Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WHY I Eat Gluten-Free

A friend recently introduced me (via facebook) to a good friend of hers who has been diagnosed with Celiac's disease and she asked me about my gluten-free story. In that moment I realized I hadn't truly shared my experience with gluten here on the blog. I had already been gluten-free for a few years when I started the Momma Stuff Blog so although its part of who I am, I never stopped to tell you how I got here.

People always ask, in a bit of a hushed tone, what happens when I eat gluten. I sometimes think they know what I'm going to say and they just want me to tell them. Their hushed tone is completely appropriate for a question that warrants 'I get a really upset stomach and have to run to the bathroom' for an answer.

I can tell you the exact date I went gluten-free, July 19, 2007.  After years of stomach aches and daily diarrhea, my discomfort had progressed to include intense cramping, which I knew wasn't normal. My doctor nonchalantly suggested there was a small chance I could have trouble with gluten and that I should try excluding it from my diet

She was right, within five days I felt dramatically better; I never realized how bad I was feeling until I started to feel better. 

The emotional aspect of going gluten-free was much harder; once I started to feel better I knew I didn't want to feel like 'that' anymore but excluding gluten felt like such an impossible task.  For over a month, I barely ate anything.  Food just didn't seem appetizing and the mere thought of my stomach cramping up was more than enough to make me turn away from food.  That said, once I got over my fear and anger that I could no longer eat gluten, I started to experiment with food and before I knew it I was cooking up a storm and eating like crazy.

You may have noticed that I have never made reference to myself as an individual with Celiac's disease, this is simply because I do not know, nor will I likely ever know, whether I have this particular affliction.  My doctor didn't send me for testing until I had been gluten-free for over a year and the test is known to give false negatives for those on a gluten-free diet.  I am personally am not willing to eat gluten and feel sick in order to have a test that will simply prescribe that I don't eat the foods I already know make me sick.  As such, I simply consider myself 'gluten-free'.

Over the years I have found substitutes or alternatives to nearly all of my favourite foods and I literally cringe when I hear people talk about how awful eating gluten-free must be, or how much their child is 'missing out' by eating gluten-free.  The only thing gluten-free eaters are missing out on, is feeling horrible and damaging our bodies.

I'm slowly populating the RECIPES section of the blog, but have many more recipes than are posted, so if you have any requests, please let me know and I'll do my best to come up with something that can meet your dietary needs.  As a result of the boys' allergies and sensitivities most of my recipes are not only gluten-free, they are also dairy-free, soy-free and nut-free.

There are obviously many more facets to my gluten-free story, this is merely the beginning.

What's your story?  Are you or someone you know gluten-free?