Wednesday, August 17, 2011
11:58 AM | Posted by Lady Gray | | Edit Post
No, I'm not going to be discussing any racial or class bigotry here. The only prejudiced part of me is my gut. And right now its really pissed.
A few months ago, I started noticing some differences in the way my body was reacting and digesting food (don't worry, I'm not going to get TMI on you). I went from getting some pretty gnarly acid reflux once every month or so to having it a few times a week. I generally stay away from spicy foods as my stomach has always been sensitive, so this new development was puzzling. Initially coping by carrying tums and eating them like candy, I slowly began to realize that is was not sustainable.
So I did what every independent 20-something would do. I called Mom.
Now, my Mom was a nurse for over 20 years and I know she would give me some good advice. After I told her about the steady rise in days I was suffering from heart burn, I asked if she recommended I see my primary for a prescription.
Now for a quick background. I don't have a great track record with doctors. A few years ago I developed alopecia areata and after six months, five doctors, thousands of dollars and half my hair long gone I simply gave up. Surprisingly, that seemed to be what brought my hair back. After all those physicians that took my case and were so confident they could find a solution only to tell me "sorry about your hair" a few weeks later gave me some strong opinions about the limits of modern medicine.
Thankfully, my mother was not going to send me to a doctor. She had some better (worse?) news for me.
"Well looks like you've got a gluten intolerance just like your mother!"
While I tried to contain my excitement (read: despair) I thought about when my Mom found out she needed to cut out gluten (as well as a few other things) and how rough it was. I try to be as low maintenance as possible when eating out (five years as a server will do that to you) and with all the travel I do this was starting to sound like a total nightmare.
So what exactly is gluten intolerance and what does that mean for my life now?
Gluten sensitivity (GS) encompasses a collection of medical conditions in which gluten has an adverse effect. For individuals with gluten-sensitive enteropathy, removal of gluten generally results in the restoration of villus architecture or lower lymphocyte densities in the intestine. With some sensitivities, improvements may be seen in the neurological state, but a clinical finding may not be clear. GS also can affect blood chemistry, treatability of certain autoimmune diseases, and/or an untreated improvement in autoimmune conditions. (Wikipedia)
The more research I did and the more books I read on the topic, the more I realized that this isn't a lifestyle choice for me in the way that Vegetarianism or Veganism is to some. It would require the same amount of planning and dedication, but with my history of autoimmune disease (alopecia) I simply don't have the option.
Now you may be asking yourself, all you were battle was heartburn? This seems like a pretty extreme change to make for something like that!
In the months since I cut gluten out, I have had a few involuntary doses of it. A Mexican restaurant Mr. Gray and I frequent apparently uses flour in their corn tortillas. How did I discover this? When I had trouble keeping myself from falling asleep on my keyboard the next day. And not morning, I'm talking late afternoon here. In hindsight, I had had some serious fatigue issues that I chalked up to not getting enough good sleep. Now I know that wasn't the case.
In a lot of ways, its easier than I expected it to be. But like many of my peers trying to create a GF world for ourselves, we find other sensitivities lurking. Just when you get a handle on what it means to be GF, life throws you a "no more dairy" curve ball.
Cheese is going to be very hard to give up...
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