Today I felt like talking about a topic I had some issues with recently: gluten-free. Each and every time I was saying ‘sorry, I can’t eat that because it contains gluten’, some people would reply ‘ha yeah I see, that’s trendy lately’. Erm… Great!
Just to be clear: no, I didn’t choose this way of life to ‘be trendy’, but to take care of my health!
Let’s go back in time. One year ago, my stomach hurt so bad everyday as digestion was hard, and I was extremely tired. I started to think I had a serious problem. I went to the doctor’s several times, and we ended up talking about allergies and intolerances. Actually, it was relevant to talk about it since my mother has many allergies (food colorings, for example). As far as I can remember, I always have seen her analyzing ingredients lists on each product she was buying. So it was indeed a possibility for me, to have allergies. The problem is: allergy tests are quite expensive! I decided to choose one test and see how it was going. The celiac test was negative, so I wasn’t allergic to gluten. However, I could totally be gluten intolerant. There is a great difference between the two options: allergy provokes important reactions while intolerance gives smaller everyday symptoms. According to the results, the doctor told me to avoid gluten and lactose for 7 months to see my body’s reaction once all toxins would be evacuated. This is how my journey began.
At the beginning…
I was motivated to stop eating gluten for a while. But now, it was all about understanding what exactly gluten was and where it was hidden. That was the first major puzzle!
Gluten is a protein that can be found in some cereals such as wheat (mainly), rye, barley, and spelled. I had to say goodbye to so many things: pastries, bread, pizzas,… Well, all that I loved to eat. In fact, gluten can be found in many other products such as ham, chocolates, chips,… It’s literally hidden everywhere. At the beginning, going grocery shopping was like hell. I had to check all ingredients lists (and I was thinking about my mom who has been doing this for years), and it took hours!
Then, I came to the following conclusions:
When I found a product that would fit my needs, I would always buy it (quinoa, gluten-free pastas or chips,…)
And most of all, I would have to cook a lot! I would have to buy many fresh products like fruits and vegetables and prepare everything by myself. And, in fact, eating healthier and more natural was a good thing.
Little by little, I got used to this way of life… But it took 3 months!
So I started to cook more. It took time, but I started to like this lifestyle.
And, what was my first surprise? I lost weight! Without any effort or workout. I was still eating gluten-free chocolates, chips, pizzas,… But of course I had to avoid all fast-food and ready-to-eat meals.
Results: minus 6kg, that never came back.
Second surprise: in fact, it’s not that difficult, and I feel better! I enjoy cooking gluten-free meals (and lactose-free because I was still trying to figure out which one I was intolerant to).
After 7 months, I felt better but it wasn’t the best either. I went back to the doctor’s. After several additional tests, it turned out that I have no allergy to anything! What a relief! But, that’s for sure, I have intolerances. So I will keep avoiding gluten…
So, to summarize, is it difficult to eat gluten-free?
Well, to be honest, I would say YES and NO. That’s true I had to say goodbye to many products I loved, but nowadays many brands offer gluten-free options, so as more and more restaurants! Even if I was told I could eat gluten again, I would keep my new habits. Cherry on the top: it made me discover many new restaurants (with gluten-free options) I didn’t know about and which are absolutely delicious :).
In the end, we can get used to anything! Feel free to share your experiences in the comment section!