Tuesday, 10 December 2013

My Gluten Free Life.

As most of you know, I'm gluten free. Of course, not by my own choice, but lately it's been getting me so frustrated I feel like I need to share it with my readers. So here it is, an insight into the life of a gluten intolerance.

To cut a very long story short, I was diagnosed with IBS several years ago - none of the medication changed what my body was doing and eventually I was sent for a sigmoidoscopy (I will let you Google that one yourselves!). After having cameras where I didn't want cameras, it was suggested that I changed my diet to wheat-free to see if that improved my symptoms. It did to an extent, but I still found I wasn't very well if I ate oats, couscous, and other gluten filled products. So without a second thought I just cut out the gluten nearly 2 years ago and I've never looked back. That kind of brings us to today...

I just want to clear up a few things about gluten-free living by answering the most common questions I get asked:

Do you have Celiac Disease?

Nope, I don't, as far as I know. Celiac Disease is an autoimmume disease where the body attacks it's self - i fortunately have an intolerance rather than being Celiac. This does, however, mean I'm not entitled to prescriptions for GF bread, pasta, etc. so my GF living can get pretty pricey - I'm talking £3 for a TINY loaf of bread...

What kind of symptoms do you get if you eat gluten?

Without going into too much detail, my body will let me know pretty swiftly if I've eaten something it doesn't like. I may go to the toilet 5-6 times, stomach cramps take over my life and I'm generally quite uncomfortable. The cramps have been so bad at times they have actually made me sick. The worse symptom for me is the nausea, this is usually the first thing that happens and is pretty difficult to shift. Nausea makes me not want to do anything, to eat anything and makes me very lethargic. Not nice at all. that might sound a little dramatic, but imagine having that hungover feeling, every single day - not so dramatic now? 

What can/can't you actually eat?

Well, I can eat quite a lot really. Rice is a big thing for me, I LOVE rice, although I didn't before I was GF. Quinoa is also something that has made it's way into my life and I'm pretty sure it won't be going anywhere, anytime soon. Potatoes, fruit, veg, cheese, more cheese, some Quorn  products, fish, etc. The things I can't eat but would love to are cakes, biscuits, some crisps, vinegar, gravy, some oven chips, bread, pasta, pizza, oats, the list is endless. Of course I buy some GF bread/pasta, but if you've ever tried it you'll know it's only good for toast unless you enjoy that cardboard texture..Planning meals for lunch at placement and uni is probably one of the most difficult things and because of this my diet is pretty shocking, I'm really trying to get better though. Plus more brands are dipping into the GF world, fingers crossed they will make the prices student friendy..

Do you ever have gluten to 'treat' yourself?

Yes, sometimes the urge overcomes me and my will power walks out the door. And yes I regret it. Every. Single.Time. The other day I ate three Pringles (yes they have gluten in!), THREE Pringles and I was nauseous the entire day after. Every now and again, I will 'accidentally' have gluten, for instance I grabbed a pack of crisps a few weeks back, ate them without thinking, then I read the allergy advice...Today I have THE biggest craving for a Greggs Cheese and Onion pasty (true Northerner there!), I miss them so baddd.

Can you eat out?

Yep! Up until about a year ago it was still pretty tricky and I was still getting to grips with my new GF life. However, Pizza Hut, Pizza Express, Bella Italia, Ask Italian, Prezzo, Zizi, all now have a GF menu. Oh and Dough in Manchester has THE best GF pizza ever. I find Thai restaurants are pretty safe too, lots of rice and fresh ingredients I can usually find something to eat.

Dough's GF Fish and Chip Pizza!!

Did you loose weight turning GF?

Well, actually I think this is a huge misconception of GF living. GF bread has MORE sugar and calories than regular bread, as do the majority of GF products, unless of course they're naturally gluten free. So although I lost weight, this was because of my bodies reaction to gluten - getting rid of it as quickly as possible, not because I switched to a GF diet.

Being GF is tough. Especially when people don't understand and restaurants thing you're just being 'fussy', so I hope this has given you some insight into what my GF life is like.

