…A Gluten-Free What?

My suspicions have been confirmed – I need to bin gluten from my diet. This isn’t a big surprise – I’ve noticed over the last couple of months that I’ve been getting sick after I eat wheat, or things containing it. I’ve always thought that I’ve had a sort of abnormally bloated feeling after meals, but I thought that was because I was eating too much. Which I was. And that’s why I’m writing a blog called “Fat Girl, PhD.”

I’ve always been inclined to get sick when I’m stressed out – but I think I’ve figured that out too. I’m a comfort eater, so when I’m emotional, I eat, and the foods I choose to eat when I’m emotionally eating include things like pizza, pizza and… Yeah. You get the gist. What does worry me, however, is the fact that I’ve had a lot of knee surgery as a result of my accident a few years ago, but I’m now ever so slightly suspicious that the last surgery may have been to treat pain that might (might!) have been related to an allergy. I say this because I was near enough convinced I needed the same surgery to the other leg before I cut down on wheat, and now… I’m near enough pain free.

Scary.

My new nemesis.

Anyway, this means it’s time to rethink my eating habits quite extensively. I’ve been following a low-carb (note: not no-carb), high-protein plan for a while now, which is how I discovered this issue – so fortunately I’m fairly clued up on some excellent recipes. I’ve already discovered (and gotten addicted to) quinoa and lentils, and I’m almost over the need for my ‘daily bread’ …although I will admit that I’ve stocked up on GF bread products that were reduced at the supermarket on the way home. I figure they’re a handy thing to have in the freezer.

At an initial glance, though, I’m surprised at how many pre-packaged gluten-free products are actually quite bad for you – well, not bad, but…not great, for something that looks like it should be super-healthy. I’ve already been making steps towards eating clean, trying to use as few processed foods as possible in my diet, and keeping packaged products to a minimum, but obviously I’m not a fully fledged clean eater. This gluten-free business is either going to make that much easier, or much more difficult.

I’m aiming for the former.

It’s quite interesting to me that going gluten-free is more a psychological issue than anything else. We don’t need gluten, and my body actively dislikes it – but most, if not all, of my comfort foods are packed full of it. Bread, pizza, pasta, biscuits… If you’d told me a year ago I’d have to give this up, well… I don’t know. I think I’d have probably opted for the stomach and knee pain. Now, though, I have different resources for coping with stress, or just for finding pleasure.

Now, I’d choose an intensive yoga class (like the one I’ve just had – phew!) over a trip to Pizza Hut; a cup of green tea over a chocolate biscuit. I’d choose the thing my body wants over the thing my brain thinks it needs. And dammit, I feel pretty good about that. It’s indicative of the general trend of getting rid of negative influences one by one – smoking, painkillers, fat – that’s meant that I’m a much stronger person now than I was then.

So, yes, I was miffed (to say the least) when I called for my test results earlier today. But I’ve already made most of the changes I need to make, so now it’s just a matter of being a bit more selective (and savvy – gluten-free and cheap don’t seem to go well together) and focusing on changing for the better.

So… Anybody got any good tips for going gluten free? And what can you change today that will make your life better?

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2 responses to “…A Gluten-Free What?

  1. My boyfriend is allergic to gluten. He gets hives, canker sores (no joke, at one point he couldn’t talk because he had 8 or 10 in his mouth at a time), cranky and irritable, his digestion would get sluggish and he’d need to sleep so much after a meal. It has been quite the adjustment period since he gave up wheat about a year ago, but its been for the better. The greatest lesson we learned was to try our bestest to make things at home. “Gluten free” products from the stores are so high in sugar and fat, and are often frozen and get stale as soon as you defrost them. There are a few things that we like to make together that are gluten free… I’ll share those recipes with you, I just gotta dig ’em up!

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