Sunday, June 27, 2010

I've been gluten free for 5 days now.

My belly is calming down - I actually went out shopping with Hubs yesterday and didn't have to rush off to the bathroom once - my joints are less swollen and painful, I don't itch as much and I have more energy.

I've found some healthfood stores that have good gluten-free foods and have purchased a breadmaker. . . it's going to take some getting used to, but I can do it.

The one thing that I seem to keep coming back to is eating out - not as restaurants, but at other people's homes; at parties and get togethers and such. I don't want to be rude and NOT eat, I don't want to cause a scene by going on about how I can't eat any of what they've prepared and I don't want anyone to go to special measures to make me stuff that's gluten-free. I told Hubs that I thought bringing my own food would be the best thing, but that didn't exactly go over well with him. However, it's not his body; he's not the one reacting badly to wheat products - so I think that I'm just going to do what I think is right.

My mother doesn't seem to get it. She thinks that as long as I don't eat bread, I'll be fine (and she describes Celiac disease as "having your tummy upset by wheat", bless her). I've tried to tell her that things like pie and cake and pastries and pasta and seasoning mixes and batters and canned soups and breakfast cereals are all off the 'can eat' list now, but I don't think she's understanding that wheat is literally everywhere. It's a good thing I don't live with her, I'd probably hurt her feelings by not being able to eat 90% of what she cooks.

I will say that my food choices are much, much healthier now that I'm having to scrutinize what I ingest. In the past when I wanted a snack I may have grabbed a cookie or a Danish. Now, I have a piece of fruit or a yogurt. Instead of just shoving anything in my mouth without really looking at what I'm eating, I'm choosing more nutritious foods and I'm very aware of what it is that I'm feeding myself.

I know I sound negative about this gluten-free diet, but I'm really not. I'm kind of enjoying experiencing new flavors and textures and foods . . . I'm just frustrated with some of the people around me. I know there are support groups for people with celiac disease, but is there much information for relatives/friends?


Eileen said...

Hi again! Yes - usually there is info for the family/friends explaining the problem in simple terms. The UK has good support sites. There are also some excellent cookery books for gluten-free food which start by explaining things well. (An Irish writer called Darina Allen, I think, has a brilliant one) Ignore your husband and when you go to friends take your own bread or a substitute in your bag so you have it if you need it - you might not!

Maybe the biggest thing is to get through to people that if you DON'T stick to your diet it's as big a problem as being diabetic and stuffing your face with sugar. It's not being "allergic" the way most people mean it and it isn't just "gas", eating gluten is damaging your gut to an extent where you would be seriously risking your health - people used to die from coeliac disease and some doctors still believe you are at a much higher risk of colon cancer (others say it's a genetic link so the diet is not so important in preventing the cancer, who knows the truth!).

BTW - if you like soy sauce, get Japanese or Tamari soy. Chinese soy souce is made of wheat so is a no-no but Japanese is fine as it is made differently.

Good luck - I'll keep an eye out on your posts,
all the best,

Ninjamedic said...

Thank you SO much, Eileen. Your comments and support are going a long way to making me feel like I'm not along in all of this and they (and you) are very much appreciated.

The diabetes analogy is a good one, and I think I'm going to use it!

Eileen said...

You most certainly are not alone - I live in an area of northern Italy where there are a couple of thousand registered coeliacs and probably lots more not yet diagnosed and it's not densely populated. There are a few hundred in my valley alone! In the country that the rest of the world knows as pasta and pizza land! It's good here - the restaurants know what's in their food and some keep gluten-free pasta on the shelf. The sauces are no problem anyway, but there is a willingness to help and some will even happily cook the pasta if you take your own as long as it isn't Saturday night (busy busy!).

I'm sure the USA is much less easy and you'll come to hate the people who say "oh, but I LOVE veggies"! I was at a conference in Cleveland last year and got to the stage where I did not ever want see a piece of broccoli again! Every lunch for 5 days, the identical salad - and I didn't get the chips everyone else got in their lunch pack. I was starving by 2.30. But I found a cafe where they made their own falafels - oh yum! And the breakfasts were good so I stocked up on a big plate of eggs and bacon. Like I said before - once you learn to navigate it'll be so much easier. And you'll be such an expert in reading labels - it just gets difficult as you get older and the print gets smaller (at least, that's how it feels).

Good luck with all the other changes too!