Lexi's Clean Kitchen

Lexi Davidson Interview

1. Why did you start suspecting you had a gluten allergy? 

So I don’t have an allergy, or actually, haven’t ever decided to be tested. When I found out I was sensitive (food sensitivity panel), along with having a bacteria overgrowth (Candida) that feeds on yeast -- that was enough for me. But I digress! It wasn’t until after college, and after graduate school, that I started really thinking about diet and exercise, and how I was feeling- physically, emotionally, and mentally.
I was exercising more regularly, but had gastrointestinal issues so badly that it started affecting and impacting my daily life. I didn’t want to go out or do things because I was so bloated and felt sick all of the time. I’ll spare you the details, but when you can’t go to the bathroom for days after days, it’s not a fun feeling.  Something needed to change when it began affecting my day-to-day life. It was pretty clear to me that all of the ailments I was experiencing was gut related, so I decided to look at foods that cause inflammation and foods that can prevent proper digestion. I decided to cut out gluten and dairy, and I was pretty strict about it. Guess what? Fairly instantly, I started feeling pretty good. Not amazing, but definitely began seeing improvements across the board. 
I slowly (I put emphasis on this because I don’t love an all or nothing approach to diet) began to eliminate other trigger foods from my diet, such as grains, soy, and refined sugars. This was pretty much the turning point where I really started to see a dramatic change in my health. I was going to the bathroom regularly, I wasn’t bloated all of the time, I was feeling confident with my body, and I started having more energy. With all of this, I was also getting more creative in the kitchen and realizing there were so many people out there, just like me, struggling to heal various ailments, or just wanting to eat healthier, which I realized could be done significantly through eating real food. This was the time I started the Lexi’s Clean Kitchen Instagram account which later evolved into my website, lexiscleankitchen.com 

2. What was the process of finding out you were allergic to gluten?

So I don’t have an allergy, or actually, haven’t ever decided to be tested. When I found out I was sensitive (food sensitivity panel), along with having a bacteria overgrowth (Candida) that feeds on yeast -- that was enough for me, along with simply feeling better without it in my diet. 

3. What was your emotional reaction to the results and finding out you had to go gluten free?

My now husband Mike literally didn’t think I could do it! He was like, “there’s no way you aren’t going to eat the bread basket at dinner!” But I was committed. Back then there weren’t nearly as many resources out there like there are now. Quite frankly, it stunk, which was why I began developing my own recipes and ultimately started my, then hobby, now business!

4. What was the learning curve like and self-education process of what you could and could not eat? What resources did you use?

I did A LOT of research online and read some good books. Keep in mind, I was also cutting out dairy, grains, soy, and refined sugar, so for me reading labels and learning hidden little names for things was important! There’s some good online resources out there!

5. Did you struggle with the transition, what were the surprises along the way (i.e. things you couldn’t eat, difficult from family/friends/waiters etc)?

Family holidays were initially more challenging, because my sweet 94-year-old nanny didn’t understand why I wouldn’t eat her famous meatballs! Now, everyone gets it, and even more so, they’re open to the idea of eating gluten-free themselves for various reasons! 
Eating out is so much easier now! I was just in Italy and literally was blown away by how gluten-free friendly it was there. It was more challenging then, but thankfully it’s easier these days!

6. What was the biggest overall impact/learning to your life? What about your family and friends?

I think overall I learned, in so many ways, that food could heal. Of course, there are things we cannot control, but we can control what we put in and on our bodies. I truly believe in the power of food and the difference it can have on our bodies (and our minds)

7. What was it like when you first went out to eat?

Probably just really, really wanting something that was ordered by a friend or family member! And that bread basket! In the beginning, before you see a major difference in your health, it seems like a pain, but once you feel better, you don’t want to feel that way again and it makes it so much easier.

8. At what point did you feel confident about your handle on this diet?

Once I started realizing I could make really good alternatives that satisfied what I wanted, like my pizza crust, bread, pancakes, etc.

9. How has the gluten free world changed since your transition and how do you see it continuing to change in the next 5-10 years? 

It’s totally transformed! Now you can eat really, really good gluten-free while out, which was SO not the case. There are still products out there that aren’t great, but there are so many that are really legit. What a change in the past 5 years!
How I see it changing, or hope to see it changing: Often gluten-free products aren’t necessarily healthier or better for you. I hope that 1. People will be educate themselves and read labels (even gluten free ones)! And 2. That there will be more gluten-free products are conscious of the other ingredients used!

10. What’s one thing you would go back and tell yourself looking back now?

To me in college: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. I ignored all of my crazy gut issues then and really, really regret that.
To me starting out this type of lifestyle: Don’t sweat it so much!!!  There are more difficult things in life.

11. What’s your favorite gluten free recipe?

Oh man, do I have to pick just one? I’d probably go with my fluffy paleo pancakes or my waffles. They are a game changer and totally the real deal!