The Good, the Bad, and the Glutens

My gluten free experience has been far from typical.  Today marks Day 33 of this lifestyle, and these are things I have learned:

1. Farewell to the Drive Thru Queen.  I did not fully realize my addiction to the ease of fast food until I went gluten free and suddenly stopped eating it. I began planning to cook extra food at dinner so I would have leftovers for lunches.

2. Gluten is OmniPresent.  It really is in most products on supermarket shelves — except, of course, in fresh produce and meats, which quickly became my new cuisine.

3. Gluten Free Breads are Nasty.  I’ve tried the ones in the frozen section.  Shudder.  I’d rather eat cardboard.

4. Bisquick Gluten Free Mix Makes Delicious Biscuits and Pancakes.  These two items have become the only “breads” I ingest.

5. I’m Sick Of Rice and Potatoes.  Mashed potatoes. Baked potatoes. Oven-crisped potatoes. Potato chips. Jasmine Rice. Basmati Rice. Blegh.

6.Eating Out Gluten Free Isn’t Worth the Hassle or the Worry.  My husband told the waiter to just go ahead and charge us for the gluten when I asked for gluten free.  Get it?  Immediately after the meal, I experienced excruciating cramping.  Not sure if there were foreign glutens lurking in that gluten-free dish or if I was just being my usual crampy self.

7.Dove Dark Chocolate is Gluten Free. Enough said.

8. LARA Bars are my new favorite snack.  Made only with real food (as opposed to hydrolyzed and chemically preserved whatnot), these snacks pack a nice caloric punch at 200 per bar.  This is a good thing, because…

9. Removing Glutens Made Me Lose Weight.  For many of you, this would be a plus.  For me, not so much.  I’ve lost about 5 pounds, which is 5.4% of my total weight. When you start out well under 100 pounds, that’s not good. I may be off the mark here, but I suspect when I go back to the doctor she won’t be happy with that loss.

10. Gluten Free = More Symptoms.  I keep a symptoms diary.  I have yet to have a doctor who does more than a cursory glance at my detailed observations, but they have helped me objectify something that would be elusive.  Has going gluten free helped me?  I would have said YES, because I wanted it to help me.  But then I took a look at my diary and recorded the digestive symptoms I have had this month gluten free and compared them to the previous month when I was eating plentiful amounts of gluten.

It’s not even close.  This past month going gluten free, I recorded 46 instances of some sort of gastronomic upset.  The previous month when I was not gluten free, I recorded a surprising 29.

Everything I have read about gluten free touts how much better people feel when they abstain from wheat.  I was ready to say I felt better, too, until I actually looked at my records.  Wow.  I guess I must be pretty atypical. But we knew that anyway.

Does this mean I get to go bake and eat some REAL bread now?  No.  Not yet.  I want to discuss all this with my doctor, and I’m taking bets on what she’ll tell me to do!

So it appears that instead of gluten kicking me in the gut…the ABSENCE of gluten is kicking me in the gut.  If I do go back to the dark side, I promise I will try my best NOT to regain my Drive Thru Queen title. I like eating good food…including good glutens.

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