Are you GF? Feel free to ask me anything else!

Katie xx


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10 comments

  1. My sister is GF and you are aware I have have many allergies, it's a blooming nightmare so I understand your annoyance, frustrations but hang on in there because I'm been dealing with this majority of my life and the free from food and awareness is getting better, it's taken a while but it's getting there. I too wish things were a bit cheaper.

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  2. I had a friend who was Celiac once and I know her diet was something that ruled her life so I can imagine how hard it is for you. It must feel very limiting and frustrating at times but anything is worth it if it keeps you healthy, isn't it? I have IBS which when I was in uni took over my life with symptoms you described, but weirdly after getting pregnant and ever since it's almost completely gone. I feel very lucky never to have suffered as bad as you though. Well done to you for sharing this with us, I'm sure you've really helped people with this! x x

    Claire | AgentSmyth

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  3. have you tried gineise bread, its the best one i have found its £3 though but much better than the card board the others are like.

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  4. I'm GF for the same reason, I have an intolerance to it and it makes me so sick. It's shocking how much Gluten sneaks into food, like sauce or gravy granules.

    I've learnt to make a lot of food myself now with gluten free flour, I tried Dominoes GF pizza and it was horrific, I couldn't eat more than a few bites, I'd rather make my own. Same with cakes etc, it's cheaper to buy the GF flour and make your own than to buy a GF cake, it's disgusting how much it costs.
    When I first got the £3 loaf I was shocked, there was like 10 slices of bread and like you said it was only good enough to use for toast as it was cardboard texture just on its own. :S

    I couldn't go back and eat products with gluten in, those times I do without realising I am in the most extreme amounts of pain to the point I can't move. Sick too. At first I thought it was just my IBS which I was diagnosed with as a baby, but turns out all these years it was gluten sensitivity and only figured that out because I got ill at the start of the year (still trying to diagnose what THAT is 11 months later) and that came up.

    I'd love to know some recipes you use, at the moment because my stomach is being an idiot (the 11 month mysterious illness I mentioned above) I'm on mostly a liquid food, soup, smoothies, but it would be nice to try some more GF recipes that I can make a small portion of and try. :D

    Juyey xxx

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  5. Your story mirrors my own almost exactly x As well as severe IBS I started to get horrid blisters all over my stomach and arms the endoscopy came back negative for coeliac disease but my doctor recommended an exclusion diet and the rest well nearly 9 years of it is history.I do have days where I just say sod it but I always pay the price being veggie and not eating fish makes it a lot harder but thankfullly there are more and more gluten free foods on the supermarket shelves which makes life easier - Every year I get the coeliac UK guide which I find really helpful - I just wish that things were a little bit cheaper :(

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  6. fish and chips pizza! WHAT! :) x

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  7. Really good post! Great explanation, I hate how some people think that some go gluten free just to be difficult!
    Hopefully now there will be more of an understanding.

    Jenn | Photo-Jenn-ic

    x

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  8. I'm not officially a coeliac but my doctors think I am I just can't let myself go through it all again! I cannot touch wheat, gluten, barley and most oats and hate that most people think that I'm being difficult! also people who are coeliac and EAT gluten and 'deal' with the consequences anger me so much, you aren't supposed to harm your body! I get what you mean about stomach cramps, mine are so bad and instant that I acan't stand up let alone get on with life! good to see this post, also how great have some restaurants finally become! p.s i'm 100% sure dominos isn't completely gluten free my body is a good enough lie detector for me! xo

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  9. I am EXACTLY the same as you! Literally to the letter. Don't have celiacs but had the same lovely test as you and just can't eat many things, it's such a pain! Sorry to hear you have this too! Beth xo

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  10. I can't imagine how frustrating it must be for you sometimes! Three pringles seems like nothing so for you to feel so terrible afterwards seems SO unfair! It's really great that you can still eat out and that options are getting more varied for you. Hopefully things will start to get a little cheaper too!

    Jennie xo | sailorjennie.com

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