The Celiac among us

     My family of foodies blog would not be complete if I did not tell the tale of the Celiac among us.  It changed the way we thought about food and the way we eat.  I had never heard of Celiac disease when my mom’s friend was diagnosed with it  years ago. Frankly not too many people in this little town had heard of it either.  I remember my mom’s friend being so sick and the Dr. had a hard time figuring out what was wrong.  Finally she was correctly diagnosed and began to get better.  A few years ago and a few years after my mom’s friend was diagnosed something began to happen to my mom.  I do not know why at that time I did not think about Celiacs.  It was subtle at first.  She started losing a few pounds and then a few more.  I remember looking at my mom one day, she was wearing a dress I had given her and it looked like a sack over her frail body.  I see my mom every day so the change was slow and gradual and I didn’t really notice it at first but that day it was obvious. Something was wrong.
     I walked over to her that day and told her she had to get a check up, something was wrong.  Of course she viewed it differently, my mom has always been a normal sized woman, soft and round.  Like most of us it had been difficult for her to lose weight and now the pounds had just melted off.  She enjoyed her new size and buying clothes had become a pleasure.  However I saw a woman who had no energy and was always stressed and tearful.  My dad’s mom had died of cancer and I remember that my mother was very upset that she refused to take chemo.  Her death at 44 was a tragedy and painful.  I kept thinking about that.
     I decided to appeal to my dad.  I insisted to him that she needed to get a colonoscopy.  I thought she had cancer.  My dad told me that he and my mom felt the same, they did not want anyone “digging around up there”.  Looking back this statement is hilarious but at the time it just angered me. I could feel hot tears welling up and running out of my eyes.  I told him that no one wanted that but it was better then the alternative!  More time past with more weight loss and I had finally had enough.  I reminded my mom how she was upset with grandma for not getting treatment for her cancer and she was doing the same thing, not getting treatment.  It struck a cord and she ended up getting the colonoscopy.  The biopsy showed celiacs.  Funny thing there is also a blood test that can detect celiacs.  But she was diagnosed and with this drastic change of diet came some depression.  The realization of no more wheat products was upsetting and a little alienating.  Wheat products are in so many items, things you may not even realize. Plus we as a family enjoyed bread, pasta, and of course pizza.
     It was a bumpy road at first with all the products we would buy for her and she would hate. I don’t know if it was because we were pushing too hard or because she was so resistant. However some products were BAD, and some of them were just plain disgusting.  But she has recovered and is adjusted to her diet. It just took…… time.  She discovered products she liked on her own. Every time I go out I look for products for her to try and my husband always says the same thing. Don’t buy it for her let her discover it herself. Sometimes he is right. But I have had some victories and am pleased with a few of the products I have found. I love the red velvet cupcakes at Heartland Gourmet.  They are excellent and have that soft pillowy texture that some gluten-free items are lacking.  My mom also enjoys a naturally gluten free bread called chebe.  We are still working on a good recipe for pizza crust.  Being a fellow foodie, my mom has discriminating tastes. She is not happy with the run of the mill stuff. Pizza crust has been a challenge and is a work in progress.  If any reader has a good recipe, close to the texture of gluten pizza crust, please send me a message or comment! I would greatly appreciate it.                              
     My mom’s diet change also affected the rest of us.  It made us more aware of the effect food has on us.  I have been tested for celiac’s and don’t have it…. yet.  I wonder sometimes however if it is laying dormant.  I have not given up gluten altogether but I do eat a lot less of it.  This has also helped me when I am planning on cooking or baking for my mom.  She calls me the gluten police because I am so diligent at avoiding contamination.  This is especially hard because it involves  changing how people think. For example peanut butter is gluten free but when someone uses a knife to spread it on an english muffin and then double dips then it is not.  This is something you are no longer able to do in a household with a gluten free member.  It is something you have to think about because someone’s health is at stake. No, a crumb will not kill my mom but it can do damage.  And I for one do not want to do that!

My Mom and Dad 
My mom’s shrinking and frail physique. I have more drastic pics but she would not appreciate me sharing them. 

Healthy and happy with much more energy! This is my parents hiking in Maine.
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