I woke up, filled with dread. This day had loomed in my mind like a dark cloud on a distant horizon.
I rolled out of bed and left my apartment, still wearing the clothes in which I slept. Turning the corner, I walked into Swallow Cafe and evaluated the pastry selection.
Where were the weird gluten-free pastries I had seen just last week — and turned up my nose at? Not at Swallow, apparently.
From there, I walked to The Bean. On previous visits, I had seen rows of vegan items and GF stuff next to the menu of green juices and chai variations. Today? Nada.
With a heavy sigh, I gave up and ordered a cinnamon, gluten-laden muffin and walked home, feeling like a big quitter.
When I got home, I logged on to my computer and got ready to work. That’s when I saw it: the date was July 31.
My real GF month starts tomorrow.
* * *
August 1 has been on my calendar as DAY ONE OF MY GLUTEN-FREE MONTH since a doctor’s appointment in June and yet now that the day has arrived, I am thoroughly unprepared.
My endocrinologist* suggested that I try a gluten-free month. The fact that it wasn’t a complete surprise didn’t lessen my horror.
“Maybe wait until you return from Kenya,” she said.
“Yes, I think that’s a good idea,” I replied, thinking about other reasons to put off doing this terrible thing.
*She is an endocrinologist who treats me for hypothyroidism. Blood work I have had through the years has shown high C reactive protein, a sign of inflammation.
Truth be told, a fellow traveler was gluten-free (and vegan) and she managed. Somewhat. Meanwhile, I ate Siana Springs Tent Camp’s pancakes each morning and still somehow managed to lose five pounds in ten days.
I had previously gone through intensive patch testing to determine what was making my body freak out. Gluten/wheat didn’t show as an allergy, but I have since been told that the test isn’t 100% reliable.
The doctor asked me to give it a month, saying that if I didn’t see any benefit, I could go back to my daily gluten-fest.
Some of my favorite foods have to be eliminated. I’ve had decent pasta substitutes but can I live without French toast at brunch? And for all of my anti-chain ranting, I have to admit that I really enjoy Starbucks pastries on my way to work. Unfortunately Starbucks doesn’t offer any GF pastries.
I realize that I am also going to have to do more cooking, and it is not something that excites me. In a perfect world, I would cook once a week – no more, no less.
But I think my biggest resistance is this: I’m pretty sure I will feel better. And that means that a gluten-free lifestyle is in my future. Yes, it would be great to avoid headaches, bloating and other symptoms that are probably food-related, but I am struggling to accept that such a big lifestyle change is looming.
If you GF types have suggestions, recipes and/or warnings, please leave them in the comments.
* * *
In closing, a promise: I won’t become a blogger who talks about GF stuff all the time. That sh*t’s annoying and I’m annoying enough as is.
My endocrinologist has me on meds and a grain free diet. I have insulin issues that would become diabetes if untreated. Rest assured, the first week or two can be hard, but it gets SO easy that even if you miss the gluten once in a while, overall, you will not. And for those days (after your month of testing it out) you can always have one thing of gluten and consider it done.
There are amazing gluten free chips, pastas, crackers, breads, etc in the health food sections of stores. The organic sections are good for that. Plus, being GF has become weirdly trendy, so a lot of restaurants have GF options or even a GF menu. I believe in you!
I went gluten free 2.5 years ago also for health reasons. The best piece of advice is this: don’t try to eat the same styles of food but with GF substitutes. You will be disappointed. seek out new recipes that stray from sandwiches and pastries. My 2 most common meals: eggs and potatoes and stir fry. Find out what foods keep you full and satisfied and stay away from the ones that leave you wanting more. A lot of middle eastern and some Asian foods will be your friend- just watch out for soy sauce. Indulge in GF bagels, pizza, pastries seldomly so that it IS a treat- because it won’t ever be as good or better than the real thing. Good luck!
Thanks for your note. I’m hoping this isn’t a permanent way of life for me because breakfast is depressing. Today I went out for brunch and had eggs. Alas they make me super-sick at least 50% of the time.
Given that restaurants in my city charge $8-10 for yogurt and GF granola, brunch (my favorite) might go away. Sad.
Well? How did it go? And, annoying you are not!