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!



Stepping into Intimidation (Life After College)

“We don’t stop going to school when we graduate.” ~ Carol Burnett

       It has almost been a full month since I graduated with my bachelors; however, it only feels as if I am just on winter break. Now that my roommate has gone back to school, reality is finally setting in; I am now an alumni of Fort Lewis College.  Alike many others who have already graduated, and many who have yet to feel this phenomenon, it gives me mixed emotions.

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The Desire to Travel, Even During the Impossible

Whenever I have troubles with insomnia (or have homework to procrastinate) I travel somewhere. However, these journeys do not involve airports or planes and bidding farewell. These quests simply require the use of one simple tool: my computer, so I can access my photo albums! And a big thanks to Marty McFly, because we all learner and know that the best ways to travel…is back in time.
The moment my eyes see a photo, I can instantly travel the networks of my brain to that specific memory. The details of each photo contains vary, but each have some sort of thought and memory. The simple facts about the photo are what come the quickest; the location, time range/date, who is in it, what camera I used, etc. And automatically the rest of the information will be accessible. I.e. what or who inspired me to take the photo, who it was intended for, what I did that day and who I was with, my thoughts and feelings. Sometimes I could remember my goals, accomplishments, motivations, and even if I bought something that day.

On occasion it can be difficult; the desire to travel will become ineberating to the point that I feel imprisoned; I see people who I miss and wish to be close to; I even can remember events that I’ve tried to annihilate from my memory. Yet the absolute worst part, is when I am not able to recognize the individual staring back at me in the photo…but in reality, it is just me looking at a photo of myself. Nevertheless, the contents of my history cannot be tampered with. They are permanent (whether I like it or not) and each one has shaped me into the person I am today. These memories for better or for worse, have taught me many life lessons and they will continue to to teach me more. And with every storm that came into my life, I was fortunate enough to have the support and care I needed and could ever wish for.

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Surviving My Thoughts

I had a lot of time to sit and ponder about life yesterday. This was due to the fact I was stuck at the doctors office and hospital for a total of nine hours and my phone died during the first three.

I have always been fascinated to understand why people choose the majors they do. Whenever I ask people or see fellow classmates or students on campus, a series of questions run through my head. Did something significant happen in their life that could be related to a certain major and they wanted to pursue it because of that? Are they studying a certain major just because there are money benefits? Or were they expected to go into a concentration because it was a family trade?

Although this will always be a fascinating subject for me, I have found that I have now moved onto a different series of questions. (I think this is due to the fact I am nearing the end of my college career.) However, to get to those set of questions you have to sit and read how my day went yesterday…

Flashback to October 21, 2015
Where:  Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
When: 8:10AM

After waiting patiently at the doctors office for 15 minutes my name was called via intercom with a thick Puerto Rican accent. I told the doctor all of my problems and she sat patiently trying to understand my frantic English and occasional Spanish. She looked at me with caring eyes and told me very calmly where to go next, what to do, and what was going to happen. After I did everything I was required to do, including a lovely shot in the nalga (butt), I laid down in a bed to see if the pain would decrease. I was also “rewarded” with a heating pad to help with the pain. I must say resting in an AC room and a heating pad on your stomach is rather relaxing and every doctor office should offer this! After leisurely waiting an hour and a half for my shot to kick in, the doctor came back in to asses my issues. Because my condition did not better within time, they loaded me into a mini ambulance and took me to the nearest hospital. Even though it was entertaining to ride in the mini ambulance, it was rather unnecessary in my opinion.

I arrived at the hospital after a short drive. Because there were no rooms or people available I had to awkwardly wait on a stretcher in the middle of the ER for about 30 minutes. During this time I proceeded to people watch (my favorite hobby) and observe everybody who worked there to people who look like regulars at the ER or people who were very sick and obviously needed help. I finally got loaded into a tiny office where I had to explain all of my problems and my background information to somebody who could barely speak English. After about 15 minutes of struggling with the language barrier, I got transferred to a small area with curtains as walls and sick people as neighbors. I looked around and realized I was the only gringa there and that I was the only person who didn’t have somebody that had accompanied me. I continued to observe everybody for an hour until my doctor finally presented himself and proceeded to ask all the same questions the lady asked me an hour before. It took two more hours for a nurse to take my blood, give me medicine, and order me to pee in a cup. She then scurried off and let me marinate for another hour in my curtain room until I could get wheeled off for a few tests. It wasn’t until 5:00pm hit, that my feet touched the cement of the streets outside for the first time since the morning.

I guess long story short, I had a lot of time to people watch.

As somebody who is currently majoring in the health industry, the hospital is a very interesting place to be. I saw workers there who I could tell hated every moment, I saw others who loved their job, I even saw people who were neutral about it and looked like a robot. However, they all had something in common; they worked hard to earn their degree/degrees, they had to take boards and do all this with good grades. It made me happy when I saw the people who enjoyed their work, it gives me hope that I will find a job I enjoy just as much as they do. But, what about the people who were robots and looked like they were being tortured? These types of people make me confused, and make me doubt my college education at times. Why did they go through all that, just to hate their job? What happens if I don’t find a job in my field that I like? Will I even find a job? What if I got a degree all for nothing? What do I want to do with my life?

I know that this crisis will only worsen as graduation approaches. Specially since the only thing I want to do in life is travel the world (my wallet would convince you otherwise.) All I know is going to school, by the time I graduate I will have been in school for 16.5 years, it is rather likely I will have an identity crisis but who knows how small or big that will be. Don’t get me wrong I will enjoy not having to worry about tests and homework, but it will be different once I am completely finished and just have to worry about a job. However, do I even want to grow up? Can I just not grow up, work at a hostel or restaurant, and travel the world?

Thank you life!