Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Going gluten free

Not even a day into gluten free living and I remember why it annoys me so much. As far as I'm aware I don't have celiac disease but as the biopsy is a bad idea for my fragile EDS'y tissues I'll probably never have confirmation either way. I do have the Irish ancestry meaning I'm more likely to be celiac, but the only benefit to an official diagnosis would be the ability to get gluten free food on prescription and that's never going to be worth an invasive surgical procedure. I don't usually eat gluten because it makes all my EDS symptoms worse, increased pain, increased skin issues, massively increased digestive issues-you get the picture. Having gone back to gluten temporarily is a reflection of the stress withdrawing from Oxycontin puts my body under, it was the one thing I could think of that might slow down the constant poop runs. And so it did, with the side benefit of lots of pizza.

The problem is that eating a truly gluten free diet is incredibly difficult at the best of times, and a complete nightmare when you can't really prepare your own food. If you can cook everything from scratch eating gluten free is a bit time consuming but overall a very healthy way to eat. If you have spazzed up joints meaning you're a danger to yourself and others with cooking utensils then eating gluten free is to put it mildly, challenging.

The past couple of months eating gluten made my life so much easier. Even on the worst days toast is easy to make, and ready prepared food always available. If you can't eat gluten that rules out all but a few pre prepared foods, as gluten creeps into almost everything these days. There are gluten free ready meals available but generally they are very high on cost and calories as fat is used as a binder instead of gluten, and very, very low on taste. A bit like spending your time trying to chew expensive cardboard. Though, the cardboard probably tastes better and is almost certainly lower in calories.

I've recently discovered a new range of pre prepared foods from Stewed. They are on the pricey side at roughly £3.50* a tub but the whole range is gluten free and unusually tastes really, really delicious. My review of them is over on Pushing Our Buttons

*currently on offer in Sainsburys for about £2.50


alhi said...

I have a scrumptious recipe for flourless chocolate brownies if you could nab a friend to make them for you (and send them away then so you can eat them yourself!).

alhi said...

Me again. Saw this advertised

And wondered if there was an EDS charity that you could send it to? May help the Leeds situation as well??

Tessa said...

With your history, if you are referred to a sympathetic gastroenterologist you may well be able to get that "formal diagnosis" for prescription purposes without a biopsy. Some of the blood tests, if they are positive, are now quite good and if a biopsy is too risky to justify may suffice. I've also heard of HLA subtyping (essentially a genetic marker) being done in difficult cases. I'd have a chat with your GP about testing and/or referral.

Lankylonglegs said...

I don't think I could live without gluten...that would mean no more gravy :O have to admit those flourless chokky brownies sound goooooooood (although I can't see how you can make a cake without flour)

hope the switch helps you tho...I'll just keep ignoring the IBS symptoms lol

steph said...

Bendy - I too have problems with gluten sensitivity and I've had a biopsy taken twice which has shown up negative for celiac disease.

I agree that following a strict gluten free diet is very restrictive and also tough on your food budget but it does reduce symptoms.

I cope by not eating bread unless I'm really stuck for something to eat and I avoid pastas, pizzas, pastries etc most of the time. But not all of the time!

Life would be very dull without treats!

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Alhi: Ooo, I'd love that recipe thank you :) Thanks for the rare disorder link too-unfortunately the EDS related charities in the UK are so cash strapped they probably couldn't afford to go but I'll let Leeds know about it

Tessa: Thank you for that, and hello btw! The difficulty is that it may not be celiacs, I know several EDS'ers who cannot tolerate gluten and get all the same symptoms but who all test negative for celiacs. I may well try to get a referral once the whole Oxycontin issue is out of the way so thanks again

LL: There are gluten free flours, some of which are quite good. I've got a recipe for the easiest gluten free carrot cake which is nicer than any with gluten I've ever tasted. The big problem with gluten free cooking is that in the absence of gluten you need fat to bind things, hence it's all so high in calories.
Gravy is perfectly possible to do gluten free, either with corn flour or with GF flour.
If it was just the IBS symptoms I might not bother with a GF diet but it makes such a big difference to my skin, joints and pain levels that it's worth the hassle

Steph: That's really interesting thank you, does seem like an awful lot of us bendies can't tolerate gluten properly. I may follow your occasional treats example though ;)

Joanna Cake said...

Genius bread is gluten-free and Mrs Crimbles also does a lot of gluten free products.

Im currently avoiding yeast, sugar and processed flours. It's extraordinary how many gluten free products you find when you want yeast free :)

fiona said...


I also dont eat gluten as it aggrevates my eds and other problems and it used to be a total nightmare until i discovered www.goodnessdirect.co.uk

they do all sorts of wheat and gluten free stuff including gluten free chicken pies gluten free garlic bread & wheat free sun dried tomato ciabattas! i'm now much, much fatter. ah well! ;^D

love your blog especially the bog off - i've been obsessed by disabled toilets for a while so i'm glad it's not just me who takes photos of them! :^D


BenefitScroungingScum said...

Jo: Genius bread is really good, have you tried the Mrs Crimbles equivalent? The big drawback is obviously price, approx £2.50 for a loaf. I usually can't eat the whole loaf before it goes off (so quick for gluten free products) so it's a treat rather than a daily staple.

Fiona: Hiya! Thanks for that site, it looks fantastic, definitely going to make my life easier. I'm always in need of photos for Bog Offs or blue badge blunders and can credit your blog/website with a link. I live in such a small area and don't go to new places that much so finding Bog Offs can be tricky!