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Even Justin Trudeau Can’t Compensate For A Life Without Gluten!

logo-gluten_free1I have a wheat allergy, or more accurately, a gluten intolerance. I didn’t know I had an allergy to anything, other than stupid people, until a couple of months ago and, wouldn’t you know, it turns out to be wheat and gluten.

Gluten is a protein composite found in wheat and other grains. It is what gives elasticity to dough and things like bread their chewy texture. You know what else gluten provides?

Flavour!

I didn’t know how much flavour gluten added to things until I started having to eat gluten-free stuff. It’s unbelievable how boring and tasteless things are without gluten. And that isn’t all. For some reason, when you take gluten out of things like bread, it turns them into building products. Some of this stuff is so hard, you could use it to build a foundation for your new garage.

I buy bread now that is made from things like flax and rice (doesn’t that sound enticing?). They have no gluten which means that they have the same texture as cinder blocks. This stuff is so tough that when I tried to make a grilled-cheese sandwich the other day, I couldn’t get the stove hot enough to even tint the bread. It was like trying to grill asbestos.

My grandson has a nut allergy and we have to be very careful because it is a seriously violent allergy that under certain conditions could kill him. Fortunately, nuts are not in most things and as long as we’re careful not to give him things that include or have come in contact with nuts, he’s fine.

Wheat, on the other hand, is like horsemeat in Europe; it’s in everything.

I can’t buy things simply because I like it and it tastes good, the way I have for most of my life. I now have to read the ingredients label which is conveniently written in type so small that even my reading glasses make it almost impossible to see let alone actually read. I almost didn’t buy something the other day because I thought the first ingredient was wheat until Maggie pointed out that the actual word was water.

It turned out to be a moot point. Once I got it home and tried to eat it, my first thought was to wonder if Health Canada knew people were trying to sell construction material as a food product.

Licorice has wheat in it and so does most of the snack food I used to – well – snack on. There’s gluten in pancakes, white bread, whole wheat and multi-grain bread, cupcakes, pies, cakes, French Toast, bagels and pretty much all the processed food in every grocery store in the world.

Gluten is like stupidity; it’s part of the air we breathe.

It also, apparently, is what keeps food affordable. Once you take the gluten out of a loaf of yum yum Kamute bread, the price doubles and the size of the loaf diminishes by half. The slices are the size of a thin piece of cardboard; just not quite as tasty.

I tried toasting corn bread the other day. It was gluten-free and yellow which is not the colour bread is supposed to be. I popped it in05well_gluten-tmagArticle the toaster and let her rip only, it didn’t rip. When it popped up, the bread was still yellow and any resemblance to actual toast was non-existent.

I ramped the toaster’s dials up to ‘burn to a cinder’ and plunged the corn bread back into Hell. A few minutes later, it popped up again. The toaster was exhausted but the bread was unchanged, hard as a rock and suitable for reshingling your roof; especially if you have those nifty Spanish tiles.

You have to be very careful when you’re handling this stuff. If you drop it onto a plate; the plate will break. If you aren’t careful when you eat it, you’ll break a tooth.

If you try to give it to the dog, the dog won’t eat it. You know something is pretty bad when even your dog, who chows down on what he finds in the cat’s litter box and drinks out of the toilet, turns up his nose.

Once the allergy had been established, Maggie took me to an organic health food store that specializes in organic and gluten free products.

It was full of healthy people, all of whom were skinny, all of whom were wearing glasses and all of whom were wearing Birkenstocks (with socks because it’s winter). Like me they they were  miserable because – well – like me. . . .

. . . THEY HAVE NO GLUTEN IN THEIR LIVES!

Gluten is the essence of life. It is what makes eating a peanut butter and banana sandwich fun. It is the secret ingredient that makes Licorice Twizzlers flexible and gives them flavour.

Gluten is a gift from the Gods.

I have no gluten in my life now which means I have no joy either. My taste buds are atrophying and my body is going through withdrawal. I am like a crack addict in rehab only there is no bright future on the other side of kicking my addiction; just a life that is perpetually gluten and flavour free.

I am no longer really living – just going through the  motions.

Fortunately I still am not allergic to meat although trying to toast a steak and putting peanut butter on it isn’t as easy as it sounds nor is it as tasty as toast and peanut butter. I know; I’ve tried it – a peanut butter and jelly steak sandwich doesn’t quite cut it either.

Maggie, bless her heart, suggested that I try substituting fresh fruits and vegetables to replace the things I used to eat that contained gluten. I tried lettuce and peanut butter but that didn’t work out too well;. I couldn’t get the lettuce leafs to sit properly in the toaster.

No matter how tough life gets at times, we always have blessing in our lives. There is always, no matter how small it might be, something to be thankful for. I have discovered that among all of the blessings in my life, the one I most took for granted was gluten.

I guess the old cliché is true. “You don’t know what you got, until you lose it.

