About one year ago I cut gluten out of my life. It was a difficult decision at the time, since my husband and I love to cook, travel and collect recipes, and make homemade pasta and bread. I was not happy about the prospect of never again biting into a buttery croissant, or a thick, yeasty slice of homemade bread, or tucking into a steaming bowl of pasta. I was miserable, though, and so I decided to give gluten-free eating a 2 week test. If I didn’t notice a change in the intensity of my fibro pain or the capricious nature of my digestion, I’d go back to eating all the things I love.
I cut gluten out on a Saturday. By Monday my digestion had improved. I had far less gut pain and the horrible, raw burning sensation I had long blamed on diverticulitis had all but disappeared. I itched less too!! For decades my ears, eyes, hands and feet itched and burned, and sometimes I felt prickly all over. I had learned to live with all of these issues and didn’t think they were all that bad. How sad.
The best thing that happened to me was that my brain fog started to clear in a few days, and in about 2 weeks I was 50 percent less “foggy.” My eyesight also improved dramatically. I attribute this to less inflammation, which must have made my eyes feel “gummy” and out of focus. My fibro pain was also less intense.
None of these symptoms cleared up completely by cutting out gluten, but they certainly improved to the degree that I haven’t returned to eating gluten laden foods. I have cheated only twice. One slip happened during a trip to Paris when I watched my husband eat a crispy, crunchy, buttery croissant each morning, while I made do with a little fruit. The smell of his croissants drove me crazy, but I was determined not to succumb. By the end of our two-week visit, though, I broke. On our final day in Paris I ate one of the coveted pastries for breakfast and savored every bite. I slowly nipped off very tiny pieces and chewed them carefully, rolling the bits around in my mouth to extract all the flavor possible. I loved it.
By that afternoon I felt as if I had swallowed a brick. My gut hurt and I was nauseous. By that evening, when I was supposed to pack for our return trip, I couldn’t move. What I didn’t understand at the time was that I had not only reacted to the gluten, but I had also compounded my problem with the butter in the croissant. I would later find that I am allergic to milk and eggs and so the butter must have contributed to my pain. To make matters worse, at lunch I ordered a buttery 3 egg omelette in a futile attempt to soothe my stomach!
If I had any doubts about my sensitivity to gluten I was completely convinced at Christmas time. At a friend’s party I ate several foods that I was assured included no flour. Within the hour I felt horrible, and the hostess confessed that wheat flour was used in all her recipes. She thought it was silly to quit eating gluten, and believed that people just couldn’t be allergic, or sensitive to foods like bread and pasta! Needless to say our friendship has cooled.
Now that I’m gluten, egg and milk free my life has changed dramatically. I have far less pain, the sores in my mouth have disappeared, the itching is gone, and I feel almost fog free. I usually prepare lean meat or fish, and fresh fruits and vegetables for my meals, but I like to eat crackers now and then with my goat and sheep cheese. I also like to indulge in pasta once in a while. I’ve spent countless hours in local food stores and online, searching for gluten-free prepared foods. I’ve found that the Gluten Free Mall offers many products at a reasonable price, and best of all everything is guaranteed gluten-free. You can purchase what you want from one site and have it delivered to your door. I now save hours not driving from store to store reading labels. Check out their products by clicking on the picture at the top of this post and see what you think.