • Having to research gluten free meals in restaurants and not being able to just pick what pleases your tastebuds or cravings.
    • On top of that, trusting that the restaurant will provide you with a gluten free meal. I have had restaurants fail to do so, even after I nicely asked them…in this case it is a good thing I do not have celiacs.
    • Going to restaurants that provide free bread as appitizers, such as Olive Garden. I just to stare at the bread and quietly resent the unsuspecting waiter. I usually stare at it, salivating, and arguing to myself whether or not its worth it…kind of what dogs look like when they see food, or right before their meal, or when they are begging for food.
  • Making tasty meals: More then my fair share of meals were trash bin worthy. However due to my lack of heavy income, I force it down my throat.
    • Having to relearn how to cook and bake with glutard ingredients: I have found that many glutard recipes do not make my tastebuds delighted nor entice me ever to eat it again or try making it again.
    • I’ve also learned that glutard ingredients tend to be more temperamental.
  • Many glutard foods either DO NOT taste the same or have the same consistency; and it is usually a combination of both of those factors.
  • Not being able to eating delicious pizzas, bagels, fresh bread, or amazingly delicious desserts.
  • It makes the time at the grocery store longer. I have to read labels just to make sure what I want to buy does not contain gluten.
  • In my case, my husband is lucky and can eat whatever he pleases. However, he has to learn how to buy, cook, and eat gluten free if we are eating the same meal.
  • Eating in group settings can be difficult due to the fact that most of my friends and colleagues are not glutards. And when everyone wants pizza, I am tortured to watch my friends devour this gift from the baking gods or forced to feel the power of my gut.
  • Did I mention not being able to eating delicious pizzas, bagels, fresh bread, or amazingly delicious desserts!?

The Optimism Behind It All

Although there are many things I have to learn and just deal with in order to be healthy, there are always good things that result from hardships.

  • Due to not being able to find a tasty glutard version of many desserts I no longer eat as many sweets.
  • I am perfecting my few delicious recipes that I’ve made and if I am productive…or if y’all are lucky…. I will someday post the recipes on my blog.
  • I am becoming a tad faster at finding glutard items in the grocery stores and becoming more knowledgeable to what I should order in restaurants.
    • I am also becoming better at reading labels, which is a skill everyone should possess.
  • I am teaching somebody (aka my husband) new things about nutrition, and making him rethink his food beliefs….I do want to reiterate that I do not believe that not every one should be on a glutard diet nor am I technically forcing my husband to eat gluten free. What I am doing is helping him become more aware about nutrition, and teaching him how to be more aware of what he eats.
  • My acne is not as common and skin has been a lot happier.
  • I have been slowly coming to terms with not being able to eat my favorite foods. And when I say slowly, I mean it; and if I could I would emphasize that as much as possible; but at least it is progress!



