Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New to the Gluten Free Diet

It is not easy when even a trace of gluten will affect your health seriously and this is the case with celiac disease.

Even when the ingredients do not show any gluten and seem gluten free, the factory that processes them may also process gluten products. Not all products have allergy warnings, despite the seriousness of celiac disease. So it comes down to being your own detective and in most cases if the information is out dated online, calling or emailing the company. Products that were gluten free can then contain gluten so regular checks are needed.

So it takes constant vigilance. It's been a mine field to navigate through. I'm nervously checking labels, emailing companies and keeping the kitchen as clean as possible. Separate chopping board, toaster and food cupboards. But when a trace of gluten is a problem, then having gluten in the kitchen is a real issue. Suddenly taking up a dinner invite is a problem, do they know, should I take my own food? People may not have heard of celiac disease or if they have, they probably won't understand what it is.

I guess with time it will get easier, I'll adjust and learn the best ways to deal with all this. The test will be to have another blood test and see if my immune system is still reacting, then I'll know whether the measures I've been taking are good enough.

Then there are the digestive issues, as celiac disease means that your intestines are damaged and so you're not digesting or absorbing nutrients properly, but this should all soon heal on a gluten free diet. At first I felt better, less bloated most noticeably, but then with all the gluten free baking I've done I didn't feel that great. All the recipes are laden with butter, oil and eggs and I'm just not used to that, plus maybe I don't get on with some of the numerous ingredients needed for gluten free cooking which aren't particularly natural. So gradually I'm navigating through all this. I want to be healthier not unhealthier with this diet and of course avoiding gluten is the first step but now how to make healthy, nutritious gluten free food..bread, snacks, crackers. There are recipes out there but so far I'm not convinced by them.

On a gluten free diet it's important to make sure you're getting the nutrition you need. That's because regular bread and flours are fortified but gluten free bread and flours aren't. So it's down to us to find the most nutritious foods we can.

I'm beginning to work on some recipes so keep an eye on this blog..