Starting in the summer in between my 7th and 8th grade (a little more than 10 years ago), I was faced with stomach issues, stunted growth, irregular menstrual periods, and a lack of energy, feeling the need to nap all the time. My mom was convinced that there was something wrong with me and took me around from doctor to doctor. It was not until I was in 10th grade that a doctor at UCLA said that I might be allergic to wheat, as it came out positive in my blood test. I laughed: “That’s impossible! I eat an almond butter and jelly sandwich on wheat bread every single day!” Then, my mom and I both looked at each other… or was this all too possible?
I scheduled an endoscopy at Children’s Hospital LA with a GI doctor who forever changed my life, Dr. Michelle Pietzak. Low and behold, my villi in my intestines indicated clear signs of Celiac Disease. Dr. Pietzak greeted me with great news: “There is a cure: your diet.”
Great, I think to myself. I am already a super picky eater, and now just one more thing I need to be picky about.
Within 6 months of gluten free eating, my grades at school got even better, my Cross-Country running times improved, my skin started to glow, and I began menstruating regularly. Funny how in a world full of abundance, eliminating something can make you feel so much better.
Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease in which my body cannot tolerate even the slightest amount of gluten. I turned this situation into my friend. As I said, I was always a picky eater. Now, when I go to restaurants and out to eat, I have a legitimate excuse to be picky!
I recall my senior year of high school when a few of my friends went on the “Sasha Diet” and felt so much better! Now gluten free is almost, dare I say, trendy, but even 6 or 7 years ago, this diet was almost unheard of.
I always count myself lucky to have been diagnosed at this day and age when there are so many gluten free options. Gluten free pizza, cupcakes, tacos, you name it. Most importantly, all fruits and vegetables are gluten free! Thus, this diet definitely promotes healthy eating habits when done in the right way.
I’ve tasted every gluten free product around the block. My go-to staples are below. I hope you like them, too!
Bread: Food For Life Millet Bread
Tortillas: Food For Life Brown Rice Tortillas
Frozen Meals: Amy’s Baked Ziti
Bakery: Babycakes NYC
Oats: Bob’s Red Mills Gluten Free Oats
Granola: Enjoy Life Foods Cinnamon Crunch Granola
Sasha is the owner of one of our favorite sites http://www.kalewithlove.com/ and also shared her Gluten Free Pizza with us here