That nerve issue I wrote about at the end of last year never went away. It’s pretty much a permanent thing at this point, so I kinda have to learn to deal with it. But hey, there could be worse things!
Anyway, I’ve been to a lot of doctors and done a lot of research on the Internet, and out of desperation, I decided to try going gluten-free for a month, since at this point, the doctors don’t know what’s wrong and just want me to go to pain management clinics. For the record, if you don’t have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance (which, yes, some people do have), going gluten-free is a total bullshit fad, but that fad has actually helped out people that suffer from gluten-related problems. There are lots more options for those people on the market now, which I guess is the point of this post.
I went full blown gluten-free for a month, because gluten can cause inflammation (which can cause nerve issues) if you have a gluten intolerance. This meant I basically acted like I had celiac disease for a month: no wheat, rye, or barley; no foods that shared processing equipment with gluten, and no foods that shared preparation equipment with gluten. In the past, that might’ve been difficult to do, but these days, it actually wasn’t so bad.
Going gluten-free seems to be more annoying than it is difficult, especially if you have celiac disease. If you’re just intolerant, you can probably handle cross-contamination a lot better than someone with celiac, but if you have celiac, eating out is almost definitely an ordeal. Lots of things that should be naturally gluten-free can come into contact with equipment that processes gluten-containing items, which can make things difficult. For example, Dominos has a gluten-free pizza, but they prepare and bake it in with the same kitchen equipment as their regular pizza, so it is almost certainly contaminated. Pizza Hut, on the other hand, has their gluten-free pizza and the process they use to store and prepare it certified gluten-free, so theirs is probably safe. There’s a lot of research that has to go into every decision you make involving anything that goes anywhere near your mouth.
If your significant other just ate a slice of bread, you better not kiss them. Is your lip balm gluten-free? Do you share hand-towels with someone that might’ve touched gluten-containing items and then wiped their hands or mouth? That’s really the most annoying part of the whole process. I only did it for a month and it ended up not helping me, but for someone that has to do it forever…that could be daunting.
Luckily in Baton Rouge, there is a bakery/restaurant specifically for people that follow diets that eliminate certain food allergens. They have gluten-free “donuts,” cupcakes, and other pastries, as well as a menu of items that are gluten-free. And almost every store I went to had a gluten-free section with some pretty interesting options. The biggest issue, though, is that even when you can find alternatives to things you thought you may never be able to eat again, all of it ends up being pretty expensive. That restaurant and all of the groceries I bought were probably 25-50% more expensive than comparable gluten-containing options. As much as that sucks though, at least there are options.
Rice pasta, for example, is such a good imitation of wheat pasta that if it weren’t for the price tag, I wouldn’t care which one you served me. Trader Joe’s brown rice pasta is $2 for a 16oz bag, whereas wheat pasta is almost half that price. $2 for a bag of pasta isn’t that much, but a loaf of the best gluten-free bread I could find is EIGHT bucks. And gluten-free bread is just straight up bleh unless you toast it, which only makes it less bleh.
So, it was an interesting experiment to step into those shoes for an entire month. Unless you have celiac disease or an intolerance to gluten though, I’m pretty sure you’re crazy if you’re on a gluten-free diet.