No Gluten, No More Headaches (Part 2)

It's been a little while since I've shared my story of how no more gluten means no more headaches for me.

Donut with a bite taken out of it.

I shared in a post earlier here, about how my gluten intolerance came about and it wasn’t determined through blood tests and allergy tests.

Getting my gluten intolerance under control was not something that happened from one week to the next, but rather few weeks and constant adherence.

What’s changed since my last MRI and neurologist appointment in the spring of 2015, and paying attention to my eating habits?

One big change has been moving to Europe. No, I’m not saying that you need to move to Europe if you are suffering gluten intolerance problems, BUT gluten in Europe is different.

Why is gluten different in Europe:

The US wheat production is made with hard red wheat variety, whereas in Europe the wheat production is more so focused on the soft wheat. So where does the gluten amount come in?

In an article by Turner, “Hard wheat has more gluten than soft wheat, and the gluten it contains is stronger than gluten found in soft wheat. This tough gluten is ideal for baking soft, fluffy bread that people are used to consuming in the United States”.

If you do have any gluten intolerance problems, but find yourself traveling over to Europe, you may be pleasantly surprised that you can tolerate some forms of gluten goods!

When in Europe:

Being in Europe I do try to eat more so gluten-free, but if I do want to have a croissant or a traditional dessert that contains gluten, I am able to do so in small amounts. It’s all about balance and moderation.

But, when I do take it a little too far, the headaches do come back and that’s when I know I may have had too much. The best solution for me at this point is to pay attention and really stick to a gluten-free plan since I know why that is important to my own health, and that that is the solution that has worked for me previously.

Pasta and pizza on a plate

When you do go to a country where you do not know the language, always assume for the worst — meaning that they will not have a gluten-free option as it is not as common.

What to do in a situation like this?

  1. Use your phone and translate what you want to ask for (use your resources).
  2. Learn the key phrase “Do you have any gluten-free options” in the language for the country you are traveling to.
  3. Be patient. If you’re patient and willing to try and explain they’ll try their best to understand your situation.
  4. Be open to choosing an alternative if your gluten intolerance is severe and your body cannot handle any more gluten. (Don’t forget sometimes soups and salads can contain gluten as well- so choose accordingly).
  5. If you can handle gluten in small amounts, be OK with what you will be ordering, but don’t force the entire meal if it doesn’t feel good. Know that you’ll get back to balance later, but enjoy your time and this meal that you normally wouldn’t have back home.

When back Stateside:

However, when back stateside, this is a different case. My gluten intolerance journey all started while I was growing up and living in the States. This means that when I am back home, being more cautious about gluten-free choices is important.

What’s been nice is the large variety of gluten-free choices back in the States. Every month, there is something new that is gluten-free, and when out to eat whether, at a nicer restaurant or fast food option, gluten-free options are always available.

Ice cream with labels on type of ice cream and gluten free label

REMINDER: when it comes to packaged gluten-free goods be cautious. There can be many additional ingredients that may not sit well with you whether you have IBS, or follow a FODMAP diet. Make sure to read the labels!

To get the full story, read Part 1 of No Gluten, No More Headaches here!

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