I’m still in a little bit of denial, but I am begrudgingly coming to the conclusion that I will be joining the “gluten-free club.” I have thought that I’ve had an issue with gluten for years – yes I have been tested for Celiac Disease, which I do not have. Celiac disease affects approximately 1 in 133 Americans, and about 83 percent of those who have it are either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed (celiaccentral.org). According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness, as many as 18 million Americans have some non-celiac sensitivity to gluten. That’s 6 times the amount of Americans who have celiac disease.
After avoiding all grains during my Whole30 challenge, I have to say I’ve felt the best that I have in years. For a long time, going out with friends would be difficult, or even going on a date. I generally always felt discomfort after eating, and would often experience some, erm, unpleasant symptoms to go along with it (which is a really attractive quality as a single 27 year old female). After taking my diet into my own hands to once and for all try and figure out foods that really upset my system, I have to say I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner.
Despite knowing the symptoms I experience when eating foods that upset my stomach, I’m having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that I will be saying goodbye to some of my favorite foods. I know that there are a lot of alternatives today (and more and more on the way), but the fact that I can’t just go to a restaurant and pick out whatever I want on the menu without having to worry about how something is prepared is a little disheartening. I’ve also been on the restaurant side of things, so I really don’t want to come off as the ‘high-maintenance’ person in the group.
Also, I live in the craft brewery capitol of the nation: Denver, Colorado. I’m originally from Fort Collins (home of New Belgium Brewing Company), where the natives claim that there’s ‘beer in our blood’ – it’s just a part of the culture. Grabbing a brew on a patio is a frequent summer past-time – and I know it sounds silly, but the thought of having to give that up makes my soul die just a little. Additionally, I’ve made several of my own batches of beer and have all the brewing equipment – I’m trying to talk myself into using this to make kombucha, and that it will be just as fun and rewarding…..it’s a work in progress.
That being said, I haven’t had any gluten-containing foods for 35 days, and plan on continuing eating differently. It’s really an incredible feeling, feeling ‘normal’ after eating a meal (yeah, I should have probably done this a while ago). I really have to come to terms with as much as this might be difficult to give up, the benefits really outweigh the inevitable side-effects.
All right gluten-free sisters: what are some of your favorite recipes, website, tips and tricks? I’m going to need them.