It sounds trite to say that life is a journey, but that is exactly what it is to me. I view my life as a series of journeys to different points of understanding. One of my current journeys is one that reaches to the core of who were are as human beings, how we deal with food.
Six years ago, a beautiful baby boy came into my life. He was six pounds and some odd ounces with blond hair and blue eyes. Robert became sick and wasn’t gaining weight. A photograph of him as a baby sitting in a serving bowl on the kitchen table with a look of resignation on his infant face spoke volumes to me. For Robbie, food was not friendly and not life sustaining. He is still smaller than most kids his age.
I spoke to my sister often and she described the terrible things the little guy was going through. Robbie was suffering daily and finally the doctor put him on a very restricted diet. Nearly everything was taken out only to be reintroduced one food at a time.
Food…the very same food, I ate as a baby, was hurting my nephew and as it turns out his mother. My sister, his beautiful mother, discovered that she was a Celiac. The diagnosis seemed to be the answer to so many things, especially, why my sister suffered so many illnesses and headaches. It also came at the same time that she discovered another truth, she had Asperger’s Syndrome.
Another diagnosis and more questions answered. But, that is her story… her journey. Robbie was also diagnosed as a Celiac. Thus my family was introduced to the world of gluten free cooking. Words like cross-contaminated and dextrose became common place in our homes.
Three years down the line, I ordered a pizza. My Friday night treat and the next day, I felt like well…like poop. It wasn’t the first Saturday; I spent feeling like I had been run over by my own stomach. Fatigue had been an issue for me for years. Weeks would go by when it seemed that I couldn’t get enough sleep.
Pasta, my ideal comfort food, only made me feel worse. The fatigue didn’t go away and for the first time I was also feeling bloated. My symptoms were very similar to my Celiac friends. So I decided to go without wheat for a week and then a month.
I felt better that first week and in the next month, I was still tired, but there was a remarkable change in my energy level. Still I was reluctant to get tested for Celiac Disease since my sister had told me it would involve having a colonoscopy. So I delayed and delayed getting tested and doing my best to avoid the dreaded gluten.
Three, almost four years, later, I finally got tested (a nice painless blood test) and discovered that I am not a Celiac. I was sure that it would come out positive and strangely I was disappointed. I thought when getting the test that it would validate my choice to eat gluten free. Then I looked up gluten intolerance and discovered that this fit me.
When I spoke to my doctor, he was non-committal on the issue and basically said that if not eating wheat or gluten made me feel better than do it. I compare it to the old joke about the man who went to the doctor and said “Doc, when I do this, it hurts.” The doctor responded then “Don’t do that!!”
It hurts to eat gluten so I don’t do it. All of this brings me to the door step of my current journey: living a gluten-free. I live just fine without wheat in my diet. I will be sharing some of the tasty treats I now enjoy in my gluten free blog; which will coming out soon.