Saturday, 12 December 2015

No. 37 : Eat Gluten-Free for 1 Month

As of today, I've been eating gluten-free for one month, and I'm going to continue permanently. I included this goal on my 101 Things list for a reason. I've been sick for a long time. I've had Ulcerative Colitis for about 12 years, and I'd been doing quite well with managing it until about a year ago. I then started to have so many 'flare-ups' that they all merged into one and I was constantly sick. I've been able to work, but haven't felt at my best and often had a run-down feeling. Colitis still isn't a very well-understood disease -- flare-ups can be caused by eating irritating foods, stress, or a variety of other factors, and it can be difficult to pin the cause down.

Over the course of this year, I've become more and more sick of being sick. (Pun intended!) Not to mention worried about how this constant irritation and poor absorption of nutrients would affect my long-term health. That's why I decided to add this goal to my 101 Things list, and make it one of the things I wanted to work on sooner rather than later.

Originally I was going to try a couple of other 'diets' as well, including sugar-free and vegetarian. I'd assumed that it would take a lot of experimenting until I found the cause of my issues. But the huge changes that occurred after eating gluten-free for only a few days convinced me that I'd hit on the cause already. My digestive issues cleared up completely. I'm sleeping better because I'm no longer waking up in the middle of the night with cramps. I feel happier because I'm no longer so worried about my health. Soon I may even feel confident enough to visit places I've never been before, without stressing about where the public conveniences are.

But there's an even more important reason. I have a friend who's been gluten-free for many years, and when I told him about my decision he said to me, "not eating bread sucks, but it's better than having bowel cancer." A wise comment.

As it turns out, I don't even have to give up eating bread. My local supermarket has gluten-free breads, biscuits, pancake mix and flour for baking. Sure, the range is small and it's a bit more expensive, but it's there. My local pizza shop has gluten-free bases and I actually prefer them to the regular bases for their corn taste and crunchy crust. I've only felt deprived a couple of times in the last month, most recently at my team Christmas lunch yesterday where everyone else was sharing Chinese dumplings. (My ma-po tofu was excellent though, and my colleagues accepted my situation very naturally.)

Now, I don't want to be that person who discovers a new fad diet and then starts raving on to everyone in their life about how amazing it is and how everyone should try it. I know as well as anyone that everyone is different and needs to do what works best for them. So my blog won't suddenly be filled with "gluten-free raw nut-free vegan palaeo dairy-free snack balls" or anything like that. (Of course, I have nothing against people who are into that sort of thing!) I still love cooking, and I love blogging about the things I love doing, so I'll continue to do my "In the Kitchen" posts. I'm a bit sad that I won't be able to indulge in the old-fashioned baking that I see on the other blogs that I enjoy reading, but there are always modifications and alternatives to experiment with.

All images from Pinterest, and all were labelled gluten-free.
To the kitchen!!

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