Tuesday, February 21, 2012

See Ya Later, Gluten!

This post will likely seem random to a few people, because if you don't know me in real life, you don't know that my stomach hurts. A lot. Like oh, every day. Sometimes multiple times a day. And for my entire life. As in, as a baby, I had stomach aches on breast milk, which is supposedly quite rare.

I've tried everything. According to the GI doctor, there's nothing wrong with me, this is just my lot in life. So pro is that I'm not dying. Con is that sometimes it sure feels like I am.

My younger sister gets similar stomach aches and decided to try going gluten-free just after Christmas. Within a few days, she felt completely better. She has hardly had any issues in the past month, which was good enough reason for me to try.

And it's about all I have left to try. I tried tracking my food, giving up dairy, every OTC product that exists, and to no avail. Which, if I have a gluten sensitivity would make sense, since gluten is in almost everything.


The last time I ate gluten was Monday night (February 13).  The last time I had a stomach ache was Tuesday the 14th. I won't say that I'm 100% yet (apparently it can take a little while to "detox" from the gluten) but I feel so much better. Amazing. Enough for me to have drank the kool-aid (not literally. That probably has gluten in it).

My friend Ashley has Celiac. She has it rough. Like, so so so so much worse than me. She's been gluten free for over a year, so she sent me some great advice. If you're curious about giving up gluten, read on!

"First off, gluten affects people differently. The one thing that I think is pretty obvious when you start looking into it is that we are a society eat way more gluten than we should--and in that way it affects everyone to some degree. You will start to find out really quickly (if you are being very strict) that we use gluten as a filler in a lot of our foods. So, the good news is that I think most people that cut gluten feel better to some degree because we just consume more than we are made to in the first place. Some people, once they "detox," can reintroduce the gluten foods they like, and just scale back on the amount of (what I would call) "bad gluten" you eat without even knowing it. Some people also have a gluten allergy--which can lead to the GI issues--some have an intolerance, and then others have Celiac which leads to more violent reactions that get worse over time because the disease causes damage to your intestines when you eat gluten. Good news--when you cut gluten you will see more benefits than just the tummy problems clearing up. Another friend cut gluten and her mental health drastically changed! I know I noticed I had a lot more energy and was less "foggy" and she noted the same things.

Okay, so what is gluten? To really detox you have to be really diligent in checking labels. It's annoying at first, but quickly becomes second nature. Also, you just stop missing the things you cut out, I promise! Gluten is a by-product of wheat. Wheat includes a lot of things like barely and some other grains.  

Here are the things to look out for (some you will know, some you may not, all of which have gluten):
Wheat (Duh)
Oats (You can find gluten free oats--it depends on how they are processed.)
Soy Sauce (I put this because it is used in a lot of meals--more than you think!)
Any Wheat Germ, etc.
Caramel Color (Found a lot in soft drinks, juice drinks, baking supplies (vanilla extract, etc.) and candy)
Modified Food Starch (Found in almost everything. Used as a filler. Check the Allergy Info or Research.)
Modified Corn Starch (Same as above. Non-modified of both of these are fine!)

You'll find that although that list is short, it rules out a LOT of food because of the last three--which is kinda disturbing when you think about it because none of those are naturally found in food. 

What you CAN eat:
Rice (Any Kind)
Any Rice Noodle
Glutamate (You'll see it as an ingredient. Not actually gluten.)
Obviously anything listed as gluten free
Any and all alcohol EXCEPT Beer and Malt Beverages. But all liquor is good because of the distillation process it does through. :)

Safe things to eat out:
Mexican food is relatively safe--just substitute corn tortillas.
Thai food is relatively safe because they don't usually cook with soy sauce.
Meditteranean food is pretty easy. They really don't use flour too much in anything other than soups.
O' Charley's potato soup. I list this because it is important to me.
Chipotle Bowls. This is THE MOST IMPORTANT to me.
Balsamic Dressing (Most other dressings are a no go.)
Skyline. Seriously. Gluten free chili, baby!
Coke Products!!! (As of April 2011 they changed their process to make everything gluten free!)"

Ok, it's Tara again. It sounds like a lot, but it hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. I actually had a much harder time cutting out dairy. You can still eat potatoes, corn tortillas, some chips... and honestly, I didn't need to eat that much bread anyway. And I feel better, which makes it easier to keep going.

So, it's early. And who knows where this will go, but for now, it's helping so I'm going to stick with it. I guess I just want you to know so that if you bring me dinner you'll make it gluten-free.

Did I trick you? Were you really going to bring me dinner?? Because my poor husband could probably use a night off from cooking, and pizza is out of the question now!


  1. Good luck. I know it's a hard transition but with the help of the internet, you've got a lot of recipes at your disposal. Whole Foods has a lot of good options but unfortunately, they come with quite the price tag. If it makes you feel better though, it will totally be worth it.

  2. Congratulations are in order. I too had stomach issues which effected me every day. Once I determined what was causing it and removed it from my diet, my entire life changed. While it can be hard at first, it becomes much easier. Good luck!

  3. Sounds like the right decision for you. I'm going to share this post with a friend, who has Chrone's (spelling?) and is starting Gluten free. We were just talking about this last night so it's perfect timing. Any tips or recipe websites you love?


I love reading your comments - thanks for being a wonderful part of my blogging experience!

You might also like...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...