Tag Archives: gluten-free

All Your Allergies are Belong to Me!

Standard

Some things in my life are just WRONG.

My newest wrong things:

Risking my life to go grocery shopping. Risking my life to eat in a restaurant. Risking my life to eat.

These are in addition to a few other major wrongs already in place:

Risking my life if I every need medication for severe pain. Having allergies to almost all drugs in several major therapeutic classifications. Being desperately allergic to two of the main components of my Korean friends & Won-Buddhist priests’ diet.  Never knowing from one day to the next if I will be able to function due to uncertainty of energy  and pain levels. Being so responsive to changes in weather I’d have been burned at the stake as a weather witch in less enlightened times. Paying for increased activity or hill climbing with yet more pain.

 I want to whine…

However, in an attempt to keep things in perspective, I want to go through positive ways I’ve been able to deal with my older issues…   (my ex-therapist would be SO proud)

I, of course, will continue to deal with all this wrongness, and even figure out how to turn even my current frustrations into something helpful for someone. Plus, I have a lovely sister-in-law whose food allergies are much, much worse than mine, so I have a great appreciation of how much worse things could be…

My physical therapist Joe   has taught me an enormous amount about controlling my pain levels. I no longer work,  which gives me much more flexibility to not leave the house on certain days if all the lows converge. My house angel, Lorraine, comes in 2-3 days a week to do the basic housework I simply can’t do, thus allowing us to have a clean kitchen, clean clothes, clean sheets and clean bathrooms!  I stopped selling on-line because I was overwhelmed with stuff and time obligations.

Changing my diet over the last year has allowed me to lose almost 60 pounds and increase my general energy level. Lorraine has helped me get rid of a huge amount of accumulated “stuff” and has organized a lot of what I’m keeping. My fabric room is functional and we can actually allow people to sleep in one spare bedroom. Much of my parent’s boxes have been unpacked and sorted, so plenty of room has been opened up in the garage.  We adopted a smaller dog so I can walk her without causing myself significant pain. ( wonderful beautiful Disa is another story).

My biggest challenge over the last year was planning and getting into shape for my European vacation.  I did it. Spent 5 weeks in Italy and Paris with a 15 yo boy, my Nik… and totally survived.

Decided to put my foot down and buy an artificial Christmas tree , so I could spend my limited energy making ornaments   & decorations.   All my kids were home over the holidays and we had lots of fun.

Hey! Those are significant positives!

I don’t feel like whining nearly as much. So I won’t. I’ll just tell the story of my new wrongnesses – which, unfortunately, seem to have resulted from my positivenesses!

Early in July,  I decided to go gluten free, in addition to other changes I’d made in my diet earlier in the year, which included giving up red meat. Nuri has Celiac Disease; odds are I have some sort of related gene. Within 2 weeks, I noticed my brain was clearer & I was remembering things I’d had problems with most of my life (names, mostly). Yay! Goodness!!

BUT I also started having reactions associated with grocery stores –  Costco and Whole Foods. If I spent much time in the bakery section, I’d start to itch.  One day, I spent a bunch of time looking at the wine, which is in the bakery section of Costco for some reason that evades me… I started itching. It starts at the tip of my nose, moves to my ears, eyes – and this day, by the time I was finished shopping, my feet itched. Now, I’m familiar with this reaction –  it happens when I’m around rodent urine proteins or cooking seaweed. (yeah, more  “interesting” allergies). Noooo!  Wrongness!

A little detective work, a little time – I’m allergic to wheat & gluten. Allergic. That’s not celiac disease. That’s “eat it and my tongue swells, my throat closes & swallowing &  breathing become problems” allergic.  Also pecans. Why Pecans, for heaven’s sake?  Diphenhydramine is my friend.

I’ve become so sensitive to even cross-contamination, my tongue starts burning with the first bite. Lovely.

I noticed it was MUCH easier to eat in Italy and France without having a reaction to something. Even though Nik and I ate out almost every day, I only had reactions a couple of times – and that was when I didn’t ask specifically about things being gluten free (teach me to make assumptions).  I figured it was because things were prepared fresher and on a more individual basis. Ham & chicken were OK for me, as was any type of fish. I didn’t think about a much more important factor in European food until I started to have reactions to meat when I returned home.

Meat. Damn. I don’t eat that much meat, anyway. It was nice, though, to be able to eat some of my mother-in-law’s roast or turkey when we go to visit – it makes her happy! More experimentation. Not able to eat meat from American grain-fed mammals. No farm-raised fish. No grain fed chicken. Eggs only from vegetarian free-range chickens fed organic  non-GMO feed. Hmmm… A few other weirdnesses popped up, but all lead me to the same conclusion…

It’s not just the stupid dwarf  “super-wheat” that I’m allergic to. It’s some part of the protein coded for in Genetically Modified Organisms.

What???? Who’s ever heard of THAT? Turns out, a lot more people than you’d think.

Guess the Europeans got it right when they banned GMOs.

So for now, I’ll stick to prosciutto from Italy, my favorite French preserves, pasture-raised, grass (and coconut) fed beasts, wild-caught fish – and only organic, non-GMO gluten-free products.  I usually carry food with me so I rarely eat out and have been able to restrict my diet to things I know won’t kill me. (boring!) Greek yogurt and gluten-free steel-cut oats are my friends!

Meanwhile, all your allergies are belong to me!

 

All illustrations are by me, the great and awesome Dragonmum. Creative Commons will eat you if you steal them!!