About six months ago my hairdresser suggested my skin problems might be due to gluten. That’s right, not the dermatologist I’ve seen for the last nine years, but the woman who cuts my hair. I’d talked to her, off and on, about chopping my hair super short. Finally, she asked me why I didn’t pull the trigger. The answer – normally I do everything I can to hide my hands, including not wearing rings, bracelets or nail polish. You see my palms would crack and bleed, layers of skin would peel away. It looked like a chemical burn and was both painful and embarrassing.
My initial reaction of going gluten free was complete horror. Not gluten too! The dietary restrictions in our household are crazy. Low fat for my hubby, low fat and low salt for my son, my dad was a diabetic. Not another forbidden food group and cooking two or more meals. Dinner’s tough enough.
Plus, I’d have to give up some of my favorite foods, including family Greek specialties. Breads, pasta, crackers, cereals, pretzels, bakedgoods were now on the no-no list. Good-bye wheat, rye, barley and malt. Little did I understand that so many other foods would come off my okay list too. Anything pre-packaged, salad dressings, lunch meats (except Boar’s Head), soup broth. The biggest surprise – soy sauce. You’d think soy sauce is made from soy, but no. Look at the ingredients, wheat is at the top. So no more Chinese, no to most Mexican, no to most Italian, no to most fast food. The learning curve was steep.
After several months and several mistakes, one thing came to light. I started feeling better. My hands healed. Issues I associated with aging, started to resolve themselves.
It was time to test the theory. Pizza is one of my all time favorites and now taboo. The gluten free variety holds little appeal. So when the craving became intense, I devoured two slices. Just two, I promise. Within 12 hours, my hands started to itch. They turned red and my skin dried and peeled. I didn’t consume any more gluten, but the damage was done. My hands continued to get worse.
For me, there’s no longer a question. Gluten is poison to my body. A lifestyle change is essential for my good health. I must embrace new recipes and different ways to cook.
Thank God most chocolate’s gluten free and okay to eat. Look out Hershey’s Kisses.
So how about you? Do you have any food allergies? Or do you know of anyone else who’s gluten intolerant?