it started two months ago: terrible indigestion + abdominal pain, a foggy feeling, fatigue. i thought...i don't know what i thought. maybe i was getting old? not chewing my food well enough? could it be anxiety? i didn't actually think all that much about it. i just ignored it...until i couldn't anymore. it would happen after lunch sometimes, and i'd spend my afternoon at work pretty much useless.
i began to think it was related to something i was eating -- my greatest fear, of course, that it was lactose intolerance (i. love. cheese.). i tried cutting out dairy for a few days + didn't feel much better, so i started writing down what i ate + how i felt afterward. the answer practically jumped off the page: i felt sick after eating bread + pasta.
one of my close friends (+ bridesmaids) arielle has lived with celiac disease for years. we went to college together + i learned a lot about what she could + couldn't eat because of gluten (a protein composite that occurs naturally in wheat + grain-related species, like rye + barley. in the past few decades, though, people have also started putting gluten in ridiculous things like cosmetics + soy sauce.). celiac disease is a serious autoimmune disorder + i knew that it wasn't what i had. i could eat oats without any trouble, which arielle told me can be the dividing line between celiac + a gluten sensitivity. all signs were pointing to sensitivity on my end.
i made a doctor's appointment for later that week + cut gluten out of my diet as fast as i could. i immediately started to feel better. no more indigestion or abdominal pain, and weirdly enough, my skin started to clear up a little. i felt less irritable (probably because i felt better physically). it was such a relief! especially that i could still eat cheese.
my doctor confirmed what i had suspected: i have a gluten intolerance. (if you think you might be having a reaction to gluten, or to anything in your food, i highly recommend you see your doctor before making any major changes.) i've been gluten-free since then + feeling awesome. i miss bread, i really do, but it's okay. i could do with a little less bread in my life (i have a wedding dress to fit into in three months).
**that being said, i don't recommend going gluten-free just to lose weight, unless it's recommended + supported by your doctor. it can actually be unhealthy if not done right.**
kristie + i were kind of surprised to realize that we don't really eat that much gluten when cooking meals for ourselves. a few tiny changes were all that were necessary to get most of our favorite recipes to be edible -- and still delicious -- for both of us. luckily, living + dining out in northampton makes pretty much any food restriction easier. almost all the restaurants here happily cater to those of us who can't eat gluten, or who are vegan or dairy-free. going out takes a little bit of advance preparation, but overall i've been so happy at how helpful + supportive our restaurants are.
here are some products + resources that i've found helpful so far:
- trader joe's has a great list of all their gf products. i really like the corn flour spaghetti, and found a pretty affordable gluten-free multivitamin with iron there.
- one of my favorite restaurants, the green bean, is even more valuable to me now! they will make any of their sandwiches with udi's bread...almost as good as the real thing. another local favorite, roberto's, makes a delicious gluten-free pizza.
- amy's is always good for food that pretty much anybody can eat!
- i've only used the bob's red mill gluten-free flour for little things (like thickening scalloped potatoes). so far, so good.
- this recipe for gluten-free peanut butter cookies. i used to make these even before i had to! obsessed.
- considering you is a whole health blog just launched by allie from be up + doing. i can't wait to see more gluten-free recipes like this one.
- visit your local health food store or co-op. mine, river valley market, has everything from frozen gf pizza crusts to gluten-free cupcakes made in-house.
are you gluten-free? what are some of your favorite recipes or products? i especially can't wait to learn some new recipes for the slow cooker.