Ooof you guys know full and well the last two weeks have been super tough on me. It truly and completely felt like my body was giving out and this was the end of me. I look and feel/felt like I got hit by a truck. I was doing so well on all fruit and juice. Even Alex was like, “You were even speaking faster. You could see the energy in you!” I was feeling good and better. But I don’t want to live on juice, naturally. So I decided to have a bit of cooked food. No big deal. I noticed I felt better eating just fruit, but I didn’t feel bad eating something cooked.

Then the next day we went to Miami for a family day. We had a great time. And I ate all the things. We went to two restaurants. I had two meals and a desert. I ate things that most would consider beyond healthy– gluten free pizza, a bun-less veggie burger, fries (okay, fries aren’t healthy, but whatever), and a coconut pudding dessert. You know, I wanted to go out and feel like a *normal* person. Fair enough, right?

I woke up the next day feeling like I had a hangover. It’s funny (or not) that I haven’t had alcohol in over a year (IMU tequila), but I wake up with hangover like feelings still. I’m not completely sure– but I may or may not have nuts on our Miami day. I didn’t ask. Because I didn’t want to ask. I didn’t want to be a pain. I thought, “It’s fine. My body is healing, I can handle small things in moderation. I don’t want to obsess. I want to just be.” Well, I didn’t obsess. I just was… and the next day I felt hung over.

That evening, Marlowe asked to make brownies. And so we did. We’ve made a low-fat, gluten free vegan recipe we found off the internet. Well, a modified version of this brownie recipe. We enjoy it. It’s not exactly the same as a real, fatty brownie, but its good and certainly does the trick. And that night I decided: I should go back to all raw. Or mostly raw. And maybe I shouldn’t eat all the things.

But first: a brownie. Or ten. Really, the entire (small) tray, except for three. Was can I say, I’m an all or nothing kind of person. (Don’t give me a bag of chips and expect some). And you know what happened each day after eating these brownies? Major bathroom visits. (TMI? Sorry. My life is TMI after c. diff). And I thought, *hmm that’s weird. Maybe my body is just acting up from the possible nuts I ate in Miami. These brownies have never been a problem. Will detox again soon*.

Expect my stomach flared. My colon swelled up as large as it can go again. My “fibromyalgia” symptoms all returned. Sharp shooting pains throughout my body. And even shingle pains too. Blinding headaches. Sensitivity to light. I feel like my body is giving out. Just breaking. I’ve had the shingles stuff on and off and for the last two years. And the bloating that I sometimes just can’t pinpoint. But these seemed to come basically out of no where. I was in pain and devastated. (I’m still in pain. Still devastated).

And then one night Marlowe requested mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy. I had made it earlier in the week with oat flour instead of AP flour. 1. because it’s what we had. and 2. because I could eat a bit too. But as I was making gravy for the second time this week, I looked down at the oat flour bag. And you know what I noticed? We bought the bag because it was organic. But no where on the bag did it say gluten free.

 

Now this would have never been a big deal before. But apparently now, it is. It really is. I looked at the bag and realized why my stomach flared after each day (multiple days) of eating supposedly gluten free brownies. We’ve made them before with no problem, but we’re never consistent on what brand /type of oats we buy. It depends on if we can find them in bulk, what country we’re in/ etc. But now, because of c. diff. I am now that person who cannot tolerate and bit of gluten. Not a drop.

Now, if you’ve read my blog since before I got c. diff, you know that this is an intense shift. I live with a baker. Well, he hasn’t baked in a long time. And hopefully that’s not because of me, but it probably is. I used to eat sourdough daily. And tell me if I’m wrong, but I think most of you guys can agree, I started “things on toast” long before the toast craze took stage in the social media world. I would honestly be impressed if someone shows me a things on toast post or even an avocado toast post that took place before my first one.

A quarter of my cookbook involves gluten. A quarter of my life involved gluten. And now here I am. I’ve been gluten free since c. diff. I took out or lessened anything and everything that could cause inflammation. And I knew gluten was unfortunately a big one. So I took it out. But I thought maybe I didn’t have to be obsessive with it. I thought maybe avoiding obvious gluten foods would be enough. But no.

This whole incident was an awakening to different moments that I thought were possible triggers. They were confirmed. In Mexico? I did pretty well. Until right before our road trip. What happened in Mexico? We went to a restaurant that we ate at often. They had “oat waffles” on the menu. We asked, “are they gluten free?” and the waitress said, “no, they’re made with oats” and I thought, well, it should be fine. It’s just oats. Right? Wrong. My stomach flared. And I was in denial. I thought, there’s no way. Maybe something else I ate. But now, it makes sense. Oats. No matter how little, oats have gluten.

