What makes you think you’re gluten intolerant?

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Previously published on 100% Gluten Free

Photo by by Rinina25 & Twice25

Photo by Rinina25 & Twice25

Awareness of gluten intolerance is rising. Lots of people who have had obvious symptoms, with no really obvious cause are waking up to the fact that they might be a sufferer, as well.

I grew up thinking that regular diarrhea was normal. It’s not, of course, but it’s not something you really chat about, even with your closest friends. It was normal for me, so I just assumed everyone else had the same problem.

It was only a couple of years ago, when I started trying to get an online business going, dedicating almost all my income to the cause, that I started to get other symptoms. I had pretty much reduced my diet to pasta, bread and potatoes, with just a little protein. I started to get serious aches and pains in my bones and joints.

I’ve been interested in nutrition for a long time, so I had come across literature connecting arthritis with gluten intolerance. As I wasn’t suffering from arthritis at the time, the information lay dormant in the back of my mind until the symptoms of possible arthritis flared up. I was hurting, I was online, so I started surfing for data, and found the connection.

It was a bit of a blow, because being able to keep body and soul together for under a tenner a week was quite useful, but I decided to go for it, and cut out gluten completely for a few weeks to see what happened.

My aches and pains went away. The diarrhea stopped pretty much completely. And I started to lose weight, without making any real effort to cut down on calories (which was odd, as I was actually eating more, much more, than I had been for the previous 6 months).

Do you think I was pleased with these results? Of course I was! Even though, as the daughter of a chef and a bit of a gourmet on the quiet, it meant I had to completely revise all my cooking methods, styles and recipes.

I used to like takeaways as well, but almost all of them have flour in some form or other. Luckily, Chinese takeaways almost all sell rice noodles (as well as rice), though they don’t always say so. But if you ask for Singapore rice noodles you will get a very nice noodle dish, made with very fine noodles and spiced with chilli. Yummy. It makes a meal in itself, or you can use it as one part of a Chinese meal.

You can eat almost all Chinese dishes – except the deep fried ones which are mostly coated in batter, chow mien noodles and prawn toast. You also need to ask them not to put monosodium glutamate or soy sauce in your food. But the Chinese are so adept at making food tasty, all this is a small sacrifice.

Indian food is ok, as well, so long as you avoid the breads: nan, chapatis and so on. But you can eat the poppadoms, as they are made with lentils, not flour. Ask them not to thicken your food with flour – but they can use gram flour (made with chickpeas).

As I live in Scotland, I can also get haggis, which is made from oats. Some people who are gluten intolerant can’t eat oats, but I don’t have a problem with them. However, the local chip shops always coat them in batter before they cook them, so I really need to pick that off.

What makes me think I’m gluten intolerant? Well, when I eat gluten, I get nasty health problems that go away when I stop.

What about you?

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