Sunday, May 07, 2006

Gluten: You had to know I'd get to it!

For those who don't know, my son (who was born very healthy), from the age of two weeks to three years, was very ill and not growing as quickly as he should have been. He also seemed to cry a lot and could not be consoled. It seemed he was exhausted but could not sleep properly. He also seemed to have some vague type of seizure disorder where, when he cried, he would get 'stuck' in an exhale and couldn't inhale again until he passed out, which of course put him under constant threat of a concussion because he was crying so often. He had heart tests, lung tests, blood tests, cystic fibrosis testing, etc. Yet no specialist could figure out what to do with him.

Finally after two years, our pediatrician came back from a convention and said, "I think he has celiac disease." She promptly sent us to the local pediatric gastroenterologist who looked at him and after a cursory visual check deemed him not to have celiac disease. I did not know, at the time, that it is not possible to tell if a person has cd just by looking at them... and so I went home, relieved that cd had been ruled out.

So another year passed and he just seemed to be getting worse and worse. However, after the suggestion of cd, a bug had been put in my brain that maybe we should eliminate all food as an issue. I did not act on it until I came across a book in the library called "Breaking the Vicious Cycle", by Elaine Gottschall. The book was in the wrong section of the library which leads me to believe that God, the Goddess, our angels, Buddha... or some higher entity, made sure that I found the information to improve, not just my son's life, but the lives of every individual in my family! Anyway, finding this book was the motivator that brought us to the decision to try an elimination diet to rule out food as an issue.

Honestly we did not expect any improvement at all. We just wanted to be able to say that we had done it, and done it well. Well, in four days we had a brand new child who was happy and carefree and without bowel issues for the first time in three years. Our pediatrician subsequently sent us 3 hours away to a pediatric gastroenterologist who specializes in celiac disease who has since deemed my son as Celiac based on the outcome of the diet.

What's more? Well, I lost my lifetime worth of daily headaches (sometimes very brutal), and my daughter and my partner were no longer fatigued (among other more private functions that I don't have permission to divulge). None of us wanted to go back to eating gluten because we liked feeling better and didn't want to go back to feeling so crumby (hah).

Well, after watching my son get so much better (No more doctor/hospital visits for 3 years!), our diet is becoming more strict all the time (no gluten, limited grain, no cow dairy, etc.). The dichotomy is that it is also expanding at the same time. (Hooray!)

Now we eat squash, all kinds of squash. Squash was something I never cared for before but now I have found that you don't just eat it plain, you actually do stuff with it and it tastes good! I use it to make pizza dough and tea bread (among other things).

The same goes for goat dairy (all kinds), buckwheat (not really 'wheat'), eggplant, beets, avocado, parsnips, turnips, cabbage, berries, apples, pears, and on and on.

These things have all increased in our diets so that we are eating a more varied diet than we were when we could take the easy way out and just bulk ourselves up with grain.

So when someone tells you their diet is extremely limited... you should really take it with a grain of sea salt... here in... The Gray Zone.

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