Ladies, I've been keeping a secret.
Nothing big really, but it affects my life in a major way and might explain some things I generally mention. As big as this is for me though, I do know that it could be a lot worse and in many respects, I am very lucky.
So...I have Celiac's Disease, which is a genetic auto-immune disorder where my body doesn't process gluten or wheat products. The only cure is to cut all of these foods out of my diet. This means I can't eat all bread, flour, wheat, and gluten products. Yes, you read that right-- I can not have all those good, starchy comfort foods.
Pizza and beer? Nope.
Pretzels, cookies, and crackers? Nope.
Bread, rolls, stuffing? Nope.
My doctors finally figured out what was wrong when I was 17, right before graduating High School and going to college. Which means that for 17 years I was eating foods that were toxic for my body and explains why I was a pretty sick kid growing up.
At first I didn't think about it much. I thought it sucked, but I don't remember dwelling on it- Hell, it could have been a lot worse. I met with a nutritionist and tried a ton of new products-mostly made with rice and potato flour. Some I fell in love with and are close to the real deal, some were so gross and gritty and grainy I wanted to be sick. I have one specific memory of tasting a new pancake mix and it was so gritty and so far from the real deal, that I literally broke down crying into the mix. It was pretty miserable.
All in all, I've got things figured out. I have a staple of my favorite gluten-free products that I keep on hand and even found a gluten free chocolate cookie dough ice cream!!! However, despite all this...I have a few lingering issues.
1. I was raised Catholic and therefore participated in communion every Sunday. The bread served at communion, however, is just that...bread. So, I can't take communion. I have struggled with this for a long time and quite honestly, its one of the major reasons I don't go to mass. At first I thought, well God wants me to take communion and therefore he won't let this particular bit make me sick. This turned out not to be true. So, I started faking taking communion and giving the bread to my father back at the pew (If you are Christian and appalled by this, please don't tell me, I already know and it bothers me deeply...but I'm being honest here and honestly have very few other solutions). I refuse to not participate because sitting in the pew not getting communion makes me feel less like a Catholic. On the research I've done, the Catholic church's policy is that the communion bread has to have gluten in it (it has to be bread) because it was actual bread in the Bible. So...what's a girl to do? Fake it or sit out? I'm still not sure. But, I've already decided that for Lent I will figure out a solution to this (I'll keep you posted).
2. The other issue that gives me considerable trouble is weight loss! My diet is already so restricted that I have a hard time giving up other good foods. A year or so ago, I did WW and did really well for the first 8 weeks or so. Then, I hit a wall and just couldn't handle it anymore. Basically it goes like this-- gluten free foods are pretty gross in general and so to make them better manufacturers add more fat or use non-whole grain products (white rice flour instead of brown rice flour) which decreases the fiber content. So although moderate in calories, lots of foods are low in fiber and high in fat, which sky rockets items on the points scale. It is simply too restrictive. There are no low carb breads in my life or light crackers or 100 calories oreo snack packs. There is barely bread, crackers and cookies. This is my struggle. I have already given up so much, I hate to give up the bagels I found that actually taste like bagels even if they are 400 calories a serving. So, again, whats a girl to do? Well, I've decided to count actual calories instead of points. So far, the results aren't very encouraging, but I'm willing to hang in there.
3. This is my final point. I never realized how much I would miss food until the last few months. Lately, I see someone eating a piece of pizza and I have to physically restrain myself from taking it from them and throwing it in my mouth. I MISS THESE FOODS. This past week my mom brought home cinnamon buns and I almost cried. honestly. I haven't had a cinnamon bun in over 5 years and I'm not really sure I will ever have something that gooey and good again. It is seriously weird to say that I miss a food, it makes me feel very odd and disgusting. But the hardest part of it--is the finality of it. It's not like I'm on a diet and am just cutting bread out but can indulge every once in a while. It is, no more bread, ever. There isn't much a girl can do about this point, but it has just been frustrating these past few months like nothing I have ever experienced and I just wanted to vent it out.
WHEW! I am not going to lie, all of that felt really good to get out. If you hung in there through all that reading, thank you. I know it was a long and pretty heady reading. I promise that my next post will be more light hearted and considerably shorter.