The gluten-free diet, for any celiac, is our only way of dealing with our scarred-by-many-years of internal poisonings, as right now, there is no magic medicine to cure it, and while a fungus called a.niger might help the gluten intolerant process gluten like lactase allows the lactose-intolerant person's liver to process the sugar lactose... it is not for us. (generally by health foods, as it were... I can't count how many times I was living on fruit, cottage cheese and whole wheat bagels as a "starving freshman"... or the "dieter's pizza...WHY?!- and whole wheat toast, sometimes with something from a phys ed major's list of "How to torture others' taste buds" cookbook, consisting of "Uncle Gunny's Toast"--- a slathering of a thin layer of peanut butter and a scrambled egg on the best multi grain, raised in a platinum and silver silo, whole wheat bread). In other words, the lean meat, whole wheat, lack of dairy and occasional scrimped together when poor as a monk diet was killing me. I kept finding new foods that made me sick. I realized I didn't feel so bad when I accidentally (I didn't read labels, I was simply running through the "health" aisle one day) bought gluten free cookies, but put that aside. I had other things to do. You know, paperwork to chase, a divorce attorney who had lost something that apparently had to be faxed or brought in at 3AM, and with everything else, "me" was not something I was focusing on.
Then in November 2009, we first realized I might need surgery as my bladder was taking a lot of strain and getting messed up, had scarring and I was in pain. I went first to a "nutritionist" (who ended up having surgery on her liver) and then to an actual doctor, loaded up with information on gluten issues and with the gluten itself. And a blood test, some stool samples and a scope down the throat showed I was positive for celiac disease. I went off wheat products immediately, while cringing away from what I was eating now... too much chicken breast, the bread could have been stacked and made into moving boxes. Then I started looking harder, so I could educate and advocate for myself. To this day, I find a small amount (say, a little polite handful of peanuts made with wheat flour) of accidental glutening will not make me physically ill at first, but I can become an absolute holy terror- with a nasty headache I am almost willing to tear my head off to relieve. A little more, and I camp out in the bathroom. No specifics... the basic drill is multi-system. Psychological, emotional and behavioral, neurological. (I tended towards a lot more epileptic episodes and temporary blindnesses when I'd had something glutened.) Then there's the pain, sort of the all over weakness of fibromyalgia (which, as I'm informed, while I never was diagnosed with it, is basically a symptom of a problem, not a problem itself.) and the gut suddenly feels like you're being pulled apart by a sadist slowly slicing through your core with a cheese wire. And then there's... well, it's not Maude.
I read labels as if I'm a teenager looking for more beauty tips and information on Twilight hotties (I swear, we will never say that again. Ever.) in Seventeen... although minus the pedis, the giggling and pillow fighting. (In short skirts with pom poms if you're paying attention.) "Sodium, water, carbohydrates, brown rice, corn, and malt"... (Back on shelf.) And I'm forever learning new chemicals and science-y names for things... much like a girl in the 90s could list 20 identical boy bands and Prince William's rugby score. "Oh, how I love you, dear, dear Oryza sativa!" - say it loud and there's music playing... say it soft, and it's almost like praying...
(A month later, "love" is probably the last thing I'm thinking, if I get too much brown rice.)
Right now, I am doing a swift look-through. I am eliminating one or two foods temporarily, as I'm not sure what, but there's something bugging me. I have a mild ennui towards meat-and-potatoes, a general safe food if going out with limited menus. Some places have gf menus. I either know ahead of time or I give myself away asking "How do you thicken your cream?" (Because off the bat, there's basic wheat flour to make a milk-based broth, xanthan gum... a little miracle that works well in oh-so-teeny amounts, or corn starch.) Or I look at a photo of cheesecake and almost tear up. Waiters are wise to these tricks at many places.
Then there's "Are the rice crispy treats made with the traditional malt flavored rice crispies?" (Yes, generally, although the gf ones are the same price.) And you can usually tell a celiac if a slice of red velvet is at eye level at Starbucks... the lip biting... the pain... the meek, "Um, I'll have a tall Pike Place roast, room for cream, and this dime-sized packet of almonds, please." le sigh.
I realized that while I am doing well in my long walks, and probably could get yelled at for needing to do so much of them, plus stretching, plus overhead arm claps, jumping jacks, push ups, crunches, flutter kicks, etc... I have failed myself very badly. While I can see problems (My pants all expanded over night. I think it's the work of nefarious little gnomes who put them on a torture rack and stretched them.) I also get frustrated when I see that one or ten little thing(s) (depending on the day) that must go at all costs. I'm also putting in some effort. I've gotten to hate restaurants- I want something new!- and the grocery store freaks me out, I bought too much pasta, and I'm in an ennui stage coupled with "Must take care of anxious thoughts... you're better than this"... I tracked foods for a month, including coffee by the cup, 2% milk, by 8oz glass or by splash- or spoons of non-dairy creamer. In the mathematical, mean, median, and mode list, the most calories I had was at 900. I can't seem to eat more than that. And I scared myself with my average. Oh, no. I'm fixing that. I tell people to be nice to themselves, to care for, love themselves, don't hurt themselves... and I am going against it. Of course, tracking is probably not a good idea. But neither is letting myself eat such a small amount, which tends to be better or worse depending on whether I'm dragged into the grocery store. Bad me. I'm working on this. Time to put together a good, sturdy plan, and work on a reasonable exercise program. A little yoga may help. No, I am not doing this alone, but I haven't liked certain things lately, and I know I can't let things stay simply because I'm used to it. I can change this.