Tag Archives: Intolerance

Am I Still Gluten Free?

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Can you have a guess as to what today’s blog post is about? Yes, it’s all about gluten and if I’m still gluten free which is an important topic for me to address, because I’ve avoided gluten for quite a few years but things are very slowly changing. 

If you didn’t know, I have several intolerances that include gluten, soya, carrots and potatoes. I have written a number of blog posts about my intolerance testing over the years which I’ll leave here: (x) (x) (x)

I started avoiding gluten back in 2014 after noticing I was getting a lot of stomach pain, headaches and once I had my intolerance test, I quit gluten completely and unless I eat it accidentally due to cross contamination, I stayed away from it. I was never officially tested by the doctor because when I went back and asked to be tested, I had been off it for a significant amount of time and eating it regularly again may have caused more harm than good. I have never claimed to be coeliac and never called myself coeliac either because I know the difference between having an intolerance and having an auto immune disease. 

Intolerances aren’t something to be looked down at of course but they’re not forever. You’re not going to have an intolerance forever and it’s really about reintroducing those foods into your diet very gradually. I once heard it could be done at the six month mark but I never tried it, I was too worried I was going to start feeling sick again. Over the last few months, I have gradually tried to try foods that have been on the no list for quite a long time. I have had a few bowls of oats and so far, I have had no reaction that I can tell, which I’m so pleased about. I’m being very mindful about this process however; it’s not a case of getting to eat all the food that I want now, because let’s face it, we have to mindful of what we choose to eat because that’s a reflection of how our bodies will be able to run. This will be a learning curve over the next few months which I’m looking forward to but it will be a slow process. 

20181108_191626.jpg(At the end of last year, I tried overnight oats for the first time and they were so nice!)

My thoughts on being gluten free are very simple: unless you are coeliac or have an intolerance to gluten, you don’t need to avoid it. There are still quite a few myths out there claiming that being gluten free is healthier. It really depends on what you are buying; if you’re living quite a whole foods diet with fruit and vegetables, then it’s the same level as someone who isn’t avoiding gluten but if you’re eating processed foods like the sweet treats and the breads (Two of many examples), because they’re not using gluten to hold everything together, they’re normally using more sugar instead. My number one recommendation would be to visit your doctor, raise your concerns and they may be able to test you for coeliac disease or it could be something different entirely but if you’re doing it for the health benefits, I don’t think you’re going to find many.  

I don’t hold a lot of respect for those who say they need to be gluten free but have it sometimes and “deal with it afterwards”. I don’t hold a lot of sympathy for them either if we’re being really honest; if you know you can’t have a certain food but choose to eat it because “it’s just this once” you know the consequences and the only one who is in control of the food you put in your body, is you. If you feel pressure at a work dinner, a friend’s night out or it’s just easier not to cause a fuss; are your work colleagues or friends going to thank you for doing that? I can probably guarantee that the answer to that is no. Is it worth hurting your body for other people or for that one sweet treat? You have to take accountability for your own actions and realise that your body needs to be respected as much as you can help it.  

I’m hoping to further document this over the next few months so if you have any similar stories to mine, I would love to read them to find any tips to help me through this process. I’m over at my usual Twitter and Instagram  or you can leave a comment below. Thank you so much for reading! 

 

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(Blogmas Day Seven) Not your traditional Christmas Dinner…

Happy Day Seven of Blogmas! Today I’m talking about having an intolerance in relation to your Christmas Dinner. Now, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while or you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you’ll know that I have quite a few intolerances. If you want to find out more about these, you can find them linked here, here and here!

Most people have an intolerance, that’s a known fact but there are some people that either don’t realise they have it or they choose to ignore it especially around Christmas time. Anyone that chooses to ignore an intolerance because they want to eat whatever they want, don’t! You’re causing your body harm and I don’t understand how any food could be so amazing that you’re willing to make yourself sick over it. And yes, I do eat amazing food without making myself ill.

Let’s talk Christmas dinner! One of the best dinners of the year, and I’m sure 99% of the UK population will agree with me* (*I have not performed a statistical study on this…). This is also my first year as a vegetarian at Christmas so I have that to work around as well as the no gluten, no soya, no carrots, no potatoes and no cocoa. I’ve given a suggestion to my Mum as to what she could make this year, based on what my boyfriend made me for a Sunday Dinner a few weeks ago.

