SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO: I’ll be making a big announcement this Monday the 16th! It’s quite EPIC and I can’t wait to share it with the world!
TODAY’S POINT OF BALANCE: In my recent review of Bắc Asian American Bistro & Bar, I mentioned I was toying with a certain way of eating. That way means the elimination of this:
That’s right kids: I’ve been attempting gluten-free eating for the past ten days.
In case you are not familiar, let’s start with a definition of a “gluten-free diet” thanks to the Mayo Clinic:
A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley and rye… Gluten causes inflammation in the small intestines of people with celiac disease. Eating a gluten-free diet helps people with celiac disease control their signs and symptoms and prevent complications.
…and that means the elimination of wheat, barley, bulgur, and rye from my diet. Therefore, I have been avoiding these “usual suspects”:
I have still been enjoying:
- Wine: As you saw from last week’s wine tasting extravaganza
- Processed luncheon meats: I love those Hillshire Farm Deli-Select lunchmeats, which are gluten-free. They are even better on sale at Marc’s!
- Salad dressings labeled ‘gluten free’
- Sauces labeled ‘gluten free’
- Soups labeled ‘gluten free’
- Oats: While they can be contaminated with wheat during growing and processing stages of production, I just can’t give up my oatmeal.
Why am I doing this?
I feel some people see a gluten-free lifestyle as just another diet fad – a way to lose weight since you aren’t eating bread and pasta. However, I’m strictly doing it for health reasons. I’ve been dealing with some of the typical symptoms of gluten intolerance, including irritability, fatigue, anemia and digestive issues. I’ll save you the details, but they all seem to point in the direction of this food allergy. I figured eliminating gluten for a limited amount of time might open some doors to some answers.
What have I learned so far?
Maintaining a gluten-free diet is not easy. Gluten is used in so many different ways, including as a thickener in some foods. It is also found in medications, medications, vitamins and makeup. Also, just because something doesn’t have gluten in it doesn’t mean that it wasn’t contaminated in the facility it was processed in. That being said, I know I haven’t been 100% gluten-free because while I’ve done my best to keep an eye out for labeling, I’m sure I’ve missed something.
Walking into Panera Bread takes A LOT of will power. When you have to pick up a dozen bagels at 6:45AM for a 7:45AM committee meeting on the other side of town, all you really want is that sample of the chocolate chip bagel as you walk in the door. Now try driving to the other side of town with your car perfumed with the smell of bagel goodness. I couldn’t get to Westlake fast enough.
It’s a good thing that I LOVE fruits and veggies. There’s no question I get my recommended servings every day, which has made the dietary switch far easier for me. I’m sure if I typically ate other types of processed foods I would be mentally miserable right now.
It’s another good thing that I like preparing my own meals. Some people hate to cook. I LOVE it. My dad and I agree that the meals you make yourself taste so much better than what you’d get at a restaurant, and for a fraction of the cost. Making my own meals means I know what the ingredient list entails, which means less chance of unknown gluten consumption.
Funding a gluten-free diet is not cheap. Whole Foods is going to officially become Whole Paycheck. When purchasing pasta and breads in gluten-free form, the cost is significantly higher than buying the wheat varieties.
Brown rice and potatoes are my friends again. While I never hated either of them, rice and potatoes were never at the top of my “go to” lists of foods. However, in the past week, I’ve been cooking with these items more often and enjoying them again. I foresee a lot of rice casseroles and baked potatoes in my future!
An Important Note
I know that completely eliminating gluten from your diet before going for the standard blood test can alter the results. This is just a trial for me. In the next week or so, I plan to return to eating as I did before. I’ll note how I feel then compared to how I feel today, then go from there. That might mean making an appointment for blood testing. Or that might mean splurging on an all-you-can-eat pasta buffet. What is important is that I am listening to what my body wants and needs at this point in time to be healthy.
Any thoughts or tips? Have you tried to eliminate a food group to see if it makes a difference in your health? Do you have Celiac disease or gluten intolerance? How has it changed you and your daily food routine?
Disclaimer: Remember that I am not a Registered Dietitian. I have no formal education on this sort of thing. While my findings are all based on copius amount of time on MayoClinic and WebMD, I’m just reporting on how MY body reacts, not how YOUR body necessarily would. Be smarter than me and consult a doctor before making any changes to your diet.