I Go Gluten Free (For the Time Being)

Many more of us have gluten allergies than one might think

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By David Hammond

 I have no reason to believe I have a gluten allergy.

 If some recent reports are to be believed, however, many of us have undiagnosed sensitivities.

My oldest daughter recently decided to go gluten-free because a doctor had advised her boyfriend to avoid the stuff. In sympathy with his new dietary restrictions, she went gluten-free, too, and immediately noticed her complexion clear.

Last Christmas, she and her boyfriend spent the holidays meditating in a Zen monastery in Bordeaux (exotic, right?).  During a “silent meal,” when the monks imposed absolute silence upon all diners, they enjoyed some kind of meat-like food that turned out to be gluten “steaks.” Because they couldn’t talk at the meal, she couldn’t say, “Yum, this is delicious. What the heck is it?” So she ate in silence, finding out only afterwards what was in the “steak.” The next day, she noticed her skin breaking out.

So I thought, okay, just for giggles, I’m going to go avoid gluten and just see what happens. For the past week, when eating at home, we’ve had no bread, cookies, regular pasta or anything containing wheat gluten. When we eat out, I might have a taste of pasta or a bite of some pastry, but usually just a forkful (no need to be doctrinaire about all this, I figure).

The result? Oddly, I’ve noticed that my 3:30PM urge to take a nap is gone. I have the energy to make it through the whole day without the temptation to slip into the sack for a few winks before the sun sets. Is this new-found energy the result of not eating gluten? Haven’t the slightest. But it could be, and a little research revealed that fatigue is a symptom of gluten intolerance. I’m interested in seeing the results of a few weeks or months of gluten-free eating. And honestly, avoiding bread and cookies is probably a good idea during post-holiday recovery.

I have, curiously, of necessity, become fonder of gluten-free pasta, and I’m glad that there are more gluten-free options on restaurant menus – like the one at Brunch on Marion Street – so for those of us who are trying to eat without wheat, (even if, in my case, it's mostly for recreational/research purposes), it’s getting easier all the time.


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