Okay, so I don’t wear a hat…but if I did, it would definitely be off.
You’ll read in a minute why this was almost me at the grocery store yesterday
I know there are people in the world who think that eating gluten-free is a choice, a fad, or maybe a way to demand attention they’re not otherwise getting. But according to an article by Dr. Mark Hyman, MD, along with a host of others, people with gluten allergies and sensitivities have an increased risk of death, from 35%-72% higher in fact.
At the moment I’m in between doctors, but the last one thought it might be a good idea for me to try a gluten-free diet, since the treatment she prescribed for hypothyroidism wasn’t making me feel better…but she didn’t test me for anything.
Much as it pains me to admit it, I only played with the diet for almost two years. Frankly, eating gluten-free is hard. Where is the fun in going out for dinner if you can’t have the fresh-baked breads, the batters, croutons, and desserts? My bread machine used to be my very favorite small appliance, but most gluten-free bread recipes are (in my opinion) awful. They need to be toasted or broiled until very crunchy for me to eat them without gagging…because most baked goods minus the wheat have a very eggy, icky texture that I just really can’t handle.
And so I cheated on the diet…a lot. Sometimes I would go without gluten for months at a time…and then be tempted by things like real, chewy pizza crust, a soft sandwich bun, or a jelly doughnut.
I found out two things during that time. One, it’s pretty much impossible to just cheat once. “Okay, I’m just going to have this sweet roll, or this slice of pizza, and then I’ll be good.” Gluten seems to be addictive…at least it is for me.
I also discovered that as my body healed, the side effects of gluten got worse and worse, until May fourth…almost two months ago. And the only things I’d eaten that I shouldn’t have were one – one – snack cracker and two small bites of cake. That’s it. Everything else was gluten-free.
My symptoms are intestinal, but I also have issues with edema. My feet, ankles and calves will swell up so bad that they actually hurt. My fingers do, too, but not to that extreme. It can take several weeks for all of the swelling to go down…if I don’t have another bit of gluten.
But the symptom that scared me into behaving – forever – has to do with the simple act of breathing. For days after I ate that single cracker and two bites of cake, it felt like my lungs were being compressed. Expending any kind of energy…walking, laying down on my bed, bending down to pick up something I’ve dropped…will make it feel like the air is being squeezed out of me, and inhaling isn’t any easier.
Last summer, just walking in the sand on the beach was a nightmare. I was afraid my daughter was going to have to call an ambulance. It was so bad, and I had so much trouble drawing a breath, I actually thought I was going to die that day. I didn’t realize at the time that it was gluten, until a similar episode happened a few months later and I put two and two together…finally.
And I still allowed ‘real’ food to control me off and on until May fourth. By that time I guess I’d finally been scared enough and, to the best of my knowledge, I haven’t had even a tiny bit of gluten since.
But, as I said earlier, it’s hard. I don’t even want to think of all the money I’ve wasted on gluten-free foods that were disgusting…and wound up in the trash. A ‘corn puffs’ cereal comes immediately to mind. It looked kind of like a name brand that I’ve always enjoyed. Brought it home, poured some in a bowl with milk, took a bite…anticipating something normal…only to find that it was actually the tops popcorn. Yes, you read that right. Popcorn. For cereal??? Not for me. I tossed the rest of that in the garbage.
Crackers that have the texture of rice cakes when you start chewing them, instead of the saltine crunch I crave. Funky flavors, tough breads, non-flaky biscuits. Yeah, not an easy transition to make.
So as I said in the beginning, eating gluten-free is hard. But some companies are stepping up to the plate and making life easier for people like me. As I write this, three little tubs of Pillsbury dough – pizza crust, chocolate chip cookie, and pie crust – are sitting on a shelf in my refrigerator. Tonight I used some of two for my supper – a small pizza and a couple of cookies.
I’m going out on a limb and saying the pizza crust is great. My only complaint about what I made is that I used a new sauce…and didn’t like it at all. But for texture and holding up…the crust was fine. The cookies…oh wow! It was SO great to have a cookie that was soft…and tasted like a cookie…that I was tempted to go bake the rest of them. Common sense did prevail though, so I’ll be able to use my toaster oven to bake just a few at a time over the next couple of weeks.
If you, or someone you know, needs to eat gluten-free, I encourage you to click on the link above for more information. Pillsbury doesn’t seem to be doing a lot of advertising, so I’m going to do a little for them.
Feel free to share this link, reblog this post or whatever. I want to get the word out so these products don’t disappear. I’ve already called the manager of my local grocery store to let him know how happy I am that they’re now available…and to strongly urge him to put them in a more prominent place, rather than kind of hidden near the bottom of their regular Pillsbury display case.
I almost forgot…they have a lot of recipes for these three products on their website. I’m looking forward to trying some of the tarts with the pie dough. 🙂
Psst! Did you hear about my new secret group on Facebook? It’s so secret you won’t be able to find it no matter how hard you look. In fact, the only people who will find it are those who have subscribed to my newsletter (http://kristykjames.net/newsletter/), and who send me an email or Facebook message letting me know they’d like to join. That way I can send an email invitation.
Why a secret group? I thought it would be a fun place to just chat and get to know one another. Yes, I’m still a teenager at heart. I’ve always liked the secret clubhouse kind of thing. They always seemed so mysterious and exclusive.