Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Food Allergies and Food Intolerances

Anyone who knows me really well, knows that I love to get busy in the kitchen. I especially love to bake. Nothing beats homemade bread, muffins, cookies, you name it! I love to spoil the family with home made stuff. We have our tried and tested favourite recipes for all the different times of the year. Some of the recipes are passed down from generation to generation and some are from Germany. My husband and kids especially love my pumpkin pie, chocolate chip muffins, tea biscuits, Mutzen, Broetchen, Brezel and family size brownies. Do I have you thinking about your favourite desserts and homemade wonders from your kitchen? That is all I think about. I am dying to eat something like that right now, but I can't. Christmas is coming and I usually have a good portion of baking already under my belt. This year, everything is different.

I am reacting to almost everything I eat and have been for months or maybe even years. At first, I thought nothing of it. Everyone gets gas or feels bloated once in a while. Now it is to the point, where I can't eat hardly anything without pain or worse (you know what I mean). With the help of digestive enzymes, I am able to eat without symptoms as long as I avoid what seems like a long list of normal foods. I have suspected a lactose intollerance for almost two years and thought that avoiding milk and its counterparts would be enough. WRONG! Now it looks like I am reacting to wheat. I am not 100% sure, but I have a hunch about it. I have been avoiding bread for about three months now. On the weekend, my husband was eating some homemade bread (the wife of a work buddy made it) and asked me to give it a try. It was delicious. I took a little bite and boom! not five minutes later, I was in misery. It seems so unfair.

Now, I don't want to complain or anyone to feel sorry for me. There are a lot of people out there who have severe allergies and I know that I don't have it that bad. I have been doing some reading up on celiac disease which is a gluten intolerance. I even started looking for gluten free recipes. The only problem is, most of them include milk. I also bought a book called "Nourishing Traditions". It is a huge book of information on food and has a lot of recipes in it. It explains how foods should be prepared in order to be easily digested and for the maximum of nutrient absorbtion. It is somewhat intimidating at first, but in many ways has opened my eyes. Primarily, I want to cook healthy food for my family that tastes good and fills everyone up. That sounds easy, doesn't it? My only problem is, what do I cook? I have tried a few gluten free recipes that are great and a few recipes from the above mentioned cookbook and still am pouting. I reacted really badly to something I ate that was recommended from the cookbook. What do I do?

I am finally going to make a doctor's appointment and find out what is going on inside me. I am sick and tired of trial and error. We are being invited out for various functions and I turn everything down. I am terrified of having a reaction out in public. There is a little catch. We don't have a doctor. This is nothing unheard of here. I am going to have to go to a walk-in clinic and see what happens. I have no idea where I am going to be sent or how longs tests are going to take. I have put it off for so long, but know that I can't wait much longer. I feel like I am going crazy and sometimes wonder if it is all in my head. I know it isn't, but that is how I feel. I hate cooking now. I loathe baking. There must be a reason for the way I am feeling physically and emotionally.

Millions of people live with worse diseases, problems and worries than I do. I can be thankful that it isn't something worse. I debated on making this public or not, but I want those who know me and those who love me to know that I am here. I have been dodging folks for a while now. I am not some stuck up snob or a hermit. I am just frustrated and terrified.


