Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm Mad and I Can't Eat Wheat

I've been afraid to publish this photo, taken back in March.
It's a chicken pot pie made from leftovers, vegetables, gravy and traditional pie crust.
I'm not ashamed of it; it's just that I promised a pal I'd make him a personal pot pie, and I haven't yet. He didn't get a single bite of this one.
And now, what to do? If I do make him that pie, I'm going to have to learn how to make the crust from quinoa flour or something. Not wheat.
Isn't that bizarre? Well into middle age, and all of a sudden I can no longer eat gluten. (I self-diagnosed; take it however you like but don't tell me "it's all in my head," like my pot pie pal did.) I'm aware of more and more people learning they have a gluten intolerance all of a sudden (or about five years in the coming for me), at a late stage of life. Major change in daily operations.
I'm coping, mourning, being successful. I'm still scared to eat in a restaurant. I love the foods that are available to me. Rice! Potatoes! Forget bread. (Though I am doing Kalyn's socca.) And I found a truly yummy GF cracker from Italy. Good enough to eat.
I'm not turning this into a gluten-free blog. I just thought I ought to tell you what's up.
Oh, yeah, a food I can eat? Bacon. I started the cure on a couple of pork bellies yesterday.


Zoomie said...

Wow, bummer to find that you are both lactose intolerant and gluten intolerant in the same short summer! But, as you say, there are plenty of other nummy things to eat in the world and with your sense of adventure you'll find 'em all!

cookiecrumb said...

Well, here's the deal, Zoomie: I created my lactose intolerance by not treating my (unknown) gluten intolerance. I wrecked my small intestine, to the point where it didn't like milk anymore. If I heal up, I may be able to reintroduce milk, but if I'm correct about celiac, I can never eat gluten again.
I imagine myself an old lady in the nursing home, forgetting to ask for the gluten-free diet. Sigh.
Right now, I'm WAY into fruit.

Katie said...

The good news in all of this is that more people are aware of GF issues now and restaurants are catering to it. Not that having it is a good thing. My MIL was diagnosed officially about a decade ago, and it was BAD for someone who doesn't cook. But she can now buy all her GF junk/processed food like she used to. [Sorry, little rant there]. I do believe my hubby has the same issue, so we too will be making the switch once he comes out of denial. It's not easy, but it opens your eyes to the world of food like never before.

cookiecrumb said...

Katie! My little Katie from Folsom. xx
For the first week, I strictly ate from GF commercial foods. Gluten-free fish sticks? Eek! Nasty frozen rice bread. GF blue corn chips. I was so scared. So I don't really blame your MIL.
But as you inch your way through this, it does become easier. Yes, you can now ask for the GF menu in restaurants! And, as you say, the real solution comes in cooking your own food. At least I'm super cool with that.
(Whisper this to your husband: He might have a *normal* bowel movement, at last. That's encouraging. TMI.)

kudzu said...

I have had delectable pies and even homemade pasta created from white spelt flour which is legal for wheat allergies --- all made by my son, who is the "patient" in this case. It most successfully duplicates what we expect from wheat flour.

Quinoa pasta is -- okay, just nothing to get excited about (unless it's all you have to excite you, grain-wise).

Hope whatever you're doing is making you feel much better and less sad about pot pies of the spring.

dancingmorganmouse said...

O boooo, how unfair. Still, shit happens eh? And life goes on and you seem to have a good attitude about it (I'd flig a fit I'm sure). Ilva does loads of great gulten-free stuff.

Chilebrown said...

Did I hear Bacon?

Anna Haight said...

i guess we'll never meet at one of those wheat gluten veggie meat restaurants! oh well, there are better places! Sorry to hear of your restriction.

Kailyn said...

I have another blogging friend who suffers from the same as you. She often wrote of her misery leading up to her diagnosis; I seem to remember lots of colonics. (Yeah, my turn for TMI.) Shortly after her diagnosis, we went out to dinner in SF. She had to ask a lot of questions when ordering but was able to get a yummy meal that agreed with her.

And I think potatoes are better than bread just about any day of the week.

Gaile said...

i'm still trying to justify eating bacon after 10 years as a vegetarian and then finding myself gluten intolerant. I'm sure you'll find all the amazing gf blogs out there - start with my blogroll or anyone's really - there are awesome chefs out there figuring out how to make awesome baked things without gluten - you will too.

J-in-Wales said...

