Oh My Gluten

It’s a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, and I’m espresso-ed, Pilates-ed, and green-juiced and ready to relax outdoors for the remainder of the day… as soon as I hit publish. I love springtime!

I know that going Gluten-Free is the trendy thing to do lately (although in reality unless you have some type of intolerance/Celiac’s you really shouldn’t because you miss out on a ton of vital nutrients).  But I’m being 100% honest when I tell you that never in my right mind would I have considered it. I’m not into any type of extreme deprivation to diet, or cutting out food groups. Just not my style. But after doing an elimination experiment (cutting out dairy for a week made no difference, cutting out gluten for a week made all the difference in the world.

Suddenly my stomach didn’t always hurt. I had more energy. I felt amazing.

Going back to the risks of going gluten-free… The Mayo Clinic is a great resource for all things health, and since I’m not a health professional, I figured I’d just take their advice. There are always risks if you cut something entirely out of your diet, and if you do, it’s important to be mindful about it and ensure you’re getting the right nutrients.

Not getting enough vitamins
People who follow a gluten-free diet may have low levels of certain vitamins and nutrients in their diets. Many grains are enriched with vitamins. Avoiding grains with a gluten-free diet may mean eating fewer of these enriched products. Ask your dietitian to review your diet to see that you’re getting enough of these key nutrients:

  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Fiber
  • Thiamin
  • Riboflavin
  • Niacin
  • Folate

Not sticking to the gluten-free diet
If you accidentally eat a product that contains gluten, you may experience abdominal pain. Some people experience no signs or symptoms after eating gluten, but this doesn’t mean it’s not damaging their small intestines. Even trace amounts of gluten in your diet may be damaging, whether or not they cause signs or symptoms.

The reality is: I feel like crap when I eat gluten. And my stomach lets me know about it. And it’s painful.

I mentioned about a month ago that I was experiencing quite a few symptoms and that whenever I ate Gluten, it only intensified. I did my best to cut out Gluten but then weddings, celebrations, dinners out, etc happened. I’d say I cut it down to about 80/20.

No gluten! HAPPY HAPPY!

While in Boston last week I ate mainly gluten-free (lobstaaaah), save for a few bites of a Mike’s Pastry cannoli (can you blame me?), a couple of fried clams (when in New England…) and rye toast at brunch after a particularly grueling 7 mile run. It didn’t really bother me that much (or I was in denial because the cannoli was so damn good) so I thought maybe I was in the clear.

Then I gluten-ed the hell out of Friday. Whole Wheat home-made pizza, pita chips and hummus, rye toast at brunch… you get the idea. (FYI: Pure rye bread contains only rye flour, without any wheat, but what I had was definitely more of a sourdough rye).

My stomach was furious with me Saturday.

So here’s my honest-to-goodness pledge. No Gluten. 7 Days. Assess after the fact. 

It’s occurred to me that I need to stop half-assing it and really limit the gluten for special occasions (Mike’s Pastry will always be a special occasion in case you were wondering). I always feel 100% better when I don’t eat gluten, even if it’s just for a few days at a time. When I add gluten back into my diet, without a doubt my stomach goes on a rampage.

Luckily there are substitutions for just about everything. Flour, pizza dough, bread, cookies, even beer!

Wine. Making gluten-free people happy since… forever. (If wine does have gluten in it, just let me live in my bubble of denial please.)

Is it worth it to give up some of my favorite foods, and to have to be a little higher-maintenance at restaurants? Or to not annihilate the bread basket? Absolutely. I hate feeling crappy, and I hate when my stomach is pissed at me. We should be friends.

I have a pretty solid plan in mind to not eat gluten for 7-days, and to get all the crap out of my system to start fresh. Details tomorrow 🙂

If you eat gluten-free- I need tips! What are your go-to’s? What are hidden sources of gluten that I probably don’t even know about?

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6 thoughts on “Oh My Gluten

  1. I eat gluten-free too. Probably 90% of the time. I reserve gluten for special occasions, usually baked goods or out to eat if I really want something with gluten. Soy sauce has gluten, but you can get gf soy sauce – look up Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. Also, Real Foods has awesome gf breads in the refrigerator section – I like the Flax Plus brand. And Trader Joes makes great brown rice tortillas. It’s fairly easy to eat GF just gotta be prepared. Hope it helps you feel better!

  2. My man cut his gluten late last year so I end up doing the same by default. The sweet potato pasta is my fave… I’m starting to prefer GF pasta to the regular stuff. And cider beer is GF… In case you’re not feeling like wine. Bread-wise, we haven’t really found anything we actually like, so he just goes without it, and I sneak in the occasional bagel every now and then. Good luck!

  3. I’ve been told by doctor’s that to see if you truly have an intolerance to a food, you need to go 100% without it for 2 weeks- not even bites or tastes of anything. Then on the 15th day, eat as much of the product that you cut out as you can. How your body reacts to that is supposed to be a clear indicator. Since my mom is GF, I find myself cooking GF a lot (super easy and including lots of quinoa) and being so excited when more and more restaurants have GF menus!

    • That is REALLY interesting! I think I will try that! Thank you for the advice! If I see a difference after the 15th day of gorging on all things Gluten, I’m definitely going in to see my doc

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