Breaking Up with Gluten

“That’s it, gluten! We’re officially over.” says Lauren to the delicious and pliable whole wheat wrap on her plate. (She throws it into the garbage then wipes away a tear.) But then, the week after, she’s enjoying the most delicious balsamic marinated grilled tofu melt on top of thick ciabatta bread. Heaven. The next day, bloated and crampy she throws the breaded parts of her yummy left overs into the trash and becomes emotional because she’s forced to break things off with gluten yet again. (This emotional roller-coaster of a relationship with Lauren and gluten continue on and on.)

I’ve hesitated eliminating gluten for years now, in fear of having some sort of reaction to it and sure enough, I do. I have a gluten sensitivity which, for me, means that certain foods make me achey, BLOATED, congested, heachachey/fog-headed, and sluggish (both digestively/mentally/physically). Sometimes the effects come on a few hours after eating something with gluten, but often times they come the next day and may actually last for as long as 2-3 days. I can’t take it anymore! As I’m writing this my bloated belly is petruding through my dress and the thin belt around my waist feels like it’s going to bust off at any moment.  I need to chill out on gluten.

I went gluten free last fall for a little over 2 months and felt GREAT.   However, since then I began adding little bits of gluten back in here and there.  I avoid it whenever I can but as you have read, I do have some slip ups now and then!  As with all of the evolutions in my diet, I know it takes time to implement and stick to new changes. Saying goodbye (even limiting gluten) seems to be the hardest, but I have absolute faith that I will get there. I’ve already implemented some simple changes that have been really tasty and nutritious. For example:

-I love peanut butter and jelly so now I’ve been enjoying them on rice-cakes (which have always been a favorite food of mine).  Or on Ezekiel bread (see link and more about this below)
-I have been enjoying my hummus with chopped up carrots, celery or peppers.
-I’m placing things that I would normal eat with bread over a bed of greens or wrapping in a collard green.
-I’ve been limiting the amount of soy sauce I use when out eating sushi, and using Bragg’s Liquid Aminos for the sushi that I order in.
-I grab whole pieces of fruit to snack on throughout the day and have been making my own fruit/nut bars.
-Luckily I’ve been off pasta and pizza for quite some time, which gives me hope because I NEVER thought I could move away from those foods. I swear by brown rice pasta, and even got the rest of my Italian family on it.  I’ve been making vegan pizza’s on Ezekiel sprouted wraps (Please note, Ezekiel still contains gluten, but does not bother me as much as a white or whole wheat flour wrap would. You must explore what foods you can tolerate and can’t with your gluten sensitivity. Those with an allergy towards gluten (or celiac) would NOT be able to consume products such as these.).
Thanks, Ryan.  Now I will think of you each time I want
some fluffy bread & feel better because you have my back.

The list goes on…and basically all of the changes have resulted in eating more whole, real foods at each meal which has been great! But just as with most meaningful relationships, you’ll have a difficult time separating and calling it quits, and I’m clearly in this stage. I’m writing this to remind everyone that I struggle just like everyone else with making changes to my diet. During times like this I really have to take the advice that I give to my clients and be patient, stay focused, make the best decision I can at every meal and most importantly remind myself that it’s OK if I slip here and there.

Have you gone gluten-free and have any ideas, stories, recipes or suggestions? Please share!

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