Tsk, naughty friend. No one gives up pot pies without a very good reason.

But home-cured bacon? That is always a consolation. I have some Tamworth belly coming my way in the next couple of weeks. Can't wait!

mac said...

Bummer. How about teff? You gan go Ethiopian. My sister is in Addis working right now. When she gets back we're gonna have a big old plate injera with some doro wat, shiro and gomen. In the meantime lets see some bacon pictures.

Zoomie said...

I'm wondering if the proliferation of gluten intolerance is due in some way to the proliferation of genetically modified crops? Must research the symptoms - I'm fine but my sister has had some distressing symptoms for two weeks now.

Anonymous said...

Cookie - do you think it's gluten, or wheat specifically? Have you tried any of the "older" wheats, like emmer, kamut, and spelt? And do lactofermented foods help you? (I know they immensely helped my ability to eat dairy.)

Keep your chin (and fork) up; there's still lots of good food out there for you and the rest of us...

namastenancy said...

What a bummer! I sometimes wonder if our bodies are reacting against foods that our species (supposedly human?) didn't eat until quite recently. In terms of human evolution, milk (as we now know it) and processed wheat are fairly recent food stuffs. Humans have created foods with milk but most involve some sort of enzyme to break down the lactose. Ditto for wheat - people ate bread (of course), but it was barley or rye or some other less processed grain.
But you are so creative that I am sure you can come up with some delicious ways to cope.

peter said...

My friend Linsey is gluten-free; you might saunter over to her blog and see if she has any crust recipes that will suit you.

My instinct would be to go for some blend of spelt, teff, rice, and corn flours- for a pastry crust you don't need gluten anyway.

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: Assuming it's gluten, not just wheat, that I must avoid, then spelt is off limits. I don't know how you come up with an abrupt wheat allergy. Then again, I don't know why gluten-intolerance shows up in middle age.
I do have a box of quinoa elbow mac! Haven't tried it yet.
And... my mood -- my mood! -- is markedly improved. Huh!

Mouse: It's a shock, but you find you'd rather limit your diet and feel well. I haven't had a drop of beer; imagine that!
And bless Ilva, who's not even gluten-intolerant, for her beautiful recipes.

Chilebrown: You have bacon radar. (One of the bellies we got is huge and meaty!)

Anna: Well, I sort of thought in some parallel universe I might want to try seitan someday, but. Dodged that bullet! Whew. Hee.

Kailyn: Thanks for a personal anecdote of hope and success. But colonics? No thankee!
Like you, I'd rather have a potato. :)

Gaile: Wowie. What a trooper, and such a shame to be swacked after all your years of virtue. Thank you SO much for the link to your blog, and the promise of all your other links. xx

J-in-Wales: I'm not giving up pot pies! I will find a way.
Tamworth belly sounds so storybook. I don't know the breed of my pigs. (Ooh, I'm making duck breast bacon at the same time!)

Mac: Hold your horses! The bacon doesn't go into the smoker until Tuesday or Wednesday next.
As for teff? Bingo! I love injera, for one thing, and I've found teff tortillas that are pretty OK.
Have a divine feast with your sis.

Zoomie: What a scary thought. I have no answer. Are we all doomed as a species? Good luck to your sister. Don't let her dawdle; you can get intestinal damage, which is why I think I'm not liking lactose right now.

EatClose: I can't say for sure if it's just wheat or gluten in general. I might try reintroducing some of the "safe" ancient grains in a month or so...
As for lactose, I'm totally fine with cheese. And I'm sticking pretty much to goat cheese for now. (Then there's always Lactaid pills to take.)

Nancy: I've never been a huge fan of bread, though I never rejected it outright. Was that telling me something? Sadly, I simply adore dairy. I think I can sneak a spoonful of sour cream once in a while if I don't overdo it.
I will soldier on. Thanks for the encouragement.

Peter: Thanks, for both those bits. I've started a GF bookmarks file, and Linsey's goin' in it!
I can't wait to tinker with a new crust. Bob's Red Mill to the rescue.

Rev. Biggles said...

Yeah, blah blah, been here waiting for my POT PIE !!!!

Egads woman, I'll come and grill you some gluten free beef roast, bacon and some pork.

All I ever wanted was my pot pie with gravy.

xo, Biggles

Elizabeth said...

