The end of my gluten love affair – “Gluten, it’s not you, it’s me.”

Cookie pic.jpg

The famous emoji poo biscuit.  Basically, I couldn’t be bothered to find a piping nozzle, so I just used a bag and squeezed out these little beauties.  But, there is a point to it all and it not just that I needed cookies.  That said, we never need a reason to make, or eat a cookie in our house!

I decided to try out the new Schar universal flour mix, and what better way than in a chocolate cookie?  The result was delish, even though I do say so myself.  Only downside for me is that the mix has sugar in it, so I am not sure how that works if I want savoury.  That does seem to be a major issue with gluten-free foods though; huge amounts of sugar to enhance the flavour.

So why be gluten-free when I am not a coeliac, am I just following a fad?  I have followed many a fad diet, that is indisputable; the last one was the ‘I Quit Sugar’ thing.  Did she make most of those ingredients up?  Seriously, why don’t I just not eat sugar?  It’s got to be less hassle than making all those weird and complicated recipes!  But on this occasion, it’s for good reasons. I have always suffered with IBS and all the associated stomach issues, but over the years things got worse and worse.  My go to comfort food would always be bread products, pastry, cakes, cookies, basically anything with flour in it.  Soup and toast have been a staple of my diet since leaving the farmhouse kitchen of my childhood.  When I was a teenager, if Mum suggested a diet, it meant that I only ate one cake a day, instead of a selection from the many home cooked bakery delights that were on offer.  Family of feeders 🙂

Things started to get worse when I was working as cabin crew; I remember being curled up on the floor of a shopping centre in Hong Kong in absolute agony.  (I do love to drop in the odd ref to my travels to Asia in a desperate attempt to  make me seem exciting!)  I think I just looked like a weirdo though as no one rushed to my aid.

I had known coeliacs before, but had never really understood the whole dietary side of it. I tried cutting out wheat products, this meant giving up my beloved bread …. it was hell,  my entire culinary repertoire gone.  Things didn’t improve much and I found it impossible to stick to it. After the arrival of my kids, things got even worse and I spent many an outing blaming the children for the farts, “Oh Beebs (pet name for youngest, no longer allowed to use it though), have you done a little pumpy?”  It eventually got to the stage when they would deny it and turn on me,

“Mummy, what is that disgusting smell, have you done a pump?”

Those local farmers took a lot of the blame for that.  Lots of other stuff happened, all far too much info to share now though.

It wasn’t until my friend’s daughter was diagnosed that I fully understand the severity of the condition and witnessed the absolute torture that eating gluten caused her.  I learnt about contamination and just how many things that gluten is in; things you would never imagine, like Smarties.  I decided to give full on gluten-free a try, things instantly improved.  Long story short, had tests, results negative, diagnosis IBS with gluten intolerance.  I dodged a bullet there and am incredibly lucky that it is not coeliac disease.

Luckily by the time I went fully gluten-free, the selection of GF things on offer was still expensive, but lots more variety than the ‘olden days’.  The old style gluten-free bread, or PG (pre Genius), as I like to call it; what even was that stuff?  It tasted like a disgusting rice marshmallow and had a lead like texture.  No offence to the manufacturers, we really needed it and are grateful for what was offered.  But seriously, how could a woman with the appetite the size of mine live on bread that small?  I am spoilt for choice now, but all still unfairly expensive, so I hang around the reduced aisles in hope of an offer.

It’s not just my stomach issues that have been resolved, but they are so much better.  Now I really can blame the kids and the farmers.  I used to get regular bouts of tonsillitis and mouth ulcers.  Now, I know if I have had gluten for many stomach related reasons, but often I get a mouth ulcer afterwards too.  Who knew things like that would be caused by what I ate?  I didn’t believe it for a while and kept thinking maybe I was just having one of my imagined ailments, but I’ve tested it out a few times and the results are always the same.  So that’s me GF forever now.

I get really excited by new GF products on offer, even things like scotch eggs and pork pies .. I don’t even eat those things!  But I did find myself testing out a GF pork pie once, just because I could.  It was OK, but I don’t feel the need to revisit that experience.  My most recent thrill was the arrival of waffles …. woo hoo, they are the best, but flipping tiny, I can do a pack in one hit.

This is not me telling anyone how to eat, or to go GF without medical advice.  But this is my story and it worked for me, so thought I would share, or over share maybe.

I do apologise to the true coeliacs out there; who I know have been through hell, but I promise you it’s not just faddy diet, or me desperately trying to be fashionable. So if you ever see me walking strangely around Sainburys, or blaming the children for the smell, you can probably guess that I have relapsed into my gluten addiction.

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