“What’s wrong?” He asked.
I shifted uncomfortably in my seat and stared hard at the menu of the cafe we’re sitting in.
“I’m not entirely sure. Lately…eating makes me anxious. I don’t feel good after anything I eat. I’m bloated and slightly nauseous all the time. I’ve skipped dinner the last few nights just so my digestive system won’t have anything sitting in my stomach overnight and I don’t wake up nauseous. I feel better – for the most part. Still, though….not quite right.”
That was the conversation that was the catalyst for an interesting and alarming discovery.
Guys. I may be gluten-intolerant.
I’m already lactose-intolerant (and getting more sensitive as I get older) and this just puts the cherry on top of a very disappointing sundae.
After this conversation, I toyed with the idea of eliminating gluten from my diet for a short period of time. I did some light research on my symptoms and then decided to go gluten-free for the next few days. I felt better immediately. However, my short span of diligence was soon interrupted by all-too-expected cravings.
Since I am basically an addict forced into recovery, I couldn’t resist having little bits of gluten here and there. Then one day, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore and had mac and cheese, bread, cake and a beer (JUST ONE BEER!) later that night. I woke up with a headache and felt nauseous and horrible for the next two days. Eating became a chore again and I decided that gluten was just not worth the ails that followed after eating it.
Since that initial conversation in the cafe, I have been mostly gluten-free on an experimental basis. For the most part, I’ve felt better. Currently, I am battling with what my online research has deemed as ‘the calm before the storm’. Apparently, some people feel worse before they truly get better when they cut out gluten. The constant ingestion of gluten over the span of our lives makes it react with our brain in a drug-like manner and so when we cut it out, cold turkey, adverse effects may happen.
Regardless of what my online research states, I can honestly say that I feel terrible. My joints are swollen and aching, my digestion is worse, and I feel a little less than my normal self. Facing the idea of a foodie like myself possibly having to give up gluten (and perhaps dairy as well) for the long term is more than disheartening. My relationship with food goes beyond addiction. I have an emotional, creative, and motivating relationship with food and now that I might have adapt in a world where almost everything has gluten in it – I’m not afraid to admit I’ve come close to tears of frustration.
Not only must I cut out 90% of my favorite food items but I also have been struggling with how out-of-control I feel in terms of my body. I’ve always been of sturdy health. I don’t get sick often and though I’m no Olympian, physical activity has never been an issue for me. I am incredibly active and mobile for most of my days and lately, it’s been feeling like my body is betraying me.
I figured that my experience was worth a share because up until now, I discredited a lot of gluten sensitivities (not Celiac…I’ve always known that was a serious health issue) and scoffed at them condescendingly. I thought these ‘sensitivities’ were the product of helicopter parents and over-zealous WebMD surfers. I can tell you first hand that…if you’re somehow making up your gluten-sensitivity, you are insane. Insane. There is no way I would ever want to feel like this. There are so many other reasons for people to wallow in the pity of others and this should not be one of them. That is – unless you like feeling sick after everything you eat and thoroughly enjoy headaches and the lack of energy.
There is also one aspect of this possible intolerance that I have discovered and people don’t seem to illuminate as much. There is a sort of initial and overwhelming sense of isolation from the general population. Although gluten-free products are more numerous and widely available than they have ever been – you still can’t help but feel somewhat left out when everyone is having birthday cake and you’re not.
I know, I know. You’re like, “just shut up already and deal with it! Quit whining!” And, ladies and gents, I’m getting there. This is all still so new to me, I can’t help but whine. But, life moves on and my loved ones have enough happening in their lives without feeling remorseful about their food choices just because I can’t eat in the same way.
Still, though, I remain positive! I plan to see a doctor soon and get some real advice on how to tackle my digestive issues. This is nothing but a challenge. I have a lot of research and experimentation ahead of me and hopefully it will mean wonderful things for the blog! Plus, hello – flourless chocolate cakes? Pavlovas? Macarons? Nachos with corn chips? Ribs? Carolina bbq? No gluten there! Somehow I don’t think I’ll be losing any weight on this new-found dietary adventure!
Also! Me and the animals are moving! We are moving across town into a lovely new townhouse and with more kitchen space! I can’t be too down and out about my dietary issues when I will finally have a place for all my spices and cast iron pans!
Have some good reads on me!
Have you been following all the campaign hoo-ha? Why are candidates like Donald Trump and Ted Cruz the primary faces of the Republican Party these days?
This is very crunchy-granola of me but I’ve always wondered what a good alternative to plastic wrap was!
Is the wage gap really widening? Does the ‘Middle Class‘ of America still exist?
You know I’m a big fan of food and movies and a lot of these recommendations come from local North Carolina chefs!
Some people just get tired of the single and partying life. New York Bachelors certainly do.
Are you fascinated by whales? No? Don’t lie, you totally are. Apparently whaling was a pretty big industry in America at one time.
Sauerkraut and Kim chi are probably some of my favorite side dishes with foods and it seems that the natural cultures in the food may help an ailing gut!
There has never been a time where the Humanities department of a university hasn’t been under attack and scrutinized for it’s ‘practicality’.
I sit for a living. Do you? Get out! Move around! Your life may depend on it.
Ah. Hillary certainly gets a lot of flack these days.
Happy Hump Day! May your week fly like the wind!