Sunday, December 29, 2013

Gluten Free

Okay, so I am terrible at keeping a up on a blog.  I just seriously have a nice, quiet, albeit boring life. 

My journey into gluten-free eating began last April.  I was having horrible cramping and nothing seemed to help.  At the same time, I also had a gallstone that kept rolling and giving me more stomach pain.  In August, I had my gallbladder out (which, seriously, is the easiest surgery I have ever had—really just a breeze!).  In October, the cramping started again.  I went to a specialist, tried various things that only partially worked, and then a couple of friends encouraged me to try going gluten free after the holidays. 

After being miserable and nothing working, on December 8 I took the plunge into the gluten-free world.  I figured why wait until after the holidays if this worked.  I have to admit, I thought gluten free was the latest fad diet thing, and I really didn’t expect it would make any difference.  Imagine my surprise that within three days, I started feeling better—I was not cramping all day long.  Yes, I was still cramping, but there were times that I actually felt fine. 

Friends have steered me to websites, products, and stores that carry gluten-free products.  I’ve stocked up on some things I knew I’d miss like snack crackers for the afternoons, bread for sandwiches, and raisin bread for breakfast.  I’ve tried pizza shells (I know which one I do NOT like!), but will keep trying until I find something that works for me. 

It’s been three weeks, and I can honestly say that I feel  better.  The cramping is gone for the most part (still some, but definitely less than an hour a day, if any).  I feel like I have a bit more energy—I was hoping for more, but does anyone really have a ton of energy right after the holidays? 

Has it been easy?  A lot easier than I would have expected.  Franz has excellent breads, although they are expensive.  Finding an all-purpose flour to make bread with is yet to be seen.  I have purchased some Pamela’s all-purpose flour, but haven’t baked with it yet.  I found I really like rice noodles—with a homemade sauce, I could hardly tell the noodles were gluten free. 

We’ve gone out a couple of times, to restaurants and friends’ homes.  The restaurants I searched online first to see if they have a gluten-free menu.  Surprisingly, many do.  Applebee’s, Red Robin (click on Interactive Allergen Menu), and Bob’s Burgers and Brew are to name a few. 

At friends’ homes, I have explained my dietary needs and kindly asked for ingredients, and at parties, have stuck with cheeses, fruits, veggies, and meats.  I did make my own grape salsa (which is incredible—sounds weird, but it is incredible) and took it to a party with corn chips (reading the label to ensure no gluten!).  I knew I could eat that. 

I’ve learned to be an avid label reader.  Did you know that cream of mushroom soup contains wheat?  Neither did I.  So I found a recipe online for homemade cream of mushroom soup and it was even better than the canned kind (of course, I can’t find the recipe!  But I do know that I substituted corn starch for the flour as a thickener.  I also used a variety of mushrooms).  Wheat and wheat products are found in so many processed foods.  Even some rice mixes.  If you decide to go gluten free, you need to be extra diligent in reading labels. 

Well, that’s enough for now.  For ignoring my blog for so long, this has been a long post! 

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