Carb Load

Gluten free, gluten free, here is what it means to me.

Ahhhhhhhh, couldn’t figure out a way to start this.

So, in case you didn’t know, Eli and I are straight up 100% gluten free all the time rock on!

Eli has had the blood test for celiac disease, I have not.  His test came back negative, but that means next to nothing so we just put out fingers in our ears and say “la la la” to that.  The blood tests for celiac disease are totally unreliable.  And also because our pediatrician sucks and knows nothing about celiac disease, Eli wasn’t eating gluten at the time of the test.  All I care about is that Pants started to gain weight as soon as he started eating gluten free.  I haven’t been tested because I don’t see the point – regardless of the test results, I still wouldn’t eat wheat.  When I eat wheat, I feel like hot garbage, when I don’t, I feel fine.  So that’s pretty much all the science I need to make that decision.

I’ll tell you honestly that going gluten free really wasn’t that bad. I felt better right away, so that helped.  I have always cooked a lot, so that also helped.  Fruits and vegetables and meat and dairy are all gluten free anyway.  There’s so much food you can eat!  I can still eat rare steak and caprese salad and mashed potatoes, and honestly as long as I can eat tomatoes life can go on.

I was thinking about this the other day, reading what Jess wrote about her feelings before lap band surgery.  It reminded me a lot of my fears in the first few weeks that I went gluten free.  Luckily, it turned out that “CAN’T” is a million times easier for me than “SHOULDN’T”.  Before becoming gluten free, I spent countless hours of every grocery shopping trip ogling the cake counter, inspecting the cookie aisle, drooling over cupcakes.  Now I just skip that section and I don’t even think about it.  Much simpler that way, to be honest.  And these are always foods that I knew I should be avoiding anyway – I am not well controlled around carbs.  I can eat a loaf of crusty bread at a sitting, or nibble down a half a pan of brownies.  I have always been the type to skip the chicken and the brocolli and just eat the noodles.  Bread and I haven’t been able to be alone together in the same room since 1993, for certain.

There’s also a lot more food out there that you can eat than you might realize.  Trader Joe’s has a long gluten free list.  Whole Foods has the gluten free stuff marked on the shelves with a sticky outy green tag.  We have a gluten free store in Sacramento, which is insanely awesome, but most of my favorite stuff from there can be ordered from Amazon or directly from the manufacturer if you don’t live somewhere with so many resources. In a nutshell though:  Tinkyada pasta is awesome, anything from Pamela’s is great, but especially the baking mix, with which you can make chocolate chip cookies that no one can tell are gluten free, I wouldn’t even bother with all those little bags of rice flour, just get the Pamela’s stuff, you need some gluten free tamari instead of soy sauce, you need to read every label before you know what’s safe, and you can’t eat pizza or drink beer anymore. You might want to buy a new toaster.

Sometimes I cheat, and it’s almost always for ramen noodles or pizza, and then it makes me sick, and I regret it, but dude, there’s  just nothing else like a slice of pineapple pizza from Pizza Hut or a chicken flavored cup a noodles.

No one makes bread that’s as good as good as bread loaded with gluten.  Sandwiches aren’t ever going to be the same, but there are some breads that are almost as good toasted, and I can live with that. I make versions of my favorite sandwiches wrapped in lettuce and I find myself surprised at how delicious they are.

You can eat the “protein” style hamburger at In and Out and their french fries are safe, but anywhere else you need to make sure that battered fried food isn’t cooked in the same fryer as the fries.

And avoid anything with bean flour in it, it’s disgusting.

Rice Chex are gluten free! Awesome.

Honestly, the first couple of weeks that I went gluten free I was reading “Heat” and watching “Top Chef” and I was well and truly pissed off about the bread and pasta situation, but I just don’t care anymore.  We make the best of the hand we are dealt and that’s that.

The other reality is that eating gluten free is pretty expensive.  A bag of pasta can cost anywhere from $4 to $5 dollars.  A large bag of baking mix is $16.99.  A tiny little loaf of gluten free bread at the farmer’s market is $6 dollars.  But I just can’t worry about that.   I could worry about it until the end of time, and it wouldn’t change anything.  I could choose never to make chocolate chip cookies, because a bag of flour is $16.99, but if you could Eli’s best imitation of Cookie Monster (“COOOOOKKKKIEEEE!!!!”) you’d know that wasn’t even remotely an option, his mama is gonna make him some cookies!  So I plunk down my six dollars and go on my merry way and that’s just that.

The strange thing is that this gluten free thing has completely changed my life, and I never would have known that I had a wheat allergy or celiac disease or a gluten intolerance or whatever you want to call it if it hadn’t been for Eli and his mysterious weight loss.  I always assumed I had IBS and I didn’t feel like not ever again eating onions or tomatoes or coffee so I just ignored my stomach.  And then I stopped eating gluten and I stopped having terrible bloating and gas and feeling sick every night of my life! Imagine that!

