gluten-free breakfast at Pacific Hideaway.

When You Become Gluten-Free & Your Whole Life is Food.

I  have a confession to make. I’m sick of being gluten-free. But I have no choice, which sucks and there is nothing I can do about it. My whole life is thinking about food.

Being gluten-free isn’t a lifestyle choice but a necessary part of my health. I became gluten-free a few years ago when I had food poisoning so bad that it ruined my gut. So what happens when I eat gluten and become “glutened”, as I put it?

Horrible things. You don’t feel slightly sick. A lot of people have asked me if it is a similar feeling to eating too much. Perhaps because my belly swells up, as if I overate? It isn’t the same at all. Everyone is different but my symptoms are similar to having the flu: you live on the toilet with horrible stomach cramps, and a fever, often paired with aching joints, sudden fatigue and (occasionally) blurred vision. Think of the worst flu and cold you have had and that’s similar.

As a result, my whole life revolves around food. I used to think of how to avoid eating food at all, but now all I think about is what food I can eat and if it will agree with me. Some days I feel that my whole day is spent reading labels like they hold secrets to world peace, reading them 4 or 5 times just to make sure there isn’t sneaky gluten. I often have to avoid dairy as well, so I check for that, too. It’s so fun, I’m telling you.

pitfalls of eating gluten-free.

A typical breakfast or lunch for me. Sometimes I get SO sick of eggs but they’re so easy.

The one good thing about having to eat so carefully is that it has helped changed my views on food. I used to think of it purely in terms of reward, punishment, decadence and how filling it would be. Now, I think of it as fuel and how it will make me feel. Will it make me gassy, my stomach hurt, my skin bad? If I eat this, will I feel lethargic after or will my joints hurt? It’s astonishing how much what I eat affects me! I never noticed before being gluten-free, so I consider the new knowledge a blessing.

Now, if I want to eat something, I weigh out if it is worth it. If it has gluten or dairy, it’s out. If it will bug me in some way, I decide if feeling crappy evens out the risk. It’s almost always no- although I did make GF chocolate chip cookies this week and have been eating them. The sugar hurts my stomach and makes me cramp up a bit, but since they will be gone soon, I figure it was worth it!

I cheated a lot on vacation. Sugar, dairy, caffeine and wine were all added back into the diet. Since then, I haven’t felt my best. I am gassy, my bowel movements can be painful and I am moody. My cystic acne is also back and it is taking me a long while to bounce back and create balance again.

And I’m sick of it! I’m sick of having to be so careful, tired of spending a ton of our budget on whole food and specialty food, and don’t want to have to spend so much of my time planning my next meal. I know it could be worse and I’m whining but some days you just wish you could eat a normal cheeseburger with a real bun like everyone else, ya know?

What are you tired of in your life? What would you change if you could (but you can’t)?

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