Abuelos: Grandparents

My grandma, Phyllis, and my grandpa, Donald, are some of the biggest role models in my life. There are various contributing factors to why I have looked up to them my entire life; some I can explain (which I will attempt to demonstrate in this post) and some I cannot interpret from my emotions to words [because in some instances, words cannot and do not have the capability nor the power to explain the connotation of an emotion], which only allows me to explain it by hugs and visits. They both have always given lessons and advice to each and every person in my family no matter if they wanted it or not, they were always there even after it was apparent your should have taken their advice or warning, and no matter the distance, they are always there to support their family. However, they also taught me lessons and affected me in ways they would never imagine; only because of who they are as a person, as a couple, and as a family.
          My grandparents were married for (I think) 58 years. My grandparents were lucky; they were able to experience and be married to somebody who made them feel like they were loved; for what seems like an eternity. They relished in their relationship by cherishing and supporting each other, even when it was difficult to do so. They created a beautiful family together and they loved every single child unconditionally; as well as providing nothing but love, support, and many great life experiences for each and every one of them. My grandmother stood strong by my grandpas side during his time in the military. Not only was she supporting him throughout his career in the military, [which is something many spouses cannot endure] she also moved all over the world with him. All at the same time, some how they were able to do all this, with the accompany of their children.
           My grandma supported my grandpa and loved him through thick and thin. She was his wife, a friend, an adventure partner, and a mentor; she was his framework and support in his life. My grandpa was the same for her, he tried to be the best man, friend and husband that he possibly could and reciprocated his love, support, and friendship to my grandma. All at the same time,  being amazing parents, mentors, and life coaches to a bunch of crazy children. 😉
          They were fortunate to experience true love and how powerful/meaningful it is. Like I have come to believe, nothing that has significant importance will ever come easy. You will have to fight for it and there will be sacrifices you will have to make. There will be a range of: simplex and easy lessons to very long, hard, and complex lessons you will learn. Despite the fact, that there may be times you will second guess yourself and what you really want, or if you have the endurance to keep going, and you may feel lost at times (or many). In the end, it will be worth it; but only if you work hard and believe in yourself and that this is possible [even when it feel impossible.] Because not only will the reward will be unfathomably amazing, this process of sacrificing things and learning every type of lesson, will only help you become a stronger person and show you that the impossible is in fact possible. And even if what you are working for is love and a good/healthy relationship (which is a never ending goal for every couple/marriage), you will only continue to strengthen your love with your partner and your ability to work through any obstacle in the way.
          Although my grandpa unfortunately passed away December 2014, he has always and will always be in my heart. He had an amazing life and many opportunities to experience things that many people could only dream of or read about. Even during the times he was sick and in the hospital, he was the most thoughtful, compassionate, and outgoing man I have ever seen. No only did he never stop showing his love and appreciation for his wife and each and every member of his family, but he always provided compassion and love to his friends and acquaintances, his coworkers, and even to strangers. His heart was so big and no matter what there was always room for more. A few of my friends were lucky enough to met my grandpa. After being introduced he would instantly try figure out their life story. He would make every guest feel like they were part of the family. After meeting someone, he would continue to inquire about their wellbeing, even if he never saw them again. Which was surprising to me because I would sometimes assume he would forgot about who they were or sometimes I would ‘naively’ think he didn’t care to know. I will always remember everything he taught me from: making me cry because he yelled at me for picking up a knife the wrong way, to making sure I do not step on peoples noses when they push me up from the pool to the diving board/be careful when my limbs are close to peoples faces while they try to because it can and will give people bloody noses. One characteristic that my mother learned from him and then I learned from both of them; is to show compassion to everyone and get to know somebody and everybody; because having a caring community is powerful for: the soul, the individual, and for everybody.
          I has been around a year and three months, and still to this day, my poor grandma (and our family) grieves his death. However, she never ceases to amaze me. She has had to experience one of the worst situations that life has to offer; the loss of somebody you love. Within this year she has had to learn how to do live her life without the support and love she’s had for at least 58 years, she’s had to learn how to grieve; and even thought it may not be close to being over; she has already endured so much. She is the strongest woman I know! No matter how hard it is and how lonely it must be, she is able to keep her head up and is able to living her life to the fullest. Not only was she already able to recuperate from a surgery, but she also travelled to Hawaii, and is now completing her life long dream to go to Australia and New Zealand.
          I am beyond lucky to have such amazing role models and positive influences in my life.For, everyday I have people who support me, teach me, love me, and encourage me. I am proud to call my grandparents my family, and as well as to be their granddaughter. As well as not forgetting, that thanks to my grandparents, I have the best mother a girl could possibly wish for.
          Although this family they created, is odd and weird to say the least; we are strong, we are silly and can make anything fun, we flourish with each others love and support no matter the distance, and we accept each other through thick and thin. I can safely assume, that everybody from their children to their great grandchildren (and everybody in between); we all have always had the best guidance, support, and love from them both. Although the guidance and advice they give can be bit critical or something you may not want to hear, they both just want the best for everybody. I will admit that sometimes it can be hard to live up to the high expectations they always had for each and every one of us. At the same time, it is always comforting to know that there is always somebody routing for me and believing in me, and somebody who knows my self worth, even when I can’t.

*I do have to say that, that I am proud of all parts of my family. And I am lucky and will forever appreciate everybody in it!

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This one is for you Manuel.

I try to publish blogs when I know I have things to talk about. However, these past couple weeks I have been having writers block. Well that, and the fact I have been overwhelmed with making sure I pass my classes and having somewhat of a social life. Thus meaning, my social media has been “lacking” the attention that I normally provide it. There are many things that I could write about; I could complain about how I wish I had a car to take me places more frequently and reliably or how extremely hard it is to stay motivated to do homework in my house. I could also brag about how I have been experiencing some of the best times of my life, and I am the happiest I have ever been in a long time. However, I do not want to complain or brag, because who wants to read about that, it gets too repetitive. Also at this particular moment I would rather live in the moment more then write about it.  That is why I have written about thoughts or tips that I have rather than experiences.
Check back in on Sunday, and there will probably be another post. 12096135_10207150492312451_8545277737931033859_nIMG_574012112377_10207150493272475_5038340915331267691_n