It's been a month today since I went gluten-free, and the experience has been well worth it. A bit of a bumpy ride, with a major setback about 10 days in -- when I got this impulsive need to clean out my sister-in-law's deep fryer, so I could haul the darn thing down to the basement.
But overall, I've learned a lot.
Most of the past month I've been reading everything I could from celiac and gluten-intolerant forums, websites, and egroups. Not only is there a real connection between ALL of my past and present health issues, like loosing over 50% of my hair (which I've discussed and been perplexed about on this blog), my gall bladder disease and current neuropathy, my extremely high CRP marker, rhumatoid arthritis, asthma, fibromyalgia, stomach bloating, and a host of other things. But I've also learned that cutting gluten out of your life is far more encompassing than just avoiding wheat.
Which is why low carb wasn't the cure-all for me, that it tends to be for a lot of folks. And probably why my body hasn't responded to high fat the same way that it does for most.
So I've had to make myself up a cheat sheet listing all of the various brands that are "safe" for Celiacs and gluten-intolerant folks to consume. The brands that won't confirm the gluten status of their products due to company secret formulas (like Masterpiece Low Calorie BBQ Sauce). As well as the products that are sweetened with barley malt hidden within their listings.
I've also been thoroughly scrubbing my glass and metal bake wear. Tossing out some of my pots and pans, and at least half or more of my kitchen utensils to get rid of a lot of the gluten contamination that I've been living with. Since it's impossible to clean up a lot of those things. I can now see, and understand, why a great many folks when they get a diagnosis of Celiac, or Gluten-intolerance, choose to throw everything out (or give it away), and just start over.
Because not only was it hours of work, but it made me deathly ill to do things that way.
What I had on my side was low carb. I did have to toss out my old bread maker, since I'd made a few loaves of high-gluten low-carb bread dough in it. It's impossible to clean all of the nooks and crannies after you've done that, the same as the deep fryer. The good news was that I've never tried to grind wheat in my wheat grinder. Only soybeans, pinto beans, and dried corn. So my wheat grinder is still okay.
Plus we've been dragging our feet a bit on buying me a stand-up mixer, due to not knowing how much I would use it with low carb. With gluten-free, I'd use it a whole lot, since I want to learn how to bake gluten-free for my husband, and my in-laws, so as to keep contamination when they come home next to a minimum.
And yeah, I do know that even one little spec of gluten can, and probably will make me sick. But a whole lot of gluten in the air from baking with wheat flour would make me a whole lot more sicker. I saw that with the deep fryer fiasco, and trying to scrub out the sink after getting all of the grease and dark spots off my bake wear. I see that at work, as I do things without thinking, like stooping over a pot of boiling pasta to stir it.
So the comment someone left for me after my last post was very accurate. There really is a very steep learning curve with this stuff. Which is why I've changed the name of my personal journal to Sharing the Magic of Gluten-Free Living. It will not necessarily be a low-carb blog, though I will refer to low carb from time to time, since that "is" my life now.
But like I said, I will be experimenting with gluten-free flours and starches, and linking my recipes in that blog, the same as I do my low carb ones here.
Emotionally I'm okay with all of this...mostly because I only seem to have blood sugar issues and problems now when I eat gluten. When I steer clear of that, the brown rice and corn that I eat when I'm on a diet break or maintenance does not raise my blood sugar above normal. So things are not going to be as restrictive for the rest of my life as I originally believes.
So I really feel I'm on the right tract. FOR ME.
Now I know there are a lot of folks out there who would insist that I need to go to the doctor and pay the hundreds of dollars it would take to get the necessary blood tests and biopsy. But I'm going to side with the book that was recommended to me after my last post. The author of that book feels about the same as I do. If going gluten-free can fix a lot of my health issues, then what do I need a diagnosis for? I don't have one with the Meniere's, so I don't feel that I need one to go gluten-free.
The bottom line is that once you've come from the perspective of being bedridden, and sick and dizzy whenever a storm is passing through, to a normal life...there's no looking back. Yeah it's going to be hard, because I'm currently reacting badly to dairy which means my Low Carb bars, and cheesecakes, and late night cheese snacks will go by the wayside. At least for awhile.
But if that's the price for being normal again, then that's the price I'm willing to pay.