Indigestion. Heartburn. Nausea. Insomnia. Headaches. Stomach cramps. (I'll stop there) Welcome to my world. For the past few months I've been having a lot of problems with indigestion and with what in French we call le transit.
Needless to say, I haven't been cooking a lot of new and exciting things. I've just been trying to 'deal with' some pretty bland and uninteresting food. And we've been doing a lot of tests to figure out what the problem is. Or what the problems are.
The initial tests were inconclusive. So we did some more. I suspected an old foe, wheat. I stopped eating wheat and after a few weeks about 80% of my problems went away. But some were still there, so we did some more tests. Finally, last week we did the BIG test. Ew. Let's just say that we had a good look at everything. The good news is that the big bad stuff is ruled out. So we're just continuing.
The reason that I'm telling you this is that in the week before the 'ew' test, I had an interesting insight. It had to do with the special diet that I had to follow before the test. Basically, it consisted of eating only foods with no dietary fiber―or veryvery low fiber. Now, this is just the opposite of what I normally do. Like many people, Dan and I eat whole grains, lots of veggies, as much fiber as we can stuff into our diets. During the week of this diet I ate wheat for the first time in several months.
I took one look at the list of foods I could eat on this diet, and I'm here to tell you that it looked like a vacation from healthy eating: white bread, white rice, croissants, potatoes, tender meat, no fruit, no vegetables. OKAY, I thought, I can do this. Croissants, check! potatoes, check! Fries, check! I even got up early twice to make biscuits for breakfast. I don't mean the crunchy British biscuits (which I call cookies), I mean good ol' honest-to-goodness south-of-the-mason-dixon-line baking powder biscuits. Oh, man were they good. Hot from the oven with butter melting in them and a little honey drizzled over...
The first day that I ate wheat again was no problem. The second day I felt sort of tired, washed out and just not quite right. The third day I noticed that right after I ate a slug of wheat I felt like I had a surge of adrenalin: my heart was pounding and I felt very jumpy. I felt angry, and I found myself looking for something to be angry about. I was wound up and just looking for a target. Luckily Dan wasn't home! I finally realized that it was the wheat that had done this. It's amazing what food can do to out emotions.
Among all the tests we had done was a blood test for celiac disease. Celiac disease comes from the body's inability to deal with gluten, one of the proteins in many grains. This test came back negative. My problem is not gluten, it's wheat. I can eat other gluten grains; rye especially is one that I enjoy often. 100% rye bread is readily available this close to Germany.
This is a problem I have dealt with before. The first time around I set out to discover the foods that I COULD eat, rather than dwell on the ones I couldn't. There were some gifts in this process for me―this is when I discovered risotto and polenta, two things that we eat often now. Here's hoping that there are still some things to be discovered out there. I know I'll be looking for them!
I'm actually looking forward to exploring baking without wheat. There are some wonderful things written by those who have dealt with the same problem, and it's going to be fun to see what I can come up with.
So, my transit strike seems to be over and I'm still here. I'm starting to feel human again, and I should be playing with my food again soon. Hang around. I have a couple of things up my sleeve...