Saturday, September 18, 2010

I highly recommend NOT getting a wheat allergy

GOD this sucks.

I hate being grouped in with all the trendy people jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon.  You do it because it is trendy.  I do it because if I don't, the damned skin rash on my hands will come back and I don't like waking up at 3AM just to itch my fingers.  And my issue is not gluten (thank God, I'd be even unhappier if I had to give up beer right now) is just wheat.

I'm not missing the bread all too much, and I have discovered that some non-wheat pasta is OK.

I've learned that Rice Crispys make a very nice breadcrumb-like coating.

I've learned I'll react to french fries that are cooked in the same oil as onion rings, pizza puffs and other things with flour.

I've learned I can't trust that the chicken rice soup and the spanish rice served in the cafeteria in our building at work apparently have flour in them.  Yay.

I've learned I can't eat any traditional condensed soup, even when used as part of a recipe.

I've learned that when offered the choice between gluten-free frozen pizza and a slab of cardboard... eat the cardboard.

Did you know Taco Bell uses wheat in both their taco shells AND their beef?

Did you know most fast food chicken - even in non-fried form - contains wheat and/or gluten?

"No wheat" is also a problem when you're headed off to a party - no pasta, no bread, no pizza, no fried chicken, no crackers... which is some pretty unfortunate karmic payback on me, since I usually try to even make stuff that is vegetarian-friendly when I'm bringing food to a party where I know there will be vegetarians.

Grocery shopping is taking twice as long now, since I have to read product labels on half the things I buy.

On the plus side... I've lost ten pounds in the past month.  It's pretty easy to do when you're afraid of eating anything that doesn't come with a product label.  And yes, I do mean afraid.  I don't want that painful rash back.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


August was an interesting month around here.

There was all the hand pain.  The very, very bad hand pain.

Then the itching started. The kind of itching that would wake up up at 3am to scratch it, on my fingers.

Along with many very easy dinners that didn't require much knife skills, I decided that one thing I should do was cut down on all the fluffy white carbs.  I did a lot of whole-wheat tortila wraps for lunches.

And my hands got a little better.

Then I figured Hey... if I'm already going the high-fiber bread product route, I might as well take a go at the South Beach diet.

One week without any wheat flour and my hands were vastly improved.  Then I ate white fluffy bread again, and the pain, itching and lovely skin rash broke out.

I went to see the doc.  His conclusion?  Lay off the wheat and apply some prescription cream to the hands.

So... apparently, I am off wheat for awhile.

And did you know wheat is in EVERYTHING???

Seriously... it is.  As I am finding out.

But I have learned some things.

A mixture of one part cornstarch to two parts rice flour gives you a very nice thickener for white sauce, very close to wheat flour.  Those are scallops in a very mish-mashed "Scallops Newburg" that I threw together one night.

And I love socca/farinata.  I just learned that one tonight.

It's basically a chickpea flour flatbread.  The stores I shop at have *very* good selection of Indian foods, so chickpea flour was easy to find and cheap as all get-out.  I finally tried a recipe for it tonight in hopes I would have something remotely bread-like to wrap around a grilled brat.  I mixed it up when I got home and let it sit until I was ready to throw it into the oven.

I think a mixture of less water (thicker) would be nice if I want something pankcake-like in texture.  More water will give a thinner batter and should turn out crispier.  But in any case... the fluffier bits were as good as the crispy bits in this stuff.  I look forward to making it again in the future.

In any case... I am off wheat and I have turned into one of those annoying people who reads the ingredient list on EVERYTHING for the time being.  Even the couple of slip-ups I have made have convinced me that right now, no way, no how do I want anything wheat.  I'm really hoping this is not as far gone as full-out celiac disease (the trendy diagnosis right now - people who cannot have ANYTHING with gluten in it) and more an intolerance brought on by a toxicity from just eating too damned much fluffy white stuff.  Because I was.  But I also do NOT want to never again be able to enjoy a loaf of no-knead bread or a burger on a bun.