The Reality of Gluten Free Living
When a person comes into Fresh & Natural Foods after they have been advised from a doctor to go gluten free, they tend to have no idea what it actually means. I was reminded of this today when a newly diagnosed customer came in. She was totally overwhelmed and began to cry. I made sure she knew that it was not going to be as bad as she thought and began to talk her through the basics. We went over the grains she was supposed to avoid, and the list of products that could hide gluten. I gave her the gluten free brochure Fresh and Natural Foods has available at the customer service desk. The truth is, being gluten free is much easier now than ever. There are so many great items available and not everything tastes like cardboard.
Life will be different and it will be hard at first. But it does get better and easier with time. I have been gluten free almost 7 years now and perceive food differently. Cake is no longer appetizing; to me it looks like pain in pretty colors. I don’t get cravings for anything with gluten anymore. I will confess, however the first year was not fun. I admit; I cheated. I would eat a crescent roll every few months or cake at a friend’s birthday. But I finally had to ask myself at what cost was I willing to pay to enjoy a mouthful of delight. The truth is that I wasn’t willing to pay the 3 days of pain and delirium that followed. Customers talk to me a lot about their stomach issues, but one thing a lot of people are ignoring seem to be the other issues that can come. For me personally, a bite of gluten will hit me in 20-30 minutes and spend the next 2-3 hours in the bathroom. After that every joint I have starts to hurt; I usually go to bed to sleep because by this point I am so exhausted that I can no longer function. When I wake up the next morning and for the next 2 days I will be in a fog. I can’t think clearly; I am very moody. My speech will even be a bit slurred, and I will speak in random sentences that don’t make sense. Scary, isn’t it? It isn’t worth it for just a moment of taste.
Going gluten free when your doctor diagnosis brings relief, and you are worth it. It means cooking more at home; selecting restaurants with much more care; and putting your health before your cravings. But it doesn’t mean you are going to starve. There are many things you can eat. Look at the food basics, fresh fruits and vegetables, grass fed meats and yes some grains. From speaking to celiac and gluten intolerant customers all the time, I have also heard a common theme that you will need less and less food to feel satisfied because your body will be able to absorb nutrients more efficiently. If you are struggling there are some wonderful support groups out there to help and meet at Fresh & Natural for meetings:
- R.O.C.K., Raising Our Celiac Kids, is a great resource for parents struggling to understand their child’s diet.
- The Northland Celiac Group meets here at Fresh and Natural foods in Shoreview every couple of months.
- FAGSMN, Food Allergy Support Group of Minnesota, is a support group that focuses on the anaphylactic response to food allergies.
If you just need someone just to talk to or to get some suggestions, there are staff members here at both locations that can help. I love to talk to people about gluten free diets. Remember you are not alone and there are people that want to help.