Gluten free for me (a two week experiment)

Gluten Free Ravioli at Amore

I will confess that I find requests for Gluten free food to be annoying. This is probably because I don’t have Celiacs disease or know anybody who does, but to pretend that I don’t hear the drumbeat for those food items would be ignoring the truth. Clearly this issue is large enough that there is a huge niche market for Gluten-free products.

Recently, I have been frustrated about an ongoing health issue that I felt might be related to the food that I was eating. In the back of my head, I thought that maybe I might have a problem with gluten and not even be aware of it. To test this theory, I decided to take gluten out of my diet for two weeks. This is what I discovered.

Pad potak at Thai Avenue

Gluten is everywhere! Even my beloved soy sauce has gluten. This means that I had to spend a lot more time reading labels and menus just to make sure that I was not eating the wrong foods. The good news is that many restaurants are responding to the needs of people on gluten-free diets and have several items that are gluten-free or can be made that way, but there is often a small up charge.

In those situations where gluten-free items are available, most places do not have a dedicated gluten-free kitchen. This means that those with a serious affliction could experience a negative health response due to cross-contamination, even with only slight traces of gluten.

Live Gluten Free Bakery and Cafe has a dedicated gluten-free kitchen

Bread items lacking gluten tasted drier and less flavorful than bread with gluten. This is no secret to people who eat this on a regular basis, and having to personally eat gluten-free bread for two weeks was an important part of my experience. The good news is that places who specialize in gluten-free foods are improving their products daily and I suspect that they will eventually overcome this flavor shortcoming.

Gluten-free club sandwich at Hall Street Bakery (Dedicated glute-free kitchen)

My biggest takeaway from living Gluten-free for two weeks was that I really can’t stand having to examine everything that I eat before I put it in my mouth. Having a dietary restriction of any sort is really frustrating, and I am so fortunate to be able to eat care free while others cannot.

Gluten-free chicken tenders at Noble Restaurant

Ultimately, my experiment with a gluten free diet ended with no improvement in my health. I did, however, develop a much greater appreciation for people who have celiac’s disease and gluten sensitivity in general. I also found out that, with some diligence, you can find a lot of good gluten-free meals.




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