Goodbye Gluten! How and Why I Did It
Gluten. The magical substance which makes food taste good.
Yeah, being the intelligent person I was, I gave it up forever.
BUT HOPE WAS NOT LOST!!!!
Giving up gluten has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.
I’ve always had a love hate relationship with food. On one hand I want to just consume anything that tastes good, but on the other I want to be conscious of what I’m putting in my body and how it will effect me. Giving up gluten has played a huge factor in my physical and mental health, and here’s how I did it:
Growing up, every day my mom would make white bread to have with dinner. In high school, I basically lived of off timbits (those count as a food group, right??) and considered myself an expert in professional cinnamon bun critiquing. Living in Alberta, eating wheat was basically unavoidable.
So why give it up?
I say it’s complicated, but really it’s not. Gluten is not for me. Before giving up gluten, I struggled with many health conditions both physically and mentally. Most notably, I was constantly bloated and having stomach issues which drastically impacted my self image, as I didn’t feel comfortable wearing many clothes because of how my stomach looked. I also often had rashes and major mood swings which made me a very (very) grumpy person.
My mom, at over 40 years old, also struggled with the same rashes I did. In fact, we shared lots of the same symptoms (***UPDATE*** after reading this post my mom wanted to add that we DID NOT share the same symptom of grumpiness and that it was just me who had had this... pfffft okayyyyy). As you should do if you’re feeling off, she investigated this with her doctor and they discovered that she has CELIAC DISEASE (which is actually way more common than you’d guess!). Following this, she was instructed to completely eliminate gluten from her diet. Being the supportive (or copycat??) daughter I am, I decided to join her in going cold turkey. Zero, zilch, naaadddaaaa.
Apparently celiacs disease has a high hereditary component, so by my doctor, I was recommended to maintain this lifestyle in the assumption that because of my matching symptoms with my mom, I too have the dreaded allergy, or at least a sensitivity.
SO HOW DID I MANAGE IT?
Surely the queen of french toast can’t just decide to never eat french toast again??
Let me tell you. The first two weeks were horrible. I craved nothing more than a maple glaze donut with cookie crumbles on top. BUT, to fill the void, I ate fruit. (Lots and lots of fruit). (Like four bananas a day but let's keep that a secret). (And any peaches or strawberries that I could find).
In these two weeks I became very aware of what I could and could not eat. Reading ingredients labels became a habit. Generally, I learned: if it contains
It’s a no go. And as simple as that, I’d just not eat it.
Then suddenly, as if someone waved a magic wand at me, I stopped craving it. Although I’m still disappointed in the dense, crumbly alternatives that gluten free isles offer, they still seem to fill the void if for some reason I am dyyying for a cookie. And with my cravings, away also went my mood swings, bloating, rashes, and illnesses! I felt like a completely new person, alert, happy, and ready to go tackle some peanut butter rice cakes!
Now, if I even accidentally eat trace amounts of gluten, I definitely suffer the consequences. I’ve gotten to the point where it’s not even worth “cheating” and eating some because I know how negatively it will affect my body, and how much better I feel without it.
So whether you’re jumping on gluten free for the trend, or because you’re actually allergic, here are my biggest tips:
it’s not worth cheating and still eating some on weekends. Damage to your stomach is damage no matter how little you have. Eliminate it completely, it will make you feel so much better.
check all ingredients lists always. Recipes are always changing so stay on your toes! This includes checking sauces, hot drinks, soups, and spices
if you’re craving gluten like crazzzyyy, there are tons of alternative options. From gluten free Oreos, to pasta, to pretzels, to bread, they’re out there for this reason! They may not taste quite as good but they’ll kick that craving
you’ll get used to the texture and taste of gluten free items over time, just keep eating it!
ask for burgers “protein style” so it has a lettuce bun and no wheat for low carb options!
gluten free isn’t always healthier. To compensate for the taste, gluten free items are often loaded with preservatives and artificial sweeteners. Opt for cooking things yourself (add an extra egg, xantham gum, and corn starch to help with textures in some items)
believe in yourself! A healthy mind makes a healthy body
So good luck! Gluten free isn't for everyone, but it's totally doable!
Cheers! (Just not with beer because it's not gluten free <3 )