Chelsea Roach: My Journey to Health Discovery (Gluten-Free)
Ah, the good ole’ gluten f-word. When first embarking on my health journey, sans gluten, a wave of resentment came over me. I had absolutely no positive feelings towards this new dietary adjustment. You see, as someone of both Italian and German descent, gluten and all of its squishy glory was a staple in my home. I grew up making pasta e fagioli with my mom and indulging in a variety of delicious pastries with my dad during breakfast outings or Starbucks runs. Food labels were a thing to be disregarded and a cause for ingredient concerns never came up, which is why when my gluten free journey started nearly nine years ago, so did an introductory comedy of errors. Animated monologues filled my grocery shopping experiences. I’d vent my frustrations while strolling through aisles, questioning some of my favorite food items like Rice Krispies (you’d think it would just be rice) and even chocolate. Why, oh why, would these items contain gluten? How limited was I now regarding what I could eat? Well, little did I know that embarking on this path to health discovery would open up the floodgates of nutritional knowledge and completely change my outlook on the food industry forever.
The more I learned about gluten, the more I uncovered some harsh truths about our food production, product quality, processing, and additional additives and chemicals found in our food supply on the regular. While at first extremely overwhelming and hard to navigate, this information turned me into a much more responsible and informed consumer whose awareness about the impact of certain foods on both mind and body drastically grew. Through an abundance of research, a handful of holistic practitioners, and many courses of trial and error, I started to gain more confidence over my food selections at supermarkets. A realization came to light that the dear old gluten f-word wasn’t about placing harsh restrictions on myself, but rather it meant pushing me to expand my palate, step outside the comforts of convenience, and embrace real, whole foods.
Yes, my confidence began to flourish while mastering at-home meal prep, but public restaurant selections were an entirely different ballgame. Nine years ago, allergen free diets/needs were not given nearly as much attention as they are today, causing mounds of stress and anxiety to quickly overrule the usually fun spontaneity of my family dinners and date nights. At that time, it always came down to, “What can Chelsea eat?”, and I hated that pressure. More importantly, I hated the limitation that put on my family and friends. Thankfully, though, additional time and further education led to a shift in the food industry as a whole. A greater awareness for food sensitivities and a growth of accommodations for individuals with those sensitivities spread dramatically throughout eateries all across the globe. The movement transformed from a “fad diet” into acknowledging a real health issue that people from all walks of life deal with.
Before I took a leap of faith and jumped aboard the health discovery train, I was a constant mix of unpleasant emotions: frustrated due to a lack of answers, anxious in search of possible causes, and confused about where and who to turn to. There is so much conflicting information out there, it can be incredibly overwhelming to sort through and process. All I can say is, just start. Start somewhere, anywhere, and learn as you go. Here I am, nine years later, and I am still discovering new aspects about my mind and body every day. It is my hope that by sharing my story and the amazing nutritionists/holistic health practitioners that I have worked with, anyone reading this in a similar situation can finally begin their own journey to health discovery and find the answers and relief they’ve been longing for. Say goodbye to all of those negative connotations of that dear ole’ gluten f-word, and say hello to happy bellies and elated hearts.
Below are the three clinical and holistic health practitioners who have played a key role in my journey to health discovery. Each possess a certain speciality that helped me to finally fit all of my wellness puzzle pieces together. Their knowledge, guidance, and patience have truly impacted my life in more ways than I can count, and for that, I am forever grateful:
Head to her Top 5 Gluten-Free Friendly Restaurants in North San Diego County
Chelsea (@chel.c.adventures) is a 5th grade teacher by day and an avid outdoors-woman and adventure seeker by weekends and school breaks. She started her gluten free dietary transformation 9 years ago and never looked back. Though this new health journey had quite the steep learning curve, with the tremendous support of her family and friends as well as several incredible health practitioners, Chelsea finally found solutions to years of unexplained illnesses.
Exploring the world and experiencing the diverse cultures within it is a true passion of Chelsea’s. She’s been fortunate enough to bask in the beauty of 12 different countries and cannot wait to venture out to more. All of this traveling can, at times, make it rather difficult to maintain a gluten free lifestyle. Thankfully, a monumental shift in societal awareness of food allergies as well as a continued motivation to broaden her own knowledge on the subject has led Chelsea to find ways to navigate around this obstacle and stay on course. After all, nothing can get in the way of her undying love for some authentic European gelato!
As a current resident of San Diego, an incredibly diverse culinary city, Chelsea enjoys testing out new eateries. When not teaching, traveling, camping, or hiking, Chelsea is an enthusiastic writer and loves to document her travels and adventures in her blog (www.chelcadventures.com), aiming to put that bachelor’s degree in literature and writing to good use! She also loves reading books spanning a wide variety of genres and indulging in nice, long helpings of Friends reruns.