Monday, August 12, 2013

Still Chocolate, But No Gluten

Chocolate After Supper is back online, but this time, the supper is gluten-free (well, and so is the chocolate...). Why, you ask?

 This summer I decided, after way more research and thinking than anyone should have to do, that I should try a gluten-free diet. I have suffered for more than ten years from chronic muscle aches that just increase every year. It's not unusual for me to sit by the woodstove on a winter evening huddled up as if with fever 'n ague, and unable to lie still at night from the aches, restlesness and skin-crawling sensations in my legs, back and arms. I have wondered for a long time what in the world is wrong with me. Is it Restless Leg Syndrome? After effects from West Nile? Fibromyalgia? Chronic Fatigue? Wacky hormones? Who knows?

 I finally had enough of nightly, increasing, doses of ibuprofen and aspirin, and the general fatigue and achiness, and spent my free time this summer trying to figure it out. I discovered that doctors who treat patients with fibromyalgia have found that many of them respond well to removing gluten from their diets. I thought, what have I got to lose? (Well, besides toast and bran flakes for breakfast. And macaroni and cheese. And pizza.)

 So I began; eating no bread or anything else with gluten. I wasn't sure I was seeing any results until I realized that I was no longer taking ibuprofen at night. And then I realized I had more energy. And then I discovered my sensitive tooth wasn't sensitive anymore. And I wasn't begging my husband to PLEASE rub my arms, and my back, and my neck, and my legs.... I began to wonder if I had just imagined all that achiness.

 After four weeks I knew it was time to test it for sure. I spent two days eating "normally." Toast. Pasta. Gingerbread. Surprisingly, I still felt pretty good. My daughter came over and the first thing she asked was "How are you feeling?" And I said, "Waiting for the other shoe to drop."

 Three days later, in the middle of the night I woke up with a bang, aching so badly I could not hold still and wishing the world would end. While waiting for the ibuprofen to kick in I looked around on the internet and found out that, yes, there can be a delayed reaction, sort of like catching a virus. You know, where after being exposed to someone's nasty cold you feel fine for a while, and then kind of off-ish, and then BAM! you wake up with a whole raft of misery. I'm still recovering from my gluten cold, and that was three days ago.

 So now I am pretty sure this is it. As my husband said after that miserable night, "No more gluten for you!"

 Next time, I'll talk about how I am making that happen and still have happy suppers.