If you’re a foodie, like me, food is your everything. Foodies don’t eat to live, they live to eat, so going gluten free is hard. Actually, the f@ckness of going gluten free is beyond any foodie’s worst nightmare let me tell you!
“Every part of your soul feels a deep sense of loss. No longer can you eat the food you live for + a simple meal out becomes an absolute nightmare”.
Getting sick + not being able to absorb nutrients is not a choice and neither is having to go gluten free. If you don’t already know, gluten is a protein found in many foods that damages the villi in the small intestine which blocks the bodies ability to absorb essential nutrients, which over time causes havoc and disease to the human body. Now I know some people out there choose to eat a gluten free diet because it’s on trend but for many, it is not a choice!
No longer can you thoughtlessly reach for a slice of Sydney’s best sourdough f*cking bread or carelessly budget in a luscious, buttery almond croissant or worse, not being able to reach for that magnificent piece of baklava. Even cooking a simple meal at home just isn’t the same anymore! Every part of your soul feels a deep sense of loss. No longer can you eat the food you live for + hoping to go out for a delicious meal becomes an absolute nightmare (as I currently sit at a café with just a hot chocolate as no other healthy GF food is available).
Many years ago, having a corporate job. Life was stressful, no time for lunch or breaks or time for daylight and the pressure this job placed upon you starts to take its toll. You can’t think straight, your mind doesn’t function, You start to lose weight and your stomach starts burning holes in itself. Not only do every day tasks getting harder + harder, but your work colleagues look at you like you are a Looney Tune. After finally admitting something is amiss, you know you have to do something.
Tests, a hospital visit + an endoscopy + less money your account, and no answers. All you are told is that your stomach isn’t emptying. So you’re put on a product called Nexium, a treatment for non specific dyspepsia and are nonchalantly sent back out into the world to look after youself + all of the horrible symptoms. About a year later, more problems appear. More weight loss, aching joints, fatigue, diarrhoea, severe sweating attacks, waking up at 3am every morning, a racing heart, anxiety + a fog brain that progressively got worse, then your hair starts falling out and in desperation, your husband searches the internet for what ever help they can find and in a last ditched attempt, he finds a trichologist (hair specialist) in Sutherland.
More blood tests are done and the trichologist’s findings are rather shocking. Iron levels are extremely low, as are vitamin D levels, folate, copper and iodine level is zero! Openly furious that this had been missed and is very open about it being a recipe towards disaster, that being breast cancer. The very thing your mother passed away from horrifically many years prior. He suggested you take some compounded supplements + take on a gluten free diet. Not wasn’t sure why he advises going gluten free. It was pretty much unheard of. But you give it ago for about 6 months but I find people really give you a hard time about it, especially at social events. So in attempt to save your social face, you ditch the gluten free diet part to fit in + relied solely on the compound supplements prescribed. Symptoms do get better and hair grows back slowly for a little while, but over the years, the supplements slide away and your old ways creep back in and so do all the symptoms.
So when your hair starts exiting down the shower drain again years later at a rather rapid pace and your beautiful young nephew is very forward in telling you the hair on your head is ‘see through’ (with an innocent grin on his face) you find yourself on the same bogged down, lonely journey you were on all those years ago and not any closer to having an answer. Then, you start skipping periods and your boobs get so god damn sore every month, even the strongest over the counter pain killers don’t relieve the pain, it’s time to get it sorted. So, off to find another hormonal naturopath online. More supplements are suggested including a GF + DF two week diet and whilst getting some results, the push for money at every session really puts a bad taste in your mouth. So again, you cut your losses and go and see a thyroid naturopath clinic in Sussex St Sydney.
With minimal tests and almost cleaning the the bank account once again, bloods came back with a reading showing medium hypothyroid levels and elevated reverse t3 levels, again, low levels of iron, copper, zinc + iodine, even after years of eating really well. Without any prior link to past medical ventures, again you are advised to go gluten free to help the body better assimilate nutrients + supplements. This time you know the gluten free thing is for real. You can no longer ignore the important message being sent to you time + time again.
When you go out and gluten free is mentioned, eye’s roll into the back of skulls and waiters at some cafés literally laugh in your face when you ask if they have an alternative for their standard bread. Anyhow, never mind about the bread, I’ll just dip my f@cking fingers into that gorgeous taramasalata or garlic sauce you have just served, thanks so much for your concern!
The cold hard reality is, if gluten free people eat gluten, they also choose sickness. It’s not a trendy Vogue magazine diet that they are following and, can I tell you, it’s socially f*cking torture! Am I making sense?
All I can suggest here on this blog, everyone out there, please, when someone in your presence mentions that they can’t eat gluten, perhaps keep in mind that there may be more to what you are actually hearing. It’s not always a ‘strike a pose’, Vogue moment. Perhaps you could not keep offering them a piece of your amazingly deliciously looking baked chocolate cake because if I’m being honest, it’s like being beaten in front of everyone with a shit stick for a crime you haven’t committed. The truth is, we want to eat your food and your bread and your beautiful cake. We dream of reaching over and stuffing our face like Nina would from a internal thought scene on Offspring, but we can’t! We’ll just quietly remain as composed as we can (on the outside), passing on all the good stuff + probably starving beyond belief whilst watching everyone else enjoy themselves with all that amazing food and none of you ‘non gluten free’ eaters will be none the wiser, perhaps until now!
Read more about malabsorption here:
* It’s not all hard yakka!
On a positive side to going GF. Many of the symptoms subside and over time will get even better. There are a huge range of foods to eat and you are always finding new ways of doing things. This article was written more so for the ill feelings you get given. I hope it gives people a better understanding rather than it automatically being labelled as being a diet that is ‘on trend’.