Welcome to our gfree blog! Below you will find more information about who we are and our personal journey from first diagnosis to now living a happy, healthy gfree lifestyle.
Hey guys! My name is Kristen and I am currently a college student studying Nutritional Science at UC Berkeley. I have dreams to work in both the healthcare and food industry either through becoming a RD or conducting nutritional science research (hopefully one day I might get the chance to research a cure to celiac disease itself!)
I am deeply passionate about promoting celiac disease awareness, especially since my past experiences after I was diagnosed demonstrated very clearly to me that only if you are in the "gluten free" circle persay will you even know what going gfree even means. The lack of knowledge by the general public to this rapidly growing epidemic of celiac disease and their limited understanding of the seriousness of the consequences of consuming gluten, is somewhat unnerving and to be honest... a bit scary. This blog, I hope, will serve to educate as well as be a helpful resource for people with celiac disease, family members or friends who know someone close to them who is diagnosed with celiac disease, and also for the general public.
It all began when I was little. I can't remember a day in my life before I was first diagnosed with celiac disease that I didn't have a stomach ache. I was always in pain and making constant embarrassing runs to the restroom. I had stomach aches so frequently, I began to think that it was normal. Of course, I didn't know that all the sandwich bread, cookies, chips, cereal, soy sauce etc. were the cause of my troubles. Gluten is a tricky fiend. I almost like to think of it as a stealthy ninja, hiding away in some dish that looks gluten free, but is inherently not.
My initial trips to the doctor's office didn't help me solve my problems. They ran blood tests on me and nothing unusual came up. In fact, my pediatrician believed I had IBS (a familiar, not to mention, frustrating diagnosis for many celiac disease patients).
It was not until I developed an extreme case of contact dermatitis that I realized the severity of whatever was going on in my body. I will spare you guys the details, but after suffering for a month with dermatitis, I realized I had to get to the bottom of this.
When I got switched to my adult doctor, she was the one who finally found out what was REALLY happening. I didn't believe her when she said she wanted to get me tested for a food allergy (at the time, I was thinking, "There's absolutely no way I have a food allergy. I've never been allergic to anything in my life!") but then the test results came back and voila! Diagnosis: 100% celiac disease. I was shocked. All this time in my life, I had a food allergy?? I thought allergies were only things that caused people to have anaphylactic shock. I would have never dreamed I could have this sort of thing.
Ironically enough, when I was checking the email from my doctor, I was eating a Vietnamese sandwich. Needless to say, I never finished that sandwich.
After going through a period of struggling to find "gfree" foods, getting frustrated at eating out, and feeling just miserable because I couldn't eat some of my all time favorite foods anymore, those feelings gradually went away.
I noticed I was feeling ALOT better. No more daily stomach aches and no more crippling pain. I had more energy and I just felt, well, happy.
And happiness comes naturally with being healthy. :)
Even today, I still face challenges trying to eat gluten free while navigating in a gluten-filled world. But, it gets easier over time. Trust me! If I can do it, so can you.
And so I end my story to say that I hope this blog site is helpful to you the reader and that you may be both happy and healthy for many years to come.
Hello fellow bloggers, my name is Tiffany (T)
and I am super stoked to be co-blogging with Kris!
Being a student in college and suffering from a gluten
intolerance certainly has its struggles, but being informed and open minded to
a gluten free lifestyle is so important to living and feeling healthy. So many
young adults (including myself) think college is a time when you’re free from
the restrictions of parents and responsibilities, but when I was diagnosed with
a gluten and fructose intolerance during the second semester of my freshmen
year; I definitely had to make changes.
The beginnings of my intolerance:
Growing up my mother always cooked meals and as a kid I
didn’t eat much processed foods. In high school I remember I loved to
experiment and bake desserts; sometimes testing recipes on my friends. Around
the same time I also decided to become a vegetarian. As a vegetarian I
substituted more carbohydrates for my protein; whole grains, soy, and fake meat
products all laced with gluten. The process was slow and nearly unnoticeable,
but I a lot of the times I felt bloated and tired. I started developing
seborrheic dermatitis all over my scalp and even went to a dermatologist to get
medication. I remember the dermatologist prescribing pills and a topical
shampoo that had steroids in it! I was positive that it would help my Seboria,
it did for a little while but it never cleared up my scalp completely.
Sometimes I was really constipated, other times I had explosive diarrhea.
I went to my primary care doctor for my yearly physical and
explained my still current seboria condition which was making me lose a lot of
hair, a major concern of mine, I didn’t mention my constipation and diarrhea
problems because I was extremely embarrassed. In my mind I was an 18 year old
in college who couldn’t control my own bowel issues, epitome of embarrassing.
After many instances of extreme abdominal pain (I sometimes
thought I knew what it was like to be pregnant and give birth), emergencies,
and inconvenient rushes to the bathroom my mom suggested that I see my doctor
to discuss my “issues”. I was hesitant but if my crazy stomach was forcing me
to leaving class I agreed that it was time to see my physician again.
To make a long story short after multiple visits to the
doctor including special visits to a gastrologist, and various tests I was
diagnosed with a gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
I honestly was not shocked at the diagnosis. Maybe it’s because
in the back of my mind I had inkling that I did indeed have some sort of
digestive disorder. I knew about celiac disease because my best friend Kris
(Kristen) also struggled with the food allergy a year prior. Maybe the fact
that my own mother had a slew of autoimmune diseases also increased my chances
of having an autoimmune disorder. It was a relief to know what was going on
with my body. Ironically, I felt like I had damaged my body by becoming a
vegetarian. My days of eating whole grains and phony “meat” substitutes were
over! I know that it is not impossible to be gluten free and a vegetarian but
by going completely gluten free my doctor suggested that I slowly add protein
back into my diet.
I feel great now! Normal isn’t being
bloated 24/7, having gas, or having terrible diarrhea. Normal
is waking up knowing that you can start your day and not anticipate embarrassing digestive issues later on!
I hope our stories can help other people who struggle with
living a gluten free lifestyle. Eating is apart of life and a big part of
socializing in college as well. If Kris and I can do it, plus eat on a budget,
anyone can do it!
We’ll be your cheerleaders, guides, and insight upon the
gluten free world!
Kris and T are two college students that are both diagnosed with Celiac Disease. The goal of our blog is to provide tips, advice, and information on gluten free dining while on a budget. We will provide resturant reviews, recipes, product reviews, and tips on gluten free eats!
Kris & T Go Gfree offers gfree suggestions and tips for eating out safely based on our current knowledge of restaurant protocol, menu, and naturally gluten free foods. However, we shall not be held accountable for any and all viewers' own actions shall they become ill after trying our recommended selections. Viewers/followers of our blog are responsible for their own actions and thus consequences- in other words, eat at your own risk. Everyone's sensitivity levels are different and you should be well aware before deciding to consume any food items. Thank you.