I mean, unless they’re certified gluten-free oats, they have gluten. And as much as I want to be in denial about it, it’s enough gluten to severely trigger me. I have been down and out for TWO weeks because of an accidental gluten incident. I gluten-ed myself — and not just once. But multiple times that week. Gosh, how stupid.

But I guess the good news is, now I know for certain. And every pain in my ribs, feet, hands, and stomach is a reminder, that while I don’t want to obsess or be an inconvenience to other people I’m eating with (or to people serving me at restaurants)– I need to be aware, read for myself, and ask. If I don’t, I’m self sabotaging. And that’s not okay.

this is a picture of cake, I can’t find the picture of waffles.

Alex feels bad. This is the second time he has bought something that I’ve eaten it and got sick by. He didn’t check the label. But I remind him, neither did I. While I obviously would prefer that he is on alert from when he shops, I need to be on alert too. I can’t depend on him or anyone else to be the food guard of what goes in or stays out of my stomach. I need to do it.

I thought maybe one day I could work bits of gluten into my life if I wanted too– which to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to, but I would have liked the choice. Now I’m not sure that’ll happen at all. Which at this point, I guess I’m fine with. I gave up so many things. And gluten is just one of them. (I really miss you tequila).

Every bone in my body aches, honestly, as I sit here typing, I’m asking myself, “shouldn’t you be in bed? You’re falling over.” I should be in bed. My body literally feels like it’s breaking into itself. And my colon is pressing against both my ribs and my lungs– so much so that I feel like I’m running out of air… again. Every time my body crashes I’m reminded that my life has been forever shortened due to illness. And I can choose to make choices that’ll worsen my future or better it. And so, while I’m completely and totally devastated that my body  has crashed, I keep pushing forward. I don’t really have another option. Give up or move forward. And so still, everyday, I’m doing my best.

So a warning to people in my life: I will now be one of those super anal “is this gluten free?” people– but hey,  I’m doing my best, right? Cool.

 

ps. it’s tuesday night as I finish this post up and schedule in my system. We’re heading off to Key West for a few days. I still feel like death, but it’s been two weeks of feeling like crap and I can’t be contained any longer. Hoping some sunshine and relaxation away will do the trick. Stay tuned for part two of my “how do you make money blogging?” post coming up next! I hope you’re well friends! Take care of yourself! You only got one body over there!

18 Comments

  1. Oh god. I am so sorry Drea. I want more than almost anything for you to be healthy again. 🙁

  2. That really sucks. I know that even if oats are certified gluten free, even without the forever some people and coeliacs still are triggered by them. You probably already know that but I thought it worth mentioning in case it’s all oats (which would suck).

    • I used to eat oats like it was my job when I first got sick. I don’t eat them regularly anymore (raw fruit/msmoothie bowls took over) but I am curious (and scared) to see what would happen if I had it.

  3. I am sorry for you I have Celiac for 8yrs now. I am 100% gluten free,house dogs ect. Still suffer just like you said in your article. I cook gluten free spend a small fortune on food and personel gluten free items. I did notice when I bake love brownies all gluten free I am sick. Just started to track everything all that I eat in a day. And belive me it isn’t much. Now oats are tricky they say gluten free but not all. I now use only Andrew Lessman oats and bran for baking and just ceral. No gluten all pure. I travel and each time a nightmare I am so scared of bei g sick. This diease ruined my life for sure. The Drs themsekves don’t have answers. They say go gluten free eati g that’s bull because gluten is in everything. Yoga heps me and reflexology. I hope you feel better. GOD Bless

    • Can you eat corn? I’ve learned that I def. cant. I thought it would just be an American grown corn thing but then I had real corn in colombia and got sick there too. We dont eat much GF products here. Well, rice pasta all the time, but not much else. It’s not that we avoid it (we def use it for some occasions), but its just not common. I’m supppperrr nervous bout my upcoming trips. I got sick in france from gluten last time. But in France’s defense— I knowingly ate the gluten, thinking it would be fine. It wasn’t. Basically, I need to stop taking chances when I travel, heh.
      I def. need to get into regular yoga again. Turn my mind off and turn into positive body work. I keep saying I will and then dont. It needs to change.

