A quick update on the Great Gluten Free Experiment of 2012 (name trademark pending).
It’s been two weeks (14 days, 336 hours, 20,160 minutes… not that I’m counting) since I’ve started this experiment, and the preliminary results are in.
It’s been an overall success, with some interesting insights in the process.
I’ve always thought that I’m not a breakfast person. Eating breakfast in the mornings used to make me feel so disgustingly sick, it wasn’t worth it to me to wake up early and prepare it, or to start my metabolism at a reasonable time (instead of over lunch). I always thought it was because I wasn’t awake enough to digest the meal. Looking back, it’s more likely because I was eating nothing but toast, cereal, or breakfast sandwiches, all of which contain copious amount of gluten. Thomas has made me breakfast a few times in the last couple weeks, and it’s been marvelous. It feels good to have that first meal of the day back in my repertoire!
The second surprise: I can’t tolerate grease all that well, or at least I haven’t been for the last two weeks. There have been three separate occasions now where gluten free (but greasy) food has set off my stomach’s alarm bells, and all three times they were items high in grease (French fries and bacon). Looks like I’ll be sticking to healthier options like roasted potatoes and turkey bacon!
Third: eating out at a food court is basically not an option. I went shopping with my mom and Thomas while I was in town for Thanksgiving weekend, and a quick pan around the food court showed me that may as well have been called the “gluten buffet.” Everything is either breaded, comes between to slices of bread, or is light and fluffy pastry made with tons of flour. Awesome, right? Even Edo, which I thought would be safe, uses flour/wheat in their sauces so the majority of that menu is out for me. But, at least they’re very transparent with this information on their website:
Based on standard meal recipes, not all Edo Japan Menu Items are gluten free. With the exception of Sushi items containing Crab Meat, Spicy Sauce (California Roll, House Roll, or Spicy Rolls), or Tempura Shrimp (Dynamite Roll), all of our current Sushi Menu Items, are Gluten Free. All other meals/menu items, based on our current recipes are prepared using Soy Sauce (which is wheat based) and our Signature Teriyaki Sauce (which has the wheat based Soy Sauce as a base ingredient). Customers can request that any meal (with rice, as noodles contain gluten), be prepared without the use of Soy Sauce or Teriyaki Sauce due to allergies but they must be aware that Soy Sauce and Teriyaki Sauce are used regularly on our grill and there is no way to isolate a meal during the cooking process.
I love that sauce, so it’s basically FML at this point.
But the benefits have been amazing. What I thought was a weirdly-specific concentration of chub around my stomach actually appears to have been my stomach/guts bloating out after all the wheat I’ve been throwing at them. I’m fairly certain I have gained, and not lost, weight, but it’s more appropriately distributed so what used to feel like my “problem area” is now no issue at all.
My moods have been much more positive lately, and I’m a lot less prone to slip into anxious or depressive states. Everything seems more upbeat, more positive, and entirely doable. Thomas has even noticed the difference in my general mood.
However, on the negative side, this is going to take some major adjusting to our food budget to make this work. I’m trying to eat out and order in less, because the gluten-free options are almost always more expensive than the wheat-ier items on the menu. Plus, they seldom deliver, so now I’m using gas to go pick up food. But buying all those groceries to eat at home is expensive too! I’m also trying to not replace absolutely every carb I’m missing out on with its GF alternative, because that shit is also expensive. But so far, halfway through October, we’ve spent $250+ on groceries for the house. We’re throwing out next-to-nothing, so it’s not going to waste, but still. Ouch.
Overall, I’m deeming the experiment a success, and publicly declaring my intent to continue on with this. I don’t intend to go for testing, as having a formal diagnosis of Celiac (which I don’t think I have; I’m putting my chips more on the idea that I have a “sensitivity” to gluten) will be on record and follow me for the rest of my life. As Thomas pointed out to me: who cares about a formal diagnosis of anything? This is making you feel better, and that should be enough evidence for you. It’s your choice, so do it!
Well said, my friend. Well said.