I always knew that I should listen to my instincts. In December of 200,3 I was in an auto accident. It changed my life. I was suddenly in massive pain all over my body, mostly my back. The fatigue was so overwhelming that I felt as if there was a magnet pulling me to the core of the earth. I could not sit, sleep or eat. I was very ill and my doctors could not help me with a diagnosis or cause of the uncontrollable multiple symptoms and pain. I began to have allergic reactions to the pain medications. This was getting scary and I couldn’t eat. I wanted to find the root of the pain that had become chronic and debilitating after six months. I continued to question everything. Why would I have this odd intense pain on my face, arms, legs, hands and all over my back? My pain was so deep that my legs would cramp up so badly to the point where I couldn’t get out of bed and walk into the other room. Migraine headaches would come on suddenly and last for days. I could not get out of bed. I had to do something to feel better and fast. You can read more about my story here.
I remember talking to multiple doctors after I had researched and read books over the year to try to figure out what was wrong with me. I finally asked if I could get a tested for celiac disease. The test came back positive and yes I had celiac disease.
"So what now?" I remember thinking. What is gluten and why is it in everything? Are you kidding me…it is in pizza?! I loved pizza so much my brother and sister used to call me “Lisa Pizza Pie” for goodness sake! I loved to cook, entertain, not follow recipes mind you, but create food that looked, smelled and tasted amazing. I was on a mission to make and enjoy pizza once again! Only now it would be Lisa Gluten-Free Pizza Pie!
Lisa's first edible gluten-free
pizza, made in 2005.
Lisa's new and improved
gluten-free pizza - 2013
I must admit if it hadn’t been for the internet, I am not sure how I would have made it through the hardest of times. I began to research anything and everything I could to find out about gluten-free foods and celiac disease. This was 9 years ago and there was very little information about celiac disease. But there was a glimmer of light, though - I found the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA). I was comforted by reading NFCA President Alice Bast's story, gluten-free foods and details about celiac disease. I remember printing pages and putting them into a binder to make my own reference guide to take shopping with me. It was crazy back then, but I felt good knowing I was not alone.
It took years for me to finally get to the point of really knowing my body and learning to live a happier gluten-free lifestyle. I began to look at food as a celebration again. I started writing my blog – Gluten Free Foodies – Celebrate the foods that you can eat! in May of 2009. I wanted to share my newly created gluten-free recipes and research that I discovered. To this very day I am thankful that I found out that I have celiac disease. I finally know what was making me so incredibly sick. Now my blog is my therapy and a way for me to pour my heart and soul into something greater than just me. I want to be the guide to others on their journey as NFCA did for me.
On June 25th, I celebrated both the 10 year anniversay of NFCA and my birthday by making my gluten-free pizza pie! I can’t think of a better way to share this day! Now we have more that just one thing in common. Bravo Alice and NFCA!
Lisa Garza aka “Lisa Gluten Free Pizza Pie”