If he loves you, he won’t eat McDonald’s in front of you (or at least apologize for it)

As I’ve mentioned before, one of the things that I miss is McDonald’s French Fries. I mean, it’s the memory of the prefect McDonald’s French Fries, and those were few and far between. Still, I kind of miss them. Right after Christmas, the husband brought McDonald’s into the house. It’s not something that he does often, especially if I’m around. But it was Christmas day ,we had driven home from Portland, and we had no food in the house ready to make. So we needed to get take out.

I was lucky, because there was a pho place that I knew I could eat at that was open. The husband, who can eat anywhere he wants, was not. He’s not a fan of pho, which I don’t understand, but I don’t push the issue. He wound up driving around for 30 minutes looking for something easy that he could grab and bring home to eat. What he found was the golden arches. When he came home with the food he looked at me and apologized, but I didn’t really care, because my pho smelled a lot stronger than his fries (and had large pieces of ginger, yum!)

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The truth, and you can’t tell him this, is that it doesn’t bother me as much as it did a year ago. I mean, a year ago, I hadn’t found all of the things that I could eat. I wasn’t as comfortable with my diet. I have some pretty good coping mechanism now. I’m still paranoid about everything. I watch people’s hands. I ask a million questions. I read and double check everything that I eat. But I’m better about the McDonald’s thing now.

My memory of McDonald’s isn’t as sharp as it used to be. It used to be a pining for Chicken McNuggets and Fries. I wish I could say that I found better foods to replace them, but really I just kind of forgot about it. Sure when you drive by a McDonald’s that smell is still there, but now it’s just kind of a thing. Kind of like the smell of yeasty bread rising when you go past Subway. It doesn’t really do anything for me anymore.6c53faa0-35d9-0132-408c-0ebc4eccb42f

Olfactory memory is commonly implicit memory which can be created over time. For those that don’t know what that means, is it’s a conditioned memory, like a Pavlovian response. You get practice associating a sensation, and as you repeat it, your body begins to create neuro pathways, until you have an memory of the sensation burned into your brain. If you would like a really good explanation, watch this video. MatPat, over at Film Theory, does a really awesome explanation about implicit memory using diet coke and (of course) does it by discussing superhero movies. If you’re not interested in the whole superhero aspect of this, skip to minute 6, that’s where he starts the discussion on memory, but really the whole thing is pretty great.

So, how does this apply to me not craving McDonald’s from smelling it anymore? I haven’t eaten McDonald’s in 2 years, this means that the habituation of my neurological patterns for McDonald doesn’t have practice anymore. The smell/recall process isn’t as strong as it used to be. This means that the craving that the smell of McDonald’s used to trigger in me isn’t as strong as it used to be, and will eventually fade. This is why the smell of fresh baked bread doesn’t trigger the same sensation in Celiacs or Gluten-Sensitives as it does everyone else.bd46198633a7768150c7ce3d8b000c78 And is the reason that we don’t even remember the taste of gluten bread anymore.

 

We’ve all said those words. We can’t remember the taste or the mouth feel. That’s because our brain associates bread with our new reality of bread. For adults, our memory adapts for bread to be these heavier, dense, moist loafs. When we think bread we this of Udi’s and not Wonderbread. For children that are diagnosed young, they might not even remember having a loaf of store bought sandwich bread, like Wonderbread. With all of the cures on the horizon, I wonder what it will be like for these gluten free kids to take a pill and have some of that full gluten, cloud light bread. Will the think, “there’s nothing to this, there’s no substance, no body” and automatically dislike it? Will they taste McDonald’s and think “This is nothing but salt!”

25426314198bcbdad3eacc0955af1466There’s some conditioning in our lives that make us like McDonald’s or Diet Coke or Wonderbread. It’s comfortable. And when you have to change your diet, that comfort is taken away. McDonald’s is good, sure, but it’s not great. We have good memories of Happy Meals and play areas, or high school dates, or late night post bar munchies. It’s the food of our youth, so we’re attached to it. But now that I’m 2 years from eating McDonald’s’, I don’t crave it when I smell it anymore. I remember some of the good times. I remember the treat it was when I scraped together enough money to go and eat out when I was broke and in college, but I don’t really care about eating it right now. And I’m okay with that.

