How to Go Gluten-Free

I’ve been gluten-free for four years.  I can’t believe something I had to do on the advice of my doctor is now a “trend”.  I’m rather grateful that it’s more popular now, because believe you me, I’ve eaten some rather nasty things in the past four years.  What was once a small section at Whole Paycheck or a health food store, is now an entire aisle at any grocery store.

Four years ago, when we embarked on this major lifestyle change, gluten-free was in the margins. Now it’s on the packaging of every food product you pass at your local Target.  Even the mainstream restaurants are catching on.  Hell, even Dunkin’ Donuts has a GF option.

What’s next: a gluten-free Happy Meal?

Don’t get me started on the crap in fast food.  A whole nother’ blog post.  A book.  Actually…

Regardless, I am grateful for the word GLUTEN’s move into the spotlight.  At least, it makes the diet was are on more “socially acceptable”- not that I care much about that because I’m the unwilling poster child for all things health food and what not.  Part of the job as an autism mom.  I’m the first one to wax about GMOs, food dye, food allergies, yeah.  You know if you’ve read me for any number of months.

 

how to eat gluten-free - momnivores-dilemma.com

 

This begins a month-long series of everything I’ve learned.  The tips. The tricks. The ins. The flours to avoid.  The tests to ask for before you even attempt this lifestyle change.

It’s not a diet to me, this truly is a lifestyle.   I have a genetic disorder that doesn’t allow me to eat fortified foods (namely everything with regular wheat flour), in addition, I have years of bloodwork showing extremely high levels of immune reaction to both wheat and gluten.

So, before you even THINK about pulling all gluten out of your diet, please make a doctor’s appointment.

Ask for the CELIAC panel.

Ask for the HLA-DQ2 and DQ8 CELIAC genetic testing.

Why?

If you go gluten-free BEFORE testing for Celiac Disease, you could skew your results.  Gluten needs to be in your system to accurately gauge your IMMUNE REACTION to gluten.   If you are in the dark about this, PLEASE VISIT: The University of Chicago’s page- it has an incredible Celiac Department.

Celiac Disease, isn’t a trend, this is a serious disease which is the immune reaction to gluten, and requires a strictly maintained gluten-free diet for life.

Many Americans walking around, with loads of health issues, have it and don’t know it.  Which angers me on a whole other level, because so many doctors are looking in the wrong places for answers.

It’s time for a gut check, literally.  So, make that appointment with a knowledgable doctor first.   Be pushy. This is your health.

When I went for my genetic testing for MTHFR, my doctor looked at me like I had three heads.  She agreed to the testing, placating me that “I most likely won’t have it”…and sure as shit, I did.  Trust your intuition.

If those tests come out negatory, then the next step is to evaluate your health.  Do you have migraines? Anemia? Brain fog?  Skin issues?  IBS?  Anxiety? Depression?  Compromised digestion? Diarrhea? Constipation?  A combo of both?

You may be gluten-intolerant.

If you answered yes to any of those questions, then I’d suggest a gluten-free trial of at least 1 year.  According to all the doctors I’ve worked with for my son, it takes 6 months for the digestive system to clear gluten proteins.  So doing this for a few weeks isn’t going to cut it.

It sucks.  Yes.

Socially, it sucks.

I’m not going to lie.  It’s the hardest thing I had to do in my life.  I’m Italian. From Chicago.  I grew up on pasta and bread.

But, you can do this.

You can.

If I could be on this “diet” for 4 years…it’s not a diet.  It’s merely a different way of looking at food.

I feel better at age 34 than I did at 23.  Now, that I live without the gluten.

But first, get all the blood work done.  Please.

 

Stay tuned for more info on going gluten-free,

Nicolette

 

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