This wheat free thing – my new way of life is hard stuff but definitely worth all the effort.
The most frustrating thing is eating out as even when I think I have done my best to avoid wheat I hardly ever have a totally wheat free experience.
The awareness that I have somehow consumed the substance that is so offensive to my system may come almost immediately. I’ll find myself having to take deep breaths as the feeling of not getting enough air overtakes me. When I first get this feeling, I try to relax and take a minute to rethink my food choices. I had just assumed that the sauce my sister in law was stirring cornstarch into a few minutes ago was from scratch but as I the heaviness grows in my chest, I excuse myself from the dining room and check the kitchen trash. The detective in me discovers that the sauce mix she used contains flour. So, it’s not all in my head. I am having a reaction. I can hardly get my breath now so I don’t feel like eating. Dinner for me is over. That was dumb. I need to be more assertive about my condition and not be so afraid to make a big deal about my restricted diet and find out exactly is in what I eat.
Sometimes my hands and feet will start to hurt at night and my first thought is one of panic. Pain scares me. I lived for 20 years with some kind of pain every day. Inflammation racking through out my body. Pain I could not escape. Pain my doctors told me I would just have to learn to live with. When pain creeps back into my body my first thought is that the night mare is back and I get panicky. Then I remember that maybe it could just be something that I ate that day. Something wheat related that my body is rejecting. Oh yes, I had Cosmopolitan at a girlfriends earlier that evening. She made it with Grey Goose Vodka, a vodka made with wheat and barley. Gosh, why didn’t I remember that then. I know beer is off limits, the only spirit I feel safe consuming is wine. I do enjoy a glass of red wine. Yea, thank you God for grapes, delightful fermented grapes.
What really makes me mad is after dinner out with my family just as we are winding down the evening and strolling the sidewalk and making our way to the car it hits me. Get me home now. Forget the city Christmas light tour, a stop by the video store or visit to the ice cream parlor. An angry alien is in my bumping around in my gut and wants out so GET ME HOME NOW!
After one of these episodes my stomach hurts for four days. If you have ever suffered from food poisoning you most likely know this kind of pain. I can make that comparison as I’ve unfortunately had food poisoning more than a handful of times too. It's not a stomach ache feeling it’s a pain feeling. A deep hurting that leaves a constant grimace on your face. No, it’s definitely not fun but at least now I now what caused my pain and that in a few days it will subside and I’ll again be better.
In the years before I figured out why my stomach always hurt so, I would be doubled over with what my doctor casually diagnosed with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and not feel like eating. I remember reaching for what I thought sounded good and I thought was good for me, a graham cracker or a bowl of cereal even a bowl of chicken noodle soup. Crazy isn’t it. At practically every meal I ate, I was actually putting more poison into my body. I say poison as that is how now see grains such as wheat. As I was first learning about wheat and gluten intolerance I read a response to question posed to an expert about a wheat free diet. The question was: how much gluten can Celiac safely consume. The answer was posed as a question back. How much rat poison can one safely consume? Although I first thought this comparison was quite extreme, I now have personally adopted this view. Even a little bit is too much.