22 May 2012

pomo hostess goes gluten free

Hiya friends. Thanks so much for your patience, and still reading after my extended period of blog silence. I'm finally ready to share what's been going on. (And that title might be a rather huge hint, too.)

Several months ago, I started to wonder if I was having issues with gluten. This blog was never meant as a health confessional, so I won't go into details, but I knew that a healthy, active person in her early 30s should not be experiencing numbness in her hands and feet, or other weird symptoms I've gradually compiled over the years. So I gave gluten-free a trial run, discovering that the learning how to be gluten-free is super time-consuming, exhausting and at times depressing. Gluten is in everything. And even when it's not in food, it's on food, via shared manufacturing machinery or shared food prep facilities. And then there's the non-food you might not even consider. Think lip balms, lipsticks and lip glosses, as well as vitamins and medications.

After taking on the steep learning curve, I started to get the hang of it, taking the opportunity to eat a lot more fresh, unprocessed food. And when traveling for work, I started planning what hotels I'd stay at based on proximity to a Whole Foods, and started submitting expense reports for grocery store meals instead of restaurant meals. But I'd still have several "wop wop" moments every day when I'd look into the fridge or pantry and think, "What can I eat??" Or I'd contemplate going to restaurants I love, and have the same thought. And I didn't want to be THAT person, not only asking about the ingredients in the food, but also how it was prepared and if there was a chance for cross-contamination in the kitchen.

But it was all worth it. Because I felt amazing. All of my bizarro symptoms went away (symptoms which, by the way, hadn't responded to various meds over the years), I looked healthier and I felt way more energetic. People asked if I lost weight (I hadn't), and kept commenting that mountain life must suit me well. But the only thing I changed was getting rid of gluten (oh, and Splenda, too).

That all made me wonder if I might have a real, medical issue with gluten. So I made an appointment to see a gastroenterologist, and they told me that I had to eat gluten for two weeks before I could get any tests, or they could come back false negative. I didn't want to go back to gluten, but knew I had to, and I'll just say that the reintroduction was... unpleasant, which affirmed that there was something to my suspicion (and confirmed that it wasn't just that I felt better from eating more veggies). I was definitely counting the days until I could go back to gluten-free, although I won't lie and say I didn't enjoy the loads of donut holes I ate, just in case this was to be the last hurrah of wheat for me.

So now, here I am. Back to gluten-free, post tests, and just awaiting the results. My GI doc believes that I'm gluten intolerant in some form: worst case is Celiac Disease, best case is gluten sensitivity. But either way, the treatment is the same. Staying GF for good. I'll know for sure which it is in a few more weeks... apparently biopsy results are slow to come back in these parts. While gluten sensitivity is the diagnosis I would much rather get, I've already discovered that a lot of people think gluten sensitivity is made-up or fake, and having read a lot of Celiacs blog about not being taken seriously, I can only imagine it's worse if what's going on isn't even an actual disease. But either way, I'll figure it out.

There are about fifty thousand awesome gluten-free blogs, so that community doesn't need another one. But I'll be experimenting and offering tips for gluten-free entertaining... at least once I figure out what the heck I'm supposed to do with arrowroot powder. Who knows... I might even participate in a What I Ate Wednesday. Thankfully, a lot of folks have gone through this before me, and it seems a whole lot easier to go GF today than it was even five or ten years ago.

I hope you'll stick with me for the journey. Oh, and there's still going to be LOTS of DIY and home/garden stuff, just as soon as I can turn my focus back to that. (We do have a little garden going... stay tuned for pics!)

Thank you for reading!

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xoxo,

12 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing! I'm glad you sorted out what was wrong and you are feeling so much better. I came down with a stomach bacteria after a surgery last summer and I'm still dealing with digestion issues. Staying away from processed foods I've definately noticed a difference. I'm not much of a cook, but I look forward to any recipes you share in the future.
    Happy you are back to posting too! The fam and I are heading up to my aunt's in Truckee this weekend- she is having a neighborhood yard sale on Saturday if you are interested send me an email and I'll give you directions.

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    1. Petra -- Giving up gluten for a while might be a good option. A lot of people have issues with it, and if nothing else, it might give your digestive system the break it needs to heal finally. Hope you're feeling back to 100% soon!

      Wish I could join you in Truckee, but we'll be camping this weekend. Thanks for the invite, though!

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    2. Tanja,
      I just got off the phone with my aunt and she tells me there is rain/snow expected for Friday?! She decided to postpone the yard sale until the weather gets a bit warmer. We are still planning on going up this weekend anyway. Oh, and my email is petraelainegmailcom (sorry, I didn't realize it was not linked) I probably won't be at the rescheduled yard sale, but maybe you will want to check it out and meet my aunt Kim, who is just the best(and you can connect with another semi-recent mountain transplant ;-)

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  2. Hi Tanja! I'm glad you found my blog so I could find yours! And you live in Truckee - what a beautiful area, I'm from California originally, so I've made lot of trips to that neck of the woods.
    I'm glad you're feeling better. Regardless the the results, I'm sure you'll adjust to living gluten free. It's really not so bad - if anything I think it's increased by creativity and repertoire in the kitchen!

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    1. Thank you for the encouragement, as well as all of the great ideas you've posted on your blog! I'm glad I found it. :-)

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  3. I have a couple friends that are GF so I've started to do some GF baking. I just made this GF lemon meringue pie with a coconut crust last week and it was delicious! I see you like coconut so I bet you'd like it : )

    http://www.instructables.com/id/Lemon-Meringue-Pie-with-Coconut-Crust-Gluten-Free/

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    1. Oooh... thank you! I can't wait to try it! Just as soon as I master my coconut cake recipe. :-)

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  4. Hey girl! Glad you are feeling better and don't worry, you can do it! There are lots of options these days :-)

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    1. Thanks. You're totally right. And all of the stuff I'll miss is stuff I shouldn't be eating anyway. :-) (I'm talking to you, Dunkin Donuts!)

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  5. My mom has been gluten-free for almost 20 years and it does get easier and becomes a lifestyle rather than a struggle. You find there really are many things that you can eat and great substitutions for traditional foods that include gluten. Good for you for taking such a step towards great health - its not easy. Looking forward to your coconut cake recipe!

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  6. I can't WAIT to read your gluten free entertaining tips! I love entertaining even though I do it very small scale in a very TINY house! So I can't wait to read your blog and enjoy your tips! thank you so much for your encouraging comments on my blog the past few days! (((welcome)))) to the gluten free blogging community!

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  7. Glad you figured out the culprit...though I know making that transition is rough! I was having some digestive issues years back and went to see the doctor to see if it was the same thing. I ended up not having anything but the doctor did tell me that the two things that were upsetting me where dairy and wheat...the two most common ingredients in almost everything these days! Good for you for taking care of your body and doing something about it!

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Thanks for taking a moment to leave a note! I would love if you would leave your email address so I can write you back! But no pressure. :-) (No anonymous posts, please.) xoxo, tanja

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