Adventures in a Gluten Free Life

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In the middle of December, my boyfriend Michael found out he had gluten intolerance.  It was getting to the point where he was starting to have respiratory difficulties as well as intestinal ones.  He discovered the possible intolerance by doing research.  He had cut out so many of the bad things in his lifestyle to see if it would make a difference.  He went gluten free and in the first 24 hours he saw vast changes.  He realized that he had been poisoning himself for nearly his entire life.  He had problems since he was about 10 years old.  It was a relief to know what was wrong, but it was also a hefty blow.  A world without wheat and its by-products can seem like a massive misery.

I decided to join him on this gluten free journey.  It couldn’t hurt me and with some of the research I had done it seemed like over time it might even help my thyroid to function better.  In the first week, all my abdominal bloating, fullness, and gas had started to disappear.  I wasn’t as hungry as I had been when I was pumping myself full of gluten products which were mostly empty calories.  I wasn’t sure how long I would keep up with it because I had been notorious in my lifetime to get on a bandwagon and then fall off.  I was definitely going to give it the college try.

It has been 8 weeks since we embarked on a life without gluten and it has proved that wheat can be such an unassuming poison to our bodies.  It has had its ups for sure….our physical ailments have decreased 10 fold, especially Michael’s and I have lost about 7 pounds since the start.  The downs have been that constant agitation that comes from having to read every label.  Gluten hides under so many names.  It can be tricky.  You can’t even trust chocolate for God’s sake!!

We have learned to find the regular brands that certify a gluten free status but still retain their flavor profile.  It has been terribly hard not being able to go out to eat, especially in a small town that doesn’t have very many restaurants to eat at in the first place.  In the last week or so I began to feel a bit of despair and an uncertain craving for chocolate eclairs which are rammed to the hilt with gluten.  I could probably eat one, but after 8 weeks without gluten I am pretty damn afraid for the repercussions it would have on my guts.  So something had to give.

I realized we had been eating the same dishes on repeat because they were safe.  The gluten free cookbook I had was mostly filled with bland meals and baked goods.  Why do we have to sacrifice flavor AND gluten?  It seemed to make the road look that much longer.  We were at the book store the other day just looking around and I stopped by the cookbooks again to see if something new and interesting had magically appeared.  It was my lucky day for sure.

Like a beam of great light there was a cookbook by Emeril Lagasse’s daughters…both of whom discovered several years ago that they were gluten intolerant.  They had grown up eating their father’s amazing dishes full of all those Creole flavors and decadent textures.  They set out to recreate some of those dishes gluten free.  I felt a moment of salvation right there in the cookbook aisle.

Tonight I made baked Cod with a Creole tomato vinagrette, rice, and steamed broccoli.  Last night I made a luscious potato soup with bacon.  It feels nice to cook again with that idea of creation.  It makes the nourishment that much better.  It brings the family back together around the table.

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