Eight years ago, my world was shaken (Shaken? Shook?) to its core when I was told that I was allergic to wheat. As someone who survived mainly on bread, bread and more bread, it’s fair enough to say that I was devastated.
Try being fifteen and told that you now have to eat bread that literally crumbles when you look at it and that if you want anything nice, it’s tough. Okay, so this might be a slight over-dramatisation of my life in Year 11, but the gluten-free food that was on offer was a lot worse back then. At the time, I went cold turkey and removed all hints of wheat from my diet. Surprisingly, all my symptoms eased up, and I was no longer constantly tired, bloated, and feeling generally under-the-weather.
Somehow, over the years, this willpower that I previously had that stopped me from eating anything nice has lowered. At one point, I was eating a Boots meal deal every day just because I could. If I wanted a sandwich, I would buy a sandwich. If I wanted pizza, guess what? I would have a pizza. However, the pain that accompanied me diving into my favourite foods came back and this time with a vengeance.
Halfway through April, and equipped with two gluten-free cookbooks, I decided it was time I cut the wheat out again. Writing meal plans for the week, our food shopping was completed largely in the free from section. To my surprise, it wasn’t actually as expensive as I thought it would’ve been, which was my main reason for “compromising” and eating a good old slice of bread every now and again.
So, how has the month been? My stomach bloating has been reduced significantly and, as the date currently stands, I haven’t been sick in three days which is actually a triumph considering I was sick several times a day, TMI I know. During March, my stomach began to cramp to the point where I couldn’t move, as well as a headache that would just not seem to shift. Both of these symptoms are things that I haven’t experienced this month, with my stomach only occasionally hurting over the course of the month.
The availability of gluten-free products now has been a great help, and vegan snack bars have become my saving grace. Normally, they’re made out of dates and taste incredible; my favourite is the Almond and Raisin Raw Chocolate Brownies by Pulsin or my old faithful Cocoa Coconut Trek flapjacks which I can easily eat my bodyweight in. I’ve also recently been consuming as many Popchips as physically possible, which is fab because they’re also really low in calories – it’s a win, win situation!
I mentioned earlier that I’ve been using two cookbooks this month, and one by Phil Vickery has honestly been the biggest help. It has so many recipes in that we’ve even (successfully) attempted gluten-free pizza this month, which involved making a base that I would actually want to eat again!
Have I found it easy to stay gluten-free this month? Definitely not. Has it been worth it? Yes, and I’m already preparing my meal plans for next week, so watch this space.