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coming out of the closet

Posted Jul 14 2011 8:02am
I'm gluten free. *surprise*

I may have mentioned this once or twice before, but it's surprisingly come up multiple times in the past few days. I've also received a few comments/emails in the past asking if I was gf. Well- I am, I don't choose to eat gluten, but I also won't pass up a good cookie ;) I don't like sharing with people that I am gf because I don't want to make my choice an inconvenience or a big deal. Most menus have gluten free options, even if they aren't labeled and because I do most of my own cooking, I am able to gage what is in my food.

What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and malts. People who have celiac disease can not tolerate gluten and if consumed, the lining of their small intestine becomes inflamed and irritated.

Are you allergic to gluten/have celiac disease?
No- I do not have celiac disease or a wheat allergy and I've actually been tested multiple times for a gluten intolerance due to my poor digestion system and have tested negative every time.

Why are you gf?
I am gluten free because I choose to be. Although I do not have a confirmed gluten intolerance, I consider myself "gluten sensitive." Ever since I can remember, I have had digestion issues. (I'll spare you the nitty gritty). The culprit used to be dairy and I was severely allergic to it growing up. As I aged and hit puberty, I grew more susceptible to consuming dairy without issues, but would still have digestion problems every once in a while, especially after eating bread, pasta, baked goods, etc. I would become extremely bloated and have an uncomfortable tummy.

It wasn't until college when I became extremely interested in the health community and started reading article after article. I read that many people can test negative for a gluten intolerance, but still experience side effects from gluten. Interestingly enough, I learned that gluten doesn't just cause digestion side effects, but also mental health problems, acne, poor sleep, osteoporosis, etc. I not only had tummy issues, but also had problems with acne, which was extremely embarrassing as a college student.

About a year ago, my acne intensified and so did my stomach issues. I needed some sort of change. Medication wasn't helping my acne and I was eating relatively healthy because I had also read that refined grains and an unhealthy diet in general can cause acne.

Well- about 10 months ago, I decided to give a gluten free diet a whirl and have been gf ever since. After 4 weeks or so, my face magically began to clear up and my tummy issues dwindled away.

Do you ever eat gluten?
I do. Like I said, being gluten free is a choice. I like to think of it as veganism- it's your own personal decision. I love sweets and baked goods- but limit myself to every once in a while because of the gluten factor. If I want a dang cookie, I'm going to eat it, side effects or not.

Gluten seems to be in almost everything that is processed. This is also why I don't like to eat prepackaged foods or foods with a long ingredient list, because I don't want to risk feeling icky.

What is the deal with oats and gluten?
This is a controversial topic. There have been multiple studies done suggesting that oats are both gluten free and a gluten containing food. It's also been said that the reason oats aren't considered gluten free, is because they are processed in factories and distributed with foods containing gluten, cross contaminating- hence why some oat packaging claims to be gluten free and some don't.

As you know, I am an oat fiend and I eat them every day. They don't bother me. I am convinced the whole "cross-contamination" stint is a safety factor for people who have severe celiac disease. In my case, where I am only considered gluten sensitive, oats are okay.

My favorite gluten free recipes

Healthy Mango Brown Rice Salad

Bird Food Balls
Simple Overnight Oats
Veggie Frittata 
Popped Amaranth
I am slowly but surely going through my recipe page and noting if they gluten free or not with a *gf* symbol.
Do you have any food allergies?
Are you on any special food diets?

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