You have a whole new reason to dread the holidays

www-gifcreator-me_birjwjIf you hadn’t noticed, Christmas is coming. I know it’s a total surprise. With Christmas there are family gatherings. I don’t know about you, but I’m already getting the regular holiday meal questions. It feels a little like a Doge meme.

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We’re doing both the hosting and the visiting this year. With a new house, everyone is curious about it, so people want to come over. At the same time Christmas is finally on a weekend, meaning I can honestly get time off from my job to visit family over the holiday. With this comes the all of the normal pitfalls of not eating in your own home. To say I’m a little stressed, is an understatement.

Part of being a Celiac is the need to control your environment, and when you go to someone else’s house there is no control. You have no idea what the last 5 things cut on the cutting board were. Or if someone used that butter to make toast that morning. And the difference between going to a restaurant and to your family or friend’s house is the potential to offend. You can give a server a big tip when you put them through their paces, but bringing your own food to Christmas dinner and someone might be upset for the year to come. Personally, if you have to deal with the cooking for a family as large as my extended family, it’s better to not have to deal with all of the individual dietary restrictions, and we have a lot. To compound it with my needs to control every spoon transfer and keeping wheat away from every article. I’m just cooking something for myself to make it less stressful on you.

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Then you add to it the family members that just want to help…oh the possibility to offend someone is VERY HIGH! Is this going to keep me from going, heck no, I want to see my family. Am I going to go to the bathroom and wash my hands all day long…you bet. I’ll also keep an eye on my cups and drinks and wipe off my plates and pretty much anything else that I can do to keep from getting sick over the weekend.

The weekend of New Years, we’re hosting Christmas for my husband’s family at out house. They have one big tradition for Christmas, and that’s Christmas cookies, gluteny glcookie-theroyuteny Christmas cookies. We bring gluten into the house sometimes, but those are controlled moments and my husband does all of the clean up. These Christmas cookies get left out all weekend, because my husband’s family likes to graze. That means grab a cookie and eat and move around the house and touch things. So, another weekend, I will need to just make sure that I wash my hands a lot and clean the house really well afterwards.

And you better believe I’m going to be making all of the GF cookies to eat that weekend and they’re getting stored in the fridge.

Not having navigated through this before (last year was a Christmas at home and a trip to my Celia-Sissy and brother-in-law’s house)  I have no idea what lessons I’m going to learn going out to visit our family members. My mom is…excited…(I think) to try and accommodate me. Or maybe it’s more of the making sure her baby is not being left out. Still, it’s a couple of weekends of experimenting. The husband keeps reminding me that all of the questions are good, because she’s trying to understand and make sure that I’ll be safe. I know she’ll do a good job, it’s just a learning experience. She has to learn a whole new allergy (of sorts) and something that she hasn’t had to do before.

You know, all of this sounded so much less experimental and scary months ago when we made the plans. As it’s approaching, I’m startling to look at the details of what it’s going to entail, and I think I need more planning. Can we push Christmas back a couple of weeks like to maybe next year? I think I’ll be ready by then.

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No, Benadryl doesn’t help with gluten

As I’ve mentioned before, my mother has a whole slew of allergies: citrus, eggs, nuts, peanuts, and soy are the big ones. When I was growing up, it wasn’t unusual for mom to have a lot of things left off an order or ask questions about what ingredients were. She has an emergency allergy kit in her purse, that is well stocked with Benadryl and hand creams and EpiPens. If she even got the tell tale itching in her mouth, out came the pills. Considering we never had to take her to the ED for any of these allergies, I think she did a pretty amazing job managing them.

So early on, in our discussions of my celiac, she asked me if I could take a Benadryl to combat the gluten in my system. Considering so many people don’t understand celiac but if you say “gluten allergy” they can comprehend what you’re saying, it makes a certain amount of sense. Except celiac isn’t an allergy. It is simply a reaction your body has to food. Except, when you have an allergy, that is also a reaction your body has to food. What exactly is the difference.

Lets start by looking at the definition of both words. According to Dictionary.com an allergy is:

1.an abnormal reaction of the body to a previously encountered allergen introduced by inhalation, ingestion, injection, or skin contact, often manifested by itchy eyes, runny nose, wheezing, skin rash, or diarrhea.

2.hypersensitivity to the reintroduction of an allergen.Compare anaphylaxis.

