So Mr. Tide and I have been completely gluten free for a week. Gluten is a protein found in wheat and is found in countless numbers of products we eat and cook with. We didn't find it too difficult to make the transition here at home since we've been semi gluten free for awhile now. Week before last, I read Kate's blog and how she was feeling much better sans gluten, so we decided to go cold turkey.
My niece has Celiac's disease, and my sister is also gluten intolerant, so I'm well versed in what has gluten in it, or so I thought. What I wasn't expecting was how difficult it is to really be completely gluten free.
I mean I knew a lot of things secretly contain wheat, like salad dressings, etc. but I wasn't fully prepared to be completely on my own when trying to find out what does or doesn't have gluten.
For instance, many restaurants are now touting gluten free menus, Panera is one of them, but when we went there for dinner the cashier couldn't tell me exactly what was truly gluten free and what was not. Thankfully I had a smart phone that allowed me to look it up thanks to the help of some really great websites created by people who are gluten free. And thankfully I'm not truly gluten intolerant, so eating a little gluten won't hurt me.
After several more instances where people working in stores or at restaurants either had no clue what gluten free meant or couldn't help me discern what was gluten free, I really began to have a much better appreciation for how difficult it must be for my college age niece.
Not only is she in college, the land of pizza and every other wheat laden carb imaginable, but she is also an athlete who has to travel because of her sport. As I went through my week gluten free, and fairly frustrated at not knowing exactly what I could and couldn't eat, I kept thinking how hard it must be for someone who is forced to eat fast food while on the road.
For her, it's not a choice, if she eats even a tiny amount of gluten it makes her very, very ill. My heart goes out to her, and I will try and be even more aware of her condition and be more vigilant about keeping lots of gluten free items in my house for when she comes over.
After just one week, and not feeling any different, Mr. Tide and I broke our gluten free streak and ate a cupcake. I have to admit that I felt a little guilty for giving in so quickly, but I truly have to say that I didn't notice any changes, not in my weight or how I felt. Now I know that one week probably isn't long enough to figure out if being gluten free made me feel better, but I would have expected to feel a few changes, and I did not.
So we are back to being "semi" gluten free, which does seem to make us feel slightly better overall. But the most important thing I learned was how my niece and now my sister must feel braving a world where gluten rules!
And although I would like to take full credit for the gorgeous Tiffany blue almond butter cupcake with raspberry filling pictured above, that I devoured...I can not. It came from a lovely new bake shop in our area called Anita's Cake Shop. They create a new signature cupcake each week and feature it on their Facebook page.
Her cupcakes are yummy, and she also makes all sorts of specialty cakes, including wedding cakes. But the best part is that they will also create gluten free items on request. I hope that in the future they will be able to offer gluten free items on their regular menu so that I can say to my niece and everyone else who is gluten free...let them eat cupcakes!