Today marks four months since I started to live life without gluten. As I’ve mentioned before, the transition to not eating gluten hasn’t been as hard as I thought because I think I was subconsciously avoiding a lot of gluten because of how it made me feel. Here are some of the answers to the most common questions that I get:

Did you have any side effects after you quit eating gluten?
Not really. I think I felt sicker when I started eating salads for breakfast (which I am still doing and now feel great!). I really didn’t notice that big of a difference… the biggest thing was we had to switch up pasta Sundays which is a tradition in our house. I now make two separate dishes and mine is gluten-free. I feel like eating gluten-free foods keeps me feeling full longer.

What has been the hardest thing to give up? 
I miss biscuits… like Pillsbury Biscuits, those are amazing! And I really miss when you go to a restaurant and they put bread down in front of you to snack on. By far, that has been the hardest thing to say no to. I am also a big dessert person, so it’s hard when people bring cupcakes into the office and it’s like nope, can’t have one. But, I know what the trade off feels like and it’s definitely not worth it to feel the way I used to for a brief few seconds of what I used to enjoy. I am enjoying eating more fruits and focusing on better foods — like yogurt — for snacking on. Plus, I don’t mind eating the gluten-free breads and pastas.

Doesn’t the gluten-free food taste like cardboard?
Personally, I don’t have a problem with the gluten-free food. I eat a lot of random brands, like Udi’s and what I can find at Whole Foods, but I feel like it tastes fine. The pasta has a slightly different texture, but now that I’ve learned how to cook it (note: you MUST rinse all gluten-free pasta after cooking otherwise it turns into a disaster), I can barely noticed a difference. Same with the bread — it tastes fine to me, but at first, I could tell a difference. A lot of the breads are drier, so that takes some getting used to.

Have you lost weight?
I haven’t lost weight and I didn’t go on a gluten-free diet to lose weight. I have lost some space in my stomach area, but I think that’s mostly because I’m not bloated like I used to be.

How has it impacted your running?
I definitely have more energy than I did before and I feel like my runs are better than they were. It was coming to a point where I was dealing with stomach aches every time I ran. Every time! I started to think that maybe it was my body’s reaction to running. It’s so refreshing to step out and go for a run, knowing that I can focus on my running and not have to worry about other things that my body used to go through.

So have you had gluten since you went gluten-free?
I have knowingly and unknowingly had gluten since I went gluten-free. I know how my body reacts to it now and while I try to avoid it at all costs, there have been times when it just hasn’t been possible to do so. And I know what I will experience a few hours later after eating it, and the reason for it… which makes it a little easier to deal with. Before I was dealing with all of these symptoms and had no understanding of why.

In the beginning, I felt like I was stumbling around and didn’t realize all of the foods that have gluten, such as soy sauce, broths and salad dressings. I’ve become much better at picking out what is and isn’t gluten-free and determining what I can eat. I still struggle with going out to eat — some restaurants really aren’t accommodating to those with food allergies — but it’s definitely a learning process. It gets better with each day, especially as I find more gluten-free foods to eat (like gluten-free Bisquick, I thought my pancake days were over… but nope!).

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