It all started back in August of 2006, when I realized I needed to go gluten free. By removing a major toxin from my diet, I started a long process of unmasking other food intolerances. Things I never knew bothered me. Things like poultry. And soy. (You think it’s hard to avoid gluten? Try soy sometime.) Not to mention all the other foods I have to avoid.
Yeah, my life is culinarily boring.
For over a year now, I’ve been extremely cautious in what I ate. Not just cautious. Militant. I have not willingly ingested gluten since August of 2006, and never will again. I also haven’t been accidentally glutened since April 2007. I don’t eat at other people’s houses, or eat food prepared by other people. In 2007, I ate in restaurants less than 10 times, and that includes the week-long road trip we took during the summer. I read all labels, every time I eat something. When in doubt, I don’t eat it. I take my vitamins and dietary supplements and probiotics religiously.
Maybe it’s paying off.
I’ve noticed over the last few months that a few foods that were problems in the past are not as bad now. I’m always jonesing for spicy food, but can’t have peppers because they are in the nightshade family. Well, that’s the one thing I cheat with – I have a sprinkle of cayenne pepper on my food about once every three weeks. For shame! But the last few times I did this, I didn’t feel like I needed to die after. I ate a gluten free cookie at a Celiac Support Group meeting two months ago that had sunflower oil in it, and I didn’t have a reaction. I ate some black-eyed peas in December and only had a mild reaction, instead of the severe one from a year ago.
So what about the applesauce?
The last time I ate an apple, almost a year ago, I had a severe reaction. Doubled over in pain, hot flashes, insomnia. A few days later I tried applesauce, reasoning that raw apples bother a lot of people (pectin, fiber, and fructose can be hard to digest) but most people can handle them cooked. No such luck, at least then. In fact, almost all fruit, fresh or otherwise, made me react.
But a couple of weeks ago, I was desperate for a little variety, and tried canned pears (leftover from our hurricane stash). I could eat them. And that made me wonder if I could start trying other fruits, at least cooked. It was worth a shot, because frankly, I hate pears. They taste like someone rolled a perfectly good piece of fruit on the beach. Ugh. So two days ago, I got up my courage and ate a single-serving container of applesauce (also left over from our hurricane stash).
No reaction. No pain, no hot flashes, no insomnia, no problems whatsoever. Yay!
Today, still flush with my success, I tried tapioca starch. The non-celiacs are saying, “Huh? Tapioca starch?” The celiacs are nodding knowingly. Tapioca starch is used in almost all commercial gluten free baking (along with potato starch, which I still can’t tolerate). And it also gave me a bad reaction about a year ago, so it’s been on my list of banned foods. But as of today, I am reaction-free, and it’s back on the “Proceed with Caution” roster.
Hopefully this trend will continue. It seems that my innards, however slowly, are healing, and are becoming more receptive to a few things. That’s good. The more foods I can eat, the less likely I’ll develop an intolerance to something I rely heavily on, like beef or squash. Also, the more variety I have in my diet, the less agonizing meal planning will be. I’m dreaming of a crock-pot full of chili, made with beef, onion, pinto beans, crushed tomatoes and dried ancho chilies. Or roast chicken. Steamed broccoli. Or even a dollop of garlic mashed potatoes. Maybe someday.
For now, though, I have applesauce. It’s a start.