Celiacs and the Pepto Bismol Dance

“So, like, what happens if you eat gluten?”  This is my new favorite question.  A week ago, I had no idea.  I had managed to live for 28 years without any indication that all my digestive problems were related to gluten.  So when I was told I had celiac’s disease, it was hard to take it seriously.  Sure, no gluten.  But all that cross-contamination stuff was for the really severe cases, not people like me.  Who cares if my chips were cooked in the same oil as wheat-containing products?

 >>cue laughter from seasoned celiacs<< 

…Last night I found out what happens if I eat gluten.  And more specifically, what happens when I partake of a product known for cross-contamination.  Other than the waves of nausea that have made me miserable all night last night and most of this morning, I do not care to discuss my symptoms here.  (And hopefully that is enough for you to guess what happens to a celiac who eats gluten).  Funny how familiar these symptoms are, and how long I lived with them without knowing I could stop them.  I’m not sure if the symptoms are worse now or if the contrast between relief and illness just makes them feel worse.  Whatever the case, I feel very very yucky today.

I have to wonder how many of the Pepto dancers are really just undiagnosed celiacs?

The best advice I could give anyone is to get tested if you have ANY recurring gastrointestinal problems.  I was previously [mis]diagnosed with IBS and stomach ulcers, and my symptoms do not match what seem to be the “classic” symptoms of celiac disease.  So I thought for sure I wasn’t a celiac.  My idea of a celiac was someone who seemed to suffer from dysentery all the time, can’t gain weight because of malabsorption, and appears weak and frail for no apparent reason.  But for me this has not been the case.  Let’s just say that my symptoms have been pretty much the opposite.

All of my excitement over “gluten free” products was short-lived, needless to say.  I did enough research to know that those poor hardcore celiacs can’t eat most things that carry the risk of cross-contamination.  But it didn’t occur to me that I could be one of them.  Live and learn, I guess.

Today’s recipe is for my first ever attempt at gluten-free baking: I went with a blueberry muffin recipe I found on a great gluten-free blog that you can access here.

As always, I made a few changes to the original, mostly because I didn’t have all of the ingredients and didn’t want to bake with sugar.  Here is my modified version.

1.5 cup Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free rolled oats
1 cup milk

1/4 cup butter (softened)
½ cup honey
½ cup coconut flakes*
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk the dry ingredients in a large separate bowl:

1 cup brown rice flour***              
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

two eggs, beaten
1-2 cups blueberries

First, soak oats in milk and set aside.

Mix butter, honey, coconut, and vanilla in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients.  Combine wet ingredients (including oat/milk mixture) with dry ingredients and mix just until combined; add egg.  Lightly fold in blueberries.  Fill greased muffin cups full (these don’t rise as much as “normal” muffins) and bake at 400 for 35 minutes.  Honey causes things to brown quickly in the oven, so cover with tinfoil to prevent over-browning.

*I used the coconut flakes to add a little texture to the honey in an attempt to make up for the missing texture of the sugar.

***In the future, I will probably use a mixture of almond meal, flax meal, and rice flour instead of using the full cup of rice flour.


One thought on “Celiacs and the Pepto Bismol Dance

  1. Hi,

    I too had the opposite symptoms of what was often described. It took me a long time to figure it out. My doctor was always saying IBS, even before I gave him symptoms. I did have H Pylori, which is a major contributing factor to ulcers, so was so glad to get that issue solved. Finally I told my doctor that I was gluten intolerant, he was like well you can see a specialist if you want. Three plus years and I still don’t have it all figured out, it can be so challenging. I wanted to let you know that once someone stops ingesting gluten, the reactions when ingesting can be much worse symptoms for a time, which can get better, as a person’s body slowly heals. I know I went through this.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


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