Welcome to the club!

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.


6 thoughts on “Welcome to the club!

  1. Hi! My fiance has crohn’s and has been put on a gluten free diet by his doctor for the past 3 years. There are more gluten free options nowadays and it’s heartening to see! Less so than places like Australia and in the western world because statistically, less Asians are coeliacs or gluten intolerant. We find that when dining out, Japanese and Vietnamese food are the safest bets. Do note that soya sauce contains wheat as well but Cold Storage sells sachets of gluten free soya sauce so we bring those along with us when we dine out at Japanese restaurants.

    • Hi, thanks for your comment. I think I am in the category of “wheat intolerance”.
      Though there are more gluten-free options available now, but when you walk into any breakfast joint, like say ABC or Providore or Wild Honey, the number of non-wheat options for breakfast can be counted on one hand. I think I would only be able to have omelette and granola.
      I did a bit of research on soy sauce, and there are two camps on this ingredient. One said it trigger the tummy to react against it, but the other said the sauce is so processed that the gluten would have broken down into amino acids, and so no effect on the tummy. I have had Chinese food so far and the reaction has been pretty mild so far. I agree that Japanese food seems quite safe and I can safely have soba.

    • Hi Sandra, thanks for the link to gluten free cake. A couple of the cakes seem interesting like the matcha for instance. A pity though that there is no single slice available. I wonder if those who are not sensitive to gluten will like these healthy cakes.

      • I tried gluten free biscuits from Marks & Spencer but there is a weird taste. You may want to try and see if you like it. Their gluten free biscuits are pricey. I paid about ten dlr per pack. I haven’t explore further since. The cake I tried before because she is my neighbor and surprisingly good. Yes a pity she don’t sell single slice.

      • I don’t think I will specially get the gluten free biscuits. I find that I can actually do without it. In fact, I recently discovered some amazing kuehs which I will review in my blog pretty soon. So, in place of cookies and cakes, I have kuehs instead since they are gluten free too. Even Bao is also gluten free.

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