Most people think that wheat or gluten has to be completely excluded where it is thought to be a problem. This is not so except for those who are coeliacs or those who have anaphylaxis or symptoms that would land them in hospital. They should read no further. Everyone else can read about how they can get away with small amounts of foods containing wheat. They are such a pleasure. The crunch and taste of even one crisp wheat cracker, or the enjoyment of the smell and feel of very fresh crusty bread is such a delight. What about one bite of someone’s flakey pastry at the corner of their apple turnover, or the aroma floating from the toaster when you cook toast to just the level of golden brown you love. Then you add your tolerated savoury or sweet spread and bite into your favourite food. What about the wonderful taste of home made scones cooked in a very hot oven, or a wheat flour pizza base topped only with foods you tolerate and cooked up to just the right crunch level. There are those who thought wheat a problem when they ate pizzas, or doughnuts, or the cake they had with their coffee on an outing. But it is important to avoid any food that is wheat plus lots of other ingredients, especially those high in flavour. They are often the problem. When testing any food use the rule that the more scared of a reaction you are the smaller the amount you use at first. Then you test your favourite food over seven days while not changing anything else in your diet. You might just begin with a lick of the plain water cracker, then have a crumb, and over days work up to one whole cracker. If all goes well you can keep expanding your amount. Many people do manage one slice of toast or similar amount per day. Tolerance is improved if the bread is well cooked and crusty, or toasted, and if the food is eaten between about 10am and 4pm, the times people report best tolerance. Avoid testing wheat when you are overtired, stressed or have an infection of any kind. Your tolerance is best when you feel your most robust. This is helpful to know so you learn about yourself and when you might dare to test your favourite food. It is interesting that the form of the wheat matters too. Some react to bread but not pasta, which in fact contains more gluten. Others wonder if it is the yeast in the bread but also get their symptoms with plain scones so it is the “crumby” form of wheat they have trouble with. Pastry is yummy and perhaps the increased fat makes it better tolerated in the gut. If you get bloating from bread do get advice from a dietitian about the FODMAPS angle and learn about using the sour-dough spelt bread. Do test white bread and crackers first as many have symptoms, particularly gut looseness, with wholegrain breakfast foods or wholemeal bread. You can learn even more by reading Tolerating Troublesome Foods so your life contains more of the food pleasures you enjoy most.
Thank you for writing this. I have experience wheat intolerance or sensitivity and in fact learn that some forms of it was tolerated better than others. I try to limit it but I feel deprived. Weight management is also a major issue since reducing wheat and dairy.
Joan Breakey says
Thank you A for supporting those dealing with having to exclude wheat. You are right in reminding others that wheat can be tolerated in different forms. Tolerance can be affected by how well the wheat is cooked or toasted, or what time of the day you have. That and all the other ideas, especially the Total Body Load idea, that I have carefully included in my book Tolerating Troublesome Foods will help you. There I have included three pages of factors that can alter your tolerance. See Chapter 5 for the Best Guess Food Guide – http://www.foodintolerancepro.com/tolerating-troublesome-foods/ from my site and from AmazonKindle
Importantly, remember everyone is different in what they can tolerate, and not only that, this tolerance can change over years.
Of course this discussion if not for those who have been diagnosed as coeliac who do need to exclude wheat in all forms.
Yes you do feel deprived when you have to exclude wheat. It is up to you just how severe your symptoms are just how much you test wheat and how much discomfort you have to put up with. There is also the idea that if you give your gut a rest by excluding wheat for three months it may improve if you limit your wheat intake greatly at first. It is amazing how much better life is if you can eat, perhaps about one slice of bread per day. Keep testing what will make your life better having wheat in the one way you like it the most. I really like very occasionally to enjoy a real vanilla slice made with the original flaky pastry and the original custard filling. we can each chose what is important to us so we don’t feel being deprived is pushed on to us.
Weight management is always an issue. Here we think about what weight is for you. You may be replacing wheat with gluten-free bread, more rice and potato with meals. Overall you are dealing with a type of grief reaction of having to change your life so you will feel lots of strong feelings until you work our how the reduction of wheat fits into your life in an ongoing way. I wish you well. Joan.