gluten intolerant

Let’s go back to sometime last fall. At least once a week I was feeling ill when it came to digestion. I was beginning to suspect it might be something in my diet, and even spent a week following an elimination diet (no dairy, no grains, no legumes, no sugar, no fruit) to see if I felt any better. A week later my run times were suffering, I had zero energy, and my stomach was not feeling better, so I gave up and started eating my regular fair again. I read up on possible symptoms of gluten intolerance and celiac, and while I had the digestive trouble, none of the others rang true for me, so I convinced myself it was something else.

I continued to just deal with it until this spring. After a string of days with a bout of (TMI warning) steatorrhea, I was ready to try again. I had recently started CrossFit, and had been reading more and more about the Paleo diet, and in particular the Whole 30 challenge.  The Whole 30 is an elimination diet, much like the one I had originally tried, although this one allowed fruit in moderation. As the name suggests, you eat this way for 30 days. As I read more about it, I learned some of my mistakes from the first time I tried an elimination diet – namely not eating enough, and in particular not eating well balanced meals. So armed with much more information about the food plan, a pantry stocked with compliant foods, and a list of recipes I wanted to try, I started out on my 30 days of dairy free, grain free, legume free, sugar and alcohol free eating. The idea being that at the end of 30 days I would hopefully feel better, and then introduce the foods back into my diet one by one to identify the culprit of my digestive woes.

I sang praises the day I discovered I did not have to give up dairy. I’m pretty sure I can get through any diet challenges so long as I can enjoy melted cheeses. Or hard cheeses. Mmmm, cheese.

I actually waited 3 extra weeks before I introduced gluten. And the results were not in favor of my beloved sour dough and cupcakes. We went out with friends to Green Dot Stables to celebrate the end of husby’s 3rd year of medical school. Green Dot is known for their unique sliders. And oh, they were yummy. Especially the mystery meat of the day which was lobster with a buttery sauce and jicama. My mouth is watering just remembering it. But in the middle of the night I woke up with cramps, bloating, gas, etc. That weekend I was headed to Chicago for a quick weekend vacation, and decided to just eat whatever I wanted – a beer hear, an egg roll there, a few bites of Chicago style pizza, croissants, sandwiches, couscous salad. And every morning it was the same. The verdict was in. My body and gluten do not get along.

It turns out that gluten intolerance can just kind of start at any time. In particular, stress can trigger the intolerance. And for whatever reason, it happens to be more common for a young woman in her 20s to develop.

And oh, how gluten has worked its way into nearly every packed food we eat. I’m lucky, in that I only have the digestive troubles associated with gluten intolerance. I certainly feel for all those who have it worse than I do, or who have celiac. Now I join you in clearing my cupboards of wheat, and trying to figure out how to convince my brother to start brewing gluten free beer that is as delicious as all his others.

And I’m on a mission to make a delicious gluten free pizza crust. I’ll keep you posted on that one.

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