By: Elizabeth Fitzgerald
Whether or not you know what “gluten” is, after learning about it the bigger question is “Why on earth would somebody go gluten free?”
Gluten is the tough, viscid, nitrogenous substance remaining when the flour of wheat or other grain is washed to remove the starch –eventually cause the tiny, finger-like protrusions lining the small intestine to wear down to nothing. So when the question arises “why someone would voluntarily go gluten free” I still have no idea, for I still am asking myself the same question. Let’s be real, the best foods that exist on this earth have glucose. Mac and cheese, pizza, beer? I couldn’t imagine life without it. However, after a trip to the doctor for a simple stomach pain, I finally understood why such foods should be cut out. I was told that I was suffering from an irritable bowel syndrome, commonly referred to as IBS. According to Dictionary.com, IBS is any combination of common disturbances of the bowel –sometimes accompanied with psychological stress. After the doctor explained the symptoms of such a syndrome, I was confused because they didn’t exactly match up to what I was feeling. As weeks went by, my stomach pains got worse to the point where I had to stop exercising, then eventually stop eating. I had no idea what was going on with my body until I stumbled upon a show about Celiac Disease.
Celiac disease, also known as gluten intolerance, is a genetic disorder that effects at least one in 133 Americas. When the talk show started to explain the symptoms of such a disease, it matched up completely to how I was feeling. In no way was I diagnosing myself with Celiac, but after hearing the doctors on the talk show explain the causes and effects, I cut out all gluten from my diet. I knew this wouldn’t be easy, for what is a better alternative to 99 cent boxes of pasta and frozen pizzas. However, I was willing to do anything to rid my stomach pain and starting exercising and eating how I normally would. The hardest part was refusing to eat the bread basket at restaurants, until I found out Gluten free breads exist (as well as bagels, and even mac and cheese!) Any food that contains gluten, there exists the exact product made without it.
I have currently been eating Gluten free for two weeks, and my stomach feels better than it ever has, even before the gluten problem. Something that started out as a 30 day experiment turned into a life changing experience. I’ve even started a blog about it glutenfreethewaytobe.blogspot.com. Every day is still a challenge, especially when I’m not eating at home. As hard as it may be to give up some of my favorite foods, “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” OK well that is a bit extreme, but you get my point. Try to go gluten free just for 30 days, and see the benefits right before your eyes. It is incredible.