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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Sad Realizations

Dear Friends, I'm not only sad I'm truly heart-sick.

I have lost a very VERY dear friend.

Her name is flour.

Yes, that soft, fluffy white powder that holds the butter and sugar of cakes together. For years... yes, really... years I have struggled with unusual ailments such as allergy attacks that seemed to come out of no where and abdominal pain that came on some time after breakfast every day and many times escalated to the point that I could not breathe, much less function as a normal human. I visited my doctor many times and he sent me for more tests and scans than I care to elaborate on. When all of the poking of my insides was done and there was no clear answer, he wanted to start over and do it all again.

At some point during the testing battery, I stumbled upon the Atkins Diet. I didn't feel 100% better but any improvement was like a miracle. My doctor was happy that I was complaining less and he didn't send me for more tests. But, like any diet, I got sick of the same thing every day and slid back into my old routine and back into discomfort. I asked my doctor about allergies and he told me emphatically, "No. It's not allergies. You would have a different reaction." But added, "Why don't you keep a journal of what you eat? If you find something that hurts your stomach, don't eat it."

That was it. I went home that day and started. I didn't eat much of anything at first, which is a little scary when you think of it... But, I finally came up with quite a list of foods that hurt when I ate them. And they were so random! At least that's what I thought until I began really looking at this thing called Celiac Disease. I heard about it quite frequently and even worked with a woman who said she had it and while she new she shouldn't eat bread, she sometimes still did anyway, knowing she would suffer later. Hearing about a thing and actually relating it to yourself are two very different things, I assure you.

Then I read this book.

Find it at Amazon.

All my sudden allergy attacks and digestive ailments started to make sense for once. I began reading the ingredients list of foods I had in my cupboards and refrigerator and threw out or set aside to donate any containing wheat, rye, barley, malt... anything that was likely to cause a problem for me. Luckily, there were a few items I still had around or I think I would have simply gone crazy because I'll be honest, some of my favorite foods contain hidden wheat and I have to cut out every one of them all at once!

So now what?

I have been living Gluten-Free for one week, except when we went out to dinner. I tried to be good. I didn't think a steak and baked potato would have some wheat secreted in there, but I knew it by the time I got home from the restaurant.

I can tell you, even if Doc refuses to diagnose me with Celiac Disease, I can't go back to eating wheat.

That is going to be a big problem for me, and I don't have an answer yet.


karan said...

I'm sorry about this. I went through much the same sorrow when I found out I'd developed an allergy to chocolate which is easy enough to avoid. Wheat is much much harder.

I don't think you have to give up cupcakes though, you only have to find new ways to make 'em and you should have no trouble with that being the genius baker that you are!

Check out the Gluten Free Girl blog: I've met Shauna James Ahern in real life and she's really really nice.

Robyn said...

Oh my goodness. I am just reading this today after getting your Halloween pics.

I have had my m-i-l diagnosed just this past week. After reviewing your symptoms, I am thinking I should get tested. It's the breathing thing that is the key, I have the same problem!

One thing I have recently found is quinoa pasta. They grind the quinoa into a flour and use it to make the pasta. It is great! You cannot tell it isn't regular pasta. I'm thinking of trying it for cakes too. Bob's Red Mill sells the flour on its own (I thin that's where I saw it) Rice flour just does pulverize enough for pastry in my opinion.

Aaaack. I will keep checking back for updates! Also I'll send you an email too(chronicler - now posting under my name)