Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Gluten Free Pantry

Yep, you are actually looking at my pantry. After a long, long, long, prayerful search for what has been causing our Sarah's health issues (belly, gut, and growth related) we have decided to try the non-invasive non-traditional-medicine route. Earlier this year she was tested for Celiac Disease - she had the pint of blood taken and also a small bowel follow through and biopsy. Celiac disease is an auto-immune disorder where the proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye cause your body to turn on itself, destroying the small intestines. Thankfully, she does not have any visible intestinal damage but she had enough lab work elevated just enough to make you go "hmm??" in addition to having one of the main genes for Celiac. We pondered our options all summer and starting in August removed all dairy proteins from her diet. Since we knew she was milk intolerant as a baby we thought this was a good place to start. After two months with minimal changes for her we made the decision go ahead and take the plunge to full blown gluten-free. The decision was solidified when we realized that I also have genes for gluten intolerance AND Celiac and my mother has multiple food allergies including wheat, corn, soy, and rice.

So, Sarah and I are strictly gluten free until at least early January. We're going to give it a three month trial to see if it makes any difference. We've been at it one week and two days. It is a major change but I'm getting the hang of it, slowly. The best part is that I now have a beautifully clean kitchen. It kind of felt like the Jewish Passover when I was cleaning and sweeping my house of all leavening (not to make light in any way of this very holy practice for Jews). Apparently to do it right is a major undertaking where no surface that touches food is left uncleaned. This is just about what I did to make my kitchen "gluten-free". So, the benefit to me is that my drawers, pantry and cabinets are now the cleanest they have been since we moved in (maybe even cleaner). I even had to get rid of a few items that couldn't be assured of being cleaned of all gluten. So, I got the pleasure of replacing some items with brand new. Aside from the cost, it has been fun to shop for cutting boards, colanders, etc... again since I really haven't had the need since we got married 10 years ago. For the record, we're gluten free at home and in the car (have you ever seen a minivan without a whole loaf of bread in crumb form on the floor?) but only Sarah and I adhere to it outside of our house.

The downside is that gluten free flours and packaged products carry a significant premium in price and some are not really good replacements for the old gluten-filled favorites. The upside of that is that were eating more whole and unrefined foods which is better for us anyway!

So, if you will, please pray for us that we receive clear indications of whether this new avoidance diet is beneficial for one or both of us. It is totally ok with me to avoid gluten forever if it means Sarah will be as healthy as God designed her to be.