I can’t believe this but I only just realized that I am intolerant to wheat products, which very likely means I am gluten intolerant.
I have suffered from bloated tummy for several years. I consulted a medical specialist, several years ago, who diagnosed that I have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), but I never knew what was the cause. It was only end last week that my husband suggested that I returned to my roots, meaning lay off the wheat/gluten products and go on a complete Asian diet. He suspected that I was sensitive to wheat/gluten after he saw this Australian documentary on the bad substance found in it.
But the problem is I love wheat products; I love wholemeal and especially multigrain bread. I enjoy cookies, cakes, pastries, muffins, and waffles, and what have you. So, telling me that I am intolerant to gluten is like saying I have to go on a liquid diet.
When my husband made the suggestion to go Asian, I went, “what am I going to eat, especially for breakfast?” He said, “you can have noodle soup, fried beehoon (thin rice noodle)…” But I don’t eat those stuff for breakfast?! He looked at me and said, “Asians eat those for breakfast.” He persuaded me to try it for a week and see if the diet change helps my tummy.
So, last Friday, I started on an Asian diet, which is basically rice-based. On the first day, I admit I didn’t go totally off wheat because I had wraps for lunch, but I did adhere for the rest of the day. In the late afternoon, the office boss decided to treat the staff to afternoon tea: a rainbow cake from a nearby hotel, which is supposedly pretty good. Unfortunately, I had to pass.
A Belgian colleague came over and asked, “Aren’t you going to have some cake?” I told him of my trial diet, and he replied, “Welcome to the club!” I looked at him puzzled, and he continued, “I am gluten and lactose intolerant.” I was even more surprised. How did he cope with the European diet all this time? After all, gluten-free products are only available in recent years. Another colleague later told me that the Belgian colleague only found out about his gluten condition recently. This explains why he so loves Asian food once he arrived here. We used to have a French colleague who is allergic to gluten, absolutely can’t touch it.
Anyway, back to my Asian diet, I have been following it as faithfully as I can. I have also started a food diary to keep track of the possible food that might cause tummy discomfort. So far, the result confirms my husband’s suspicion. My tummy doesn’t look like I’m four months pregnant now, and I am totally fine. I also have a better understanding of the food that causes indigestion or slight bloatedness, which I will try to avoid them. In fact, on those couple of occasions that I reverted back to wheat, I was a little shocked to realize my tummy protested in reaction to even small portion of it. So it looks like the Asian diet is here to stay.
I have checked out the availability of gluten-free food in Singapore, and unfortunately there are limited options, in terms of cafes, restaurants or bakeries. In fact you can count on two hands who they are. Worse, they are not exactly located in very convenient places, and the food selections are not as varied. As for the regular restaurants or eateries, very few offer gluten-free options on its menu. Of course, for Asian restaurants, the food, in essence doesn’t or hardly has wheat in it.