Tonight was my monthly support meeting so I decided that maybe I should do some preparation for it. I haven’t had a lot of time to keep up with the Celiac Community or the latest gluten free products, so I did some searching online. I found some rather disturbing things.
I have titled this post “Gluten Free Diet” in the hopes that somebody searching those words online will come across my blog and actually read this post. Maybe it will teach them something, or perhaps just reinforce what they already know.
First off, the gluten free diet is NOT a weight loss diet unless you are strictly sticking to fruits, veggies and proteins. The gluten free cookies, breads, and cakes actually contain more calories, and usually more sodium and sugar, than the “normal” products. Why? Because the grains that are gluten free are the ones that have more starch and contain the “bad” carbohydrates; grains such as rice, tapioca, etc. I would guess that rice flour is the number one flour used by most gluten free bakers. Do you want me to prove that a gluten free diet won’t help you to lose weight?
This is what I looked like approximately two weeks after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease. I had lost around 30-35 pounds in 6 months without trying; I had no energy; I was constantly nauseous; plus I was VERY grumpy. I was so grumpy that I didn’t even like being around myself. My hair started to thin out and I was losing a lot more of it than I was used to. It actually started to scare me. All of this was happening due to Celiac Disease and being unable to absorb the vitamins and nutrients that my body needed. Why? Because my body sees gluten as the enemy and thus it attacks the gluten, plus my intestine, whenever it is present. My friends and family hate this picture because I look so sickly. I can see it now, but I still think about how I was wearing clothes sizes that I hadn’t seen in years. It was so nice! It was being sick that sucked. lol
Here I am after being on the gluten free diet for five years. Yes, I grew out my bangs, but you can also see in my arms and my neck that I’ve gained the weight back, plus some. My doctor likes to see me heavier because it means that my body is healing and my intestine is now correctly absorbing nutrients. I suppose that I could forego my pasta, bread, and cereals so that I can lose some weight, but I have a hard time with that. I already have to deny myself so many of my favorite foods that I used to love, it seems unfair that I should have to deny myself the versions that I can eat just so that I can attempt to mold myself into a shape that society says I should have.
The gluten free diet is not a fad diet. I can’t just decide to stop eating gluten free nor can I “cheat”. Even if I ingest the tiniest bit of gluten I get sick. Each time it’s different, but I can always tell when it happens. In fact, this past weekend I was glutened at a restaurant that I frequent. I typically don’t have problems there, but somehow my food was cross contaminated. It was more than likely spices that did it, but I definitely paid for it. Within 30 minutes my stomach started to churn and bubble… I started to feel bloated. Then as I was driving back to Jay’s I suddenly developed a stabbing pain in my temple, almost like a migraine. That was bad enough, but when I started to feel dizzy I knew that it wasn’t a good thing. If you’re on a gluten free diet because you think that you’ll lose weight, then it doesn’t matter if you get cross contaminated food. In my case, however, the rest of my evening was shot because I ended up sleeping for a few hours in the hopes that I would be better when I woke up. My body has to have a chance to settle itself down, and even then I’m still dealing with the effects five days later. I’ve had a slight headache all week and I’ve had zero energy. I really had to motivate myself just to vacuum and wash my quilt earlier in the week. I’m lucky that when I do get glutened I don’t have to stay in bed for four days like some of my friends in my support group.
Why am I bringing up the diet and gluten free food? You might have heard recently that Dominoe’s pizza has a new gluten free pizza crust. They expect that this will be a great addition to the company and help those who have been unable to eat pizza to finally be able to enjoy it again. The problem? The company has come out and made a statement that those with Celiac Disease should NOT eat their crust because even though the ingredients are technically gluten free, they make the dough and the pizzas in the same kitchens where the “regular” crusts are made. Therefore, they can not be guaranteed gluten free because there’s a HIGH potential for cross contamination.
There is also a local restaurant in my area that has included a gluten free menu on its regular menus. The manager has told one of my friends that they are printing up new menus, with separate gluten free menus, because they’ve had a lot of people ordering the gluten free versions of their dishes even though they can eat the gluten filled versions. Why are they doing this? Because the media and celebrities have brain washed them into thinking that just because it’s gluten free means that it’s good for you. That’s not the case at all. Gluten free ingredients are more expensive than the “regular” version, and thus the restaurant is losing money on these customers.
I suppose that I should be grateful that the celebrities are bringing gluten free into public awareness. I just wish that it was being done in a way that won’t end up back-firing and hurting those of us who need to be on the diet. Some people think that it’s just a fad diet and that since Miley Cyrus decided to cheat and have a regular piece of pizza, that it will be okay for a person with Celiac Disease to cheat, too. When the whole thing is just a fad diet, nobody takes it seriously. Do you remember me writing about the chef in Colorado who used to make whole wheat pasta for the customers who had ordered gluten free pasta because he said that it was all in our heads? Those are the people whom you can never convince that a little truly will hurt you.
So when I read that somebody has a gluten free crust, but yet it’s not safe for me to consume I have to wonder a couple of things. One, are they attempting the gluten free option in order to just make money off of the stupid people who are following the fad diet? Or two, are they really just not informed enough to know that in order for it to truly be gluten free they need to take measures to make sure that it doesn’t come into contact with other gluten either? It was very nice for Dominoes to give us the heads up about their crusts, but it’s just mean. My wish is that I could sit in front of my coworkers and eat a delicious, mouth-watering pizza in front of them while all they have to eat are salads. It’s not nice to have the prize dangled in front of you and then snapped away before you can grab it.
I apologize if my post seems rambling and incoherent. Again, I’m still struggling against the brain fog (inability to concentrate fully on something) that happens after I’ve been glutened. If you don’t believe me then do a search on symptoms of celiac disease or symptoms of being glutened. You’ll be amazed at the various reactions people can have.