Gluten-Free….Free?

In my 2010 recap, I mentioned that I may have given up on the whole gluten-free thing.  Today’s post is a bit of a better explanation of that comment.

First, the backstory.

Early in 2010 I started eating low-carb.  I stuck with mostly natural foods because I wasn’t interested in ingesting a lot of artificial sweetener.  On a diet of largely meat, fruit, veggies, yogurt, cheese and nuts I felt GREAT!  It got me wondering what it was that I had eliminated that had been “the problem”.  Not that there was a large problem, but I definitely did not feel that good (digestively-speaking) with my previous diet.

Because diabetes and caeliac disease are so closely tied together, I wondered if maybe gluten was the issue.  My new diet consisted of little to no gluten, other than on Cheat Days.  When I did cheat, I typically felt like crap afterwards, and this started to solidify my thoughts about me and gluten – i.e. we don’t get along.

Little by little I started to buy products labelled “gluten-free”.  I still kept my consumption of them in check from a carb standpoint, but I did start to eat gluten-free bread, cookies, pasta, etc. from time to time.  And then from more time to more time.  Still in small quantities, but more and more often.

After a while I noticed that my digestive health wasn’t as good as it was earlier in the year.  Again, no significant problems, but my stomach and guts started to complain occasionally again.

By the end of the year I was pretty much fed up with eating gluten-free.  Over the Christmas break I was sick and I was at family gatherings and I wanted comfort food and carbs and GLUTEN!  So I did it.  I ate a cookie…I ate a square…I ate a pancake…I ate homemade toast.  And guess what?  As long as I didn’t overdo the “treat” type food (or throw my bloodsugar out of whack), my stomach felt fine! 

Without getting tested for caeliac I can’t know for sure that I don’t have it, I guess, and even if I don’t have caeliac it’s still possible that I have a “gluten sensitivity” I suppose.  A lot of people do and don’t realize it.  But it’s terribly hard to eat gluten-free and even harder to eat gluten-free and low(ish)-carb.  So I’m scrapping it.  Done.  Gluten-free-free.

That said, I really do still want to eat for my bloodsugar (i.e. low(ish) carb) and eat to feel good.  My guess is that I started to feel worse when I started to put back in less natural food.  I think maybe a natural diet is the one I should be one.  But I need to be realistic or it won’t work.

So my new plan for 2011 is to keep my carbs limited and try to eat naturally.  It’s pretty similar to the plan for 2010, but I’m allowing myself a few leniencies that I didn’t back then:

1. Potatoes.  Boiled potatoes in small quantities don’t seem to screw up my bloodsugar too badly.  I’m keeping them.  Plus they’re natural.  And tasty.

2. This gluten-free pasta. 

It’s all corn.  Corn flour and corn meal and that’s all.  I can handle that.  Again, it doesn’t do anything too significant to my bloodsugar if eaten in small quantities (just add lots of meat and veggies!) and it really tastes almost the same as “real pasta”.  It stays.

3. Quinoa.  My massage therapist introduced me to this little grain and I love it!  It’s super high in fibre and protein, and it’s dense and filling so you don’t need much.  It’s a great substitute for rice, but it’s also good in things like salad.  Yum!  It’s going nowhere.

4. Occasional cheats.  I don’t even necessarily mean full-blown Cheat Days or Cheat Meals.  I don’t see myself taking down a half-loaf of garlic bread, full plate of pasta, and then a brownie with ice cream on any kind of regular (or irregular) basis.  I just mean that I might one day have a sandwich – on rye bread (25g of net carbs), or use a chocolate chip cookie to feed a low.  Complete deprivation is just asking for failure, if you ask me.

Anyway, that’s my new plan.  Wish me luck!

4 responses to this post.

  1. One of our favorite grains over here is Quinoa! LOVE the pasta :) There are days I wish we could just scrap it altogether. If it was just me with celiac, I’d probably cheat more…but…my daughter with both T1 and celiac is a pretty smart (gluten-free) cookie, and she’s watching me. Sigh.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Sylvie on January 10, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    If only we came to this world with instructions… :) Good luck!!

    Reply

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