Even though I’m still pretty early in my training, I signed up to run with Team Gluten Free to raise money for the Celiac Disease Foundation. There was a time in my life where I was physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. I ran so I would have a reason to hurt. In short, I began to associate running with torture. There was a pivotal moment during student teaching where C (when we were just dating) said something about how much pasta I was eating, and my heart broke. It turns out that if you have a sensitivity to something, you crave it more and you eat tons more because your body is malnourished. I literally wasn’t getting the vitamins and minerals I needed because my body couldn’t absorb them. I would go to the dentist and the hygensit would always comment on the white stuff on my tongue and would say I was vitamin deficient. And for the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why.
After recalling that many of my cousins also “went gluten free”, I decided to try it for two weeks – no bread, no pasta, no pretzels. Everything else was fair game. Imagine my surprise when after two weeks, I felt amazing. My joints stopped hurting, I wasn’t exhausted, and my spirits felt lifted. That was in the fall of 2009.
Beginning my gluten-free journey was rough as I was still in college and needed to find alternative ways to feed myself if I couldn’t rely on the basics of pasta and bread. At the time, I had a hard time finding food that wasn’t crazy expensive. But then, I moved to Iowa. Gluten free food seemed to be overflowing from the regular supermarket shelves and it was reasonably priced (and I had a full-time job at that point). My body kept healing itself and running became fun again. In short, forgoing gluten saved my life and my sanity. After a while (and much bullying), my dad and younger brother went gluten free and they say they feel great!
So, why am I running with TGF? Even though gluten-free has become sort of a fad diet, there are still loads of people who don’t understand Celiac’s Disease or its gluten-intolerance cousins. I’m not entirely sure where I fall on the spectrum as I’ve never been tested. And, I will NEVER eat gluten again, so testing may not be an option. I want to raise awareness about these diseases and allergies so that people can be more open minded in restaurants, stores, and in everyday life. So, will you help support me in raising $100 to help send a young kid to celiac camp? Click this link to go to my fundraising page!