Still using Dictionary.com celiac disease is:

1. a hereditary digestive disorder involving intolerance to gluten, usually occurring in young children, characterized by marked abdominal distention, malnutrition, wasting, and the passage of large, fatty,malodorous stools.
There’s a lot of differences in the definitions, but also quite a few similarities. Similarities are: ingestion of a food substance and something to do with poop. (Wow we talk a lot about poop.) But that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Of course, the definition of both are amazing vague, and kind of untrue. So lets look at the next most basic source of information, Web MD.

What Is an Allergy?

It’s what happens when your immune system reacts to something that’s usually harmless. Those triggers, which doctors call “allergens,” can include pollen, mold, and animal dander, certain foods, or things that irritate your skin.

Allergies are very common. At least 1 in 5 Americans has one.

What is celiac disease?

Celiac disease is a problem some people have with foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a type of protein. It’s found in the grains wheat, barley, rye, and triticale (a wheat-rye cross).

When you have this disease and you eat food with gluten in it, the gluten triggers an immune response that is not normal. This damages the inside of your small intestine so that it can’t do a good job of absorbing nutrients from your food.

It’s important to get treatment, because celiac disease can:

So again, we see one similarity here, each of these trigger an immune response, but that’s about where the similarities end again. So if we only look at the most surface similarities both allergies and celiac are immune reactions that have something to do with food and poop. Sounds about right.

So here’s the differnce that neither of these have touched upon. Allergies are immediate and Celiac is a delayed hypersensitivity reaction. If you look at this resource at the Food and Allergy Resource Program the difference between an allergy and celiac is that an allergic reaction activated antibodies in response to the allergen while celiac activates  phagocytes, antigen-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocytes, and the release of various cytokines in response to an antigen. That’s science speak for allergies and celiac trigger different immune reactions

So, why wouldn’t Benadryl work for Celiacs, well when the immune reaction happens for allergies it releases histamine into the suffer’s system. Benadryl is an antihistamine, which blocks the histamine reaction. When Celiac’s have a reaction, is causes entropy in the intestines  and no histamine. So while my mom eating some eggs or nuts can chew a Benadryl and start to feel better, because of my delayed hyper sensitive reaction and the cell-mediated immunological reaction that same Benadryl won’t help. It might even hurt if there’s a wheat in those pills.

Science, we has it in spades on this blog, and a lot of really large words. If you want to read more of the science, go here and keep google open to help you through some of the pretty amazing scientific terms in the article. I was googling the wikipedia entries I found to explain terms.

So, my move begins in earnest this week. I might be able to post next week, but we need to be out of our house on 11/1 and still don’t know where we’re moving on that date. Here’s hoping that everything comes up roses, and I have a great new house next week. Of course, next Monday is Halloween! My favorite holiday of the year! And my wedding anniversary!

 

Gluten free does not mean science free

I know that I make political jokes on this blog but there’s something in this election that scares me, and that is Donald Trump. I’m not discussing his deplorable behavior or past statement of actions towards women. I am not even discussing the religious fervor that his supporters that have towards his hate speak. No, the thing that worries me the most is his stance on governmental regulation. He’s a business man first and foremost. He has made a lot of money understanding regulatory rules and looking for interesting ways to make a profit within them. This means that he doesn’t have a great love for any regulation that is going to hinder business people from making money. If you look at his economic plan that came out about a month ago, you can see this. He uses inflammatory language towards almost every regulatory agency that the US has.

What most of you might not know is that there was an edit within that document. It was up for just about an hour, but people caught screen shots of it. The line item called the FDA the “Food Police” and too aim at the inspections of food facilities and “farm and food production hygiene.” So as a human being that eats food, I take offense to leniency in our food hygiene regulation (especially with the rise of e-coli and listeria breakouts in the past few years.) As a Celiac, this thought makes she shiver with horror.

If you would like to read more about it here’s a set of articles that I found that all corroborate this:

Trump’s FDA plan should raise concerns for Americans who eat food

But Donald Trump Was Right – Heinz Ketchup Is Why We Can Kill FDA Food Regulations

Trump Wants Everyone to Eat Unregulated Food. Or Maybe Not.

Trump targets “the FDA Food Police,” calls for elimination of food-safety regulations in new tax plan

We’ve discussed before some of the Gluten Free Renaissance that we’re having right now is because of the FDA and their regulation. Rules like the Gluten Free regulation would be under the chopping block. It requires extra testing and inspections of facilities, and considering that (in some instances) gluten free food starts at the farm, the regulation of hygiene benefits the gluten free community too. Anything that rescinds these regulations (which are only a few years old) is something that should scare you.

