Going Gluten Free (And Changing My Life)

Going Gluten Free

A Frugal Gluten-Free Journey

I’ve heard over and over again how gluten-free is the new fad diet. There’s a common misconception that people who choose a gluten-free lifestyle do so to be trendy.

Honestly, I can’t think of one person I know who is happy to cut gluten out of their lives. Not only is a gluten-free diet restrictive, but the cost can also really add up!

Well, I’m determined to go on this gluten-free journey without increasing my weekly grocery tab!

I am excited to share this journey with you, and I hope I’m able to inform and inspire others in my predicament.

Pasties
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How I Discovered My Gluten Sensitivity

For as long as I can remember, I’ve suffered from several medical issues. I’m sure my parents, and everyone who knows me, thought I was a hypochondriac.

It seemed like every other week a new ailment took hold of me, causing me all kinds of problems. As a teenager, I had terrible headaches, which progressed to migraines later down the road.

I would constantly have stomach aches as a kid. As an adult, I was able to identify those aches as gas and bloating.

I break out in hives randomly, most often when I’m exposed to extreme heat. (My mom was convinced I had chronic ringworm when I was younger, but a doctor assured her it was simply hives and prescribed antihistamines although no cause was ever determined.)

The list goes on, but I’m sure you get my point. I was a mess!

Going Gluten Free
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As I started cutting out processed foods in an attempt to lose weight from my last pregnancy, I started noticing some changes.

Suddenly I had energy! My headaches disappeared! I didn’t feel bloated all the time! It was amazing!

I talked to my doctor about the symptoms I’ve had for as long as I could remember, and how they seem to be alleviated by avoiding food such as pasta and bread. Together we determined gluten was the most likely culprit.

I will be having tests done this year to rule out Celiac disease or other serious conditions.

Gluten Free
Photo by Heather Gill on Unsplash

What exactly is gluten?

In simple terms, gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. So, basically anything delicious. Gluten can be found in pasta, bread, cake, doughnuts… pretty much everything I love. But that’s not all!

Little did I know, some condiments and sauces also use wheat as one of their ingredients.

Soy Sauce- Not Gluten Free

I was shocked to hear that soy sauce, of all things, is not gluten-free! That one hurt.

Now, I want to point out, gluten isn’t BAD. There is no evidence that suggests the average person can benefit from specifically cutting gluten out of their diet.

However, for those who live with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity and intolerance, the only real remedy is to avoid gluten as much as possible. For a more thorough explanation of what gluten actually is, check out this YouTube video by AsapScience I found explaining it!

Common Symptoms of Gluten Intolerance

There are several symptoms of gluten Sensitivity/Intolerance that are not as serious as Celiac disease, but they can still make a person miserable. (Those who live with Celiac Disease often suffer from anemia, osteoporosis and weight loss, among other serious health issues.)

Here’s a fun list of the symptoms I experience after eating food with gluten in it:

  • Stomach pains
  • Gas and Bloating
  • Constipation or Diarrhea (My body likes to keep me on my toes, so I never know which one I’ll experience at any given time.)
  • Inflammation of the digestive tract (Ulcerative Colitis- which I didn’t realize until recently was causing a whole host of other problems I never would have thought were related. Look for that post in the near future!)
  • Fatigue
  • Migraines
  • Skin issues (hives)

My Journey to Gluten-Free Living

Being a family of seven living on one income, going gluten-free terrified me. I’ve browsed the gluten-free shelves in Walmart, and I was not ready to spend that kind of money!

I make a strong effort to keep my weekly grocery bill under $120, and I don’t want that to change just because of my dietary restrictions.

My plan is to focus mainly on “real foods” like vegetables, meat, and fish. If I am absolutely craving pasta or cake, I have found some inexpensive gluten-free products (Mostly at Aldi.)

Gluten Free "Real Food"
Photo by Anna Pelzer on Unsplash

This is quite a transition for me. I’ve made a conscious effort to cut down on gluten in the past, but I have never been strictly gluten-free.

But that’s about to change! I’m starting this journey, and I welcome you to come on it with me!

I will be sharing updates along the way of my progress. I also want to share with you all of the great, low-cost gluten-free products I find, as well as delicious gluten-free recipes!

Gluten Intolerance Resources

Some websites that have provided me with great insight on gluten sensitivity and intolerance:

Overview of My Gluten-Free Journey

  • Gluten is a protein found in wheat
  • There is no evidence that gluten has negative effects on the average person
  • Gluten Sensitivity/Intolerance and Celiac Disease are not the same things
  • Some symptoms include migraines, bloating, diarrhea and/or constipation, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, among others
  • Gluten-Free products tend to be expensive, so I will be focusing on “real foods” and the occasional gluten-free products in my series
My Gluten Free Journey
Photo by Miti on Unsplash

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20 thoughts on “Going Gluten Free (And Changing My Life)”

  1. I don’t have gluten issues and I am extremely grateful that I don’t. I love grains, and it would be tough to give them up and to constantly look for gluten free alternatives. But for some people, going gluten free is a necessity so it makes sense to make the best of the situation. Besides, who knows what pleasant discoveries you may find. Good luck on your journey!

  2. I discovered my gluten intolerance in 2013 and have had to eat gluten free ever since. I have many of the symptoms you describe above and was diagnosed with Celiac. Luckily it is much easier now to find gluten free products and many kitchens are educated enough to know that for us being gluten free is not a diet or a preference, but a necessity. Sorry this happened, but so glad you are feeling better!

    1. Thank you! I am having tests done this month to rule out Celiac, I’ve got several relatives with it as well! I have been so happy to see the gluten free offerings increase in grocery stores and restaurants!

  3. I love that you’re blogging your GF journey with us. My son suffered from this early on and it was challenging. I am sure lots will find this helpful

    1. I couldn’t imagine any of my kids having to deal with this! It’s so hard to understand the symptoms when you’re young. I hope your son is doing better!

    1. I didn’t know that! Thank you for the tip! I’ll see if I can find that! I did find Gluten-Free soy sauce at a local Asian market and it has been life changing! Lol

  4. I’m so glad to hear that cutting gluten has made such a great impact on your health! I had to cut gluten a few years ago when I was trying to figure out food sensitivities myself. It turns out gluten wasn’t one of mine, but it was a challenge to do at first!

    1. I’m glad you were able to rule out gluten! It would be amazing if at the end of this it turned out that wasn’t the problem. Then I could eat cake again. Lol

  5. I was introduced to gluten allergies but my students. Unfortunately, I have several with gluten issues, so i have to be very mindful when planning class treats. Thank you for sharing these recommendations.

    1. It can be difficult buying treats because you have to constantly read labels. I usually opt for fresh fruits in those cases! They work like a charm!

  6. My mom is starting her GF journey right now, and its been a massive learning curve for her. Especially since she hates to cook lol. I’ve been slowly replacing things in my kitchen with GF options, mostly so I can still cook for her occasionally, but I don’t think it hurts anyone to eat less Gluten even if you’re tolerant of it!

    1. Definitely! By cutting out gluten, you’re also cutting out a lot of carbs as well. So if you plan on following a low-carb diet along with gluten-free (which I’m doing), it makes it a little easier! I hope your mom sees benefits from the gluten free lifestyle! I know I’ve already seen incredible changes in my health, and I’m still early in the journey!

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