Commisserations - I've been both for years, and in the first few still threw caution to the winds and had a pizza ... but now there's a great GF pizza crust locally produced here in Portland, several bakeries GF and yummy, Bob's Red Mill doing GF oats just south of here, the Hawthorne Fish House where I can stuff myself with fried oysters from their dedicated fryers, and as I just cooled off from the heat with a buffalo-mozzarella, heirloom tomato, and herb salad, I've gotten used to being cow-dairy-free, to say the least ... oh, and Pamela's bread mix makes great pie crust, and Tinkyada rice pasta is the best dried I've found. Happy (mad) eating!

Sweet Bird said...

That is mad lame. I think if I had celiacs I'd off myself.

kudzu said...

Since most allergies aren't really "abrupt" -- mainly undiagnosed -- I guess it can happen anytime. I will have to get details from Anthony about how the docs at Mt. Sinai came up with nailing his wheat allergy. He is lucky it isn't gluten, and he's able to use other breads and products sans wheat.
PS Have you checked out the big assortment of g.f. products at Mollie Stone (both fresh and frozen, special display)?

Kalyn said...

Sorry to hear about the suspicion of celiac. I think if you avoid gluten and feel better, that's your body giving you a message. (That's why I know I shouldn't be eating sugar, my body tells me loud and clear!)

I do think there are a lot of options that weren't around a few years ago. And the Socca was great, you'll love it!

cookiecrumb said...

Biggles: You'll get yer damn pie. Let me tinker with a crust recipe we can all live with. Anybody ever make a grilled pork pot pie, and why not?

Elizabeth: In a nutshell, that was a lifetime of learning! Thanks for all those tips. Man, am I jealous of the fried oysters. Soldier on, friend.

Sweet Bird: One of my commenters on the lactose post some time back begged her doctor to tell her it was stomach cancer instead. I sorta get it.

Zoomie: Glad I have you as an advisor. No, haven't checked out Mollie Stone's yet! Good to hear. Whole Foods is pretty good. The manager there even offered a printout of all their GF products. Me, I'm stuck on a stone fruit and berries diet for the moment, and loving it.

Kalyn: Ha ha. Yes, it's a *good* time to get celiac. ;)
I avoid sugar, too. It doesn't bother my body, but I don't want half my calories coming from pixie dust.
Cranky is patiently waiting for the socca! I've been a little ill the last two days, but he'll get it soon.

Julie said...

Funny, I'd forgotten about all the troubles I used to have with milk. I had to give it up in college. But I've been gluten-free for five years now and I consume dairy like it's going out of style, so whatever I broke in college must have healed.

But darn, I miss pot pies. I tried to make some dessert pies once, and the gf flours are just too crumbly. Now I make cobblers and crisps and crumbles for Thanksgiving . . . but chicken pot crumble just doesn't sound as appetizing.

cookiecrumb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cookiecrumb said...

Julie: Kristin: Thanks for the encouragement. I'm hoping I can get back to milk once my villi are healed.
As for chicken pot crumble, I beg to differ. It sounds yummy! You have given me hope. :)

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: I called you Zoomie in a previous comment by mistake. Damn "Z" names. Sorry.

Alice Q. Foodie said...

oh no - you too!? There is something really fishy about all of this - I wonder if we'll ever find out what it is. In the meantime, I would take inspiration from Shauna and Karina - who eat very well GF!

cookiecrumb said...

Alice: I do take inspiration from Shauna and Karina, but right now I'm too shocked to cook. I'm eating very low on the food chain -- rice, corn, fruits, beans, other vegetables. You could do a lot worse, I suppose. At least I found GF corn tortillas! :( {sigh} :)

Anonymous said...

Before you commit to this, read this informative article in Eating Well magazine:

If you don't have celiac disease, you could be setting yourself up for nutritional deficiencies by going gluten free.

From what I gather in the article, a gluten free diet improves the health of celiacs dramatically but it can do the opposite for the rest of us.

Good luck, It's no fun having digestive problems. I hope you and your doctor can figure this out so that you can get some relief soon!!

cookiecrumb said...

Mimi: I hope you come back and read this. I am chagrined, having started myself on a gluten-free diet without medical supervision. I didn't know I shouldn't, and know I know. I'm terrified that I may have to go back on gluten (because I believe I'm right about my diet), but I will do what it takes to nail this down properly. Please know I appreciate your gentle advice. Please come back!
PS: Pizza!! ha ha

Anonymous said...

You've got mail.