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This week, Bryan and I hit the 8-week mark of sticking to a gluten free diet.

The change has been nothing short of fascinating. For both of us.

We embarked on this journey because Bryan’s autoimmune disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis, causes arthritis of the spine. Already taking some anti-inflammatory medicine and a shot every week to slow the progression of the disease, we read that a gluten free diet might help alleviate some of his symptoms.

Already, that seems to be ringing true.

Bryan runs everyday; but he does so on a treadmill because running on the street causes too much pounding for his back and knees. It leaves him stiff and sore. As he told me a couple of weeks ago, even breaking into a trot to cross through an intersection hurt his knees.

Since going gluten free, Bryan feels no stiffness or soreness if he goes running on the street. As in, zero.

Can you believe that?

Bryan says he has more energy too, and can feel it especially when he’s preaching in front of everyone on Sunday morning.

While I was thrilled to see this had an immediate impact on Bryan, I never really thought it would make much of a difference for me,  outside of just eating healthier.

As long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with lethargy. Never so severely that I thought it needed medical attention, but I never lasted long when reading, watching a movie on the couch or even driving.

I can’t tell you how many times my family turned on a movie at home and I fell asleep in the middle of it. Or, how many times I’ve lasted about 10 pages in a book and then crashed. I spent my college career living at Starbucks so that I could drink coffee while I studied. It was the only way I could get anything done.

When I napped, they lasted two hours, and I could still go to bed a few hours later with no problem falling asleep. Since being married, I often complained to Bryan that I just didn’t have the energy to do much after work.

All of that led to getting very little done. Finishing projects proved nearly impossible.

Until now.

I noticed the difference a couple of weeks ago. I read about 60 pages of a book while sitting on the couch. Outside of the Harry Potter series (nerd alert!!) I have never been able to do that. Ever.

I’m finishing projects. I have energy after work. I’m starting to realize that maybe it wasn’t an exhaustion issue; it was a concentration issue.

All I know is, I feel much, much better.

When we were first asking a doctor friend of ours about going gluten free (at an Italian restaurant, ironically), his wife recounted for us what caused her to start following a gluten free diet. Bryan asked her, “don’t you miss all the food you can’t have?”

She answered, “once you see how much better you can feel, you won’t miss those foods all that much.”

And she was absolutely right.