It’s been roughly, 8 weeks since I began my journey into a gluten-free lifestyle. There’s been a lot of reading, a few incidents of accidentally being glutened and the continued frustrations of my tummy still not progressing in the manner I want. But I imagine all of us who are struggling with gastrointestinal issues, diarrhoea and unexplained nausea and vomiting would like answers and a return to normalization.
Where gluten-free has become the topic of trendy conversations, and the latest in fad-dieting, for those of us with chronic tummy issues, non-celiac gluten-sensitivity or celiac disease, Crohn’s, IBD or IBS this is a very serious issue. Going gluten-free has become a lifestyle choice and sometimes necessity that has vastly improved the gut situation and while hearing something like being “accidentally glutened” might sound funny, and is perhaps being said to provide a little levity to a serious situation, the consequences of being “glutened” can be very serious. Just ask anyone who’s suffered the effects of accidental cross-contact. (Which is different than cross-contamination.) Cross-contamination: Cross-contamination is a term that implies that a food has been exposed to bacteria or a microorganism, which could result in a foodborne illness like salmonella. By definition, it can lead foodservice and other industry professionals to believe that if a food is “contaminated” by gluten, they can simply “kill off” the contaminant. However, gluten is a protein (not a type of bacteria) and proteins cannot be “killed off” using heat or disinfecting agents like most bacteria can be. Cross-contact: more accurately reflects that a gluten-containing food cannot come into contact with gluten-free food. This is actually a really important distinction because to be able to speak the same language that chefs to when you are away from home will allow you to have a better experience dining out and explaining what you need. (Beyond Celiac, n.d.)
I’m still learning a lot and I’m by no means an expert. I’ve been reading blogs and books and trying to learn as much as I can. The thing I find most difficult about being gluten-free is balancing how many stores bought [gluten-free items] I want to get and how much I can make at home [from scratch], given that gut issues aren’t my only problem and while I wish I had the energy to be the Martha Stewart-type, because the fact it is, besides writing I would say cooking is my other passion and DIY stuff a close third. But there are only so many things I can do and the energy it takes to prepare a menu for the week, go shopping and cook, is about the size of it. There times, where I do enlist a bit of help to, can things, or have made bread and frozen it, or have prepared meals and frozen them and have been glad for it for I’m not sure how much more time-consuming gluten-free meal planning would be. I’ve looked at a few things, like bread making, because buying gluten-free sandwich bread at the store is ridiculous in price and I have my youngest who is getting ready to switch over and possibly my oldest as well, who’ve shown already to have my gut and inflammatory issues- my oldest already being diagnosed with R.A., while my youngest has only been diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis. If we can stave off a diagnosis, simply by changing her diet she felt it was worth it especially since she has a lot of tummy issues already. But with bread prices between $7 to $12 per loaf, we were wanting to make it ourselves if possible. She’s an amazing baker so I’m hoping to find a recipe that is worth the time and effort. If you know of a good one that you’ve tried, please send it to me!
So far for me, the results are worth continuing even though at times it can be trying. I’ve lost 11 pounds. My gut issues have calmed down about 80% and although they haven’t been eliminated, I can’t attribute the near resolution of it to anything but the change in diet and that unresolved 20% could still be because I haven’t mastered this lifestyle. There are many, many places where gluten can lurk, that I am still learning and there are many names that gluten can go by that I am also learning. Reading labels is very important. This where I am just going to drop this link: Celiac Organisation They have some great information to follow if you’ve just recently discovered you can’t do the gluten thing. It’s not as easy as you may think and just jumping into it blindly is not the way to go. Not if you want to truly give your gut the best chance to heal.
I’ll be giving regular updates on my Gluten-Free life and I’ll even drop some recipes that I love. I’ve discovered some recipes and products already that have made going Gluten-Free bearable and even, dare I say it, enjoyable. So, stay tuned. It’s not as dreary as it seems. You can do it. Do a little research, give yourself a couple of days to enjoy the last of the gluten before you plunge into it. But no cheat days! If you are really sensitive like me, cheat days mean sick to your stomach and that’s just not good at all.