Yes, Trump took it out of his economic policy, but anyone who has been paying attention to this election knows that what is in Turmp’s head usually doesn’t leave. It just lays dormant until he things someone isn’t really paying attention, then he tries to slip it past those not really paying attention. Honestly, just the thought of Trump being in charge of our regulatory measures was enough scare me away from voting for him, this small glimpse in his plans for the FDA, I’m really seriously glad that people have been scared away from him for a plethora of other reasons. The fact that he isn’t really paying attention to the science behind those regulations, well that scares me the most.

But, as we showed in this post not a lot of people pay attention to the science behind their food. The fact that someone could write a book with pseudoscience like Wheat Belly, make millions of dollars, and influence so many people that eating gluten free is better for them just shows how gullible people are. I might be going really far out on a limb here, and I might offend a few people, but I feel like it needs to be said. THIS IS EVIDENT IN THE ORGANIC FOOD AND NON-GMO MOVEMENTS THE MOST!

I am going to admit, I eat organic food. I find it easier to read the labels of organic food companies. If regular food labels were as easy to read, I would probably never pick up organic food. There is no evidence that growing food organically is any better or worse for you. You can point towards articles and circumstantial evidence, but the stories just don’t match the studies. They don’t. In fact, organic food is less efficient (meaning that it’s actually hurting farmers to grow food organically.) So, why do people feel like organic food is better for them? Well according to Web MD, it is believed that organic food have more nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants. There is also the belief that carry less harmful pesticides. There have also been studies that state organic food might have more natural toxins in them, which are the plants own pesticides. So the fewer harmful pesticides might be a wash with more natural toxins in the plants. But there doesn’t appear to be any definitive studies stating that organic food is better. In fact the Organic Trade Association has stated that the FDA’s original studies when they started regulating organic foods were not accurate because there wasn’t a good control in them. The OTA has also spent more than $100,000 in 2016 to lobby for Organic Food Regulations, and according to Wikipedia that have spent upwards to $300,000 to lobby. I can’t find exact numbers on how much the OTA makes in a year, but I suspect any organization that can spend that much to lobby makes a lot more than that.

The OTA is also getting into the non-GMO lobbying business. Non-GMO is literally he most anti-science because it is against the manipulation of the genetics of seeds. Usually GMO is just increasing the yield of the crops, it make then grow in hostile environments, you know like areas where there’s not a lot of water. When we were kids, this was called ending world hunger. Now it’s called GMO, which is a new buzzy bad word associated with big pharma trying to turn our tomatoes into mutants. I’m still not sure how creating food that will feed the hungry in Africa is bad. Or create food that is resistant to certain infections or rots (which means it works better under organic conditions.) Of course, the Non-GMO Project (literally the top one that comes up when you google Non-GMO) has made about $400,000 between 2014 and 2015.

Both the Organic and the Non-GMO lobbies make and spend thousands of dollars on non-scientific labeling regulations being added to labels. There is a much simpler and easier solution to all of these groups, and for it we shall look at France and Italy. France and Italy, places know for the quality of their food, has strict rules and regulation on what can be put in their food, and even stricter food labeling guidelines. Heck, even Canada has better food labeling guidelines than America. Canada! That’s like your kid sister getting into Harvard when you only got into East State. If, instead, we tried to get plain speak put back in our food labeling, we could probably get a lot further that trying to push agendas of pseudo-scientific theories about that is healthier. It would also give people like food babe a lot less to discuss on her blog. Of course, there would be a lot less for me to write about on my blog too. I think I would be super happy with that.  Because with truth in labeling, we can all make better decisions about what we eat.

Bulking up is hard to do.

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For years, my husband and I went down the ethnic food aisle to get cheaper spices. For $2 a package you can get spices like cumin and oregano. Compared to the actual prices in the spice aisle, it is the logical choice. Well, we recently ran out of cumin, and instead of making the trip down to our discount spice and gluten free flour shop we went to get some at down the ethnic food aisle. My husband picked up those familiar red, green, and clear packages hanging there and was about to put them in the cart. We hadn’t made the trip to this spice section since my celiac diagnosis, so we hadn’t ever needed to check the purity of these spices. A quick peek at the back of the package, and everything was put back on the shelf and we were walking over to the spice section to seek gluten free cumin.

