June 29, 2012

2 weeks-in

Yesterday marked 2 full weeks of being gluten free.  So far, it's going mostly pretty well.
Overall, I feel a LOT better. However, during this learning process, I realize that looking for wheat, rye, and barley in ingredient lists is not enough. Malt flavoring, yep, that's gluten. A whole bunch of other words I can't say, yep gluten. Then there's the elusive ingredients, like modified food starch. Um, thanks ingredient-listers, that does me no good. Are we talking corn starch, wheat starch, a mixture of lord-knows-what starch??? Oh right, carmel color = gluten, too.
I have to say that watching my lactose consumption was a whole heck of a lot easier. There was a handful of terms I had to steer clear of, and I was good to go. Gluten is feeling like the polar opposite of that. Did you know that taco seasoning has wheat in it? Well, the kind I buy does. Anyway, I've accidently glutened myself a few times already.
Not to mention the challenges of eating out. I ordered a burger, no bun, specified no seasoning on the burger. It. was. delicious. and then, more-than-just-a-stomachache. booo. Unfortunately, this is a place I go to weekly, during the summer, post softball games, and the menu is pretty limited.
It's a bit surprising to me how little I miss eating pasta and bread, considering how much I LOVED both, in my pre-gluten-free world! A few weeks ago, had you asked me if I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life what would it be... I would have answered pasta. Now, I'm pretty ok without it. My biggest challenge with "missing" food is more when I'm with other people and they are eating things I no longer can. Like dinner with my family, while they all ate stuffed shells. Lucky for me, Trader Joe's carries some corn pasta that is quite delicious, extremely similar to pasta as I used to know it, and very reasonably priced (compared to all the other gluten-free foods out there!). So, I made myself a plate of spaghetti...not entirely the same, but pretty close.

Seven-Layer TostadasNow that I'm feeling better (despite my few set-backs from accidental gluten consumption), I am starting to realize that I didn't feel well on a daily basis before, and that's no way to live. I have to admit, though, that my hindsight is also filled with doubt and some guilt. I feel like so many other people have/had it WAY WORSE than I do/did. That makes me think my stomach issues aren't legit, or that I'm somehow not "sick-enough" to go on a gluten free diet. I didn't feel miserable EVERY day... but, I did feel yucky a lot, and I felt miserable some days. I'm also really struggling with how I can go from eating carbohydrates like it's the sole purpose of my existence to cutting out the gluten-containing carbs completely. I know it happens, though, people develope allergies, or intollerances.

I've been hunting the internet for ideas on eating gluten free, I need a gluten-free pinterest board, to separate out the things that I can eat (from what I drooled over previously). I've come across some photos of things that look delicious, and I'd like to make. I feel that this new way of eating will push me into new flavor directions. I want to experiment with sauces and such, and that excites me to no end!!! Yep, that's a silver lining, folks.
 And, so, for now, I continue on my gluten free journey, learning along the way...

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