8/10/10

The Beginning: Going Gluten Free

Because I don't have enough obstacles in my life, I decided that as a family we will go gluten free.

For one whole month.

In case you aren't sure what "gluten" is, here is a definition from About.com:

Definition: Gluten is a protein found in flour, which forms during bread making. Glutanin and gliadin, two protein molecules in flour, combine to form gluten when water is added to flour and the resulting dough is worked over and over, or kneaded. The gluten forms a network that traps CO2 created by yeast, giving bread its characteristic texture and air bubbles.

More specifically, gluten is the protein in wheat, rye, and barley. And to put it bluntly, anything that contains wheat or flour has gluten.

And we are going to avoid it.

To give you some back history, no one has been diagnosed with a wheat allergy or sensitivity. A couple of years ago, I suspected perhaps I had it when I was going through all the gallbladder stuff. I did a little research, but wasn't tested so I put it in the back of my mind.

Then not too long ago, I came across some research that suggested that some causes of AD(H)D in children may be a sensitivity to gluten. Again, I filed it away in the back of my mind. Last year, Darrin's teacher subtly mentioned she suspected he was ADD. I had the same suspicions, but hadn't said anything to anyone. I was afraid it was one of those situations where too much knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

Anyway, something snapped in my head Sunday night, and I knew that if gluten was the cause of anything going on with Darrin, then I needed to do something ASAP.

I spent most of the day yesterday doing research. And let me say, that in my opinion, even if Darrin doesn't have ADD caused by gluten, nor do I have a sensitivity, we don't need to be eating it anyway. This stuff is nasty for our bodies.

I knew that we'd be doing this, so I texted my husband, "Get ready we are going gluten free."

He replied, "It's been nice knowing you."

My husband loves bread. And that is putting it mildly. A meal without bread is like a breath without oxygen.

The man is addicted.

Well interestingly enough, I found a site that talked about the addiction.

"Proteins such as gluten result in the production of substances that can have addictive, narcotic-like effects. These substances are called "exorphins." Hydrolyzed wheat gluten, for example, has been found to prolong intestinal transit time and may contribute to weight gain. The effects of exorphins on the brain tell a person to keep eating gluten products, which, in turn, could contribute to the mental disturbances and appetite disorders that routinely accompany food-related illnesses."

I was all excited about starting a gluten free diet this morning. I was going to make the announcement at dinner to the kids. Later in the day, I decided that I had better have a list ready of the foods we would be eating and those we wouldn't.

That's when my excitement started to wane a bit. Not only do you avoid products with wheat, rye, and barley, there are other ingredients that you have to look for. Like:
  • hydrolyzed vegetable protein (unless its made from soy or corn)
  • flour or cereal products*
  • Vegetable protein*
  • modified starch or modified food starch*
  • vegetable gum
  • soy sauce
    *unless specified its from a corn or rice source
We also have to beware of words such as:
  • stabilizer
  • starch
  • flavoring
  • emulsifier
  • hydrolyzed plant protein
I started looking at the labels of foods we already had in the house. Yikes.

Also, by law, a food manufacturer is required to label food if it has any traces of wheat. I can tell you right now, that General Mills didn't do this on Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Cheerios.

But, my list of food we would eat was as long if not longer than the food we wouldn't. I started to feel better about my decision and how it would be perceived at dinner.

Then, I made the announcement.

Darrin, who will eat almost anything was all, "Glutens? What are those? OK. It will be fine."

Big Daddy, who was crying softly into his biscuit (part of my farewell to gluten dinner), was attempting to back me up. I could of sworn I heard Taps playing in the distance.

Nicholas was fine until I got to the "cereal" portion of the list.

Saying he loves cereal doesn't give enough emphasis on the word love.

Big Daddy would give up bread (almost) before Nicholas would give up cereal would start to make an impression on his affection to cereal.

The boy loves his cereal.

The more we talked the better they felt. It was going to be OK.

The boys don't know the real reason we are doing this. I want to get a true feeling of the effects on Darrin.

I told them it was only going to be a month and then we'd evalutate. That seemed to make it easier to swallow.

But like any addiction, there are going to be rough patches. I plan on making a page that details what we ate for the three meals and reactions for that day. It'll be interesting what we will be like at the end of the month.

(I am hoping for ten pounds lighter!)

To be continued....

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