My name is Ashley McLaughlin and this is my blog, Edible Perspective. To learn more about my journey head on over to my about + FAQ pages. I'm thrilled that you stopped by. Enjoy!


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Baked Doughnuts For Everyone: From Sweet to Savory to Everything in Between, 101 Delicious Recipes, All Gluten-Free


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why + when I went gluten free

Nothing like writing a post that has been sitting in your brain for something like, 4 months?

I think it’s easiest if I break this down into a Q + A format.  It will keep me from rambling on + on + on.  This way I’ll stay focused on each question and if there is one you’re not interested in, just jump to the next.  Or maybe to another post altogether.  May I suggest, Cake Batter Cashew Butter?

I’ve compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions about my experiences in going gluten free. 

1]  What prompted you to think about eliminating gluten from your diet?

For the past 10 years [prior to going GF], I’ve eaten many different ways.  10 years ago, I was a freshmen in college.  I ate fairly healthy, and was not overweight, but ate my fair share of processed food. – easy-mac, ramen noodles, pizza, subs, beer, etc.  It wasn’t until we lived in Charlotte, NC [I went to grad school at UNC Charlotte for architecture] that we really started to clean up our diet.  We didn’t go on diets, but we did clean them up.  I started researching food.  All things food.  I started reading + watching documentaries and learned a ton.  My love for the kitchen grew, while our stockpile of processed foods shrank.  Our meat consumption lowered, and we focused on quality sourcing when we did buy it.  We lived in Charlotte for 3 years and loved it, but decided to make the move out to Colorado almost exactly 2 years ago from today.  I started the blog and continued to be obsessed with creating in the kitchen, and naturally, meat started to disappear from my diet.  At first it was chicken, and then it was beef, and then it was all meat and even fish.  There was no real turning point on why I ditched meat, it just happened over the coarse of about 1 year. 

Even though our diets improved immensely in those 10 years, there was always something that stayed the same. 

Bloating.  Annoying, painful, embarrassing, uncomfortable, stomach expanding, bloat.  During college, I remember it being the worst.  It would build up during the morning + day and I would be extremely uncomfortable by the time I was going to bed.  A few times I even asked my doctor about it.  “This doesn’t seem normal.  Any ideas?”  They always suggested over the counter meds, which never helped at all.  It improved some as we cleaned up our eating habits, but still did not seem normal to me.  I remember thinking, “it must be all the vegetables I eat.”  Or, “well, I do eat a lot of beans.” etc. etc. 

I finally reached the point where I had to see if it was food related.  Something had to be done.  This was not normal.

2]  When did you realize gluten was the culprit?

I realized gluten was causing my discomfort, during weeks 8+9 of my food elimination/detox.  I first reintroduced dairy for 2 weeks and then soy and then gluten.  It was obvious that gluten was the problem.  Without a doubt.  This was back in February/March.

3]  What steps did you take to figure it out?

I hemmed + hawed about doing a food elimination/detox for a few months.  It’s a big commitment!  I first had to come to terms with the idea, that the end result might be less than exciting.  Meaning, I may have to eliminate certain food[s] from my diet.  There was quite a bit of mental preparation actually. Finally, I took the plunge, after the holidays.

*I’m in no way suggesting that anyone should copy my method.  I formulated this from my research and didn’t follow any one plan.  Always check with a doctor before making changes to your diet.  I am not a doctor.  I just like to cook + photograph.*

This was my plan, after doing extensive research on the topic.  *It’s important to note, fasting/liquid diets/lowering food consumption/etc. were not a part of my “detox.” 

