53 and Gluten Free (Larry’s GF Story)

worldfoodTo detail my going gluten free, first a little background.  I have been fortunate to travel to many places around the world and in the United States for both business and pleasure.  One of my favorite things to do was to sample the local food and drink.  A croissant in Paris, spatzle in Germany, noodle dishes in Japan and China, etc.  Of course this went well with my habit of trying beers from around the world.

Once I hit age 52 I noticed having increasing brain fog and waking up feeling tired and hung over even without anything alcoholic to drink the night before.  I went to the Dr. and was told I was just getting old.  I thought wow, if I am already this worn out and have problems focusing and remembering things at 52 this does not bode well for me.

I decided to try an alternate approach and visited Sanoviv hospital for an extensive physical to try and determine if there was anything possible that could be done so I could start feeling like my old self.  There you are served gluten free dairy free meals and at the end of the 4 days I was starting to feel better.  They said I appeared to be gluten intolerant and suggested some additional blood tests.  I had the ALCAT blood test done and the results that came back seemed like a punch in the stomach.  Gluten intolerant, and highly allergic to hops and brewers yeast.  How could I possibly give up bread, noodles, and beer.

With no other obvious alternatives I gave up beer, gluten and brewers yeast.  The first few weeks were tough but then I started to be able to solve crossword puzzles quicker.  I woke up feeling rested and ready to go and my energy level went way up.  The old me often had to take afternoon naps to get through the day.  Now naps were not needed.  On the downside I was having great difficulty finding any type of bread or cookies I liked that were gluten free.  It was tough going from French baguettes to what seemed like eating cardboard.  Cookies also seemed to always taste grainy or be hard as a rock.  Pasta was ok going with rice or quinoa noodles.  But, the benefits of going gluten free far outweighed the horrible selection of gluten free foods I was finding.  The other interesting benefit of no gluten was a drop of 20 pounds.  The weight just fell off and I was still eating just as many calories as before.

One day I happened to be driving through Hygiene and noticed the sign outside of Mary’s saying gluten free.  Ok, I had tried many other GF places, why not Mary’s.  I ordered a sandwich on gluten free bread which came with a cookie.  While eating my sandwich and cookie panic set in.  Thinking they must have given me the wrong bread type I rushed back to the counter to see if they had given me an incorrect order and I would have another gluten episode.  To my surprise I talked with Mary who told me I had the correct order.  Could GF bread and cookies really taste this good? I have now found my place to shop for gluten free.

Its been 1 year since going GF and I am feeling much better.  If I happen to eat out and get some supposed GF food item that really wasn’t I feel horrible for the next 24 hours so I am much more cautious knowing what the effects would be.  Surprising to me is I do not really miss the beer after the first couple of weeks.  Bottom line is I am glad I took charge of my health and took the time and effort to dig deeper into my health issues rather than just deciding I was growing old.  GF is not that bad and I am healthier for it.

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