Food, Health, Me Time, Wellness

Living Gluten Free in a Not Gluten-Free World

First, let’s start with a lesson. What is gluten? Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, and triticale–a cross between wheat and rye. Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected. 

Second, I have not always been gluten free. It all started two years ago when I had many medical issues that the doctors could not diagnose. They suggested the Mediterranean diet, which consists of fruits, veggies, olive oils, and whole grains. I committed for a few months, even though I kept gaining weight and feeling worse as the days went by. I am usually a good patient and listen to my doctors, but I knew something was not right. They kept giving me more meds to take for a new problem that would arise. I decided it was time to take over my own healthcare.

It was August 1, 2021, when I cut out all newly-prescribed medications, all gluten products, and all alcohol. I mean at this point, what did I have to lose? It could only go up from here is all I kept thinking. Well, one month in, and I lost weight and my body started to level out. After three months, I asked my doctor to run labs because I wanted to see if anything was working. My doctor was shocked at how much my levels normalized and suggested a few more months of this before reintroducing anything back into my diet.

Here I am over two years later, living gluten free. I mean, I used to think that it was so stupid how someone could be gluten free. I 100 percent understand it now and feel horrible for ever doubting anyone. However, the new problem is: living in the United States. In Louisiana alone, it is very hard to go eat and have the food be gluten free. I mean, you can only eat so much chicken, salad, and vegetables before it’s just boring, and you are often mad at the world for being gluten intolerant.

With Thanksgiving this month, plan to bring your own food if you have a gluten intolerance, because most of the food cooked for a traditional Thanksgiving is not going to be gluten free. You’ve got the gravies, the casseroles, and not to mention, all the pies. I miss so many of these foods, but I have learned to make a few side dishes that I can enjoy.

I would love to hear from my readers on places they have found that have more gluten-free options, or any great recipes. Bonus points for a gumbo; I have been craving that forever now.

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