Well I had an appointment with my General Physician yesterday to discuss some allergies and my progress with my new diet. I felt really weak over the weekend, like I just didn’t have the strength to do anything. This is different from the sluggish chronic fatigue feeling I had when I was eating gluten-full foods. I took a gluten-free Iron supplement on Sunday and Monday, resulting in increased energy but constipation. So I dropped the Iron on Tuesday. I discussed possible anemia with my Doc and he said he would run some blood tests.
I did okay yesterday, but felt faint around 4 PM today. This was about fifteen minutes after I went through the shampoo and soap aisle at the local pharmacy, smelling all the wonderful products. I was trying to find a natural soap and some shampoo that was gluten free. The doctor suggested I might have a chemical sensitivity. My skin has been so itchy and dry over the past few years. It has gotten better since I’ve begun to eat organic foods that are gluten-free, but I thought the process might speed up if I found some cleansers that were more sensitive on my skin.
The regular pharmacy didn’t have much to choose from that was low in chemicals, plus gluten-free. I smelled everything, including some Aveeno products, which are a big no-no…I just couldn’t resist picking up the beautiful packages and double checking the ingredients. I decided on some Burt’s Bees Bar Soap, and went to stand in line. That was the point I started feeling faint. I started thinking that maybe I should have taken an Iron supplement today, since I skipped yesterday. When I was pregnant with Corbin (3 Years Ago) I was anemic and my doctor had me take Iron every other day.
After paying I went out to sit in my car, I started coughing and my stomach started cramping up horribly. Tonight I’m having stomach cramps and back pain from smelling soaps? I can’t possibly be that sensitive. Maybe I have a major case of denial, or maybe it is all in my head. I did eat some kettle chips about an hour before shopping without washing my hands first, but normally if it is a problem food I react within a few minutes. My family is threatening to put me in a bubble. Seriously, how am I suppose to cope with this? I just want to feel better. Is that too much to ask?
The doctor said to keep a food journal and note my reactions. Then I need to eliminate foods that are questionable, then add them back in and see how I react. He said allergy testing isn’t really accurate, that it is just good for double checking to see if you really need to avoid something that you don’t want give up forever. My husband said that I could have paid him the $15 copay….he has been telling me to keep a food/health journal for a long time. I think putting me in a bubble may be the way to go.
So yeah, I made these yummy brownie chocolate chip cookie bars that are supposed to be gluten-free, but my gut is telling me there is something wrong. What gives?
As I curled up in bed last night with Elizabeth Hasselbeck’s book, The G-Free Diet, I may have come across a partial answer. She spends a great amount of time talking about cross contamination in the kitchen, but she also mentions cooking spray with grain alcohol’s as a possible source of gluten. Did I contaminate my seemingly gfree cookies? I know when I ate a little bite of one tonight I started to swell up like a puffer fish. I’m taking some benydryl and calling it a night.
More research is obviously needed, but more than likely in the future I will probably just end up coating my baking dishes with butter or oil and skip the cooking spray.
I just found the 2010 gluten-free Easter candy list (Via Gluten Free Faces) and was excited to see that Marshmallow Peeps are gluten-free! Though neither myself nor my son are glute-free, I have to be careful not to bring things into the house that would either contaminate my wife’s food or just tempt her. She’s found it hard enough with the new diet, without added complications.
I have been feeling so refreshed that last night I spent time cleaning out all of the wheat products from my pantry. There were tears and mixed emotions. On one hand, I am happy to have finally found something that gives me some relief from the pain and fatigue of Fibromyalgia. On the other hand, I am sad that I will never again eat Coco Wheats, Wheat Thins or Pringles. So I spent some time grieving the loss of some of my favorite foods. I think that these are normal feelings for those of us launching ourselves into the unknown territory of the gluten-free world.
Today we traveled to see some relatives to celebrate a family birthday. Normally the hour drive would have left me stiff, tired and suffering from muscle spasms. Upon arriving at our destination, I felt none of these things. I felt relaxed and had energy to participate in family activities. This is something new.
I shared the food items I pulled from the pantry with the family and mourned the loss of some of my favorite foods. I was also able to share the joy I feel about finally finding something that gives me some relief. I spent time explaining what gluten is and what new foods I am starting to eat. Then the family ordered Pizza Hut and I made my own pizza using Kinnikinnick’s Pizza crust. It was yummy, but I still had to hear my son talking about how yummy his cheese pizza was and hear comments about the quality of the bread sticks. Oh how do I miss bread.
When it came time for the birthday cake I could tell my sister-in-law, Tracey, felt bad that I wouldn’t be able to share. I did bring some gluten-free cookies to eat while everyone else was having cake. Tracey pulled out the ice cream and I exclaimed, “I might be able to eat that!” Then on closer inspection, it contained Maltodextrin, an ingredient that might contain gluten. So I ate my cookies and enjoyed the company anyway. It is always fun to get together with family.
While I am sad about the things I can’t eat, I know that these things are making me sick. They are like a poison and I will never go back and consume. I am finding new foods that have interesting flavors and textures to add to my pantry. Soon I will have new favorites that I hope to share with all my fellow fibromates that are considering going gluten-free.
Since beginning to avoid foods that contain gluten, I have felt better everyday than the day before. I pray that my body continues to heal as I follow this new way of living.