I’ve always been a bit of a health nut (though sometimes more so than others). But that’s not why I decided to go gluten free.
I’ve had digestive trouble for quite a while now. I’m not sure when it all began, but I want to say I was first noticeably aware of my digestive problems sometime in high school. That’s a good 5-6 years ago.
I didn’t really think much of it. I assumed it had something to do with the food I was eating and that sometimes certain foods just caused problems. And they certainly did! I just didn’t connect the dots.
After a few years, I wasn’t thinking twice about my digestive problems. They became the new normal.
The big breakthrough came this spring, in March of 2018.
My family was on vacation in Florida over spring break and my stomach was just going crazy. I figured it was because we were on vacation and I was eating foods I didn’t normally eat. (I wasn’t much of a bread/pasta eater to begin with.) We had eaten soft pretzels, spaghetti, garlic bread, mammoth muffins from Perkins – the glutenous works. And it got to my system.
Shortly after spring break, I took part in a weekend full of dance performances on campus. Needless to say, it’s hard to focus on any physical activity when your stomach is acting up.
I realized then that I needed to find an answer.
I did the unthinkable and searched my symptoms on Google. Always the worst option because somehow, cancer will invariably pop up as the likely cause. Pushing that diagnosis aside, I realized that all of my symptoms lined up with Celiac disease and gluten intolerance.
I started comparing symptoms with a friend who discovered that she was gluten intolerant the year before. Things were lining up. So I went to the doctor and got tested for Celiac disease. The results came back negative. But I had done my own research, and the doctor confirmed my findings.
In the week leading up to my doctor’s appointment, I did a simple at-home test. I cut gluten out of my diet. Within 48 hours, I was feeling like a whole new woman. I didn’t feel bloated after eating. I had more energy. I didn’t get diarrhea! (Sorry for the graphic details, but these details led to my realization that gluten was the issue. It just might be the case for someone else.)
After five days without gluten, I knew what I had to do: reintroduce gluten to my system. I ate an English muffin (because I loved English muffins). Within 30 minutes – diarrhea. And a very angry tummy.
That was the last gluten I intentionally ate.
There have been times since then when I’ve accidentally consumed gluten. But it’s not like I accidentally eat a donut without thinking and say ‘whoops, that has gluten’. Gluten has a way of sneaking up on me, but I’ve learned a few things along the way:
- Don’t finish your husband’s bowl of soup if he was eating a grilled cheese too.
- The soy sauce in your fridge likely contains gluten.
- Twizzlers have gluten 😦
- Seasoning mixes often contain gluten (wheat).
Even if it’s the littlest crumb from a grilled cheese sandwich or a cracker, my stomach will act up. And because I’ve been without gluten for so long now, my stomach freaks out when the slightest bit of gluten enters my system.
Whether it’s a gluten sensitivity or intolerance, I don’t know. To be honest, I don’t really know the difference between the two. What I do know is that I feel a heck of a lot better without gluten. So I said Bye Felicia.
And that’s why I decided to go gluten free.