On Being Glutened and the Magic of Little Debbie


April 3rd, 2012

It is hard to believe that 3 months have passed since the beginning of my undertaking. Some days it is hard to fathom 9 more months. I am still battling some of the health concerns that began my journey but I have defeated many of the food addictions that have so many of us trapped in patterns of unhealthy overeating. As always I will be honest with you I have taken bites of things that I swore I would not and as you will soon read have made myself sick eating some of them. I can honestly tell you none of them taste as good as I remember. Hot dogs, cheddar and sour cream chips, French fries, even my beloved Hershey chocolate. The only way I can describe their taste now is fake. And, well really, isn’t that what they are?

3 month check-up

Weight: 183 (maintain)

Still have joint aches and pains, fatigue, and occasional digestive issues.

My girls eat apples, grapes, raisins, and greek yogurt by choice!

Sometimes it is hard for me to remember that I have to eat gluten free. It is hard to remember this because when you eat whole, natural foods you do not have to check the label on anything for gluten. I don’t really eat bread anymore except for a sorghum and rice loaf I keep frozen and use occasionally. One of the best parts of this undertaking has been that I don’t have to take my gluten free shopping guide with me anymore. I make my own pasta, bbq sauce, dips, and dressings so I know for sure that it is gluten free. We don’t eat out much either so when we went out for my mother’s birthday it was very hard to revert back to asking questions about everything I was ordering. Eating out is quite possibly one of the most difficult tasks for someone with a food allergy to accomplish. Some servers don’t always understand the seriousness of the issue. I wonder sometimes when I ask for a sandwich minus the bread if the server thinks I am just on a low carb diet. I almost always have to ask for a dish to be made special for me. This was case this weekend.

We went to a local restaurant that serves amazing food and always has a unique dish as the special. When I saw the special for a fish sandwich on rye bread that included purple cabbage coleslaw served on it I was dying to try it. I asked for no bread and told them I couldn’t eat wheat (this is easier than explaining what gluten is sometimes). After asking how the fish was prepared I was certain I could eat it. When it came out battered and fried I had to ask for it to be remade and the server felt terrible and I felt like an embarrassed child. I just want to be normal sometimes. This desire to feel normal led to a terrible decision. I ate French fries. I convinced myself that potatoes fried in oil were okay for a little night off from my unprocessed diet. Shannon verbally slapped my hand on the way home. Why? Because they were fried in the same oil as everything that is battered. If you are not familiar with being “glutened” this is an easy way to do it. That is how sensitive some of us are to wheat, barley, and rye. I told him to mind his own business but in my heart I already knew he was right. I felt sick to my stomach when I woke up at 3:30 in the morning but I ignored it. I ate scrambled eggs around 7:30 am and by 9:30 my stomach was sick and burning, my body ached and the right side of my back hurt terribly. I had to take some pain medicine, a strong antacid, and lay on a heating pad until I fell asleep for 2 hours. Thank goodness it was a Sunday and Shannon was home with me. Why does it take a worst case scenario to remind me that I will never be “normal” again? Right before I fell asleep I conceded and told Shannon that he was right and I shouldn’t have eaten the fries. All he said was “I know” and didn’t say another word about it. Good man. I think I will keep him.

Why am I sharing this with you? I guess so that you might understand why I have chosen what I am doing. It is one thing to tell you I don’t feel well and need to eat better. But if you knew what I experience when I am sick you would see why it is not just something I should do it is something I MUST do. When simply eating the boxed and premade gluten free products was not improving my health I knew that I had to be drastic. I had to change my life and lucky you I decided to include you while I did it!

On a lighter note I brought home a box of Little Debbie Easter Basket Cakes for Shannon and the girls last week. I know that Shannon likes them and thought it would be a nice surprise. After supper we presented each of the girls with the iced, cream-filled, and sprinkled delights. The baby dissected hers with joy and lifted her arms in the air cheering “yay!” after every bite. My oldest looked at Shannon and then back at the little pastry with her eyes gleaming and bright. “Dada?” “Yes?” He replied “Dada, I LOVE cupcakes.” “You love them?” “Dada, I LOVE cupcakes. I LOVE them.” “Okay, that’s nice” “Dada” Obviously,Shannon was not getting this. “DADA, I LOVE CUPCAKES.” We both just laughed. She dug into her little cake and continued to explain her love of cupcakes. I asked Shannon if I should feel bad that they were this excited about a stupid Little Debbie cake. I really was beginning to think I was depriving them of too much. My good man said very matter of factly, “I think that is the way they should act about a treat. It is special.” A lesson I know I learned along the way but had forgotten. I was happy to be reminded of it.

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