Even knowing that Justin Trudeau will win the Liberal Leadership thanks to the adoration of thousands of folks who can still eat wheat cannot make up for the fact that there is no joy in Mudville, not because the Mighty Casey struck out but because there is no gluten in my life anymore.

The only thing that might possible cheer me up is if I develop  an allergy to salad.

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© 2013 Maggie’s Bear
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  • Louise

    Where there is a will, there is a way! Try: chocolate, ice cream, chocolate haystack cookies, Rice Krispie squares. Rice crackers are a good substitute for other crackers and I sometimes use them in place of bread with something else. Gluten free stuff is awful. I choose to go without than substitute. I also read that if your allergy is not life threatening or a disease like celiac, I you should be able to eat the food once every five days without an ill effect. After four days its out of your system. I am able to eat pasta once a week without any problems. It’s enough to satisfy my craving for my favourite food. In the meantime I have replaced most snacks with fruit that’s easy to grab or pack in a lunch. Good luck on your journey!

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      I have tried some of the things you suggest including Rice Krispies which I actually like. I am also fortunate enough that I can, as you suggest, have a bit of gluten ie; pasta every now and then with a week to ten days in between portions. The Italian white rice bread isn’t bad toasted so that’s starting to make up for the loss of toast and peanut butter but….you can keep those rice crackers. I’ve tried ‘em. It’s like eating poker chips.

  • http://www.lagodny.seks.naklo.pl/artykul-14601/Nieruchomosci_w_miastach.html Charlie O’Doherty

    Of course, what a fantastic blog and revealing posts, I will bookmark your site.All the Best!.See

  • Peggy

    Thank you Bear. I have a ton of food allergies but not severe ones so I do indulge in my allergy foods (chocolate, nuts, wine, beer, alcohol etc etc) on occasion. I have arthritis but I do not want to know that a gluten free diet might help. I like my whole wheat, full grain, extra dark bread. My daughters know the kind I like, it has a few pebbles in it.

  • Greenleaf

    My husband and I have been wheat & gluten free for almost 2 years. We read the book “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis:
    http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/.
    We lost 20 lbs, and feel so much better. We are fortunate to have a Gluten Free Store close by, and when I buy the bread, I freeze it, and thaw it out 20 seconds in the micro, softens it right up. Also a good web site is:
    http://www.sandisallergyfreerecipes.com/she has some very good recipes.

  • james

    My son is a celiac so I know all about this now. The thing that I’ve come to learn is that basically all the products that replace your old gluten rich foods should really just be avoided altogether anyway. It’s all junk, all of it. On top of that a lot of products which claim to be gluten free are made in factories where gluten products are made. The slightest bit of cross contamination will make my son sick.

  • Ann Stampfer

    Dont know if you have heard of these people. They will send products to you, I understand. And have heard that the stuff is not too bad – http://consumer.kinnikinnick.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/consumer.home.html

    Take care.

  • http://nowebsite Valerie Walker

    You made my day. I laughed so much! I am a self-diagnosed gluten allergy sufferer, and went gluten-free about six weeks ago when I found I had gallstones. I now have no indigestion, have lost weight and feel better. I am going on holiday in a few months to Italy and the U.K and hope I won’t have to starve! I have found a bread which is tolerable – udal wholegrain – main ingredients brown rice flour/tapioca starch among many other things. Good luck.

    • AlbertaGrl

      Where did you find the bread…I am not a huge bread eater, but sometimes a sandwich is what I really want! Or toast! I am in my infancy in trying to find things that taste good. We have to feel like eating is enjoyable, after all!

      • http://abearsrant.com thebear

        I found the corn bread at my local IGA in the organic section. They also have gluten-free (flavour-free) chocolate chip cookies, crackers and other unidentifiable stuff. For the hard-core gluten-free bread, I went to a health food store. They sell all kinds of breads including breads made from rice flour, spelt, kamute, flax seed and fiberglass.

        • AlbertaGrl

          BWHAHAHAHA…fibreglass! too funny and oh so true!

      • http://nowebsite Valerie Walker

        Sobeys and GOOD health stores. Google http://www.udisglutenfree.com

        • AlbertaGrl

          THANKS!

  • Glen

    My wife went gluten free a few years ago, when she figured out what the Dr’s had not, that she had celiac disease and it was causing swelling in her ankles & legs. She also suffers from UC so she found going wheat/gluten free made her feel better overall. I also work with a guy that is ceilac, said he spent most of his life not know what was wrong until a temporary Dr in his town figured it out.

    Our kids still eat bread etc. for sandwiches, but I have more or less joined her so she’s not cooking separate meals for herself, and to tell you the truth I don’t really even notice. We use rice or quinoa pasta now (mostly quinoa) and don’t even notice the difference. I’ve never been a big bread or pastry eater either, and I’m also one of those “eat to live, not live to eat” people so I haven’t really found it that big of an adjustment for me.

    There is some gluten free english muffinish looking things in the frozen section at sobeys my wife says tastes pretty good, and the guy I work with says the premixed bread mix that Extra Foods carries is quite palatable, and actually pretty good when right out of the oven.

