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The first thing I ate after coming off the paleo diet my first time around was pizza. I will never forget, because my stomach bloated up like a balloon and I was doubled over in pain for nearly an hour. I never realized that I had a sensitivity to gluten, wheat, or grains until I eliminated them altogether.

Many of us go through life thinking it’s normal to feel discomfort after eating sometimes. Our bellies expand, we have to undo our belts, we get cramped up and/or gassy. Newsflash: Eating should not cause us pain, period. That pain is our body telling us something is wrong. We’re eating too much, or we’re eating crap.

Simply put, gluten is a protein that is difficult for our bodies to digest. It is used in food products for elasticity, hence the bloating. People who don’t have Celiac’s or an extreme sensitivity to gluten may not have to eliminate it from their diet altogether. But those of us who choose to consume it should use it sparingly (for a list of reasons why, look here: http://paleoleap.com/11-ways-gluten-and-wheat-can-damage-your-health/). By the way, gluten is also used in cosmetics and hair products…and yet the USDA has suggested for years that we consume 6-11 servings of it DAILY. So scary.

Back to pizza. I’m a big fan. I would be in favor of pizza being its own food group, actually. Few Friday nights have been made happier for me with anything other than a couple slices of hearty pizza and a beer (also loaded with gluten, by the way. Also wish beer could be its own food group, but hey…as my friend Jill would say, “you win some, you lose most”).

What I’m not a fan of, is how eating pizza makes me feel. Like that sweaty bobber of a man behind the circus tent shoveling elephant dung who had a real woman once, honestly he did. Gaspy and heavy and reaching for the flask again because hell, there’s no going back to an honest living now.

This is just an illustration, guys. Put your tissues away.

The good news is, we can still have our pizza and eat the crust, too. Paleo pizza dough to the rescue! Did you just imagine a disc of pizza dough flying through the air with a cape and muscle-y arms? Because I did. And this pizza dough from White Lion Baking Company SHOULD have a cape, because for those of us with gluten sensitivities, it’s a real hero.

This dough succeeds in delivering a crust that is satisfyingly bready and pre-herbed to boot. It. Smells. Divine. My fairy tale grandmother smells exactly like this dough, mixed with a little soap and some lavender too. She is a tiny old woman with a whisper of white hair and a simple apron she’s worn all her life and she’s the only cat lady I can tolerate. Anywho…

This crust is easy to make; follow the included directions carefully and it’s really idiot-proof (I know because I made it). It’s available as a mix, which can be shipped https://www.whitelionbaking.com/product/paleo-pizza-crust-mix/¬†or as a prebaked shell (only if you come into the shop). My girls and I topped our pizza with caramelized onion meatballs, cremini mushrooms, Romano cheese and rosemary. I actually couldn’t finish two slices of pizza; it’s that filling. Normally…well. We won’t go there.

So is Friday night pizza night at your house? Stock up on this dough mix before then. Get your whole family involved in the pizza making process. Get a fire going, have some wine. Enjoy being snowed in by making memories. And be sure to tell us how it goes!