Sunday, September 27, 2009

God help me, I miss bread!

I bought a bread machine today. I got a Quisinart with a gluten free cycle. My first experiment is in the machine now. It's a mix I got at Kroger, made by Gluten Free Pantry. I'll let you know how it turned out.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Oh, look! A castle! Oh, look! A castle! Oh, look! A castle!

They say a goldfish has a ten second memory. I don't think that's true, but I know I have a seriously challenged short-term memory. If I write something down, or if there is some other kinetic stimulus associated with something, I will remember it. If not, especially if it is something I hear, I will not remember. It sucks.

Today, my boss very kindly chastised me for forgetting something. I know he was frustrated, and he was so nice about it. We both know I don't remember what I don't write down. And I know it is my responsibility to write it down. Once I write it down, I don't usually have to see it again to remember it. I'm a kinetic learner.

I was very embarrassed to have forgotten a conversation with my boss about the contents of a memo. I brought the draft to him, and as soon as he mentioned what I had forgotten, I remembered it and felt like a fool. When I brought the revised draft back, he told me he wanted me to research something. This is not an unusual request.

He wanted me to research nutritional supplements to improve memory. I got the message. Instead of researching nutritional supplements, though, I googled "memory gluten"

So far, I can't find a single health complaint in my life that can't be explained by gluten intolerance. No wonder it's so hard to pin down!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Puzzle pieces - Still looking for the edges and the corner pieces

It's been roughly a month and a half, and I've been feeling better every day, not to mention having lost over 17 pounds so far. I think I had an exposure yesterday (judging by the fact that I spent the night sick as a dog and the day farting like, well, a dog).

I decided to take the opportunity to listen to my body. In addition to my old friends, gas, diarrhea and other assorted intestinal delights, my knees ache, my boobs ache and my RLS (restless leg syndrome) is (quite literally) kicking up like crazy.

The intestinal stuff - we know about that. The knees - well, I've known for many years that I have osteoarthritis - pretty advanced for my age, in fact. I was diagnosed at 36, so pain is to be expected.

Looking back, though, I remember knee pain being part of the RLS misery of my childhood. As a child, I had no way to effectively communicate all of that. Fortunately for me, my mom's dad had RLS, so she sort of understood my suffering, even though I had no way to describe the sensations. Even now, I would be challenged to try and describe them.

I googled celiac RLS, and I got this. Interesting. I'm wondering. RLS tends to run in families, and so does celiac disease. Could be an edge piece, or just a piece with a straight edge. Who knows?

Oh, as for the achy boobs - I'm thinking perimenopause.

Damn it.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

I'm sorry, Wheat. It's not you. It's me. I love you, really, but you make me sick. Ok, it is you.

(Originally from my blog "Complete and Utter Nonsense")
One of the things I have planned for the long weekend is cooking. Yummy, healthy, gluten free cooking. Right now I have a pot roast on that won't be ready for another two hours, but it smells so good that I want to grab it with my bare hands and rip it apart with my teeth. This would be ill advised, as it is very hot and not fully cooked.

I have not blogged about this, but people near me know that I have been mostly gluten free for a month or so. I say "mostly" and "or so" because it is a lot more complicated than just not eating bread and pasta. There is so much to learn. I have to read labels, and even then it involves a lot of guesswork, since gluten does not have to appear on labels (yet).

I'm learning. The internet is a wonderful, terrible thing. There are a lot of gluten intolerant folks out there sharing information. Just so you know, it's called celiac disease (pronounced sell-ee-ack), and it is a pain in the ass. Or more accurately, the gut. I didn't take it seriously until I found out that it can cause serious damage to the small intestine, up to and including cancer. That's when I stopped drinking beer.

Yes, people, it's that serious.

It is estimated that at least 1 in every 133 people suffer from celiac desease. Many of them don't know it, but more and more people are learning. I know I have been suffering from this for many years. I'm glad to have a name for it, and a plan. I may even be able to go off the anti-depressants, since depression is a symptom of celiac disease. I still have a lot to learn, but I know I feel better now than I did a month ago, and I know I will keep on feeling better and better.

As I'm learning, I'm helping others learn, as well. The original Carolina Ale House (formerly the Raleigh Ale House) is a mile or so from my work, and I eat there once in a while. They make an awesome cheesesteak (damn it!) and I like their salads. Friday I went there, plannning to have a salad (hold the crutons). On impulse I asked if they had a gluten free menu. The hostess seated me and said she would check.

In a minute, the manager came out and sat down at the table with me. He told me that he had a number of patrons recently who asked for gluten-free options, and that he had suggested to corporate management that they needed to come up with allergy menus.

I told him I was new at this and was still learning. He asked me about the things that I had learned, then he went over several menu options based on research he had done and he told me that he had read the labels of all the products they used to make sure they knew what was safe for gluten intolerant folks. He also told me that whenever they have an allergy request, he has the staff clean the grill and all the utensils to avoid contamination as much as possible.

Between us, we came up with a plan. I wound up with grilled cajun salmon served with rice and veggies. They left the seasoning off the veggies, but the cajun seasoning on the salmon was safe. It was quite delicious. Even better, it was on the specials menu, so it was also quite affordable! I was very impressed with how gracious he was, and I will be a regular Carolina Ale House patron from now on.

For my own edification, I'm going to start a blog listing my gluten free discoveries, and my gluten laden ones, especially the sneaky ones (soy sauce, barbecue sauce, bullion cubes, and on and on). I'll have a link to it here, in case you have some sort of wierd interest in what makes my bottom burble, or perhaps you wish to stay apprised as I become less and less flatulent. Either way, it will be TMI for many of you.