Monday, September 20

Evidence of my intolerance

Hello, my name is Caitlin and I’m gluten intolerant.

I’ve avoided writing about this, partly because I’m pretty sure no-one wants to hear the revolting details of my gastro-intestinal issue and partly because it’s really boring and partly because ‘gluten free’ is such a fad at the moment and I hate being on bandwagons.

Lots of people are gluten free for general health and wellbeing reasons and that’s fine. But it’s never been for me. I like all the stuff that has gluten in it and long ago decided that going gluten free was not a lifestyle that I’d ever adopt.

Admittedly my relationship with gluten has always been a bit fractious, it didn’t make me sick, but it did often leave me feeling bloated and uncomfortable. I was willing to ignore that to experience the joy of a hot ham and cheese croissant or a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel. Until recently that is.

A few months ago I started to experience some unpleasant symptoms in the form of a way too regular upset tummy. I can honestly say that in the beginning I did not relate it to gluten. It gradually got worse so that often, after eating, I’d have extremely nasty tummy upsets preceded by horrible, excruciating stomach pains and nausea. To cut a very long story short I eventually narrowed it down to gluten. I went off gluten and it went away. I ate gluten again and it came back with a vengeance. I visited my doctor, tests were carried out and the result is I can’t eat gluten.

The end.

Except for the fact that I am HATING it. I miss bread, I miss real pasta, I want a cinnamon bun and a turkey, rocket and cranberry baguette from my favourite coffee shop.

I can’t have any of those things. Oh yes, people cheerfully point out that there are lots of gluten free options these days…and there are,…but they’re not the same. I hate that I can’t just go and make a sandwich, I can’t have any biscuit I fancy with my coffee, I even have to have special soy sauce in my stir fry. No more porridge for breakfast, muesli bars with my cup of tea, no warm bread straight from the breadmaker, no hot donuts at the beach, no fish and chips, no pizza, no tempura…need I go on?

I have to think about every single thing I eat, I have to read labels in the supermarket, I have to refuse the treats that are handed out at the weekly morning tea at work. And frankly, in most cases the gluten free options leave me cold. If made with GF flour they have an unappetising powdery texture and a vaguely odd flavour.

However, I am gradually coming to realise that this is my life now and I have to adapt. I won’t starve, I’m not dying and I’m sure there is a world of new taste experiences out there waiting to be explored. and most chocolate is ok for me. Things could be worse.

Just don’t eat a croissant in front of me.


Dave said...

I too would be completely fed up with those exclusions.

laoi gaul~williams /I\ said...

me too!
my swampy has been put on a very odd low/no fibre diet by the hospital and it rules ou much of what he likes~and also somethings he hates~so he is partly dancing for joy!

so glad you can still enjoy chocolate :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you Dave, I'll take that as sympathy.

Laoi! NO FIBRE???

Yikes. Sounds very unpleasant. Although I could live without All Bran quite happily :-)

Z said...

I am sorry, Caitlin. I've a friend whose coeliac disease was triggered by her first pregnancy and it came as quite a shock. And I've several others who find they feel better without wheat. Terribly restricting and so disappointing, not to be able to eat all those favourite foods. You will get used to it though, they did and don't miss it now, only minding the inconvenience.

Cathy said...

I also have a friend who is gluten intolerant...and I feel terribly sorry for him, as I do for you! You're right...the gluten free alternatives don't seem to cut it! Sometimes he lets loose and eats what he wants, but then he pays the price :( At least you can eat chocolate! Thanks heavens for that!