Thursday, September 29, 2011

one gluten-free year down, now what?

The first day without gluten I felt so much better I couldn't believe it. No stabbing pains leaving me doubled over at my desk, no gasping as spasms began while I sat quietly reading. The second and third days were pretty good, too. Then I would notice after two sips of coffee with cream, the pain would resurface. Really? No cream either? I'd known for years that I don't handle dairy products well, but I was still hoping. I'm a slow learner. It's been up and down from there with more and more foods leaving my "hopefully safe" list and crossing to the other side.

The last 12 months or so have been interesting, exciting, a bit scary, and, sadly for me, not as fully definitive as I would have hoped. I have, over time, removed not only gluten and dairy products---all of them---from my cooking and dining, but also soy, corn, anything artificial, sugars, most nuts and seeds, the rest of the grains, virtually all legumes, anything processed, and it still is not clear what I can eat. I have not posted a lot about eating and cooking lately because I've been seriously wrestling with this issue. Is anything out there safe?

Most recently I've moved toward the Paleo or primal camp, reading everything I can get my hands on. It's primary food sources are those I can usually eat, which is always a plus. Like most any concept held by a variety of people, this health philosophy has a miriad of divergent views. The must do's and must not's are sometimes contradictory. The reading is fun, even though at times I consider hair-pulling and screaming. So this, too, will take some experimentation. I wonder how others handle this. So many seem to do it so well. I would love to hear from any of you who are dealing with or have overcome this struggle. I am not good at lists, but possibly a serious food journal, maybe life journal, might be a helpful tool. Silly as it may sound, I sometimes forget that I don't tolerate specific foods well.

The adventure continues, of course. It seems odd to look back and know that I have not consciously put a single gram of wheat, barley, rye, or their relatives in my mouth in over a year. They don't sound like food to me anymore. That is a help for sure. I no longer complain that anything, really anything, I eat I must prepare. It's just a given. There's no going back, of course, and, hopefully, by next year I'll have it down to an artform. Gotta keep hoping.


  1. Congrats on a year down Pamela... it's all cake from here! :-) I think you've found the biggest issues and I hope you'll be able to resolve the remaining very soon. I have a friend named Heather who still struggles as you do with additional foods that she has to rotate or they will really throw her body for a loop. She still hasn't figured out everything that is a problem for her. I have to be very careful with legumes, eat small portions, and no shellfish along with the soy, or dairy (which I'm doing much better with -- I do still use butter as it has never given me side effects -- but otherwise, I've been able to leave the cheese alone (the only dairy food that was such a stumbling block for me!)... anyways, a year is definitely something to be proud of! Looking forward to seeing what this next year brings for you!!

  2. Thanks, Carrie. Sometimes I feel like all I do is complain; maybe because it almost is. The super-frustration this week was making several dishes from the new Paleo Comfort Foods and then spending hours in intense pain after eating them. It wasn't a problem of the recipes; it was me. I really love hot, spicy food, but I guess it is out of the question for awhile anyway. I hope not forever. They have a wonderful recipe for breakfast sausage that I kept eating even after I knew I shouldn't. It is SO good. That is just plain silly, I know. Still, I recommend their breakfast sausage.

  3. It has been a year already!? It has been a week since I have had any white flour and I thought THAT was an accomplishment! Congratulations!!!

  4. A week is an accomplishment, Kristen. And thanks.


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