Why Gluten Is Not My Friend

Gluten Free Zone

I used to suffer from the worst abdominal pain. It was unrelenting.

Day in and day out, the lower left corner of my belly would just burn. Nothing would sooth the fiery inferno that was my intestine.

Passing gas didn’t work; having a good ol’ poop didn’t work; using a hot water bottle did nothing; massaging and stretching the area only made the pain worse; and seeing a gastroenterologist and getting a colonoscopy told me nada! Well…it told me that I had irritable bowel syndrome – but what’s that?

Irritable bowel syndrome is a diagnosis for: “I don’t know what’s wrong with you”.

I lived with the gut pain for 3 years, and more symptoms started to emerge: my tongue was swollen, and my breathing felt more laboured. That’s when I decided to do some serious research. I was tired of living with the aggravating symptoms that would worsen every time I had a meal.

Looking back on what my diet was like 6 years ago is pretty comical to me, now. Every meal would be jam-packed with baguettes, bagels, cake, pastries, pasta, instant oatmeal, breakfast cereal, flour thickened sauces, schnitzel and on and on and on…

My body was a gluten and sugar cesspool.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a substance made-up of several different proteins. Glutinous proteins are found in

          • Wheat                               Farro
          • Barley                               Graham
          • Contaminated Oats        Kamut
          • Rye                                   Semolina
          • Durum                               Triticale
          • Spelt                                  Einkorn

Gluten gives stretch, elasticity and structure to leavened breads, and it’s a great thickener for sauces and soups.

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What made you decide to go gluten-free?

I did some research, and read about Celiac disease: a genetic condition where gluten destroys the lining of the intestine. It turns out that I don’t have Celiac disease, but my symptoms were very similar, so I decided to do the experiment – I would go gluten-free for one week.

What happened when you went gluten-free?

My experiment shocked me! Within 48-hours my gut pain reduced by 50%, and my swollen tongue deflated.

I found the answer to my belly busting plight – I was allergic to gluten.

Of course, to make sure, I ate some more bread to see if I was actually allergic to gluten. And, yes, the symptoms came marching back.

So, here I am 6-years later. I’m a gluten-free girl. It took 3 years for the gut pain to fully disappear – I guess I did some serious damage.

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What are your gluten-free favorites?

Six years ago, there were hardly any tasty gluten-free foods on the market. There was one loaf of bread that was as heavy as a brick, and it had the taste and texture of saw dust.

Now, there are so many options; it’s incredibly easy to live gluten-free.

Since I live sugar-free, yeast-free and gluten-free, my favorite bread option is Food For Life’s brown rice wraps. I make wraps, pizzas and crackers from this amazing product. I can’t live without them! One of my favorite recipes is black bean burritos. Check out Friday’s Food Love blog post for the recipe!

My second favorite product is Mary’s Gone Crackers. These organic crackers are made of rice, flax, quinoa and sesame seeds. They are incredible crunchy, and a staple for any gluten-free cupboard. Check out this week’s recipe using Mary’s Crackers.

There are so many new products coming on the market – my latest obsession: Beanfield’s gluten-free and GMO-free rice and bean chips. AMAZING!

Photo Credits: Daniela Vladimirova and pierofix and Philippe Put

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