For three weeks, eliminate:

  • dairy
  • soy
  • gluten
  • added sugar
  • alcohol
  • caffeine

For three weeks, lower:

  • sodium to 400mg/day

For the whole detox, add:

  • 8oz warm water with 1/2 squeezed lemon, upon waking, 1x/daily
  • dry brushing, everyday before showering
  • up water intake
  • detox tea *for first 3 weeks

During weeks 4+5:

  • bring dairy back in
  • add in small amounts of natural sweeteners
  • 1 glass of wine, 0-2x/week
  • started juicing 3-5x/week

During weeks 6+7:

  • bring whole soy back in, [tempeh, sprouted tofu]
  • continue to use natural sweeteners
  • coffee 1-2x/week
  • salt <800mg
  • juicing, 3-4x/week
  • 1 glass of wine, 0-2x/week

During weeks 8+9:

  • bring gluten back in
  • continue to use natural sweeteners
  • coffee 1-2x/week
  • salt <800mg
  • juicing 3-4x/week
  • 1 glass of wine, 0-2x/week

I honestly thought I was going to have a problem with soy, however that was not the case.  I have figured out that my stomach does not tolerate processed soy [which I avoid at all costs to begin with] well at all.  There is only 1 type of soy milk I can drink, [Eden Organic GF – non-GMO and the most natural, non-processed soymilk you will find – I drink this occasionally] and I can only eat sprouted tofu and tempeh.

Gluten was definitely the culprit, which I realized in weeks 8+9.  I never had a clue before then.  I ate quite a bit of bread, whole wheat noodles, etc. and figured I would have been able to pin point that as the cause, pre-detox.  It wasn’t until I eliminated it completely, that I was able to tell it was the culprit.  I tested out quite a few different gluten foods and the bloating all came back.  There was really no reaction to dairy or soy. 

After the 2-week gluten testing phase, I went back to eliminating gluten and was once again bloat-free.  The bloating has improved to around 90%+ what it used to be.  To me, that is HUGE.  While bloating may not seem like a big deal, it was to me.  I just never felt right and was sick of it.  And now I know, it wasn’t normal.  There was actually a reason!  It wasn’t just from vegetables!

One thing I haven’t yet tested, is if I’m only wheat-sensitive, or if it’s all forms of gluten.  I haven’t had allergy/sensitivity tests done to narrow things down more.  In the near future, I plan to try and eat a few different types of non-wheat gluten to see what happens.

4]  What was the transition like?

After the detox, it was time to really move full-steam ahead and eliminate gluten for good.  It really wasn’t hard to nix gluten in my cooking, but it was hard to nix gluten in my shopping.  I thought I checked labels before!  I quickly learned what I could + could not eat.  For me, this mostly meant not eating wheat based bread and re-learning how to bake. 

Going out to eat also presented challenges.  I would say eating out was the biggest transition.  Before going GF, I already felt like the stand-out in the group, because I didn’t eat meat or fish.  My friends + family were extremely supportive of both decisions and never made me feel bad.  However, I felt stressed.  Everyone was so kind, letting me pick where we would eat out, but I wasn’t a fan.  I always felt pressure and hated being the odd ball in the group with special food requirements.  I don’t like when people have to go out of their way to accommodate me.  After a few months, this became easier to deal with.

5]  What is the hardest part about being GF?

  • social gatherings/weddings/events
  • cookouts at friends’ houses
  • going out to eat + making special requests
  • no delicious, warm, crusty bread

6]  What can you not eat when going GF?

Better than me typing it all out, here is a link to a list of foods to avoid.

Foods to Avoid on a Gluten Free Diet

A few things to note about me specifically:

  • I am still able to consume oats of all kind, without having to make sure they are certified gluten free.  *oats are typically cross contaminated with wheat during growing and/or packaging
  • During the detox, I realized that garbanzo flour does not agree with my stomach at all.  While I am able to consume cooked garbanzo beans, the flour made me extremely bloated.  I was using Bob’s Red Mill
  • I can consume beer, without feeling bloated after.  It’s thought that because of the fermentation process beer goes through, a lot of the gluten is lost, making it more tolerable than things like bread + flour. 
  • A few readers suggested that I may be able to eat sourdough bread, because it also goes through a fermentation process.  I have tried a few different kinds, and while it doesn’t always make me react, I don’t make a habit out of eating it.

