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Living Gluten Free

July 11, 2011

 

Here’s the short  version of my journey to being gluten-free:

A few years ago now, I made some lifestyle changes in order to lose weight. One of those decisions was to eliminate – or at least cut back significantly on – simple carbohydrates:  sugars and white flours, essentially.  As a result, I eliminated almost all wheat products from my diet.  After a period of time, I noticed that having a small amount of wheat – even whole wheat products – made me feel a little, well crazy.  And my digestive system most definitely did not agree with me.  I discussed this with my doctor, asking her what she thought. Her opinion was basically, “I can certainly order tests for you, or you can simply avoid the foods that do not agree with you.” (Isn’t she a smart girl?)  Deciding to forgo the testing, I focussed on avoiding the carbs … and wheat.

Over time, as generally happens, carbs and wheat came back into my life.  This past year, in a renewed effort, I eliminated both again.  After several weeks of being on the bandwagon, and doing really well, I slipped. I had some frozen pizza.  The next morning found me nearly unable to get out of bed. Think a cross between being hung over and the all-over body aches you get when you’re coming down with the flu.  I silently prayed for forgiveness for every time I had rolled my eyes in disbelief over someone’s “gluten hangover.”

I’ve experienced that a few more times now, but not nearly to that degree, thankfully.  The main symptom I notice with gluten is that if I consume it, I will have really achey joints for the next day, or few days, even.  And it will leave me feeling just lousy enough that I am really NOT tempted at all to cheat anytime soon.

What I’ve found in the news, now that I’m paying attention a little more, is that 1. gluten negatively affects a significant amount of people and 2. that amount appears to be on the rise, possibly thanks to changes in the wheat production industry over the years.

Because I love food, love to cook, avoiding gluten – for me – is really not about buying “gluten-free” packaged items in the grocery store. And it’s really not even about focussing on avoidance.  I’m focussing on cooking and baking foods that I love in ways that my body can appreciate.  Good food is about celebrating, not depriving.

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