Why anyone would consider going gluten-free was always beyond me. I mean, “gluten-free” sounds about as delicious as eating cardboard, right? I could never have imagined eliminating things like French bread, pastries and pasta from my diet. What would I do for comfort food? You can only eat so many Glutino pretzels before the inside of your mouth feels like sandpaper. But that was before someone told me that wheat can trigger anxiety.
A few years ago I was diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD). I was irritable and snapped at people; and it was more than just PMS grumpiness. My heart always felt like I had just whipped Yohan Blake’s ass in the 100 meter dash. Hammie never ran out of energy on his wheel, which caused my brain to be in overdrive all.the.time. The knots in my neck were tighter than the ones on any of the Royal Canadian Navy’s fleet.
Then, a few months ago I got chatting with a friend at a party. She had recently been diagnosed with GAD, and in consultation with her doctor, they came up with a natural treatment plan to manage the symptoms: a gluten-free diet. When she told me it had been 8 months since she had an anxiety attack I was in faster than a pissed off girl texting her now-in-the-doghouse partner. And I was willing to try anything for a good night’s sleep again.
To begin, I stocked the fridge with salads and chicken. Because really, what else do gluten-free people eat? Clearly I had a lot of learning to do. But by day two my anxiety had significantly subsided, and day four was a breeze sans-anxiety. I was shocked. Converted forever.
Then, after a week, I couldn’t even look at another green leaf. I had eaten so much salad I felt green. And trust me, some parts of me were. So what did I do? Devoured a chicken & guacamole sandwich on soft Piadina. Eight hours later I was in a full-blown anxiety attack. There had to be a correlation.
The transition to gluten-free hasn’t been an easy one. First off, my kitchen and I are not friends, however the delivery guy and I are on a first name basis. Secondly, spare-time isn’t really a word in my household. Between a full-time job, pretending to be a blogger, a rescue-furbabe and volunteering, I’m not sure how I find time to pee, let alone prepare meals for someone with a dietary restriction.
The hardest part of my day is in the afternoon. I usually crave something sweet, salty & crunchy. You know, like those salted, caramel chocolate ball things from Costco that are so good but so bad for you all at the same time. I’m always on the lookout for recommendations to help me stick to this almost gluten-free lifestyle.
Even with all the craziness, I’m about 75% there. My anxiety flare-ups are fewer and farther between, and when I do “cheat,” I know that it’s likely I’ll have an anxiety attack, so I save the cravings for a good time and a good reason – like a dense, chewy bagel piled high with cream cheese.
Image Source: WikiCommons
Do you have an easy snack recipe you’d like to share with Sarah? Maybe you’ve found a yummy pre-made, healthy treat? If it’s gluten-free, tastes good and is easy to make, leave it in the comments below. Keep in mind she’s a self-proclaimed disaster in the kitchen, so let’s go easy on her – Ed.