Slaying a Beast Called GLUTEN

June 14, 2011


In January of this year I realized I should not eat Gluten – I likely should never have been eating Gluten. This is not just a fad for me but I will say that I am happy that it is trendy to blame Gluten on all problems. This trend made me consider it THE Enemy.

I used to blame my insomnia on caffeine and/or stress and/or pregnancy.  Every time I was pregnant I padded around the living room stretching or doing a crossword or a sudoku puzzle. Sometimes I would watch a movie – a strange documentary or a “chick flick.”  Or I may watch Sanford and Son reruns on Nick at Nite.

I had irregular menstrual cycles that the gynecologist assured me was normal – maybe I was getting older but irregularity can be normal.

But what about my lethargy? My weekly naps that were turning into two or three naps a week? What about my swollen joints?

Aha, I decided I must be anemic. I started taking Floradix – it definitely helped increase my energy and reduce swelling in my joints but I still suffered from insomnia. I was still napping. I still had to squat slowly.

I kept hearing people talk about Gluten-free eating. How sad for them – no pizza, no bagels. I am glad I do not have to be Gluten free! But after one long cycle of no period and fears of pregnancy  (I have a teenager! Teenagers do not want their parents being pregnant!) I started looking around and listening. I looked up Gluten intolerance. I was definitely not a celiac but I had some of the symptoms. Rob told me I would have symptoms of almost anything I looked up. I suppose I could be a hypochondriac in addition to being Gluten-intolerant.

So, I started reading ingredients and I went gluten-free for a week. I felt kind of silly because my friend Jean had just written a bit of a rant about all of the dietary challenges she faces from her various friends and family and Gluten-intolerance was high on Jean’s list of intolerance. It seemed I was falling for the latest craze. Also, I am married to an Italian – think pizza, pasta, bread, bread and bread!

But I am strong, I can resist. And I did for six days. On the seventh day I had lentil soup and salad and since I did not feel any different I had a couple of bites of Rob’s gnocchi and a sliver of pizza – no problem  . . . until that night. I could not sleep – I tossed, I turned, I suffered. So, I really went Gluten-free.

I love making pancakes on the weekend. I ground up some pecans, I sifted in some corn meal and some rolled oats and added melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and fresh raspberries. They were delicious and my family ate them up. They did not miss the Gluten.

It has been nearly six months and I have conquered that beast. I have more energy, I sleep deeper and longer and my knees move with ease. My bodily functions are regulating and I have dropped a couple of extra pounds.

Every once in a while Gluten teases me, like, when the family gets bagels on Sunday morning and I can smell them.  Finn and I often stop at 11B on the way home from school and he gets a slice of hot out of the oven pizza – he offers me a thread of melted mozzarella – sans Gluten!

I am now the proud owner of Gluten-Free Cooking for Dummies and I experiment. I just made a batch of baking flour using various flours and xantham gum.

The other day I made quinoa salad and Rob loved it. It is faster than making pasta salad. I cooked up some quinoa, I added grape tomatoes, garlic olives, marinated mushrooms and carrots. I dressed it with a bit of olive oil and red wine vinegar and I will make it for the next event where I would usually make pasta salad. Yes, I know, there is quinoa pasta and rice pasta and corn pasta but the world needs more quinoa.


Gluten-free does not mean taste-free. But it does mean a freer me! I move freely and I sleep freely, I cycle freely.


One Response to “Slaying a Beast Called GLUTEN”

  1. You know, I had a resistance to believing I had trouble with gluten. I had many of the same symptoms you described here. Until one day, I had an anaphylaxis (hate spelling that word) attack after half a cookie. Then again after a piece of fish with wheat on the outside. I gave up wheat for good that day (on the recommendation of an allergist) and lost a bunch of weight, looked and felt better than I’d felt as a teenager. And I was someone who practically lived on bread, cereal, and crackers before that. Pizza is my favorite food in the universe, and sadly, I have not found a good gluten-free crust yet. But I’ve found some good dessert options and put the recipes up on my new blog:
    I’m working on an angel food cake gluten free recipe as we speak to post up next. So don’t despair – it is worth giving up. I just wish I’d figured my intolerance (Which built up to a true allergy, eventually) earlier – I could have been healthier sooner!

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