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Norwescon being over, and my muscles less agonized than yesterday, I am returning to focus on my self-improvement project. Too long I’ve let go of almost every good new habit I was building, in part because of the depression caused by losing Taigil to one, small mistake. I have done my part to search for him, and will continue to wish and pray for his return, but I must honor my health and what it means to those I love.
Today is the first day of removing wheat from my diet. It’s cold turkey (literally! there’s turkey here!) from now on, as I acknowledge my test results. I have a mild allergy to wheat, which is going to limit even more of my diet than before. When I’ve incorporated this new change into my life, then I shall return for further testing to see what else contributes to the inflammation that makes my body go out of kilter. The less inflammation, the easier it will be to maintain some semblance of energy and productivity in my life.
So, I wish to say good bye to my beloved, fluffy cakes, artisan breads, challah, Trophy cupcakes, banana-coconut and poppyseed muffins, english muffins, bagels (oh dear gods, bagels!!!) of all persuasions, Top Pot and Mighty O doughnuts, Dave’s Killer Good Seed sliced bread, sesame seed hamburger buns, dinner rolls, Kosher hot dog buns, pita, naan, uthampam, flour tortillas (and all the enchiladas and burritos they might hold), toast, pancakes, waffles, crumpets, scones (especially the orange-cranberry ones with the special frosting), every pastry Pomegranate makes, cookies, brownies, fruit and custard tarts, eclairs, biscuits, hoagie rolls, pasta, wheat noodles, egg noodles, soba, udon, lasagna, macaroni, roux (and all the sauces it makes), and many more.
I am beginning to realize how, after twenty-three years of cooking, I have to relearn everything. I have to figure out the best way to make banana bread moist and fluffy, how to mix a roux for a sauce, how to prepare spaghetti so it’s al dente (because the rice and quinoa pastas are so temperamental), what brands work best, what tortillas and other flatbreads will substitute well. At the moment I cling to my Nairn’s oatmeal and pumpkin seed crackers and my Newman’s wheat-free fig bars in vain hope I can just alter one or two ingredients in all of my family recipes and still taste as amazing and comforting as always.
But it’s one of those compromises in life. Do I want to be able to dance with my friends again? Do I want to be able to climb hills without pain? Do I want to be able to have a picture taken or wear pretty clothes without worrying whether a cyst has caused scarring or stains? Or do I want to have a quick, gratifying snack? There are many meals I love and adore that don’t have wheat, just as I’ve learned to live without chicken eggs, onions, cattle, pig, and a lot of other things, I shall find my way through this. Although I have to admit, wheat and dairy are two things that are going to be hardest to let go of, and I know without question that I at least need to relinquish wheat’s hold over my life and my body.
So, I begin the search for the lightest wheat-free flours to make my baked goods, the best thickening agents to make a roux turn a cream sauce decadent, and a pasta that doesn’t turn to gelatinous goo if cooked an extra minute too long. I also search for the strength to see it through, for the good of improving my health and being a better me for friends and family.
…it’s all about priorities, right?