7]  How has your cooking changed?

I still create the same types of recipes in the kitchen.  Now they just happen to be gluten free!  I don’t like to repeat over + over that my recipes are gluten free, just like I don’t always point out if a recipe is vegan.  Sometimes people can be intimidated when recipes have labels, but my goal in cooking is creating recipes that anyone would love. – gluten eaters, meat eaters, vegetarians, vegans, etc.  I don’t want my recipes to taste really good for being gluten free.  I just want them to taste really good.  I want them to exceed expectations for any type of eater.

8]  Does Chris eat gluten free now too?

Chris is such a good sport!  Our diets have really transitioned side by side with one another.  It’s been a pretty amazing process when I think about it.  No meat comes into our house, except on rare occasion that I buy a few strips of bacon from Whole Foods, to cook + crumble on his pizza. ;)  He’s completely fine with this and loves the way we eat.  About 1x/week he’ll eat meat when we’re out.  Luckily in Colorado, it’s easy to come by well-sourced, local meat when dining out. 

As far as Chris eating gluten free.  He definitely eats less gluten and has no problem with our gluten free meals.  However, I still buy him bread for his everyday PB+J breakfast.  I also buy him fresh loaves of bread from the market, when the budget allows.  Typically, all of Chris’s work-lunches are leftovers from the previous night.  He’s not a fan of eating out for lunch, and would rather have food from home.  This has also helped save us quite a bit of money.  He went from eating out 2-3 lunches a week, to eating out about once, every other week.  Sometimes I cook Field Roast [vegan, not GF] sausages for him [which I miss so much], or Annie’s organic mac n’ cheese, if there aren’t dinner leftovers.

9]  a] How are you feeling since going GF and have you lost weight?  b] What do you think about people going gluten free as a diet plan?

a] My bloating has gone down at least 90%.  Sure there are still days when my stomach is protruding out, but now, I blame it on vegetables.  I can’t even tell you how big of a deal this is for me.  After brushing it off for so many years, thinking it was “just normal,” I finally figured out there was a reason for my discomfort.  And it was something that could be easily fixed! 

I didn’t lose any weight over the coarse of the detox, or even to this point.  My stomach may look flatter, but that’s because I lost the bloat. ;)  My workouts have changed immensely in the past 6-9 months, so I have has lost body fat.  I’m wearing the same sized clothes and fluctuate 1-3lbs on the scale.  I’m currently at a very comfortable weight for my body type + height.

b]  If I didn’t find out that gluten was the culprit to my stomach discomfort, I never would have gone gluten free.  I am not a proponent of cutting out gluten as a diet plan for weight loss.  It does seem like everywhere you turn people are going gluten free.  However, I can sympathize with anyone that tries to cut it out as a means to better their health.  If it truly makes you feel better physically, I am all for it.  I’m not lacking in nutrition without gluten.  My opinion is that it’s not a necessity in the diet, but it is delicious.  Why give up bread if you don’t have to? :)

10]  Do you ever cheat?

Once in awhile I do cheat and eat gluten.  Since I don’t have Celiac, or become extremely ill from consuming gluten, I do make once-in-awhile exceptions.  At restaurants I try my best to make sure what I’m eating is gluten free, from asking the waitress and sometimes calling ahead.  The things I’ve cheated with are the occasional bite or two of fresh, local bread…cake…french fries of Chris’s [most are not GF, unless fresh cut]…  Really, I haven’t done it that much, because it actually has a worse reaction in my body since eliminating it.  I typically will feel a reaction 24hrs later.  I can literally pin-point it to the hour.  I’m bloated…what did I eat 24hrs ago?  Then I usually have my answer. 

If you want links to check back to any of my detox posts, here’s the list.  I provide much more extensive recaps of my experiences in these posts.

Since this post is already a YEAR long and has NO photos, I’m going to do a follow-up post with tips I have on going gluten free.

