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!)

25426-6hx3fp

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.

Advertisements

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!