Hope. I'm writing this to offer you hope. Hope of healing. Hope of normalcy. Of getting your life back.
Maybe you've been diagnosed with Celiac, or perhaps you have GI issues. Maybe you feel crummy and you have an inkling that it may be linked to diet. Perhaps you just want to eat healthier and lose a few pounds? Or maybe you have a picky eater in your life or kids that you want to eat more veggies? Well friends, you've come to the right place. Here, you'll find a collection of recipes that I'm hoping will bring you joy, excitement, and a zest for food again. Believe me, I've been there when food was a source of pain and fear. I didn't know where to turn.
I have Ulcerative Colitis, and for ten months, I was in a horrible flare. I was living in NYC pursuing my acting career, in a show, and I started flaring. I had to move back home to Cincinnati for treatment. But nothing worked. We tried nearly every medicine....from mega drugs to holistic approaches, naturopathic remedies, natural medicines, even faith healing! Drops, pills, powders and potions, I tried them all and nothing could kick my flare back into remission. The next step was surgery. So I decided that if I was going to heal, I had to do it myself through the food I was eating.
My flare was intense. Ulcerative Colitis is an autoimmune disease, which basically means that my body attacks itself. It also means, that during especially bad flares, it can spread outside of the intestines, in what are called extra-intestinal symptoms. Well, my Ulcerative Colitis got so bad that I was part of the small percentage that experiences extra-intestinal symptoms. For about 2 months, I had what’s called erythema nodosum. Google that crap. Basically, you get nodules, in my case the size of oranges and grapefruits, on your knees and shins. Mine also spread to my forearms too. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t bend my knees, not to mention the hideous unsightliness of the condition. Another extra-intestinal symptom was that the ulcers in my intestines also spread to my mouth. For several weeks, the sides of my tongue were covered in ulcers. Excruciating. I couldn’t eat. Period. Another aspect of UC is that it’s an inflammatory disease. For weeks, I would go to bed with fevers spiking at 104 degrees. A fever is your body’s way of fighting inflammation, and boy was I inflamed. For a while, all I knew were cold compresses followed by debilitating, tooth-chattering chills. And then waking up in the middle of the night with night sweats.
I’m not telling you these things for pity or for you to say, “aw, I’m so sorry.” No. I’m simply illustrating to you how dark my days were for a while. That from that pit of hell, I was able to come out on top swinging. It was a long process. And I didn’t cheat on the diet once. But I did it. God saw me through. And I’m writing this now from my apartment in NYC with my health and spark back. This will be you one day too, my friend.
So where does glutenfreehappytummy fit into the equation? Well, during all of this, I started documenting my healing journey and the recipes I was creating, and it took off! Throughout my journey, I researched and tried several different diets, all gluten free. I tried the Makers Diet, the Body Ecology Diet. And finally, my saving grace: the Specific Carb Diet. A lot of people shy away from these thereputic and healing diets because they can be restrictive, and it’s hard to actually adopt them into your life. Well, I’d like to think that I bring these diets to life in fun and exciting recipes! In this book, I will clearly label each recipe with the appropriate diet(s) as well as any substitutions that can be made.
Finally, it goes without saying, I'm not a doctor, and I'm definitely not pretending to be. My brother is. And seeing the ten years of grueling schooling that he put in, I don't really aspire to be either. What I'm sharing with you in these pages are just what worked for me. Every person’s body is different and reacts differently to different types of treatment. And the other thing that's super frustrating about GI issues is that everyone's disease is different. There is a lot written about the benefits of these diets, and in particular a substantial amount of evidence that the Specific Carb Diet works for UC, and it did for me. But you will have to find out for yourself. I am just trying to make it easier to follow faithfully.
But over all, I want to offer you hope. That there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I went through some seriously dark days. Days when I didn't know if I would ever be able to live my life again. I was a vibrant twentysomething living out her dreams in NYC, when my world came to a screeching halt. For the next ten months, I would literally spend it on the couch, wondering if this hell would ever pass. I had to completely surrender my life, and have faith that God would get me through this trial, and you know what? He did. I made it to the other side. And you will too. There is hope, my friend. You will get your life back in abundance. And I want you to know that I'm praying for you. Yes you. As I craft my recipes and create this book, I'm thinking about all the people that may pick up this book, and the suffering they're going through. Trust me, I've been there. You feel hopeless and confused. Scared and desperate. Will I ever eat anything other than steamed vegetables again? Will the pain ever end? Will I ever be able to eat anything normal again now that I can't have gluten? What will birthdays be like from now on?
Take charge of your condition. There is a life just waiting to be lived. You may be in a dark place right now, but it will get better. Let the doctors do what they can do, and in the mean time, do everything that you can do to get better too. Try these recipes. I truly attribute my healing to the Specific Carb Diet. It's the way I eat today to stay in remission. Give it a month or so and see how your body reacts. You will be amazed.
But most of all, don't lose hope. You have a life that is waiting for you and it will be glorious. I'm praying for your healing journey. Now lets bring on the Happy Tummy approved recipes and start LIVING!