Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Gluten Free Getting Easier, but Casein Free Not So Much.

So I have actually decided to try to add casein free to my gluten free diet. And it isn't as easy as I would like it to be. Gluten free is getting easier and I've come to terms with it. I feel better when I'm gluten free. Here's the thing though. Gluten free is gaining more attention, but not all good. You see, more celebrities are turning to gluten free. Did you hear about Lady Gaga? The woman is already skinny and looks great! What woman wouldn't want a body like hers, right? Well, what "normal" woman wouldn't anyway? She apparently decided to go gluten free to lose more weight. Really? To lose more weight? When she doesn't have any weight that she actually needs to lose?

Misconception about going gluten free: Lose weight. Gluten free does not guarantee any weight loss. There are just as many unhealthy foods in the gluten free diet as there are in a regular glutened diet. Muffins, cookies, pizza, chips. Sound familiar? Yep.

Misconception about gluten free: That it's only for celiacs. It isn't. I have been tested repeatedly the past couple of years for celiac. Most of my tests have come back completely negative. My genetic test came back with one half of the two elements of the two genes (four elements basically) positive. Given my history of celiac-related issues, I personally would take that test to actually mean that I am likely to develop celiac later if I don't take precautions now if not that I may actually be celiac and have actually managed to prevent full development of the disease later if I continue to stay on the diet. I am what is considered gluten intolerant (even though I have celiac symptoms with iron anemia and other nutritional deficiencies). So, gluten free is not just for celiacs. It is for those who have gluten intolerance and wheat allergy as well. It might be beneficial to those who have ADHD and autism spectrum disorders. For me personally, a whole plethora of medical problems have eased up or gone into remission since I went gluten free two years ago. YAY! I benefit from the diet and I plan to keep it up.

Now as to the casein free. I decided to give it a try because of a dairy allergy that was under minimal management but it is so much more difficult for me to adhere to than the gluten free. There really are not as many options for casein free as there are for gluten free. Bummer! But I decided to try casein free because of a new allergy that has been very consistent and progressively worsening: orange and orange juice. I don't know if the orange and orange juice allergy were in conjunction with dairy consumed or seasonal allergies starting, but I decided not to chance things. I do periodically have what I affectionately call "cow's milk cheese" or other "cow's milk" products, but I am mostly dairy free with the exception of what's in other products (like gluten free breads or other foods). I have goat cheese (and like it) and as far as I know am not having any issues with it. But see, dairy allergy is also a little tricky. There are TWO proteins for dairy: casein and whey. Remember that Little Miss Muffet was eating her curds and whey? Open a container of cottage cheese. The curds are the casein and the liquid/slime part of the cottage cheese is the whey (milk mud). Yeah. Kind of gross. But see, there are still a lot of dairy products that don't yet have non-dairy versions yet. And some of the products that have dairy free versions are not casein free. Yep. Shocker. I'm just as flustered at seeing a dairy free product that contains casein as I am about a product labelled gluten free processed in the same facility or on the same machinery as something that is not gluten free. EERRGGHH!! Seriously?!?

Anyway, that's an update on things right now. I am hoping to get back into posting more including more reviews in the next few weeks. Now if only my life would kind of slow down just a wee bit with all of the appointments I'm being sent for.

Oh, and if anyone ever has any questions, I would like to see them! Around my area, I'm sort of seen as an "expert" on the gluten free diet and get approached a lot with questions from people who are considering going gluten free themselves. So I don't mind if anyone has questions doing what I can to answer them.