Well, friends, you may notice some changes in the recipes I post in the coming weeks/months. After some consideration and discussions with family and doctors, I have decided to try a gluten-free diet.
You see, for as long as I can remember, I’ve had a “touchy” stomach. I’ve visited doctors in the past regarding it, but have never seemed to find a solution to alleviate my troubles. As I have several immediate family members that are gluten intolerant, I asked doctors about the possibility. They conducted a blood test. It was negative. And so it was decided that this was not the issue (In spite of the fact that many celiacs show negative on the blood tests). The medications that were given to me didn’t work, so I had resolved to “put up with it,” and moved on. My discomfort was an inconvenience, but that was all.
Over the past year, however, I felt that my body was changing. More “inconveniences” cropped up. Fatigue. Increased “tummy” issues. Heartburn. Tingling, numb fingers. And the brain fog…I couldn’t concentrate. It was like someone had covered my eyes with a blanket. I was eating healthily, loads of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and I rarely ate processed foods. But I haven’t felt well. I visited the doctor again. Other than a vitamin B12 deficiency, he did not find anything wrong with me.
After discussing this with family, I opted to visit a gastroenterologist, one that is aware of celiac disease. I have an appointment next month. Hopefully together we can find some answers.
In the meanwhile, since many of my symptoms could point to a gluten intolerance, I opted to go gluten-free. It certainly won’t harm me, and I might just find my way down the road to feeling well again.
What is celiac disease, you might ask? Celiac disease, or gluten intolerance, is a genetic autoimmune disorder of the small intestine. It is caused by a reaction to gliadin, a gluten protein found in wheat, rye, barley, durum, graham, semolina, bulgur, spelt, farro, and kamut. Commercial oats also contain gluten due to cross-contamination with wheat in processing. (Find out more information at the Celiac Disease Foundation.) The remedy? A gluten-free diet.
What, no wheat? This means no wheat flour, right? No bread? What can you eat, then?
The gluten-free diet for celiacs is a lifelong diet, and many are overwhelmed with the limitations. To go gluten-free, for most people, means re-thinking the way you eat.
But there is a lot I can eat. It’s easiest to start with whole, unprocessed foods. (The way I enjoy eating anyway!) Fresh, all-natural chicken. A juicy, meaty steak. Fresh eggs. Steamed broccoli. Baked squash. And this time of year, sweet strawberries, blackberries, or a peach, dripping with sweet juice. Steamed brown rice, or a creamy risotto, can be comforting. I do feel lucky, however, that due to the presence of this condition in my family, I have already educated myself on what is gluten-free, for the most part. I’m also thankful that I have a great blog family that includes a wealth of gluten-free people – I may be relying on you all for support and answers to questions!
Fortunately, many retailers are becoming savvy about gluten-free diets, and are selling many gluten-free products. There are rice pastas, gluten-free cookies and crackers, and baking mixes. One day soon, I hope to delve into gluten-free baking with the wealth of alternative flours available.
So, my friends, you will see plenty of gluten-free recipes appear on this blog. In fact, I have already categorized quite a few existing recipes as gluten-free. Many will be naturally gluten-free, some will be altered in order to accomodate my needs. But I will promise you one thing. Those recipes definitely won’t be compromising on taste.