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So above is what my Sunday Dinner looked like quite recently and I’m hoping to replicate it in a few weeks.

So I’ll start off with the top. So instead of ordinary mashed potato, I would have mashed sweet potato. The chicken looking roast is a Quorn roast which is vegetarian (it’s not vegan sorry!) and tastes just like chicken. I swap out carrots for roasted parsnips and added in sweetcorn, and you have to have brussel sprouts at Christmas (but I love brussel sprouts anyway!) On the bottom are stuffing balls which are from a gluten free packet and all you need is oil and water to make them up yourself.

Not pictured is the Yorkshire Puddings which you can get from the Free From aisle in Tesco or ASDA (or I’m sure you can get them in other supermarkets too) and the vegetable gravy which was made using a onion stock cube (which we had to do a little searching for because most either contain gluten or carrot), cornflour and hot water.

As strange as it sounds, I love that my Christmas dinner isn’t the same as everyone else’s. I don’t lose any taste and I don’t feel left out; if anything I think my dinner is enhanced by my intolerances. At the end of the day, I can either live a life where I hate eating this way or I can embrace it and enjoy it so much more. I choose the latter every single time.

So if you have anyone joining you this Christmas who can’t eat certain foods, please do your research! Whether that’s picking up a few ideas from my post, asking them what they can and can’t eat or going online and seeing what Google can find for you; I promise you that you don’t have to serve the most boring thing on earth for Christmas dinner if you or another person can’t eat a certain food, trust me on that!

My Second Intolerance Test.

If you’re not familiar with my first intolerance test, you can click here and it’ll take you to that post. It’ll describe my experience, what I found out and why I done it.

So I would say it’s been a good year and a half since I got the test done and over the past two months, I was starting to revert back to some of the feelings I was getting before the first test. When I would eat certain chocolate, I felt really groggy and slightly crampy and when I ate certain meats, the same thing would happen. I booked my Mum and I in for another intolerance test (This was her first one), I thought I had booked for the blood test but me being silly, it wasn’t. It was just like the one I got done before, just in a different place (So I’ll not be describing the process again, so you can check the above link if you’re interested in finding out what happens).

I found out that my gluten, soy/soya and carrot levels were still very high, surprisingly. I had been off it for a year and a half so I thought it would barely show up. I was very wrong. What also showed up was cocoa/chocolate, potatoes, MSG and pork. A few days previous, I had a really weird moment with some bacon, about twenty minutes after eating it so once she told me that I couldn’t have pork, that “episode” made total sense.

We found out about a week ago (My Mum had slightly different intolerances to me) so it’s almost like going back in time to when I first found out. This time is harder, for me anyway. As I sit and write this (on a Sunday night), I’ve just had two slices of gluten free bread, toasted. I don’t feel too good after it, so I go look at the packaging. There’s potato starch in my bread. That’s not something I would have looked for, maybe I should have, so I can see why I feel slightly strange.

With seven intolerances, well actually there’s a lot more, because pork covers so many as does potatoes, MSG and gluten, I am constantly worrying about food, especially when I eat out. Before it wasn’t too bad because I only had three to contend with. I went for pizza with my best friend the other day and I felt rubbish after it. It was a gluten free base pizza and I really tried my best to pick one that wouldn’t affect me and the only thing I can think of is either 1) the spicy beef was the problem or 2) there was a cross contamination issue. I started feeling a little sore about ten minutes after finishing it the pizza, so I know it wasn’t what I had for dessert, which was just a simple ice cream. But then again, if it was pizza, maybe it had potato starch in it? I just don’t know.

I can’t be spontaneous any more, and ever since the first test, I haven’t been. It does help finding new and interesting restaurants in Belfast and just outside, but I don’t know if this will get any easier any time soon. As for lunches, I won’t have to change too much but I can be more creative with food now, because I’m being forced to; I don’t want to be sore all the time, and I don’t want to damage my body. I’ll be tracking my progress on my blog, and I’ll be trying out more new recipes, since I can’t have chocolate any more, so possibly lots of sweet ones, but good sweet ones!

As with my other post, I have to say this was my personal experience of food intolerance testing, I am not a medical professional and if you are in a similar position, please seek professional help from your doctor.