About eight months ago, my then 10 year old daughter, had a bad night feeling ill. She had abdominal pain, shivering, clamminess, headache, dry mouth, backache and aching joints. We had no idea what was wrong with her. She climbed into bed with us and eventually slept.
We'd been away at the beach that week so a trip to the Doc on our return was in order. In the meantime, I followed my Maternal Instincts and removed anything in her diet that could have triggered the odd reaction. She'd always been a bit funny, getting hives for no reason we could ascertain, tummy troubles (but nothing severe enough to warrant concern), headachey and so on...all of which we just put down to pre-adolescent hormonal issues, or when she was smaller, simply childhood fussiness.
He took one look at her and asked if we knew anything about Coeliac Disease. She presents as extremely slender for her age and height and all of the symptoms we mentioned were consistent with Coeliac Disease.
She had the initial blood test, and strangely, it came back negative. However, the Doc suggested that as he knew she'd been on a gluten and dairy limited diet (and was feeling considerably better), that it might be wise to consult a dietitian regarding a gluten free diet plan.
Now, I'm pretty savvy about these things, so I swung into action. She wasn't 'coeliac' so didn't require the careful monitoring of foodstuffs that this entails. She was simply 'gluten sensitive', so we'd eliminate ALL the usual suspects, and all would be well. Hey...we'd even reintroduce gluten products over time to see if she could build up a natural resistance.
Any reintroduction of bread or pasta...her favourites...would result in overwhelming fatigue, fuzzy headedness, and tummy and back pain. We kidded ourselves that it was everything else BUT the gluten because it's just so much darned easier.
In the end, after another nasty reaction where she suffered back and abdo pain and was running hot and cold and clammy and faint, we decided enough is enough.
Not only is she going gluten free, but so are her Dad and I. After all, Coeliac Disease is genetic, so maybe he and I are gluten intolerant as well.
Two days of being gluten free and she is bouncing and back to her 'old' self. I feel more energetic and don't have the 3 o'clock fatigue that's always plagued me. I am thinking clearly and more able to concentrate on more than one thing at a time, which as you all know is practically a pre-requisite for Motherhood. And strangely (or perhaps not so), a niggly and sometimes debilitating pain in my right side, which I'd always put down to Gallstones, has all but disappeared. DH is much the same, or so he says...he's such a cynic. Just give it a few days and he'll be singing a different song.
So here's my aim.
Having read copious material on Gluten Free living and eating, I've decided that our plan of attack will not be to try recreating our favourite Gluten laden meals with flours and substances unfamiliar to us...although there's nothing wrong with that, and I may yet declare a defeat with my strategy and revert to that.
Instead, I will try to create meals and treats that don't rely on flour or flour substitutes as much as possible. I'll incorporate more fresh veg and fruit into our diet, which in itself can't hurt, and utilize seasonal produce and imagination to replicate our previous wheat and flour filled menues.