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Food allergies are becoming super trendy lately, judging by the number of “free” of this and that dishes popping up at restaurants. Gluten free foods have become ubiquitous to the point of earning their very own menus. There even exists a dedicated gluten free bakery right outside of Nashville.

A few years ago, I foraged into the gluten free world due to some serious symptoms, which all pointed towards Celiac disease. Had no insurance at the time, so, like many do, I self-medicated by removing gluten from my diet. I stayed off gluten for a year, relapsed, and quit again two years ago.

Little did I know that taking gluten out of my diet would cause problems getting diagnosed later on. I visited my PCP about a month ago, and presented with no symptoms. My PCP suggested I go back on gluten for a week and then get the blood test done. She would check for the antibodies that would indicate my immune system was reacting to the gluten.

A few weeks later, my test results are back and the test is negative; however, my iron is low. Iron deficiency anemia can be one of the complications to Celiac. I was a little confused about the negative result. I began to wonder if one week back on the gluten was not enough to spark my immune system, even though I experienced symptoms after just a few days of eating gluten. A quick internet search led me to the ‘gluten challenge.’

A gluten challenge apparently consists of eating a certain amount of gluten for at least 6-8 weeks. This is good and bad news for me. It may mean that I did not eat enough gluten for a long enough period in order to get correct test results, which means that I may have to do a longer gluten challenge. Which, quite frankly, sucks.

My question is has anyone else experienced similar events? I am trying to decide if I could actually tolerate a longer challenge or if I need to just forget it. I am also considering finding another physician. I’d really like to get this resolved.

Shall I eat the wheat or not?

I am both fascinated/repulsed by competitive eating.  I don’t know the how or the why of competitive eating.  Why would you eat until you’re sick?  How does one even get involved in such things?

And how much glory is really involved in competitive eating?  Not much, I’d say.  Although everyone seems to know who Joey Chesnut is, including me.

Anyway, I watch Man Vs Food all the time– and I’ve no idea why.  I can’t stand being full (just one of my many issues surrounding all things edible), yet I am fascinated by a man who can gorge himself on a variety of comestibles on a regular basis.  And do it on TV, no less.

All this just to say that lately it’s been me vs. food on a daily, miserable basis.  My main nemesis?

Wheat.  Gluten.  All things related to wheat, and gluten.  Oh- and soy.  Soy protein, soy flour, soy sauce.

You’d think it’d be easy to avoid two simple little ingredients.  But you’d be so fucking wrong.

You see, the problem is that our food is way to processed.  And while you think you know what’s in your food, you’d be surprised to find all the shit that’s also in your food. Every time I think I’m safe in what I”m eating, I find out I’m wrong.

For instance:  cheesecake.  New York Cheesecake, to be specific.  Didn’t eat the crust, got way sick. There’s flour in cheesecake!

Also, potato chips:  wheat flour in potato chips.

Also, I cheat.  I cheat like a mutherfucker.  Like most kids who grew up in the South, I grew up eating a lot of breaded & fried stuff.  Also, in my quest to avoid meat, I ate a lot of bread.  I love bread.  I could live on bread and butter.  Or, at least I used to be able to.  Not any more.

I don’t know what causes Celiac Disease (the official name of my ailment) and it doesn’t really matter.  Because really, it’s all the over-processed, factory-farmed food that is probably the likely cause.  Nobody knows from whence their food came, nor do they care.  But I’m starting to.

I hate reading labels; I hate asking at every restaurant what’s in the food.  I hate being so picky about it all.  But when I’m not diligent, as in the case of the cheesecake incident, I’m sick for days.

Is this what my eating experiences will be like from now on?  Worrying over what’s in everything I put in my mouth, anxious that it might cause lengthy and painful reaction?

Awesome.

 

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