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Food

So, a couple months ago, my sister, the Shivan Dragon, was bored, had a very few spare minutes (not enough to do anything productive or artistic), and did a web-search on short pinkies.

What does this have to do with food, you may wonder?

Well, she found (she said, and I’m typing this at work with no internet to be imported into LJ later, so I’m not attempting to recreate her Google-fu) that short pinkies are statistically associated with celiac disease. As are Irish ancestry, bad teeth, kids with ADD/ADHD, intestinal cancer, sleep problems of one sort or another, and a variety of other things that describe people in my birth family. (There’s also a variety of things that celiac can cause that do not afflict anyone in my family.  But no one with Celiac has all the possible side-effects.) Dragon also told me that, particularly among people of Irish ancestry, there’s a form of celiac that does not cause the typical gastrointestinal problems. Or maybe it’s that there are people who tolerate wheat and/or gluten poorly who suffer from something that isn’t exactly the same as Celiac, I'm not sure.

It was an interesting conversation, and I went on with life.  But Dragon kept finding new correlations (which I have conflated in the above paragraph), which led to me, pretty much on the spur of the moment, thinking, I can try living without wheat and barley (rye has never been food) for a few weeks. After all, I have all these LJ friends who manage it. I expected nothing to come of it, but almost immediately I noticed some subtle but important differences. My feet felt better, and I didn’t get spacey and grumpy if I got really hungry. And I wasn’t as mentally foggy if I was short on sleep. And my flatulence diminished suddenly and dramatically.

(Did I mention that in discussing this with various family members, I found that one of the things that first “impressed” my mother about my father’s cousins was how many jokes they knew on the topic of breaking wind?)

Well, those first couple of weeks, I hadn’t gone shopping for “gluten-free” things. There was rice in the house, and milk, meat and vegetables. But then I got this job, and had less time to cook, and needed stuff I could carry in for lunch. So I started picking up some of the pre-made things—did you know that almost all gluten-free breads and chips (and other products) have corn in them?

Oh, yeah—corn. I tested  (mildly) positive to corn as an allergy when I got tested as a teenager. It never seemed to cause me any problems;however, on general principles, I tried not to eat it too often, or if I were having more problems than usual with the inhaled allergies.

So, suddenly I’m eating more corn, both deliberately (corn chips) and incidentally (just about all the rice cakes/chips and even some of the gluten-free noodles, protein bars, etc.), and eating some just about every day. I even got some gluten-free cornbread mix because I missed bread. After a while, I started to correlate the frequency and severity of certain gastrointestinal symptoms—discomfort, frequent calls of nature, and the return of the ever-so-pleasant flatulence—with how much corn I’d eaten the day two before.

Um. Corn is in practically everything, if you count corn starch, corn syrup, HFCS, corn oil, and corn meal.

I kept planning to go off the diet to see what would happen (and to eat some of the things in my house that I’d already bought, like the girl scout cookies that arrived after I started this experiment), but it never seemed a good time. Finally, last Thursday, I was tempted by a cookie, and went off the diet, I thought, for a couple of weeks. Friday night I kept being awakened; I got up and had some nice imported Irish oatmeal and went back to bed, to sleep all day. I never imagined flatulence could steal a night’s sleep more effectively than the sleep apnea does, if I don’t wear the machine!  I still didn't feel very rested when I finally got up at dinnertime.

So, I didn’t get to the Filk Saturday, and didn’t get much writing done to make up for last week's dragginess due to the time of the month. So I’m behind on Fireborn, missed #fridayflash, and still haven’t finished the new battleflute-mage story.

Do you know, I’m sure I could have written at least four flash-stories in the amount of time I’ve spent reading ingredient labels over the last two months? *sigh*

All I can say is Thank Goodness for Chocolate!

And for Haagen-daas 5-ingredient ice creams. (And for the ones that could have that label (like Strawberry) though they aren’t marketed that way.)

You know, my life is rarely the adventure I expected.

So, I have to re-plan my diet, yet again.  I may be sharing some gluten-and-corn-free recipes.  Assuming I find time to develop any well enough to share!

Footnote: For those who want Coke without HFCS, apparently it’s bottled with cane sugar in Mexico, and you are likely to be able to find it at your local Mercado.

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Comments

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
mdlbear
Apr. 29th, 2010 03:30 am (UTC)
I discovered my gluten sensitivity when I experimented with a low-carb diet; the first thing I noticed was the improved mood.

1000 Gluten-Free Recipes by Carol Fenster is your friend. So is rice pasta.

"Short pinky" -- Oh. Yet another place where I thought I was "normal". Hmm.

Edited at 2010-04-29 03:38 am (UTC)
wyld_dandelyon
Apr. 30th, 2010 12:17 am (UTC)
You're another short pinkie person? Maybe we should form a club!
wyld_dandelyon
Apr. 30th, 2010 12:18 am (UTC)
Addenda
How many of Carol Fenster's recipes use corn or corn products?
mdlbear
Apr. 30th, 2010 02:50 am (UTC)
Re: Addenda
Not so many. Many of them use a flour substitute that combines sorghum flour, tapioca flour, and either of potato or corn starch.
wyld_dandelyon
Apr. 30th, 2010 03:46 am (UTC)
Re: Addenda
Cool. I suppose I should look the book up, then!
valdary
Apr. 29th, 2010 09:00 am (UTC)
I can't eat Oats either, Oats are gliaden rather than gluten but it's a similar enough protein for me to react to.

