G-free… again

I have a reputation for trying detoxes, cleanses, elimination diets and other odd fasts. Just when I met my friend in Atlanta last weekend she asked, “What are you eating these days?” Yep, tales of what is — or more importantly is not — on my plate travel far and wide.

Five years ago I did my first “crazy” diet. I gave up gluten, the notorious, sticky substance found in wheat, rye and barely. At the time, gluten was just rising to infamy as the new villain of food groups (see also: salt in the ’80s and high-fat content in the ’90s).

Nope. Everything in this box is off-limits for three more weeks

Nope. Everything in this box is off-limits for three more weeks

I felt fine on the diet but not completed cured. To test for celiac, you have to be ingesting gluten regularly for about four weeks so the telltale antibodies will show up in the blood test. After five months of no regular bread, cupcakes, pretzels, etc., I finally had a doughnut Thanksgiving morning of 2008. It was amazing.

Flash forward several years and two negative blood tests later: I’ve cut out gluten again. It turns out that the whole time I thought I was g-free the first time, sneaky sources like deli meats (yep, they’re fillers for many brands) and spirits (distilled from grain) kept me from following through. While I thankfully do not have celiac, I wonder whether some small but annoying symptoms would benefit from avoiding these foods. It is, according to the NYT, the one protein the human body cannot fully digest.

It’s one week in, and I’ve slipped only once — at least that I know of. It turns out that Altoids do not have gluten but the miniature versions do.

Have you ever done an elimination diet for common allergens like soy, dairy, eggs, corn or another food? What was your experience like?

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