    I’d find going without beer the toughest, but my wife prefers wine and when she does crave a beer I bought some gluten free beer, and apparently Corona is so low in gluten that a lot of ceilac sufferers can tolerate it.

  • Not Snarky

    I enjoy your blog and hope you won’t take this the wrong way. Your posts are well worded and well expressed but your use of the phrase “mute point” is incorrect. A small slip like that would give our intellectual betters on the left another excuse to disregard the opinions of the commoners. Keep writing!

    http://languagerules.wordpress.com/2006/09/25/moot-point-not-mute-point/

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      I really am going to have to stop writing these things in the middle of the night. You’re absolutely correct. It should be “moot” point. And for the record, I never take suggestions to improve my blog or correct my spelling and grammar personally. I got used to it by the time I hit high school. I don’t think I had an English teacher throughout my academic career that didn’t correct something after first rolling up their eyes at my creative use of how things should be spelled. Even Spellcheck has pretty much given up on me. I was in my late twenties and working as a copywriter before I finally learned how to spell “separate” correctly. It used to drive my boss to distraction.

      The bottom line is that I appreciate your support, so feel free to point out any mistakes you find.

  • http://bibotv.com/show/kourtney-and-kim-take-miami watch stream

    nice article !

  • AlbertaGrl

    OMG…tears are running down my face and my stomach hurts from laughing! I laugh because I too have tried to go gluten free to see if it helps my Rheumatoid Arthritis. EVERYTHING you say about gluten products vs their supposed substitutions is true….and so funny!

    How did you determine you had a wheat sensitivity. I think I need to find someone to tell me for sure because it is far too confusing..and boring…and not tasty..to do it on my own! I keep hearing from friends who are gluten free telling me about all these delicious foods they eat..sorry, I don’t see it. Maybe they’ve been off gluten for so long, they’ve forgotten how damned good it is?

    Thank you for the wonderful, hilarious look into your life without gluten!

    • http://abearsrant.com thebear

      Like you, I have arthritis. In fact, I have it so completely, I can forecast the weather more accurately the the local weather reports. I’ve always had some sort of pain but about a year ago, it got really bad and other things started happening. I started putting on weight all of a sudden without having changed my diet or eating habits, my sleep pattern was disrupted and I was having trouble walking. My back used to burn it hurt so bad. I was driving Maggie into town awhile back and heard a doctor on the radio talking about wheat allergies. Most of the symptoms he described were the symptoms I was experiencing; so I did some additional research including talking to a friend who has been dealing with a gluten allergy most of her life.

      The bottom line was that everything I was experiencing seemed to be everything I was reading or hearing so I started experimenting by removing things from my diet. Once I stopped eating gluten, my joints stopped stiffening up the way they had although it isn’t completely gone, I started losing weight and I sleep better. If I cheat and have something with gluten in it, the issues come flying back in a rush.

      There is a lot of information online from reliable resources. I’m sure you’ll find everything you need to know with only a minimum of effort.

      • AlbertaGrl

        Thanks..I decided to try gluten free right when I was taken off the prednisone, which had been amazing at getting the excrutiating pain I was in down to a tolerable level. Didn’t notice really any difference in not having gluten. Then I started having it again and now my pain is definitely more. So I am thinking maybe it was helping. Now I am thining I need to start all over again. I Hope it isn’t an indication that the other two meds I am on are not working well.

        I will definitely do more research and appreciate all the other posters info. Maybe we need a link on your blog for great gluten free products and sources on your blog! hint, hint

    • http://rodcroskery.wordpress.com Rod in Forfar

      We could probably build a helicopter entirely out of wood if we set our minds to it. It wouldn’t be very good and would cost a fortune, and probably isn’t worth the effort.

      To my mind the same principle applies to gluten-free bread.

      BTW: my ENT (ears) specialist put me onto TECTA, and now I can eat most things, including a bit of gluten. You might want to have a look at the stomach medication.

      • http://abearsrant.com thebear

        Not to put too fine a point on it but I believe you could probably build an F-35 out of gluten-free bread. It would take more than a surface to air missle to crack that stuff.

        • RunningWithTheWolves

          Bear! What a great read! I too have a Gluten Intolerence. I was diagnosed almost 20 years ago and can totally relate to what you have spoken about in your column. It has made like interesting to say the least! The day I was diagnosed my doctor told me it might make life easier to cook and eat if I where to put the whole family on a gluten free diet! This idea lasted 24 hours when my family members set up a mini revolution and protest in the kitchen! I often cook separate meals, one for me and one for “them!”

          There is some Russian heritage in our family and I have read that it is more common in this nationality than others. For albertagirl1 a bloodtest or endoscopy are ways doctors use to diagnose. Also if you have been diagnosed by a professional you can claim a certain small percentage of your gluten free products on your income tax if you have receipts.

          One good point I can think about being Gluten Intolerant is that most times, no one steals my food supply out of the pantry! Thanks for the laugh to day bear!