  4. Hannah Cotan

    I have all of the feelings reading this: the hangover symptoms (inflammation), the not wanting to be that person, the defeated feeling when you’ve been feeling good for so long and then something happens and you’re down for two weeks, all of it. It really does suck. So sorry you’re in the middle of it. I’m sure you know this already, but ginger is a life saver when I need to reduce my inflammation (I’m sure turmeric is just as good but I like ginger better). I’ve been healing for two weeks as well, although I don’t know if mine was travel stress or some food exposure.

    I think the hardest thing for me is when people really want to cook for me, and I have to just start saying no, because I don’t know if they’ve cleaned their countertops and dishes and what spices they’ve used (because lots of generic spices have gluten to prevent caking).

    I hope that you heal quickly! Have some ginger-turmeric tea!

    • I put so much ginger in my juice! And turmeric when I find it at the market (I need to grow it again at 15$ a pounds its pricey!). I was avoiding proboitics this month for fear of sibo– but then I said, f*uck it and added them back in– and I think they helped speed things up and out.

      And yeah thats tough! I had to turn down two different events this month because they were dinner events and I’m just tired of listing my restrictions 🙁

  5. I feel your pain, I get sick from food all the time and often have no idea what triggered it. Is it possible that you just shocked your system after eating only fruit and juice for a time, then “over-doing it” on eating out / the brownies in such a short period? I know, even when I eat things I am not sensitive to, but I eat too much, or maybe I have been cutting dairy out for a month, then eat dairy, I often get sick. The body gets used to patterns of eating, and when you introduce things too quickly when you have been abstaining, it makes sense that the system just gets overloaded. It sounds like you may be making this worse by skipping from extreme, limited diet to diet, instead of allowing your body to process and get used to a variety of foods. I understand your concerns, but sometimes abstaining in the extreme makes us way more sensitive.

    • I dont think so– I mean it’s possible! But I hadn’t been juicing/fruit eating that long. Also, I typically eat basically only fruit until dinner, when I eat cooked food so it wasn’t a supperrrr drastic change. But who knows, the body is tricky and its totally possible!

  6. Sorry to hear this happened. I agree you can’t depend on anyone to watch your gluten intake (hard when family doesn’t have the problem). My niece is 9 and is Dairy & gluten intolerant, she’s amazing asks when out takes her own foods very smart she says if in doubt don’t eat it. Feel better soon.

    • Thats so good of her! Marlowe will totally ask if things are vegan 🙂 I’ve gotten better about it but its still so hard to not want to inconvenience people!

  7. Oh I relate to this so much! I had all sorts of allergies as a kid and I grew up mostly ignoring them and dealing with upset stomachs and terrible asthma and joint pain. It turns out that the older I get, the more I need to listen to my body when it comes to food. I’ve followed a gluten-free diet since 2010 and just last week I got glutened by some food I ate out. It’s really no fun. I also get the hangover feelings from refined sugar as well and so have had to cut out that too which is good for me but sometimes I just want to eat some vegan candy or chocolate and that’s had to go too.

    • See I’m the opposite. The only allergy I had was dairy. Other than that I literally ate complete garbage with no problems growing up. Then WAM it hit me. So I got lucky in the sense that I didn’t have to worry about it most of my life. But I’m figuring it alll out now :/ For chocolate– why dont you do a smoothie with cocoa powder! You can use super ripe bananas and maybe maple syrup or dates to sweeten <3

  8. Oh man, this is so rough, I’m sorry that happened, Drea! I can completely relate to Alex though, as someone who is married to a celiac you can feel so terrible if you miss the fact that something isn’t 100% GF. Unfortunately my husband usually only starts to feel bad about a week after he’s been glutened so it can be very hard to pin-point where it originated from. As much as your glutening sucks I’m glad you found out the source. Oh, and I’m all for you writing another cookbook; a vegan, gluten free one! 🙂

    • Thats interesting! I wonder why the response time is so long? Typically for me it’s about 12 hours or so (when food hits my colon) when I can start to feel the affects of what I ate. Well, thats lie, when I eat food thats heavy for me, my nose starts running, but thats sort of different. Cause my nose can get runny and I can feel super tired– but that doesn’t mean I’ll be knocked out– just that my body doesn’t agree and digestion will be harder. SO tough!

      And I’ve totally been on the fence about writing a second book! I’d love to. Something far more natural and simple. But it’s just SO much work!

  9. Man. I’m so sorry that happened. It truly sucks. I’m always amazed at how you are able to adapt so well when ypur body needs it. This is something that so many people struggle with, myself included. Denial is hard.