Monday, April 9, 2012

Gluten and Dairy Free!!!!?

I've always been able to eat anything. Allergy is not a familiar word in the history of my family. A childhood friend of my brothers, named Michael, had allergies. It was the first time I had heard the word and I remember examining him with a certain intensity to see if I could detect a difference in him that would elucidate these "allergies". He did seem a bit pale (or maybe that was just his northern European descent?) and thin. Anyway, people with allergies have always been an enigma. When I've heard of people with multiple allergies like dander, grass, pollen, milk, eggs, shellfish, AND nuts it just hasn't made sense to me. They were born of the earth, how could they be allergic to it? Well I'm still not well versed in the science of it but I now know plenty of people with allergies and sensitivities and now possibly may have to count myself among them.

These days you hear a lot about gluten intolerance. It's all the rage. I'm joking of course. I understand fully that celiacs disease is a serious issue. But what IS going on? More and more people are realizing that when they avoid wheat and other gluten-y grains that they feel better. I was in a Whole Foods Market in Napa a couple of days ago and I saw a huge selection of gluten-free products. It is growth industry right now. 

So here's the story. I had a tummy ache for about 2 weeks and instead of going to the doctor, (I have an aversion to Western medicine), I decided to eliminate gluten from my diet to see if that helped. Well, it seemed to. I was on day 4 and keeping a food journal when I had a decadent dairy-based treat. After a couple of hours I had extreme tummy pain and other unmentionable unpleasant symptoms. So maybe dairy is the issue. Back to the computer for more googling.... If you do have celiacs and there is actual damage to the villa in your small intestines it can cause you to have problems digesting dairy products even if you wouldn't ordinarily. So the two can be linked. I also read that some level of lactose intolerance in adults is the norm worldwide. I'm on day 9 now with no gluten or dairy and my tummy is feeling fine. I have mixed feelings of course. I plan to stick to the program a month or two longer until I feel that I have a good solid baseline to then re-introduce gluten and dairy in small quantities and take careful note of their effects. 

I think when you have food sensitivities you end up being a more mindful eater in general. I want my seemingly iron gut back but if I need to eliminate a category of food in order to be well, so be it. We'll see.

Here is a kale dip recipe I found in the latest Whole Living magazine. I made it back a week and a half ago when I was gluten but not dairy-free. Actually I made it twice. It was good at first, better the next day, and then I craved it.

Kale Dip
1 T. olive oil
1 garlic clove roughly chopped
3 cups thinly sliced kale leaves
coarse salt
1 cup cottage cheese
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 T. fresh lemon juice

Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add garlic, and kale and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 or 6 minutes. Let cool. Place in food processor with cottage cheese, red pepper flakes and lemon juice. Puree until smooth. Serve with chips or veggies.

Lastly, I want to share a photo I took on the morning after a large bear came through our yard last week. We have a pet cat whose paw prints can be seen in the snow beside the bear's. Perhaps they are friends?



  1. Ahh I sympathize with the food intolerance. Many years ago I had major stomach problems and it was yeast and dairy. I got off all yeasts (and I am a bread baker) and dairy except hard cheeses for several years. I have now been able to introduce that back in my diet in moderation. I think I missed yogurt the most. A lot of my allergies came on in my late 40's and 50's. Good luck to you. It is hard to be a foodie and give up things you love.
    We loved the footprints!

    1. Thanks for sharing. Were you tested in some way or did you just figure out the yeast and dairy thing on your own?

    2. I was tested after being sick for a while and had gone through other kinds of testing. The interesting thing is the yeast caused me to fall asleep??? And messed with my stomach too. Glad it is better now. I always blamed a lot of my food allergies/intolerances to Menopause as it happened suddenly and about the same time.

  2. Hi Karen: I baked cauliflower last week brushing it first with olive oil and it was delicious. Thank you for the tip.

    1. You're welcome! Thanks for reading.