It seems like there shouldn’t be a reason for cumin to have gluten in it. Its cilantro seeds that have been toasted and ground. In a pure there should be no reason for wheat to be involved. Then again there’s no reason for a package of cashews or trail mix to have gluten, but sometimes they do. All of these labels have some of my least favorite words in the English language, “packaged in a facility that also processes wheat.” It’s part of the labeling standards that we discussed back here, and for the gluten sensitives, it’s not a deal breaker. For us Celiac’s is cross contamination hell. It means that nuts, grains, rice, or anything else that can be sold in bulk is just not 100% safe. You always have to check.

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This also means that the bulk bins at your local supermarket are off limits. Even though we can find psyllium husk powder or xanthan gum in bulk, we still need to march ourselves over to the Bob’s Red Mill display to buy them. Why, because bulk bins are cross contamination hell. There’s the obvious part of it, everyone using the same scoops no matter what they’re getting. There’s nothing stopping someone from putting that scoop in to the wheat flour and then dipping the same scoop into the brown rice flour. There’s no reason to wash the scoop between each use. But there’s more to it than that.

Supermarkets aren’t required to clean bulk bins between uses. So bulk bins often don’t get cleaned between uses. This mean if they rearrange the bulk bin order, there’s never any need to actually clean the bin. So your rice flour could have been wheat flour at one point in time. There is no requirement for supermarkets to be careful with their bulk bins either. They can keep the rice flour or trail mix bins open while their filling up the wheat flour. Really it’s just not prudent. Don’t do it.

So, how does a Celitariat save money and stay safe from the glutens? You have to find pre-packaged bulk items. Near me, there is a wholesale market for bulk items. There’s no bins there, but they buy spices and flours to re-package into re-sealable plastic bags. The market also sells spices to other markets, so going there cuts out the middle man of the grocery store. This particular market is really safe, and I’ve never gotten sick from their flours before (even though they sell wheat flour and bulger in the same store.) We get super cheap gluten free flours, rice, beans, and even dried fruit, all things that are verboten in a normal supermarket. There’s no scoops, so there’s no cross contamination. Plus they have a really nice gluten free section with a variety of flours, pastas, crackers, and bars.

I know it’s going to sound sketchy and scary to walk into one of those wholesale markets, especially when it’s not a buyers club like Costco, but check it out. Sometimes places show up on Find Me Gluten Free as being gluten free markets. Read what other people say about them. You can also speak with the owners about their processes. It never hurts to ask questions. Because gluten free food requires extra care for preparation and processing it is always going to be more expensive, unless everyone goes on a gluten free diet, this is just a fact of life.

There are also some websites where you can buy bulk gluten free flours. I haven’t used any of these services, mostly because we have our market. I suspect that I might if we were further away. If you have any experience these websites or services, comment with which ones you like best.

You will literally get the barley flu.

I had a teacher in college who at the beginning of the term would tell all of his students that sickness was only mind over matter and therefore there wasn’t any reason to not be in class, this especially went for anyone who was sick with the “barley flu.” I took courses with him several times, and it always took a couple of seconds for the class to catch onto the fact that barely flu really meant being hungover. Of course, for those of us in the Celitariat, this is something that we can literally come down with.

I spent part of last week with one of my worst cases of glutening. For me, I’m really sensitive to the glutens (some of you may have gathered that from previous posts) but my symptoms are not very severe. I have never had the intestinal bleeding or have needed to go to a hospital for a glutening. I basically turn into a frat boy with a really bad case of the flu. Let me explain a little bit better. When I got my endoscopy, I had a lot of blunting in the place where the stomach transitions to the intestines. This, amazingly enough, is right where your gallbladder is (the upper right quadrant of the abdomen) or the same location that someone whose having a heart attack will have pain. This blunting caused a lot of gas. A LOT of gas. It was to the point that I joked with my nephews that I had a burp button. They enjoyed pushing it and getting me to belch like Homer Simpson. I also got borborgmus, which is a very technical, very onomatopoetic way of saying tummy rumbles. So, I would have some gas that would run through my intestines and come out either end in a very melodious way.

We always can tell when I get glutened, because it starts out with burps. Lots and lots of burps. They start little and then turn in to full fratboy within a few hours. Sometimes I even get hiccups, because of the trapped gas. Hours and hours of body wrenching hiccups that don’t stop no matter how many times my husband suggests Donald Trump doing the hula in a pokadot speedo.

