It seems hard to believe that today we are marking three months gluten free. We got the green light from Mandie's allergist on 5/27, which happens to be the birthday of my husband's long time best friend so I knew it was a good sign. I was so excited on that day because we'd done short trials of gluten free with Mandie and saw major improvements on those days, but had to wait for the go sign from Dr. Mary so that there was gluten in Mandie's system in case more testing was needed.
As with most testing with Mandie, the test was inconclusive (though most gluten/celiac tests are said to have a very high rate of false negatives) but her food and symptom journals could not be more clear. We FINALLY, after 3 1/2 years figured out that the reason for her red cheeks was her wheat allergy (which has recently progressed to airborne as well as ingestion - but that's another post).
In three months we've seen the disappearance of Mandie's red cheeks, nasty poo, and stomach aches (except when she's gotten exposed to wheat or gluten). Her appetite has increased and she seems to be more willing to try more foods again. Her "toddler belly" is gone now. I have noticed that I have more energy, am less bloated, and have no more weather related headaches. My mom has noticed better memory, much easier movement, and less arthritis pain.
Going gluten free was remarkably easy to adapt to since I am used to having to avoid most all processed and pre-made foods because of Mandie's other allergies. We already had to make most breads, crackers, cookies, cakes, etc. Avoiding gluten seems easy when we're already avoiding dairy, soy, sunflower, safflower, etc. It was just a matter of learning about gluten free flours and grains, and experimenting with them to see what worked in which recipe, and learning to to use xanthan gum and other things like cider vinegar and seltzer water in breads. After three months I feel like we have a good handle on things, and am excited to try things like donuts, waffles, and pie crusts.
In all honesty, I love being gluten free. It is so nice to know that this is what is really necessary to help heal Mandie's system (her doc said she is most likely celiac), and if she is celiac I can still hope that maybe she'll heal enough after a few years to outgrow some of her other food allergies. I love knowing that she will grow up gluten free and will likely be healthier because of it. I love all of the things that being gluten free can likely prevent from becoming a problem for Mandie and I - such as thyroid issues, arthritis, osteoporosis, etc. Mom and I are having so much fun experimenting with recipes, trying gluten free recipes and converting old favorites. It is fun to create things in the kitchen that I thought we'd never be able to do. Mom has perfected bread making. No one can tell it is gluten free. I have been making cakes, cookies, pancakes, etc. We have found a great Philippine store in town where we get all sizes of rice noodles, as well as some rice flours and tapioca and potato starches. The local Mexican grocery store has the best fresh tortilla chips, corn tortillas, and salsa. If we weren't gluten free I don't know if we'd have checked them out and found some new favorites. I think things will continue to get better, and am anxious to see where we are and what we've learned in another 9 months.