Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gluten-Free In Georgia

Almost a year and half ago I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. People who have celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley. So basically every time I would eat anything with gluten in it aka bread, pasta, cookies, granola bars etc. my body would attack itself and tear at my small intestine. The symptoms are very common such as stomach pains, head aches, long bathroom visits (need I say more) that I was probably suffering for many years and never knew. The only treatment for Celiac Disease right now is a gluten-free diet. 

When I was first diagnosed I would still have gluten here or there. How could I not share a pitcher of beer with my friends during Happy Hour? (Yes, beer's main ingredient is wheat, so wine and vodka for me!) After a few weeks of doing the diet half way I realized if I really want to feel better and help my body I'm going to have to give up gluten all together. 

Going gluten-free in the States is surprisingly a lot easier than you would think. There is a lot of gluten-free products in general super market stores, and a lot of big restaurant chains have gluten-free menus. However, being gluten-free in Georgia has presented some interesting dilemmas. 

Bread is a HUGE part of every Georgian's diet. They seriously eat it for at least one meal a day. Every family is different so I won't generalize for the whole population. I'll just talk about my family. My family eats bread with every meal. Breakfast and Dinner consist of usually just bread and cheese, and then lunch is the main larger meal where we usually have meat of some sort. 

During my week of training I had my Georgian language teacher translate a bunch of phrases for me like "I can not eat wheat, barley, oats, and rye." "I am allergic to wheat." Even though I'm not technically allergic its just easier sometimes to explain it that way. I explained my condition to my family on my first day, and at first they were a little freaked out. Every Georgian I have met can not believe I do not eat bread. My family has been pretty amazing about it though. There is this corn bread that I'm able to eat since its made out of corn flour so my Bebia makes it for me all the time. She has also made me cakes and pizza out of it too! I don't think they fully understand my disease because a few weeks ago when I got attacked by bugs and my face was bitten up they asked if I ate bread haha. 

Bebia making me a gluten-free pizza!

Gluten-free gal!

Eating out in Georgia has been a bit of a challenge. I have learned a few different meals that are gluten free so I usually just stick to those. However, grabbing something quick presents a bit of a problem since most quick meals are bread. I've been savoring my gluten free protein bars, and I am excited to stock up when I'm in Israel! 

It is definitely sad sometimes when I watch my friends chow down on some kachapouri or kinkali and I can not take part in enjoying the delicious traditional Georgian foods. But I know I am keeping my body healthy by doing so and plus I don't need the extra calories anyways! 

1 comment:

  1. This site provides about gluten-Free. This products is very useful for human being. Thanks...

    Gluten Free Products