Don’t tell me that this doesn’t sound frightening to you.

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Or maybe just the naked Trump statue in Seattle is enough to do it.

Anyway, the best way to combat gas is activated charcoal. Seriously, I didn’t get this tidbit until after I saw a Gastroenterologist for the first time (and seriously I see it all over the place at this point in time) and it was a literal lifesaver. Overnight, I was starting to feel better. Well, not overnight, but as least the gas and the borborgmus were better. And those are the things that would keep me up at night.

It’s kind of amazing that gas could catch in the twists and turns of the intestines, and just be THAT painful. I know you all know what I’m talking about, because it’s happened to you all too. But it’s worse then the gas it try to rise or fall but both of those directions don’t lead to a hole, because that’s just how it happens when you lie down and it’s literally the worst. (By the way I had that last week, and it’s been a while since I needed to run to the bathroom and just sit up for a few hours in the middle of the night.) Honestly, I can deal with a most of the rest of the symptoms, but that one is the worst, so the charcoal is a very welcome reprieve. Of course this generally only lasts one day.

Phase two is my absolute least favorite, this is the true flu part of the barley flu, the body aches and foggy head and lightheadedness. If day one is about decay, I feel like day two isavengers the beginning of the repair. It’s like my body has finally figured out that something is wrong. It makes sense. On day one, the body starts fighting what it perceives as an infection (aka the gluten) and attacking everything that is nearby. It’s kind of like the end of the Avengers, fighting the Chitari and leaving New York in ruins. Day two is the body catching up with the infection, saying “Hey, you stay over here and keep out of trouble like a good civilian bystander. We’ll take care of this.” So I turn into a vegetable on the couch and watch a whole lot of Netflix.

I’ve tried to work through day two. I wind up sitting at my desk with the world spinning and barely able to lift my arms. Usually I get super goofy. Oh, and I’ll still be burping like a drunk. Really, I kind of act like I’m drunk. I can drink a lot of water. I can take take Aspirin and Advil, but y body is still going to protest and say “Hey, you’re supposed to be resting.” And because this isn’t an infection there’s really no way to speed it up like taking vitamin C. You just gotta ride it out and hope it’s all okay. This is a good time to take a some iron. We all know that celiacs are anemic, this is because our intestines are not able to ingest nutrients, so it help to replenish some of those at this point in time. Kind of combats the virago, a bit. Still haven’t figured out how to get it gone the rest of the way.

Now the body aches, I have a really interesting solution for. I eat popcorn. Yup popcorn. There’s no scientific reasoning behind this one, but I suspect that the fiber in the popcorn helps…um…bind things up and pushes some of the gluten through. No idea if this is real and scientific of whatever, but it works pretty much every time. Try it and tell me if you get the same reaction, but popcorn…never get glutened without it.

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Phase three lasts the longest. That’s the part where the body is trying to get it’s self back to normal. Hormones are re-asserting themselves, because those are regulated by the intestines, and so I’m moody. There’s always a couple of aches and pains that linger, and that foggy brain stays around. I tend to like to be in control of my faculties and emotions, so this bothers me, but there are far less physical symptoms, so we don’t really think about it. Phase three is the part that my husband hates the most, because it’s the one where he has to be the most careful. I get cranky and easily offended, so he walks around for a few days trying to not make me cry. It’s super fun.

Of course, during all of this, there is the poop. We don’t like to talk about poop, and I’m
not sure why. In Japan, people pay attention to their poop as a way to track their general health and well being. Heck, in America, if we discussed poop, I might have gone to thedownload doctor YEARS before saying, “my poop isn’t normal” and might have gotten tested for Celiac (this probably would have been in the late ’90s early ’00s so it’s a toss up.) I mean, until a year ago, I don’t think I understood what a normal bowel movement was supposed to feel like. We don’t discuss long ropy poops or what the consistency of tarry stool is like (what does that phrase even mean?) So, here we go. Normal poop you have to wipe once or twice. It holds it’s shape when it does in the toiletpoop. It even will fold over it’s self when it does in the bowl. Oh, and it’ll float. That’s how you know it’s healthy. Gluten poop is none of those things. It’s sticky and loose and generally all of the not healthy things. Or it can get really hard and causes constipation. Or sometimes both in the same BM. The last thing to recover will be your BM, so when you’re back to normal your bath habits will be back to normal too.

