Healthy Living, Special Diets on January 26, 2009 by

Gluten Free Like Me

Starting today, one of my cohorts (Chelsea) and I will take on a challenge to unwavering live life without gluten for four weeks. Neither of us have celiac disease, autism, or any other condition that necessitates this adoption but we think it’ll prove a valuable lesson in identifying with the communities that don’t have the luxury of choice. We’ll have to avoid gluten–no matter how delicious the temptation otherwise–at home, at the market and in restaurants. I know the hidden sources of gluten (e.g. malt vinegar) fairly well, so avoidance at home and market should be mostly a matter of will. Restaurants on the other hand will be more challenging. For support, I’ll be packing the Gluten Intolerance Group’s (GIG) “Seven Tips for Staying Gluten Free” dining guide.

I’ll miss the delicious cinnamon and cardamon rolls we make at our Whole Grain Store, but I’m eager for the insight I’ll gain from this experiment. Already, I’ve felt the shock of changing such a widely prevalent food component; this morning’s happy Muesli and yogurt time turned into a pantry rummage in search of a rogue bag of Might Tasty GF Cereal. I found no such bag but discovered a lonely apple that had to suffice. I was nourished but my whole wake-up routine was shaken because there’s something about the mindless cereal slupring I do each morning that plays an important part in how my day unfolds. Time to find a GF cereal to adopt.

I’ll be checking back in each week to report on our progress and findings. For now, I’ve got to figure out what I’m going to have for lunch.


nepeht says:

To Whom It May Concern —
I have seen various forms of sincere efforts by well-meaning folks who have willingly gone without for a pre-stated and pre-planned amount of time in order to be able to relate to those who have gone without (regardless of willingness, planning or preparedness) due to conditions simply beyond their control, such as Celiac Disease or Homelessness.
When I have been made aware of these efforts, as they are almost always publicised, I have had mixed feelings and reactions.
Please try to consider the fact that the two variables of the event being “pre-planned” and the event being “voluntary” are two of the most physically and psychologically devastating variables that those who actually have such conditions live with day in and day out… often for the rest of their painful and shortened lives.
Surely, there are valuable experiences one more fortunate can gain while temporarily dipping into the less fortunate pond for a well-insulated swim. And that is a nice thing to do. Thank you for that. It is truly a good thing to try and step into another person’s shoes — that is, if they have shoes.
Perhaps after this charitable experience one might be inspired.
After this month of Gluten-Free experience, I hope that your health is good and your mind is clear.
Who knows, you might even come up with ideas and innovations that could help to significantly reduce the end user costs of your products.
Good luck!
William Beverly

glutenfreeislife says:

Good luck on your GF journey! I have been GF for 3 years, due to Celiac Disease. It is no easy task, but kudos to you & your cohort for taking this on.

BTW, Fruity & Cocoa Pebbles are both GF, as are Honey Kix. 😉 Not the best nutritional value, but a nice "comfort". 😉

marylandceliac says:

Check out the reviews and links on my blog for help in finding gluten free foods. As for breakfast cereal – my favorites are Rice Chex and Envirokidz Gorilla Munch. I also posted a list of my favorite gluten free foods in December. The hardest part of eating gluten free is avoiding cross contamination. Thanks for taking the time to experience this. Normally, it is recommended that people be tested for Celiac Disease before starting a gluten free diet, but since you aren’t doing it for health reasons and it is only for a month, that shouldn’t be an issue. Anything that helps promotes awareness of CD is awesome!

gfvegheads says:

Good luck on your quest and thanks for taking the time to see the world as we celiacs do! I think you’ll be shocked at how much of the ready-made food available is off limits. It’s pretty discouraging until you learn to bring your own snacks everywhere. Thank goodness coffee’s still ok!! By the way, Whole Foods sells a great gluten-free cereal by Nature’s Path called Mesa Sunrise: Flax, Corn, and Amaranth Flakes. They’re awesome. Highly recommend!

MatthewC says:

Thanks to you all for you comments and suggestions! I know I’ll never come close to replicating the psychological and physical maladies associated with the condition but I’m doing what I can.

It’s been okay so far but I’ve had some gluten near-misses (okay one minor collision with soy sauce). The biggest issue is all the time I’ve spent reading labels I’ve taken for granted as safe in the past. On the up side, I’ve eaten way more vegetables than I usually do.

Stacey says:

Many restaurants are adding gluten-free menus or they know which items they can easily adjust to make gluten-free. It makes going out with friends and family so much easier. I started lists of the restaurants on my blog.

Stormy says:

Well Matt… Good on you!
Many people say “What a shame”- few go ahead and try it out! CD is painful, frustrating and above all, challenging- but it’s only as bad as we make it. I found out about my condition as an adult, hence the frustration, but the bonus there was that when my daughter started showing signs as a toddler, I could recognise it and help her avoid the stuff that made life miserable.
It comes down to this…. If I can’t eat it…. what am I whining about? So what? There are so many things out there I can eat! This morning I had bacon and eggs on toast- that I’d made from your bread mix in my bread maker. What a no-brainer. Put the mix in, set the timer, and Voila! Fresh, yummy bread in 3 hours. I’m not missing out because I choose not to see it that way- and my daughter is the same. I can still eat cakes and cookies- I make them myself. There are wheat free soy-sauces out there if you look. It just takes a little planning. And fresh peppermint and Chamomile tea stops the gut-ache if I get something wrong.
It could be a lot worse! Have fun with this Matt- there’s a lot of good GF food out there *grin*

Tony Masood says:

That is really a awesome post. I am still new to all this and I try to improve. Reading this post helped me a lot in getting a line of these things. Thanks for making it available and continue the superb work.

Matthew Cox says:

Thanks Tony! I’m so glad we could make some difference for you. I was just browsing he National Institute of Health’s new celiac disease site and was impressed with the content.

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