My (Probable) Gluten Discovery

IMG_0903[1]I am going to try very hard not to venture into TMI territory. Those of you who already have a knowledge of gluten issues will have a harder time with your imaginations than those who don’t, so I apologize in advance. ๐Ÿ™‚

Okay, so, my whole life I’ve had what I’ve called a very efficient waste removal system. In the past 8 years or so, I’ve had some symptoms that are problematic. They could wreak havoc with my morning schedule, but that was really it. I didn’t suffer when I ate anything in particularโ€”the consequences were always delayed to the next morning.

When they got particularly difficult, I ran a “test” for dairy. I went a week with no dairy, and felt fine. So I figured I had a lactose intolerance and started taking Lactaid. Things seemed hunky-dory for a while, but then I’d have issues when I didn’t have any dairy, and I’d have long stretches of ingesting tons of dairy, sometimes without Lactaid, and having no problems.

So then I realized that my symptoms were almost always when around my monthly cycle. (Which is a 25-day cycle, which SUCKS, but that’s a whole โ€™nother topic.) Twice a month I had a couple of really bad days, and everything was lovely in between. So it was hormonal. Okay, annoying, but I could live with it.

In February things changed. Two solid weeks not just with my usual issues, but also lots of…uh, we’ll say “intestinal air” and indigestion and even nausea. I was the only one at work (knock on wood about a million times) who escaped every single cold and flu bug that went through the office. So I thought maybe it was all just stuff I was fighting off. I had other issues, though, including insurance ones. I hadn’t had a family doctor since my pediatrician, and my stupid insurance now requires one, and I’m 43 and about to start falling apart, so I went. I had low iron and she was going to refer me to a gastroenterologist for the other stuff, but within two days (end of cycle) all my symptoms vanished. I was great! No point in the GI doc if it’s all hormonal.

And then I started taking the iron. And that was a whole new kind of pain. I’ve stopped, but the other symptoms all returned and weren’t showing any signs of going away, so I decided to do a gluten test and see what happened. I went completely gluten free all weekend and Sunday and Monday were great. So I hate macaroni and cheese and Skinny Cow candies with wheat something-or-other and saltine crackers. And Tuesday I was miserable.

Eff it.

Wednesday I tried, but “accidentally” used flour to thicken the mustard sauce for the chicken (and by “accidentally” I mean “I was a dumbass”) and this morning I was miserable.

So, yeah. Pretty unscientific and short, and after the meaningless dairy test I still hold out a tiny bit of hope. I have random moments (sometimes very long moments) lamenting. No more morning croissant. No more pancakes or waffles or cookies. NO MORE PRINGLES. You guys have no idea how much that one hurts.

There is plenty of food that I love that doesn’t have gluten, and the prospect of avoiding the pain and inconvenience on a regular basis is a huge incentive. Since this is such a new thing (I’m wondering if it’s still hormonally connected, since I could be approaching perimenopause and stuff) I’m currently not worried about trace amounts and cross contamination. Oh, and the doc did a celiac panel that was completely normal, so I’m not worried about having an actual illness. We’ll label it “intolerance.” I have to do a valid (as in, don’t USE FLOUR, DUMBASS) test of my Starbucks mocha. Then we’ll see how much more lamenting I have to do.

Since this is a really big thing around society now, I’m sure there are many of you who have advice and experience. I haven’t done much of my own research yet, but I know there are a ton of recipes and alternatives out there.

Mainly, I’m looking for a suggestion for good gluten-free crackers or bagel/pita chip-like things. I know I could as easily look for a unicorn in my backyard, but hey! It can’t hurt to ask, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

What was the hardest thing you ever had to give up?