For those of you wondering – without going into graphic detail – it was not as simple for me and my complicated guts as “Oh, I ate a doughnut! Now I feel sick!” Instead, for me, other random things  (onions, eggs, salad, unpeeled tomatoes, beets, etc) made me sick, all the time.  It got so that every night I had a huge bloated stomach, terrible intestinal pain, and really bad diarhhrea.  But it wasn’t a simple “eat gluten=feel horrible immediately” relationship, which is why I thought I had IBS or just a sensitive stomach.  My theory (based on no medical knowledge whatsoever) is that gluten irritates my intestines to the point that I can’t properly digest other things, but regardless, I can eat onions again, so color me happy.

Slynnro has also written about this if you want to read her take on it, which is a lot more interesting and informative than what I have to say, probably, but I am guessing she didn’t have a toddler screaming “BOBICLE!” at her the whole time she wrote it, so there!

Honestly the only thing that’s really floored about me about going gluten free is that I never ever ever in a million years would have figured it out if it weren’t for my son.  From the mouth of babes, indeed.


10 Responses

  1. Tricia just forwarded me the link to your blog – my daughter was just dx w/celiac disease so we’re just beginning down this path.

    But guess what? You CAN eat pizza! Yesterday at Giant I found Amy’s GF cheese pizza made w/rice flour (if I remember correctly) and it tasted great! We had pizza for dinner – yay! LOL More importantly my daughter ate it 🙂

    Also, in case you didnt’ hear – Chex has also redone the ingredients in other cereals as well and Chocolate, Cinnamon, Corn, Strawberry, and Honey Nut are now GF too. Of course you’ll have to look at the box on the shelves for the ones that actually say GF on the front.

    This summer Betty Crocker is coming out with a line of GF products for brownies, cookies, and cakes – another yay!

    I ordered some of Pamela’s ultimate baking and pancake mix from Amazon, but haven’t actually used it to make anything yet lol – glad to know you think it’s good stuff though!

  2. I was going to ask you how it felt, so thanks for answering that.

    Just recently I have had the WORST heartburn/acid reflux in the world and someone mentioned to me that it might be a gluten intolerance. But I didn’t t know what the symptoms were. I don’t think that’s what I have, since I ate like a loaf of french bread for dinner last night and was fine, but you never know.

    Basically, this is a long way of me telling you that I hear what you’re saying about the food thing. See, tomatoes, vinagrette salad dressings and other acidic foods will send me into a burny hell as soon as I eat them. And you don’t realize what foods are acidic until hi! I can’t eat tomatoes anymore! And I know this and I avoid them. It is getting easier, but it is a battle, and I imagine it always will be. Because sometimes? I just want a big slice of Chicago-style, deep-dish pizza drowning in tomatoes.

    Also, hi! I take over comment sections of blogs NOT about heartburn and make it ALL ABOUT ME! It’s OK, you don’t have to thank me. 🙂

  3. Someone with a bit of medical knowledge (they let me start taking care of patients on Monday! aaaagh!) chiming in to say that “My theory (based on no medical knowledge whatsoever) is that gluten irritates my intestines to the point that I can’t properly digest other things” is about right, based on current understanding of celiac disease.

  4. Motherfucker, I’d kill for a sandwich right now.

    And BTW, Amy’s and Annie Chun’s found my post and they are sending me free shit! I’m beyond excited.

  5. Something just clicked for me when I read your post. I have been having all sorts of problems with onions and other foods and also have been having that eat=feel sick feeling a lot and am terribly bloated every night. I read synnro’s post and maybe that combined with your post (esp re onions, tomatoes, eggs) has finally turned the light on in my head. I think I need to at least give gluten free a try and see if I feel better. Thank you.

  6. there’s just nothing else like a slice of pineapple pizza from Pizza Hut or a chicken flavored cup a noodles.

    Or a big-ass slice of Zingerman’s Hot Cocoa Coffeecake. 😉

  7. I stumbled across your blog while google-ing “how to run.” What a surprise to find a post about Celiac which both my daughter and I have. Glutino makes a great pizza crust you should pick it up to satisfy your pizza craving. Also there is a brand of Thai noodles (A taste of Thai) that would probably help with the ramen noodle fix. Congrats on finding an answer to your medical issues!

  8. I’m glad you guys are feeling better! My gluten-free friend visited us for a week, and I was surprised how easy it was to slip into GF mode for that time. We made Pamela’s mix brownies (GF AND vegan- woah) for our joint birthdays, and had it with raspberry/booze sauce and coconut whipped cream and no one missed anything…

    is BOBICLE popsicle??

  9. Almost everything you wrote about being gluten free? I feel the same way about being a vegan. At first I thought it was going to be hard, but it’s not. I hate that it’s more expensive but I know it’s better for me. And my kid eats better than most so that makes me happy.
    I’m glad you found what works for you guys, that’s the most important thing.

    (P.S. I love your garden pictures a few posts ago. I’m doing a veggie garden this year!)

  10. Just found your blog through Maggie! (The bloggy getaway sounds AWESOME!)

    Anyway, I liked this post. I am conducting a gluten-free diet on my two year old this week. My husband’s family has Celiacs in their genes, though we’ve yet to get him tested. I’m suspicious, because he often has mild stomach “issues.” My daughter has been growing just fine, but is extremely moody and irritable, which I read is one of the main symptoms in children. Maybe it’s not gluten and she’s just a tough kid! Who knows. 🙂

    Glad you found out your family’s key to feeling better!

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