  • favorite GF recipes
  • favorite GF ingredients
  • baking GF
  • favorite GF products
  • favorite GF blogs
  • eating out GF
  • GF cookouts + social events

Hopefully it won’t take another 4 months for that post.

And hopefully a lot of your questions have been answered on the why + when I went gluten free!



In other exciting news…

While I work on my photography website, I started the Ashley Mclaughlin Photography Facebook page.  Progress.  Slowly but surely!


Reader Comments (123)

bahahahaa...i love you! Have you looked into cooking with "ghee"? I've read that people with dairy intolerances can a lot of times still use this in cooking. Ghee however does not solve the problem of cheese....but maybe you can eat goat cheese?

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

I was wondering if this intolerance is something that has always been there, or something that developed at some point in life.
I say this because I never used to have problems with bloating and gas ( :) ) before and I always eat wheat and drank milk and such... But I have noticed that lately (perhaps a couple of years now) I feel a little bloated and and "gas-y" so I wonder if these intolerance are something a person can just develop over time.

I think I will really look into this, I never though my little problem this way because my diet stile is still pretty much the same as always, if anything I actually consume less wheat than ever, but I do have loads of oats on the other hand... but now I wonder...

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMia

wow, so many spelling mistakes there.. oh well, I think it's one can get the gist of it :)

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMia

I did it again ahahahah... must be in need of sleep

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMia

Thanks for the amazing recap of your experience! I can't wait to read the detoxing posts. I want to do an elimination diet to see if something I am eating is causing my acne, but it is a lot to prep for so I haven't taken the plunge!

There are so many things I agree with in your post about going gluten-free! I figured out that wheat was an issue by trial and error. I realized that I was super cranky and just an emotional mess with little patience after eating wheat, so I slowly started cutting back. Once I realized it was definitely the wheat, I basically stopped cold turkey and haven't looked back. That was six months ago. I am less bloated (I could look about 5 months pregnant after a wheat-filled meal) and much happier now! My honey has also gone GF, except the occasional loaf of crusty bread for meals and his sandwich bread. He actually LOVES the GF desserts and pancakes I make, and doesn't mind the brown rice pasta, so it's been great to have him support me in that way.

Again, thanks for sharing!

You're so welcome. Thanks for sharing your journey! It's so great to hear that you figured out what was causing you problems and also that your man is so supportive. Great to hear! Good luck with conquering the skin problems next. You'll figure it out!

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

No worries girl ;)

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

From what I've read, they can really come on anytime, as with many medical issues. I never remember being gassy in high school or before that. It really started once I was in college. Good luck figuring things out!

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Thanks! I've been reading your blog for awhile now but just really looked at your "past"...I'm originally from Battle Creek, MI! I went to Lakeview so Marshall was a big rival and my aunt taught at the HS for many years. Now we're in Columbia, SC but the west is definitely calling our name someday soon!

September 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLissa

I am thankful for your post! I have had YEARS of digestive troubles... I even had 12" of my colon removed. But doctors have never tested me for gluten sensitivity or Celiac. I was on an allergy elimination diet once for my daughter who developed raging hives and food allergies after her 2 mo vaccinations, but I still had problems. I realize now the only grain I consumed those 3 mo was oats and aside from having a mild allergy to them, I may have a more severe gluten sensitivity.
I almost gave up this evening... trying to transition the entire family (son has asthma and anxiety which are also helped by gluten-free lifestyle and my hubby is a trooper!) is WAY too much stress for me! But your post gave me motivation to continue...

September 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanaC2

I'm so glad you found it Jana! My mom had her large intestine removed and has suffered from digestive problems for over 20yrs. It sounds like you're doing a great job with your family. I can't even imagine how hard that is. Good luck to you!!!

September 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

That's so cool!!!

September 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

I think it is so neat that you figured this out. I thought about how hard it would be to eat differently than my husband and totally revamp our menus, kitchen, social calendar, etc. Takes a lot of creativity and research for sure. You are lucky your husband is agreeable! My family wouldn't cooperate.