In cooking I use gram flour, lentil flour, rice flour, millet flour, tapioca flour, sago. Pounded yam and farina.

Adding mashed potato to breads can help them not be so dry and improve texture.

I bake 3 loaves at time and slice and freeze them. I prefer millet pasta to plain rice though some rice noodles and glass noodles are good.

Be careful to not overboil gluten free pasta, it has alarming tendency to completely dissolve into the water.

Fizzy drinks dissolve your bones because of the phosphurus anyway, you shouldn't be drinking more than one or two a week if you want to avoid osteoporosis
wyld_dandelyon
Apr. 30th, 2010 12:16 am (UTC)
flours and stuff
What is "gram flour"? I've tried making pancakes out of potato flour, and fried chicken with buckwheat flour. (Buckwheat isn't wheat, and doesn't have gluten.)

Brown rice pasta is pretty good. I tried quinoa noodles, but they were made with corn. Sigh.

Soy chips are surprisingly good, and aren't made with corn!

For prepared foods, Indian is the most likely to be safe. But I need to find a good Dahl recipe. Buying it in the boilable pouches is silly, budget-wise.
valdary
Apr. 30th, 2010 01:08 pm (UTC)
Re: flours and stuff
Gram flour is made from chickpeas.

It's quite strong tasting so is better for savoury things rather than sweet.

I find rice flour over bland and gram flour rather beany so blending them half and half works very well for me. Also eating too much gram flour pastries or bread is pretty much like eating too much baked beans :D

I don't usually make dahl as such, I just throw lentils in with breast of lamb to make a hearty stew.

Also you might not have thought, but beware of beer and malt vinegar, they both contain barley. use cider and wine vinegar

I drink wine, cider, brandy or tequila and avoid beer, whisky, vodka (because you can't trust it to be just potatoes) and rum (because cheap rum isn't always just molasses)
valdary
Apr. 30th, 2010 03:00 pm (UTC)
Re: flours and stuff
Also don't go too mad with the buckwheat.

Yes it's gluten free but it is a very common allergen in it's own right and it is easy to end up allergic if you eat it in challenging amounts. Fine for pancakes and such but you might want to avoid making it an every day staple just so that you retain it as an option. It's not unusual for people to switch to buckwheat to avoid gluten and then wind up with a separate allergy or intolerance to buckwheat.

Switch round your flours and don't become overly dependent on just one
red_trillium
Apr. 29th, 2010 09:53 am (UTC)
Hi my friend. We've managed to just get back online and I'm not going to have time to catch up with your posts before we leave. But I wanted to wish you best with your diet. Restrictions are hard and it sounds like you've got several issues to work through with it.

I'll keep you in my thoughts this weekend!
wyld_dandelyon
Apr. 30th, 2010 12:00 am (UTC)
I'm glad you're back online, though it's ironic that you get it fixed just in time to go away!

Have a great time!
magentamn
Apr. 29th, 2010 04:22 pm (UTC)
If you can eat oatmeal, you can use a food processor to turn it into a sort of coarse flour to bake with. I do this for my partner who can't eat wheat. Cookies, banana bread, carrot cake, stuff like that, works fine with oat flour. Can't use it in yeast rised bread, though.
wyld_dandelyon
Apr. 29th, 2010 11:59 pm (UTC)
bread
I guess it's good that I like soda breads!
valdary
Apr. 30th, 2010 03:06 pm (UTC)
For people who can't eat oatmeal, flaked millet makes a lovely porridge and can be substituted for oatmeal in recipes.
out_totheblack
Apr. 29th, 2010 05:55 pm (UTC)
LOL, "my life is rarely the adventure I expected." Totally awesome and totally true.

I'm always saying, "life happens."

I might have to pay attention to the wheat and corn thing.
wyld_dandelyon
Apr. 29th, 2010 11:57 pm (UTC)
corn
Corn is not a gluten problem; it's an allergy. However, my brother will be happy if I stop eating corn; he's' very concerned about the gene-mod corn, having found some obscure European studies showing bad health effects on mice who eat the stuff.

And corn is air-pollenated; it really makes me angry that they are allowing farmers to grow gene-mod corn that hasn't been well-tested, that has a second generation that's sterile, and that you can't prevent from fertilizing the natural varieties of corn.

But that's a different rant!
cflute
Apr. 30th, 2010 09:22 pm (UTC)
Chex cereal has recently gone gluten-free in their rice and corn and flavored varieties.

The 'Gluten Free Gourmet' books, and '1000 Gluten Free Recipes', are both excellent sources of GF items. Also check out Celiac.com

One flour that works quite well as a pancake flour is TEFF. Many "organic market" type places will stock it; it's also orderable from Bob's Red Mill.

Best wishes from another short-pinky person of northern European descent. :-)
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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