Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Big Three

Time marches on. Time flies. Time rushes past. It doesn't matter which well-worn phrase you choose, they are all true (except when they aren't!)
My baby, which I wrote about in my last post, is now a lovely, chunky monkey at 10.5 months and has been the happiest baby ever.  I tell people she was born 99% happy.  Now that she is older and desiring more independence I would have to say that ratio has dropped down to 90% happy.  Elizabeth is a joy (now if she'd just sleep through the night!)
(I'd post pictures, but my SD slot is on the fritz and I have no way to direct connect my camera. She's pretty adorable though.  Trust me.  Not that I'm biased or anything.)

Now onto the next...
Topic, not child!  I have recently been diagnosed with some super fun (insert sarcastic tone) food sensitivities.  Oh I had kinda figured that I had them because I have almost always had digestive trouble for just about as long as I can remember...starting with dairy when I was a child.  But I had no idea the extent or extremes of my sensitivities.  The first thing to go was the super trendy sensitivity GLUTEN.  In fact I cut gluten out before I ever made it into the doctors (only for 2 weeks though).  Okay, I can live with that.  I have niece who has celiac's disease and a sister who is very gluten intolerant (and recently my mom has been diagnosed sensitive as well).
Then the Dr. ordered tests and when the results arrived she opened our meeting with the oh so encouraging statement, "Well, the bad news is your system is a mess, but the good news is we can fix it."  With that she confirmed my gluten sensitivities suspicions (off the chart, celiac levels, but without the official celiac disease).  The second thing to go was...DAIRY! (including goat milk).  This means no butter, no whey, no milk, no yogurt, no cream cheese, no any cheese, no anything that includes the word milk.  Do you know just how many things have some form of milk in them?  I bet you don't unless you have become a label reading maniac like myself.  The third thing to go was EGGS! Okay hold on, did you know that almost EVERY THING THAT IS GLUTEN FREE CONTAINS EGGS?!  Yup, so now I can't even buy gluten free bread, if I wanted to.  Cookies off the shelf, gone**. Ever tried making pancakes (gluten free or otherwise) without eggs? yup, not as easy as it sounds. (at this moment I will interject that I also have moderate sensitivities to about 8 other foods, but dealing with The Big 3 are all I am handling right now.)

Let me tell you for about a month I was starving!  I felt hungry all. the. time.

I have never eaten so much salad in a month in my entire life.

I have never spent so much money for a months worth of groceries as I did that month.

I have never had so much stress over food as I did that month.

I have never panicked over food so much (I was stockpiling.  If I found something at the grocery store that I could actually eat, I would buy it...a lot of it!)

I look back now and I am thankful to be past that initial stage.  In fact (it has been 4 months since the initial diagnoses) I now have 3 official cookbooks that contain none of the things I can't have, including 2 baking/dessert books.  In fact when my first baking book arrived in the mail yesterday (yay), I opened it up expecting to have to go buy yet a whole bunch more weird ingredients and lo and behold I actually already had everything at home.

That moment when I realized I could go home instead of to the grocery store made me smile.


I'll say it again, there is life beyond food allergies.  Even more than life, there is good tasting, good for you food.
Because almost every processed, pre-packaged food out there is off limits to me, my healthy food quotient has gone up, up, up. 
Salads?  Actually craving them. Bread? bah, take it or leave it to be honest.

So what's next? 
Converting my family over to my way of eating.  The kids are willing participants in this endeavor.  I try to warn my husband beforehand if something is made so I can eat it to.  So far, there have been very few fails.  (waffles without any flours didn't work so great, but tasted delicious as a 'pancake' scramble).

And I have stopped panicking.  I no longer stock pile the junk food that I can have.  I feel like I am almost in my new normal cooking place.  I am getting to know which restaurants I can eat at, which brands I can buy and where I can buy them for (more) reasonable prices.  I am beginning to believe that I can live the rest of my life without The Big Three.

I. CAN. DO. THIS.  My new chant.

I have, since that first month, found several brands that cater to people like me.  They even make cookies I can buy in a pre-made packet.  However, these cookies sell for about $5 a box...for 16 small cookies.  A little pricey for me to indulge in too often. And also a pancake mix that I just add water to, but again pricey to buy a package for an entire family.