September 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermarci

hey ashley, oh my gosh, i can relate to so much of what youre saying. i just though, i have IBS, its my just what i have to deal with. and thats was that. but after having several horrible days last month, i thought maybe i should look into the horrible bloating and fatigue. ibs is one thing, but this was much worse. i felt pregnancy sized. id always resigned to just deal with it, but after doing research i found FODMAPS. have you ever looked into this? it sounds SO similar to what you may have. from what i can tell (doing my own detox, elimination, food challenge thing - very similar to your detox) is that im not gluten intolerant, but i do react to various carbohydrates with fodmaps (wheat, being one of them). i just posted on it, so i wont go into excessive detail in your comments section, but i swear it has CHANGED my life. now i feel like a whole different person. im not gassy with a massive gut and it was such an easy thing to discover!

i just wanted to say thanks for posting this - i remember reading your detox plans back when you were doing them - and it really intrigued me.

since then ive discovered wheat free is a huge huge help. lucky for me, i can still have seitan because its only the protein from vital wheat gluten, not the carbohydrates or fiber.

September 19, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterelise

Ohhh seitan, how I miss thee. haha I guess I'm lucky my gut can tolerate beer! It's so great to hear from you on this topic, Elise. I don't think I've ever heard of FODMAPS [not sure how that is!] but I will definitely be checking it out. Thanks for the tip. Isn't so great not to look and feel like you're preggo every night? I never thought that day would come! Thanks for sharing your story and I'm so glad you've gotten to the bottom of your problem. xo!!

September 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

I just stumbled on your site today, and had already bookmarked it for the recipes when I discovered you are now gluten free. I could have written a similar post. Maybe I have Celiac, maybe I don't. We don't know, but both my doctor and I have no desire for me to go back on gluten and be miserable just so we can test later. Instead I say I have a gluten sensitivity. Many people assume that its Celiac and I don't want to use fancy terms, but its just I don't have a diagnosis.

I can say that the last year of my life has been much better without the 13 month pregnant bloat. And I too think it hits about 24 hours later. In the beginning I would get a few hours later, and think I was doing okay so it must have previously been in my mind, but oh, the next day. Ay yi yi!

Thank you for sharing and can't wait to add some of your recipes to my rotation.

September 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

Hi Linda! I hope some of my recipes are helpful for you. Good luck getting everything worked out with your stomach issues!

September 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Oh my gosh! Last night I wrote about how I relate to your story so closely because of being from MI and moving to CO and making the decision to clean up my eating... But that was all before reading this story! I could have written this! always feeling bloated and uncomfortable and eliminated things little by little and realized that it was clearly the gluten that was the problem. It was so great when I eliminated gluten and the way I felt free a meal. But noe when I do cheat and eat something I get much worse reaction so I keep my cheats for time where I can't help it.
I am so happy I found your blog!

November 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChelsea

I want to try this out too because I have many similar symptoms. Did you eat eggs during this diet?

January 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Wow! Thank you for sharing! I've had the same stupid bloating problem with my tummy and am currently in the first 2 weeks of cutting out gluten. Your method seems a lot more systematic- I'm just kindof waiting to see if my stomach bloats at all after not eating it for a period of time. So far, my stomach has been feeling a lot more normal, and I'm feeling like I could do this forever. I'm so excited to have found your site, chock-full of healthy and delicious-looking gluten-free recipes!

February 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

Good luck to you Andrea!

February 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAshley
obesity is something that can make a person frustrated, I think the diet and exercising regularly could solve the problem of obesity.
May 13, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkurniawan
Joint pain in my hands was the reason I stopped eating gluten, once I read about it's connection to arthritis. After 4 days of almost no gluten, my thumbs stopped hurting, and my rhinitis was considerably less. Two unexpected effects were improved digestion, and a much clearer headspace, no more anxiety. I have not been tested officially but I cannot ignore those 4 changes. I'm on my third month GF. Still learning what not to buy/eat.
May 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPaula Cowan

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