So what’s it really like living gluten-free?
Honestly, for me, at the place in my life that I am now, it is fine..but back when I was struggling with the effects of gluten and did not know it was gluten causing me pain, inflammation, leaky gut, brittle nails, skin rashes, pins and needles, joint pain, migraines, brain fog, depression, other food issues, weight loss, hair loss and probably some things I may have forgotten. Back then – before I adjusted to my new life, before I healed my leaky gut, it was terrible.
You can read my personal story here.
One thing that I feel is very important to say off the bat is that for each individual their story will be different and the answer to this question will be very personal. This is only MY perspective and I certainly do not speak for others.
I struggled for many years unsure of what was wrong with me. Initially I thought it was a wheat allergy (which I was right to a degree as gluten is in wheat but also in so many more things. )I would go off wheat based products, then go back on. “Cheating”. Having “something small”. It was a yo-yo for at least 10 years before I actually went off gluten!
For me the moment I committed to removing gluten from my life, was a relief but also the start of a very hard journey.
Nobody warns you about the fact that socializing and events will be a nightmare. That you will feel like an outcast. That you will be THAT person nobody wants to invite. That you will be uncatered for if you are invited. Or told to bring your own food. That even your friends will have a hard time understanding what you are going through and because you “look fine” you must be fine. The struggle of normal everyday things become a logistical nightmare: going out for a quick bite to eat, shopping, eating out, receiving food as gifts, travel.
Going off gluten is also not always the end all of problems. Since gluten damages the small intestine, this causes leaky gut which can take 6 months to 3 years to heal depending upon the person and their unique situation. Other problems could have developed from a lifetime of gluten too which, even once gluten is removed, the effects will be evident for a long time.
Once you are over the worst
It can take years to get diagnosed and it can take years to heal your gut and in that time frame you may go through other health issues like I did whereby I was forced to go on the Low Fodmap diet for a year and a half to heal my gut, but once you are on the road to health and you can tell your gut is healing and has healed, and you stay off gluten FOREVER, it gets a lot better.
In the begining it was very hard to adjust and yes, I did moan about the unfairness of it. Dare my husband eat a croissant infront of me! However once I adjusted to my new life and accepted it, it just became a part of my life and now I don’t go around moaning about not being able to eat gluten or telling everyone at the first opportunity that I have celiac disease or that I am intolerant to gluten! If I need to mention it, I will, but it’s not a concern. I just avoid gluten. I also DO NOT EVER advocate a gluten free diet over a gluten diet. It’s not a superior diet, it’s just different.
My bakery, social media and this website is simply to provide others who cannot eat gluten with yummy gluten free eats and also to educate and offer support and help to those struggling with having to turn to a gluten free lifestyle. You’ll notice I don’t use phrases like “it’s just as yummy if not yummier than it’s gluten counterpart”. I believe the two cannot and should not be compared or weighed up against each other.
Glutenfree food can be gross and it can be yummy just like gluten filled food can be gross and can be yummy. I’ve had some pretty awful meals/cakes etc of both varieties!
yes, There are some drawbacks
Sure, there are some drawbacks especially when it comes to travel or social events and eating out. Then there is the constant reading of labels.. Then there are the times you are “Glutened” by accident and how sick you are. It is not to say that living gluten free is EASY or a breeze in the park but it is something that can be controlled and managed once you get past all the nasty bits.
For more information please see my posts on Your Gluten Free recovery guide for further advice.