Gluten Free Me
Last week I made the decision to adopt a gluten free diet.
For those of you unfamiliar with what that actually means, here’s a quick primer.
Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye and in some instances, oats as well. It is present in pretty much anything and everything – bread, cakes, biscuits, gravies, sauces, ice cream, frozen chips, spreads, condiments, pastry and in some beverages like malted milk, beer and some chai teas. Gluten can also be found in medications and in some cosmetics too…
Given the prevalence of gluten in our modern diet, it can be really difficult, particularly when dining out, to find genuine gluten free options. As gluten is used as a thickening or binding agent in traditional baking and cooking, it can be very hard to avoid, particularly when you have to explain what gluten actually is to wait staff when out and about (sad but true!)
Believe me, if you haven’t experienced the joy of avoiding gluten while dining out or closely reading every single label in your overladen shopping trolley, you haven’t lived *sarcasm font*
So why have I decided to ditch gluten?
Well it turns out that I am a “latent coeliac”. Coeliac disease is a condition where the body has an auto-immune response to gluten which leads to intestinal damage, malabsorption issues and sometimes inflammation in other parts of the body. Diagnosis is made by taking a biopsy of the small bowel and confirming that intestinal damage is present.
In latent coeliac disease, antibodies are present in the blood (indicating an auto-immune response to gluten) but no discernible intestinal damage has yet occurred. In many cases of latent coeliac disease, an eventual full-blown diagnosis is inevitable as the disease becomes more active leading, eventually, to discernible intestinal damage.
While I don’t yet have full-blown coeliac disease I do have antibodies present in my blood as well as a few embarrassing and annoying symptoms that seem to be relieved when gluten is removed from my diet. Symptoms like uncontrollable flatulence and bloating. Very pleasant…not.
So balancing all that (plus the fact that I would prefer not to inflict damage on my body, if I can avoid it), I have decided to make the preemptive decision to adopt a gluten free lifestyle now, rather than later.
So I have enjoyed my last “real” sandwich and have grieved for the traditional hot cross buns that I will miss out on next year (truly a tragedy) and am focusing on becoming healthy again.
Apart from already feeling a little less smelly and uncomfortable, I’ve also found another unexpected benefit – I can no longer snack on my kids’ leftovers, a bad habit I had fallen into again recently. Hello weight control!
Do you have any experience in gluten free eating or cooking? Or do you have other fun dietary requirements? I would love to hear your experiences too!
Linking up with Jess’ IBOT for the first time in a long time…