I have officially been gluten free for seven years now. I became gluten free before it was even well known, a trend, or even a “thing.” I had a sensitive stomach my entire life but lived with it because what other option did I have? It was never bad enough that I had to go to the doctor and eating whatever I wanted was all I knew. It wasn’t until I was in my early 30’s and a family member asked if I would go see their holistic doctor to get an allergy test that I thought twice about it. Honestly, I thought it was a little silly but I was also a bit curious so I agreed. When I received the results I was a little surprised. In addition to wheat and gluten being at the top of the list, I was also allergic to foods like egg yolk, cheddar cheese, and even pineapple. I needed time to process the list to even believe that the list was accurate. I dreaded giving up some of my favorite foods and admitting I had food allergies. The last thing I wanted was to be different or the difficult one when ordering at a restaurant.
At the time, being gluten free was a bit foreign to most people, restaurants, food manufacturers, and supermarkets. No one that I can recall even knew the term or sold any food that was gluten free except a small whole food chain market near my home. There were no gluten free menus available or gluten free options almost anywhere else in public. And the gluten free foods like bread and pasta that did exist were bland tasting and would crumble easily. I remember that most people would refer to gluten free foods to tasting like cardboard, and from what I recall they were right. And I can’t tell you how many times I had to explain to others what gluten was in the first place. And in case you are wondering, gluten is “a protein substance found in grains, especially wheat, rye, and barley, that is responsible for the elastic texture of the dough.” Being gluten free was challenging to implement, but I like challenges, so one day I decided to officially be gluten free. And I have never looked back.
Like I said, when I first started, there weren’t many specific items available, so I had to be creative. I knew what gluten was and what types of food gluten was in, so I just avoided those, almost like being on a diet. This new lifestyle change wasn’t looked upon as well from others, who ordered and shopped for food at their leisure and pleasure. I ate a lot of salads, meat, cheese, and vegetables. Honestly, once I got started I didn’t find it hard at all. Being gluten free is not as hard as some people think or make it out to be, it just takes a little education, dedication, and discipline.
Nowadays, the options to be gluten free are mainstream so if someone has an insensitivity or allergy there really is no excuse not to do it if you need to. Almost everywhere I go has a gluten free menu or at least some gluten free options. Some people even go gluten free by choice. It took me a while to find the best brands, but now I find that most gluten free foods like bread, pasta, pizza, crackers, cookies, cakes, and or pretzels taste incredible and are very comparable to foods with gluten. Sometimes when I have to bring food, especially dessert, to a party, I bring a gluten free option and no one at the party even knows it’s gluten free because it takes so good. I think the hardest part is mentally not being able to be free to order what you want at a restaurant or buy what you want at the store. There are even gluten free dedicated stores and restaurants that only serve gluten free items, so check it out in your area! And there really is no stigma to being gluten free so try it, you might like it! And may I mention that If you are going to go gluten free you have to be all in…it won’t really provide you relief and or benefit if you only eat gluten free sometimes or once in a while.
Over the years, there has been a lot of research about synthetic wheat and how most people should stay off gluten, even if they have never officially l been diagnosed with a problem. Here is a post from Wellness Mama on the topic http://wellnessmama.com/575/problem-with-grains/ And another post specifically about going gluten free by Anne from Fannetastic Food http://www.fannetasticfood.com/should-everyone-go-gluten-free/ Anne reports of new research that shows “another form of intolerance has been discovered, called non-celiac gluten sensitivity. In these cases, when gluten is consumed, the person will experience celiac disease-like symptoms, like diarrhea, bloating, fatigue, and joint pain, but they do not have the accompanying intestinal damage.” There is also some research on how being gluten free can help children with ADHD and or Autism and improve their symptoms and behaviors.Being gluten free has also been shown to increase fertility!
So am I intolerant or allergic to gluten? Either way, as soon as I stopped eating gluten all of those stomach sensitivities I had my entire life disappeared. My skin cleared up, my stomach pains went away, my digestive and intestinal track was back to normal, my constant headaches disappeared, and I felt like I had more energy. Plus, when I first began my gluten free journey, I lost a lot of weight because I was so strict about what I ate and I’m sure some of the weight I had gained over time was due to inflammation.
And now my family is also gluten free. For my daughter’s first two years of life, she strictly ate gluten free foods – mostly because that is what I ate and all I bought. She will now have some foods with gluten but it is rare and typically eats the majority of her meals gluten free including her macaroni and cheese, pizza, sandwiches, and chicken nuggets. My husband has also converted for the most part, too. He will still eat a “real” pizza and or get a hamburger with a “real” bun once in a while (I will always get it lettuce wrapped if the restaurant doesn’t have a gluten free bun), but all the meals we eat at home are free of gluten including all of our pasta, bread, crackers, snacks, and baked goods.
When I collaborate with food companies it is very important that they have gluten free options. When I was nursing my daughter my milk supply was very low and friends and experts would suggest that I eat lactation cookies. The only problem with that was that one of the main ingredients that boosted milk supply was brewer’s yeast, which I couldn’t find any that was gluten free. But now, there is a company called The Milk Pantry in Australia that offers multiple gluten free products that boost milk supply! http://www.milkpantry.com.au They also offer products that aren’t gluten free in addition to the gluten free brownies, cookies, bliss bites, and “mumma” shakes that also happen to be dairy free! They even have vegan options.
I was fortunate enough to try The Milk Pantry’s gluten free cookies and gluten free bliss bites. The cookies are super simple to make because all you need to add to the mix is 1 egg & ½ a stick of butter OR for a Vegan option you just add water and coconut oil. The cookies were so good and if I’m being completely honest, I had at least 3 cookies the day I made them because they were so delicious. The bliss bites are also super easy to make because they are no bake and all you have to do is add water! I loved how soft and sweet they were that I didn’t even have a chance to snap a picture of them because I ate them too quickly!
I love the ingredients on all of The Milk Pantry’s gluten free products. Not only are they healthy ingredients, but they also boost milk supply like flax seeds, gluten free brewers yeast, and more! Other ingredients include almonds, and quinoa flakes. The bliss bites ingredients include raw almonds, dates, dried apricots, raw cashews, flax seed meal, premium quality gluten free brewers yeast, dried cranberries, chia seeds, shredded coconut, organic coconut sugar, organic quinoa flakes, certified organic cacao powder, sunflower seeds.
To buy the Gluten Free Cookie Mix click here http://www.milkpantry.com.au/product/glutenfree and to buy the Bliss Bites click here http://www.milkpantry.com.au/Gluten_Free_Bliss_Bites_Mix/p3288914_16458461.aspx I have yet to try the brownies, but I want to so much I can already taste their deliciousness, but in case you get to them first, here is a link to buy them http://www.milkpantry.com.au/Gluten_Free_Brownie_Mix/p3288914_16458441.aspx
Do you have allergies? Are you gluten free? Please share your story with me on Instagram @theparentologist or by clicking here https://www.instagram.com/theparentologist/?hl=en