Me: “I eat gluten-free. I’m allergic to gluten.”
Person: “Oh my god, I’m so sorry! That must be terrible. I couldn’t give up gluten.”
Me: “I’m not really giving it up … it makes me sick so I don’t eat it.”
Person shakes head. “That must be so hard.”
That’s the true story of almost every conversation I’ve had when the truth comes out about me being gluten intolerant. But hey, at least this means I’m just like Miley Cyrus, who admitted to being gluten and lactose intolerant on Twitter. (Okay, not a good thing. Have you seen her hair lately? Yikes. And yes, I follow Miley Cyrus on Twitter. Go ahead and judge.)
It’s either that “how awful for you” reaction or no reaction … because that means the person doesn’t understand what gluten is. But with references to gluten-free food being mentioned on TV shows like “90210,” “Ben and Kate,” and a variety of morning talk shows (including “The View”), the gluten-free lifestyle has become a popular fad. If you don’t know what gluten is, read about it here.
I’ve had many reactions from friends and family to my own gluten-free diet. I’ve also had many of my own battles staring at the bread, pastries and desserts people around me eat and contemplating if the awful stomach pain I’ll get later is worth it.
It usually isn’t. Unless we’re talking cake.
Lovely gluten filled food I miss:
-Cake, cookies, brownies, quesadillas, hamburgers, boneless wings, croutons, and garlic bread
The gluten food I do not miss:
-Bread, pasta, chips, ice cream, pastries, doughnuts, and pumpkin pie
So no, Ms. Your Life Must Be Awful Now Without Gluten, I’m not that upset about it. Fact is, I never really liked bread or pasta and just ate it when that was all there was. And now, as my body further forces me to be healthy, it also rejects fried food, too much dairy, and chocolate.
Yes, there is something worse than being gluten intolerant. Getting hives in my mouth from chocolate.
The good news is I can still eat rice! Except eating it way too much as a child ruined if for me, since it served as my dad’s go-to dinner side dish whenever he cooked.
I can eat potatoes! But really, in my opinion, the only way potatoes are good is when they’re mashed up with garlic or cut up and fried. But guess what? French-fries apparently have gluten.
So what does this leave me with? Chicken. Vegetables. Fruit. Meat. Fish. Carefully reading every label to see if there is any mention of wheat, barley or rye. And gluten-free food substitutes. Read my thoughts on some of them here.
But really, I’m not complaining. I did the free at-home test to see if I was gluten tolerant by avoiding gluten for a few days. And guess what?
I FELT SO MUCH BETTER! (That deserves all caps because really, it’s made a huge difference in how much Advil and Pepcid I choke down on a daily basis.) I’ve had migraines since I was 10 years old. For a week, I couldn’t go to school due to debilitating pain in my head. Lights felt like red hot pokers sticking ripping into my brain. I had no idea what was going on. My parents gave me Advil and Tylenol but nothing worked. I ended up going to the children’s hospital for heavy duty pain relievers and even got a CAT scan to check for a brain tumour. Turns out, I just had plain old migraines, just like my dad and older brother.
But now, since I’ve been eating gluten-free, I haven’t had a single migraine. It’s a migraine MIRACLE.
The craziest part? Now that I (almost always) eat gluten-free, when I do have gluten, the reaction is much worse than it’s ever been before. Immediate stomach ache. The next morning, it’s a flour hangover. Exhaustion, headaches and nausea. It’s like I’ve trained my body to reject any gluten I dare swallow.
Bye, birthday cake. It was nice knowing you. Your gluten-free substitute just isn’t the same.
Got the same problems as me? Leave a comment here, so we can cry together about eating gluten-free.