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.
(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!