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11 November 2010

Transit Problems

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...

12 comments:

The Rowdy Chowgirl said...

So glad you're starting to feel better. I'd never heard those particular maladies called transit problems before, but it's the perfect term.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

I'm so glad you're feeling better too and that it isn't anything major. I'm thinking of you and hope you're better soon.
Sam

Stella said...

Hey Kate, you know, it seems like wheat has been so genetically modified that a lot of people just can't tolerate it. I mean, us humans have been modifying that stuff through selection for thousands of years. I bet you would have been able to eat some of the first wheat cultivated in Mesopotamia (smile). It was totally different back then...

Hope you have fun experimenting! I have a feeling you will;)

Kate said...

I am so glad that you are feeling better. All the testing and waiting can certainly cause high anxiety and frustration.

I look forward to your upcoming posts. Take care.

Susan said...

The power is in the knowing... now, move on to a healthier and more flavorful experience. I'm so glad that you've isolated the diet issue and that there was no greater internal problem, Kate! Phew! The stress level must have dropped dramatically! Come back to us stronger and with a new pocket full of recipes!

Linda said...

Missed you Kate...hope you are 100% very soon....Tummy troubles are no fun...I speak from experience.
Feel good!
L~xo

Barbara said...

I'm sorry this has been such a long haul, Kate. But to have anything really life-threatening ruled out is a Godsend.
I have a nephew with celiac sprue disease and know what his mother had to go through. He's an adult now and knows what he can and cannot eat.
Pleased yours may be solved in a simpler way!

Heather Jacobsen said...

You sound a lot like me. I have been gluten-free for 10 years because gluten (wheat) makes me sick sick sick. But I recently got 'glutanimated' accidentally and I thought this would be a good time to take some tests. I had a colonoscopy, an endoscopy an upper GI test, a pelvic ultrasound and blood/DNA test for celiac. Through all this it turns out that I am healthy, I do not have celiac and the doctors think I am crazy! :) But I most definitely have severe reactions to gluten (wheat). I seem to be ok with rye and barely, though. Oats, I think may be problematic, so I just steer clear of them.
In the US I do not fit into any recognized group, but I understand that the UK and Australia would consider me Non-Celiac Gluten-Intolerant (NCGI). At least I fit in somewhere. :)

Fun As We Go said...

Great to hear you are feeling better! I would love to follow that low fiber diet anyway...I would go to every fast food chain and try their french fries not to mention fly to Paris and eat croissants and banquettes all day long!

2 Stews said...

It must be so frustrating to try and chip away at this...or hunt and peck. I hope you get to feeling better soon!

Kitchen Butterfly said...

Hi dear...wow. Didn't realise you'd been down. Bad me. I'm glad you at least know what it is and are looking at it with so much promise....take care and stay well, LOL

Katherine @ NightOwlChef said...

Oh Kate, that sounds like no fun at all! I'm so sorry you've had to deal with that. How does your body deal with organic flour? And unbromated flour? Or do you have a true allergy to wheat? How about sugar - do you have similar problems with that?

At any rate, best of luck and happy experimenting. I know you'll come out of this stronger because I'm a firm believer that a) whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger, and b) there's always a silver lining on even the darkest of clouds.