Monday, January 11, 2010

Gluten Free in 2003

Not really, but 2010 didn't rhyme with free.

So, after 40 some years of having a "nervous" stomach and various other ailments, I figured it was time to do something about it. I got tired of doctors trying to treat the symptoms instead of looking for the root of the problem, so I decided to put M.D. after my name and go for it. It stands for muy demented. Or mad dog, but not MD20/20. Or maybe it stand for mud dauber. Anyway, on Dec. 31, 2009, I called it quits on the gluten. Two minutes later I was thinking about some macaroni and cheese and a big loaf of homemade bread. But I persevered, and here we are, 12 days later. It hasn't been very difficult, because unlike a no-carb lifestyle, I have just eliminated gluten. No breads, and that includes english muffins and bagels, which is good, because I can eat my weight in bagels. No pasta. sigh. I hear there is a wide selection of gluten-free pasta, flours, mixes, breads, etc. for sale, but I'm sticking to what I have on hand for right now.

Think about it - unless you're an addicted gluten-a-terian, not much changes. Breakfast for me is coffee and eggs, or yogurt. Lunch is just about anything, being careful about pre-processed foods. Dinner is usually meat or some other protein, veggies, and rice or potatoes. Just like regular folk!!

I've found that some restaurants even have gluten-free menus, like Chili's, but I find it safer to just order things that seem safe. We ate at Cracker Barrel the other night, and I had the trout without the seasoning, the carrots and the greens. It was wonderful, and a nice change from the usual chicken and dumplings I usually get. While the Chili's menu said the potato soup was gluten-free, I did notice I had a slight headache and cramps later. I also ate the salad (minus the croutons) with some citrus-balsamic vinaigrette, which is also touted to be gluten-free.

I had been waking up with a headache every morning before all this, and I've been plagued with migraines since I was about 14. I've always had flatulence (I know, tmi, sorry) and terrible stomach pains. My eldest daughter was diagnosed with IBS, and after that I realized that I had been suffering from the same symptoms my entire life. I had always put down the symptoms when seeing a new doctor, but just figured it was something everyone went through. And apparently it wasn't important enough for any doctors to ask me about. Oh well.

I noticed immediate improvement after cutting out the gluten! Maybe it was psychological, because the day after I started, I woke up without the morning headache. No gas, no stomach cramps, no, well, you know. I was doing so well that I figured I could eat about 10 of the tortellini my husband made on Saturday. They were wonderful, yummy, cheesy, and full of flour. And my body knew it. About an hour later (IF that long) the symptoms started again. So, no more pasta.

I'm eating three meals a day, and haven't been craving anything like I usually do, but it's only been 12 days! My sweet husband brought home two boxes of mac and cheese, my favorite food of all time, and I have resisted. I was about to fall when I grabbed some yogurt, strawberries and blueberries and snacked on them. Who knew yogurt could be so good? I actually liked it!!

I'm not saying I'm gluten intolerant, or even gluten-sensitive. I'm just saying that I haven't felt this good in quite a while. I'm sure eating all this healthy stuff doesn't hurt. It's almost impossible to eat anything in a box, or pre-processed without encountering wheat, barley or rye, so you have to think before you put something in your mouth. And no, I haven't lost a pound. Go figure.

added later: If you are interested in learning about celiac disease, visit the site.


Trisha Jones said...

How interesting. My little sister's best friend's brother (wow on connections, I know!) is allergic to gluten and they found out when he was still a baby. He was getting sick all the time, wasn't growing enough, and was always crying. What a stinker that you've gone your whole life not knowing that your discomfort wasn't normal!

12 days really is plenty of time for your body to tell you that you're doing a good thing. Keep up the good work! Oh, and they always have gluten-free bags of cookie mix, pancake mix, and other "important" necessities at the grocery store near the boxed cake mixes and pie crusts, you should check them out!

Marie said...

Glad I could help.

Betsy said...

Nothing like reading about other people's digestive problems! But seriously, when you come down next we will go to Whole Foods or Native Sun and you can get some gluten-free mac and cheese!

Jenny said...

Have you ever had spaghetti squash? You probably have. I hadn't heard of it until a year (or two?) ago when I read about it on a friend's blog. It doesn't taste like spaghetti, but it's fun to eat and it's a nice substitute if you just feel like a nice big bowl of noodles. I eat pesto sauce on mine. Now I am kind of wishing I had some. You can eat a whole bowl of it and then eat dinner like nothing happened, because it's not heavy like real pasta.

Beverly said...

I was checking into this recently but having given up dairy for soy this one will have to wait.

I also have IBS, diagnosed when I was 18, so let me know how it goes.