Sunday, October 12, 2008

I blog gluten-free

Three years ago, I went to an allergist to see if I was allergic to anything. I knew I was mildly allergic to cats, but never had any other allergies growing up. They did the skin prick test and OMG the itching. I was diagnosed with a severe allergy to raw eggs, and mild to moderate allergies to everything else except ham, peas, and dogs. I was prescribed several allergy medicines, took the shots, everything. But the reason I went in in the first place- inexplicable hives- never went away.

One year ago, I went into my osteopathic/holistic doctor for a checkup. I mentioned that my stomach was always upset, I had these hives, I felt like crap, and I couldn't lose weight. He looked at me, paused, and said (duh) you're gluten intolerant! Stop eating wheat, you'll feel better instantly. He gave me a 30 day trial, and sure enough, I felt better the next day. I lost about eight pounds the first week, and my stomach issues and hives went away. I happened to see my allergist shortly after, and he said there was no way I was allergic to wheat, it didn't come up in the tests. Whatever, doc, but it's working.

Giving up wheat has not been nearly as hard as I imagined. It was tough at first- giving up Christmas then Girl Scout cookies, skipping beer and pizza after work, living on rice for the first few months. But it's actually really easy. I found a few good food blogs and resources, and I learned quickly what to avoid on labels. I cheat a little, of course. Beer doesn't bother me nearly as much as liquor does, a cookie here and there only makes me feel like crap for a day, and once every six months I have some pizza.

When my best friend was diagnosed gluten-intolerant about six months before me, I had barely even heard of gluten. I had no idea what contained wheat; I'm a crappy cook so I didn't know what kind of ingredients went into the things I was eating. IT seemed unfathomable to have to give it up- it's everywhere! But since then, it's gotten easier, and more and more people understand what I mean when I say I don't eat wheat. Yesterday, I was at a wedding and didn't get a slice of cake. My friends at my table asked if I was just being good (I'm also training for a marathon), or if I didn't like cake. I simply said, I don't eat wheat, and they all understood. It's surprising how many people are celiacs or have a gluten-intolerance now.

Some of my staple foods:
-candy. I had an immediate craving for chocolate after I went GF (gluten-free). It was a little out of control, even. A poster on the gluten-free forums mentioned that he had a similar problem, but magnesium supplements helped curb it.
-rice cakes with peanut butter
-brown rice
-corn chips and salsa
-fresh fruits and veggies to snack on
-Luna or Lara bars

Favorite blogs
-Karina's Kitchen
-Gluten-Free Forums

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