Sunday, August 14, 2011

A New Kind of Normal

pizza dough, rising on the counter
When Ashley first was diagnosed with her food allergies back during the winter, I remember how relieved I was that it was only soy and nuts. I still recall how hard it was those first weeks when we would go grocery shopping, and realize how much of the food supply contains soy, or is manufactured on shared equipment with nuts and/or soy. We adapted, and over came, and as a result, do more of our own cooking at home. We did a lot of home cooking to start with, but now we rely on a lot less processed foods, which has been such a blessing in disguise. I have always enjoyed cooking, and as a result of all this, we have tried some pretty delicious recipes and discovered great new products, such as Back to Nature crackers.

quinoa crust, fresh out of the oven waiting for toppings
One of the things I was most grateful for, at the time, was that gluten wasn't an issue we had to deal with. A few months after she was diagnosed, I began the long trip down the road to discovering why I felt so crummy all the time. I started out with an elimination diet, and for a while, I felt amazing. Slowly I added back in all the foods I had cut out, and sure enough.. eventually I started to feel unwell again. My headaches came back, my stomach became bloated and swollen and felt what I can only describe as "icky". It wasn't an allergy, so it didn't crop up right away, and as a result I couldn't nail it down. After months of trial and error.. it turns out that my arch nemesis is gluten. I was tested for Celiac Disease, which fortunately I do not have, but I do have what they call Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance. Which means it's not a wheat allergy, and it's not an auto immune disorder that is attacking my intestines (Celiac), but my body can't tolerate gluten.

one of these pizza's is doing it's own thing....
It's one of those discoveries that is heartbreaking and relieving all at the same time. I am so relieved that I have figured out the cause, because now that I have cut gluten back out of my diet, I feel so much better again. But.. gluten... oh gluten. It's no secret that I love bread. I love to bake it, I love the smell of it warm out of the oven or bread machine, and I love to eat it with butter melting into the open air pockets. Not having traditional bread/pasta/wheat products has been heartbreaking. On top of that, it's like starting over again after having already had to come up with a new "normal." Except this time, it's harder. When I was making my grocery list on Friday, Corey asked if we could have pizza for dinner on Sunday, and I agreed. He's been gone all summer, and it's one of his most favorite foods. I figured I'd just have something else instead, and was OK with that too. I'm not about to overhaul  the eating habits of the whole family again, when I can adapt to suit my needs.

On Saturday, I found a recipe online for pizza crust made out of Quinoa, which I just happened to have in my pantry. I figured I'd try it, because worst case, it was awful and I would stick with my original plan. As luck would have it, it was wonderful. You can't go into gluten free eating expecting food to taste like a substitution for wheat products, because there isn't one. I think this is the area most people struggle with. Gluten free bread will never taste like regular bread because it can't. It is not made of the same ingredients. I went into my pizza experience excited about trying something new, and I was not disappointed. It was sooooooooooooooooooooo good. I can't even tell you how good it was, because you would have to try it for yourself to believe me. It was chewy, and delicious and because there wasn't that "doughy crust" you often get with regular pizza, especially if you make your own dough... the ingredients I put on top really got to shine. It was awesome and I'm looking forward to having again. The Boy™ tried a piece, declared he liked it better than regular pizza, and then had another piece, after having already had the regular kind. In fact, he liked it so much, he took the leftovers to work today for lunch. That is saying something.

1 comment:

ktb38 said...

I'm so glad you found out what was wrong! It's hard adjusting, but trust me, you do feel better not eating all the processed crap.