I hope my gluten free vegetarian journey will help you create a healthy relationship with your gluten intolerance and that by sharing my mistakes, I can help you to avoid them.
When things go wrong I apply a positive thinking attitude – quite naturally and without force – to look for whatever good is coming from the situation. So needless to say, I was really happy when I realised that I was gluten intolerant because it meant an end to my sickness.
All I had to do was stop eating almost everything that I used to eat on a daily basis!
For information on what you can eat on what you can eat as a gluten free vegetarian, you can read this article on the gluten free diet.
A Few Foodie Facts About Me:
- I’ve been a vegetarian all my life.
- I love vegetarian food.
- I adore eating vegetables and salads and pulses and beans.
- I’ve always been healthy . . . until my gluten sensitivity.
Warning Signs of Gluten Intolerance
It took me years before I found out that I’d developed an intolerance to gluten and even then I didn’t believe it at first. I kept slipping back to eating things that contained gluten and then I’d get sick, until eventually there was no way to kid myself any more and I recognised that it really was true. That I had to listen to my body and take this thing seriously and start out on my vegetarian gluten free journey.
If you’re interested in vegan gluten free recipes, you may like to visit my site love vegetarian life.
How Gluten Intolerance showed up in my life.
I had a ‘sensitive‘ stomach I thought.
First I developed an immediate reaction to coffee whereby I’d get terrible stomach cramps just after drinking and have to run to the bathroom no more than ten minutes later. At first I switched to decaffeinated and that worked for a little while but then that too produced the same problem.
I gave up coffee without too much difficulty – but even so I started getting stomach cramps randomly throughout the day.
The cramps became more frequent and I had urgent bathroom visits that could completely put a stop the day’s plans. I always had to be close to a bathroom…
I self-diagnosed myself with IBS.
IBS is a symptom, not a condition. It’s like saying you have a headache: we all know that a headache is produced as a result of something else (like stress or high blood pressure for example), but with IBS people think of it as the cause/condition and that’s not correct and extremely unhelpful.
If you think you have IBS you need to find the cause of it and then you can set about curing the problem.
I was careful with what I ate but my symptoms didn’t stop.
My husband and I decided to have a time without alcohol for several months – which we did without noticing any particular change. But, one sunny day we decided the time had come to have a beer again – after about 8 months of no alcohol.
I drank one bottle of lager with that first lunch.
The next day I was vomiting violently and lying in bed feeling like I’d been poisoned, rolling around in pain. I had hot and cold chills and I lost the whole day – but I still didn’t think that it could be from one beer!
I joked that I’d developed an allergy to beer and although I didn’t really believe it, I started to drink less beer because of the negative association.
Sometimes I’d weaken, tell myself that one little glass won’t hurt and I’d have a glass of beer and then be violently ill the next day. It seemed so obscure to me at that time.
Progressively, I developed extreme fatigue and it was hard just to stay awake. I took to not eating breakfast because it would send me to sleep, and for lunch I boycotted pasta and bread because they would also make me fall asleep, making it difficult to work to the best of my ability.
Moving around, lifting my legs, getting up from a chair . . . everything was heavy and difficult.
Ultimately it was the beer that helped me discover the link between my problems and gluten, because it was such a violent reaction that I couldn’t discount it. And being a naturally curious person and couldn’t stop researching until I had found an answer that made sense.
And that answer was Gluten.
You Have to Remove Gluten Completely
I began cut down the gluten in my diet but as we should all know, cutting down isn’t enough because even a tiny amount of gluten will make you sick.
I made the definitive decision to cut out all gluten in the beginning of February 2014 and since then I’ve only had gluten when it’s been fed to me by mistake in restaurants (and consequently made me ill). The less you have in your system the stronger the reaction becomes so it’s very easy for me to get very sick nowadays after a tiny bit of cross contamination.
The Symptoms I Used to Have
- Violent vomiting the next day after drinking a beer.
- Violent stomach cramps especially some hours after eating.
- Generalised gut pain.
- Extreme fatigue.
- Gain of fat round the stomach.
- Lowered alcohol tolerance.
- Brain fog and memory problems.
There are a few other things that don’t agree with my digestive system and which send me into the bathroom with stomach cramps. They are:
- Orange Juice
- Corn on the Cob
- Some alcoholic drinks, especially liqueurs & vodka
I strongly believe that this is just a passing phase as a result of damage to my gut from years of unintentional gut abuse. Otherwise known as leaky gut syndrome, which is a common cause of gluten intolerance due to damage in the gut, so by healing my gut I will also restore my ability to eat gluten. But I actually have no need or desire to return to gluten.
My Gluten Free Vegetarian Journey Progress
I’m so so so so so so happy to report that with my gluten-free vegetarian diet I feel full of energy again. I’ve also changed my alcohol intake which is a really important part of my improvement, and something I feel very positive about. I’ll still have a glass of wine for a special occasion but gone are the days that I’ll open a bottle after work and have a drink on the sofa. Unless it’s a bottle of fizz. Fizzy water that it 🙂
I’m still a work-in-progress but 2017 is the year that I’m going to heal my gut completely . . . and I’m very much enjoying the journey. I won’t go back on to gluten, because I feel so much better without it (and besides I love my food as it is), but I want to heal my gut for my gut’s sake.
If you have any stories about your experiences please share them in the comments section!
Looking forward to hearing from you!