Going Gluten Free

A diet which is gluten free eliminates the following grains:

    Wheat
    Barley
    Rye

Sounds easy enough, right?

Well, not exactly. . .

When I first started on this journey of gluten free living, I was introduced to a book called The Gluten Connection . Actually, this book found me prior to my allergy diagnosis. I hadn’t quite figured out what was wrong with me, and neither had the doctor.

Upon my possession, I skimmed through it, read some of the recovery stories along with the explanation of what gluten was and the recipes that followed, then laid it down to collect dust. Gluten sensitivity was a thought but I had other concerns that did not include changing my whole lifestyle to find out.

Perhaps the doctors could diagnose me with a rare disorder and fix me. . .

Well, my life did change. The doctors tested me for several ailments, regardless of my unique illness’ request, only to come up negative. After several years of questioning & self-diagnosis, I found that one obnoxious doctor that laughed at my request and immediately told me I had allergies.

Antihistamines was the answer!!

    No. . . not quite.

My body completely shut down with body aches and daily migraines.

So back to the misery in my gut along with fatigue, depression, excessive thirst and the bizarre itching/burning in my hands, head and feet – until, I requested that they test me for food.

Which brings me back to Gluten. Wheat was one of my allergies. I found out by trial and error later on that all Gluten grains made me feel uneasy. I began looking at food labels. And I went back to The Gluten Connection .

Gluten, defined as a protein composite found in wheat, rye & barley, is also included in a host of grains such as spelt, bran, malt, duram, couscous, bulgar & kamut. Gluten is that sticky substance (like glue) that helps make dough bind which makes bread and cookies the right consistency for yumminess!

There was a new vocabulary of words that I discovered on food labels: dextrimaltrose, wheat germ, vegetable proteins. . . just to name a few.

    It was very overwhelming!

Gluten is also found in most processed and quick fix foods. Just about everything I touched had some form of gluten in it. Gluten is found in the following prepared foods:

    salad dressings – soy sauce – marinades – malted drinks –
    prepared gravies – seasoning packets – sausage – cold cuts – beer

and to top it off, I discovered wheat and/or gluten in my hair products, body lotion & make-up. Since childhood, I have always had trouble with these items so finding out the ingredients cleared up a lot of frustration.

I became knowledgeable on what gluten free means, how it affects those intolerant of it, and how to cook without these common prepared foods. If I find an ingredient that puzzles me, I either stay away from it or I look it up online.

I have found farmers markets in my town, discovered gluten free recipe blogs, experimented with a variety of gluten free grains, and became familiar with limited restaurant options.

There are a ton of gluten free foods on the market today. I am blessed to be in an internet world of unique websites to gluten free options – and to be so close to a variety of gluten free foods in my own grocery store. Some of these “prepared” gluten free foods/mixes don’t quite resonate with me physically. I tend to stick with the staples of gluten free foods and prepare my meals in my own kitchen.

It’s been a struggle at times, considering I became so dependent on the fast food world; however, my passion really is cooking. This gluten free journey keeps me grounded at home with a new perspective on whole foods and a distinctive knowledge on what is healthy for me.

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