  1. Tina,I am happy to chat with you about gluten-free/dairy free foods. We have been gluten free here since March and I've learned quite a bit.There is a very large group of people avoiding both Casein (milk protein) and gluten (called The GFCF diet)who believe that those two protiens can cause or exagerate symptoms of autism in their children.In fact, just a few weeks ago, I saw a cookbook full of recipes for gluten free/casein free. Many people who have gluten sensitivity also have other issues on top of that. It can be very complex. Many times corn can be a problem as well, and that is found in so many things (including the xanthan gum that often is used to replace gluten in GF baking).Let me say this though: most people with celiac disease have a secondary Lactose intolerance that is caused by the dammage to the intestine. This lactose intolerance usually goes away after being on a strict gluten free diet for a month or so... maybe less in some people.If you want to get tested for CD, and I believe that you really should, you have to be eating the equivalent of at least 1 or 2 pieces of bread each day for (i think) 6 weeks. Otherwise the test might not be accurate. there are over-the-counter tests for CD that you can now buy in canada straight from the pharmacy if that is easier. ( have all sorts of GF baking, and would love to share some with you this christmas if you'd like. We also have Very-low gluten communion hosts that are basically gluten free and are approved by the church. I can absolutely relate to your feelings and frustrations about food intolerances, as I thought my dd had a milk intolerance for years, but turned out to be celiac disease... and at first it was so hard, but now it's really easy... and a beautiful built-in way for her to learn the virtues of self-control self-sacrifice.

  2. Melanie,Thank you for the words of encouragement. I have read all the posts on your blog about CD. I already received some Christmas money from my Godmother and promptly ordered a few GF and DF cookbooks. Nonetheless, I would love to have a few of your recipes to try in the meantime (if you have time to send them, of course). I am definitely going to get tested. I am not sure I could take eating bread every day. The pain and lethargy that it causes would be a great excuse for the kids to take over my household. I will take a look at the hometest though. So far, I haven't reacted to communion. Perhaps it is too small or because I am not allergic to Jesus. Who knows? I know someone who is critically allergic who doesn't react to communion. Isn't that strange?Thank you for reading my pitiful blog post and being supportive. God Bless.

  3. btw.. what was the recipe you reacted to in the cookbook that they recommended?

  4. It was one using sprouted grain tortillas. The book makes it sound like sprouted grains are easier to digest. Well, wheat is wheat, sprouted or not. I paid the price.

  5. Hi Tina,Long time, no write, but saw your facebook status about gluten free making of things, and surfed on over to your blog! Sorry to hear that you've been unwell - I understand the challenge! I'm not celiac but I do have problems with wheat and lactose both... my sister also. I have been lactose-free since high school (about 15 years now) and gluten-free for about 6 or 7 years now. It gets much much much easier... and life is much, much better once that stuff is under control. Honestly, I don't even _register_ things with gluten or lactose as food anymore (unless I'm baking for other people). Bette Hagman's baking/cookbooks are the absolute best. Vital, for getting started. If you haven't already, check her stuff out. I also have a good friend who is celiac and if you want I might be able to put you in touch with one of them so he can share his story (symptoms, diagnosis).Korea is a gluten-free paradise (Japan and China not as much) so if you're adventurous in food, a trip to the Korean grocer may be in order... a lot of rice flours and bean flours used.If I can be of any help, please let me know...I remember Jess and I were so happy one day, we came across gluten-free lactose-free pretzels and totally went nuts on them... so yummy, and so many years since I've had pretzels! We got a wheat-eating friend to try them, and he was baffled, apparently they didn't taste like pretzels at all... :-) It's hard to get started, but once you've been at it for a while, you don't even know what you're missing. (Unless you eat it, and then you get sick, and remember why you don't eat it in the first place!)Take care and all the best for the holiday season... I've been baking cookies I can't eat for - oh - 2 weeks now... but a great and easy peanut butter cookie recipe that I CAN eat:1 cup brown sugar1 egg1 cup peanut buttermix, bake about 8-10 mins, DONE! (I put a small piece of chocolate on top of each, too, before baking)cheers,Katrina (remember me? from high school? :-)

  6. Katrina,I am so glad that you wrote. How are you?I had no idea that you were lactose free in highschool. I can't believe the difference after just one week of gluten free living. I feel so much better now. Thank you for sharing your experiences. Actually, Calgary has a lot to offer in terms of gluten free products, especially all of the different flours. I am going crazy here trying everything. You have to try the brownies recipe that I posted. To die for, almost. Great to hear from you. I will stop by your facebook sometime and write on your wall.cheers back!Tina


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