I really thought I'd blogged about the biopsy I had in March this year to try and get to the bottom of my wheat intolerance/possible coeliac but I can't find it in the archives so maybe I didn't?
I had the biopsy, it was somewhat horrific. Don't mean to be overly dramatic but it was horrid. I have small nasal cavities. The reason I know this? Because the consultant repeadtedly tried to enter the camera through them before she gave up and I had to swallow the damn thing the hard way. Sigh.
Then I had the mother of all nose bleeds and had to laugh when offered a wheaty biscuit with my after procedure cup of tea. The results came back 'inconclusive'. Which was not really a problem I was just relieved that I didn't have to eat any more wheat.
I thought I would feel tippity top the next day but actually it was weeks before I felt ok. As though my body needed to repair the damage I'd done by eating wheat for weeks. And the rash on my hands and head took weeks to heal. I was a fun guy to be around during those weeks.
I went a bit mental trying to be 'clean' and bascially ate only fruit and veg for weeks. I became completely paranoid that I was ingesting wheat from a hidden source because I felt so rotten. I even suspected my tea bags were making me ill. Some tea bags are sealed with wheat 'glue' but my beloved Twinings Everyday are made with a meltable plastic layer which seals the tea in. Which when you think about it is fairly icky too........
Sure enough after a few weeks I felt better though and started eating some grains and rice pasta and buckwheat cereals.
And since then I've been trying to navigate the gluten free world and keep myself healthy. I have an appointment with a gastroenterologist at the end of the month but I've come to accept that ultimately I am responsible for keeping my body safe from the things which make me ill.
If this all sounds a bit melodramatic to you, that would be fair comment. But that's ok, I've become that boring person who brings my own food and politely declines food at gatherings. I question people in shops and in restaurants in what I hope is a respectful way and I've no qualms about walking away if I don't trust the answer I get. Don't feel bad for me. I'd rather eat the apple in my bag than risk being ill for days. It's taken me a while to get here, but I'm here now.
I've made lots of mistakes. Often grains, even those which are naturally gluten free like quinoa are processed in the same machinery as wheat which makes them potentially harmful which I didn't realise. Processed foods are tricky (by processed I mean anything which comes in a packet, so bread, biscuits, cereals) as unless they are certified gluten free they can be risky. And even things labelled as gluten free can be dubious - read the small print, some even say 'not safe for coeliacs' which I find unebelievable.
I cannot tolerate oats which is sad because they can be useful in recipes and who doesn't love porridge?
But I'm coming around to a new way of thinking. All of this change has happened at a time in my life when my food horizon was shifting. In reading books like this and this, I have a renewed desire to feed my family real food. Food high in nutrients. The best food I can afford and the best food I can find.
I've always enjoyed food and cooking. I felt the way we ate was 'good enough'. I was glad the kids were/are good eaters. But there was so much more I needed and still need to change.
And the food on our plates on a daily basis has changed. I crave fruit and vegetables now in a way I never have before. I've turned my husband into a label reader. If I look at an ingredient list and it's full of unpronouncables or sugar is the first on the list I put it back. If I or the kids eat that then we're missing out on an opportunity to eat something healthful.
The amount of meat we eat is ever decreasing. We're trying to make sure the meat we buy is from a source we trust and can trace, but that's expensive so we find ourselves with veg based meals more and more.
I think the Caroline of 2008 would think this was all very bizarre. I followed Weight Watchers for six months of that year and I cringe when i think about what I was eating to be 'healthy' and lose weight. All the processed, packaged foods and diet yoghurts laced with sweeteners. And I should have known better, I studied nutrition at university but I just couldn't see the wood for the trees. I didn't read the labels only the packaging which said 'low fat' or 'healthy' or some other misleading tripe. And I lost weight but I was far from healthy. I only ate fruit and vegetables because they were 'low points' and by eating them I could save up points for a binge.
Ah yes, binging on 'bad' foods is a cycle for lots of us I'm sure. But being honest, since cutting out the processed foods packed with sugar which were my treats I can honestly say they don't hold the same power over me that they once did. I can't comfort myself with those foods anymore so I've had to find other ways to feel better.
I suppose what I'm getting at here is that this weird reaction to wheat and gluten which seemingly came from nowhere and completely floored me has been a catalyst for good. I have more to say about this I'm sure.
This whole life changing saga has changed what I will eat for the rest of my life. It has been the kick in the pants I had no idea I needed.
Anyone else found themselves caught up in this so called 'clean eating' movement?