And then it’s mostly life as normal again. I know that people say there’s no way to really treat the symptoms of getting glutened, but we all have our tricks. I would really like to hear how other people experience the gluten and what you do to combat it. So feel free to comment below with your experiences and solutions.

It’s my party, and I’ll cook if I want to

Sorry that I’ve been dark for a week. A lot happened in real life, like we’re buying a house and my husbands grandmother passed away. Of and my husband turned 40, so we had to throw him a party. Well, because he was turning 40, and a total geek, I spent weeks putting together a Cthulhu birthday party ( you know because he’s 40 so he’s now an elder god…it made a lot of sense to me.) And it was a partially mixed gluten party. We had a baked potato bar and cupcakes. One of our friends makes amazing cupcakes, so she baked gluten filled cupcakes and I made some gluten free ones. The potato bar is inherently gluten free, but the cupcakes are full of gluten.

Because we really like having people over and feeding them, my husband wanted to be a party of cooking for his party. I don’t know if you’ve ever had someone try and throw you a gluten free party, but anytime you have to start explaining cross contamination to people, you may have already lost the battle. But there’s one more things that happens when someone else wants to cook for your party, you lose control. In the instance of his husband’s party, there was a lot of control. We kept the gluten cup cakes on a cupcake stand. I kept the gluten free ones on the other side of the kitchen. They showed up after I had eaten and made my potato, so there was no problems there. Literally, it was like my husband having glutened bread for his po’ boys, you just have to be careful where you put your hands and clean the counters.

The pitfall is someone else cooking for you in their kitchen. It can be done. It really can, but you have to put your faith in your friends and give them some really specific guidelines. For people who have friends in the Celitariat, or are part of the Celitartiat themselves, you feel like you can trust them. But control is out of your hands, and I know it’s not just me when I say that is scary. You can’t clean the kitchen for the other person, or make sure their dishes are 100% clean, or read the ingredients  of everything that goes into the meal…well to me that’s a little crazy making. I’m a really sensitive celiac but I don’t have as sever of reactions as most people, so the smallest amount of gluten can make me sick, but I won’t end up in the hosptial with bloody bowels. Still, I don’t really look forward to 3 days of stomach pains, body aches, and sitting on the toilet.

I know that my friends want to share their foods with us, and I’ve worked out a good way to get other people ready to cook for us. It’s just a couple of simple rules for cooking for me.

How to cook for a Celitariat:

  1. Clean your kitchen: you don’t need to wash everything, but make sure you wipe down the food prep surfaces or anything that might touch the cooking tools. Use a clean towel, sponge, or paper towels.
  2. Wash everything that you will be cooking with. This can and should include your oven. Just running an oven or barbecue grill through an oven clean function (as long as the oven gets hotter than 500 degrees). Cutting boards should be run through the washing machine, along with anything you use to clean your knives or pots and pans (if you don’t run them through a dishwasher).
  3. Put away the flour. Like in a sealed container. Put that container away, and keep it away from at least 24 hours before you cook for me. This makes sure that everything can get clean and there’s no possible way for there to be any particulate in the air.
  4. Google if your friend. Even if the package doesn’t say it’s gluten free (and you can point them to this post for what that means) there is a lot of gluten free food out there that just don’t put it on the box. Best way to find out, well that would be the job of Google. You can google just about everything with the words “gluten free” and you can find out if it is or isn’t.
  5. If you have a question, ask me. I’m more than happy to put a little bit of work into making sure I don’t get sick. Trust me, I’m really invested in it. Plus, I have that best kind of experience, life experience, to tell you what I react to and don’t. Since every celiac has different levels of sensitivity, you can’t really judge one person’s reaction by another. So just ask. Really, just ask.
  6. Buy fresh containers of anything that will be shared. Mayo, sour cream, butter just get a new one. Basically, if you have already dipped silverwear in, get a fresh one. We do it in our own houses, please do this in yours to

I know that sounds like there’s not that much there, but that’s pretty much all you need your friend to do. It’s time consuming enough, and there’s a bit of monetary outlay, so I always feel that it’s probably better for me to cook for my friends. I just feel bad asking anyone to have to do all of that, when I’m already doing all of it. Still, if they really, honestly, want to cook, have then follow those 6 rules. I mean, you can’t cook for yourself forever right? And until one of those celiac pills comes out, we have to live and die by our cross-contamination rules.