Friday, June 3, 2011

Being Gluten Free

I don't eat gluten.  Ever.  No, I don't cheat.  Not even a little bit.

Does that surprise anyone?  That's often one of the first questions I get when someone finds out I'm gluten free.

The other thing people always say - always - is, "Oh, I could never give up bread/pasta/insert gluten filled food item here."

I don't know, maybe they couldn't.  Frankly, for me, the choice between a slice of Wonder Bread and a slow, painful, agonizing death from cancer is pretty easy.

You can keep your bread, thank you!  I'm fine.

Evidently not eating gluten is the latest "fad" diet out there.  A lot of people are jumping on the bandwagon, giving up gluten here and there, because they've heard it's good for you.

I actually tried it once, many years before I found out I had celiac disease, a genetic gluten intolerance.

That time, I didn't notice any change in my health, and abandoned the diet after a few weeks.  After all, it's a pain in the ass, and it wasn't helping, anyway.

What I didn't realize at the time was that I hadn't eliminated gluten.  Not at all.

Oh, I thought I had.  I stopped buying bread and didn't eat any pasta.  I had it covered.

I didn't realize that the stuff is in everything.  Really.  Look at your container of soy sauce, bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos, and package of Twix candy bars.

Then look at your spice cabinet.

And all those prepackaged foods in your freezer.

And pretty much every box and container on your pantry shelves.

Yeah, I was about as gluten free as a kid in a pie eating contest.  No wonder I didn't feel any better.

Once I was diagnosed with celiac disease, though, it all changed.  I went through the kitchen with a fine toothed comb.  No gluten escaped the purge.  Okay, I kept a few things that my husband eats, but when he finished them, they weren't replaced.

About three days after I eliminated gluten completely from my diet, something happened. 

I felt better.  I felt human.  For the first time in years.

From that day on, I haven't willingly touched anything with gluten in it. 

And I haven't missed the damn Wonder Bread one bit.

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