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Monday, August 18, 2014

The Answer Is: Gluten!

Oh let's see.....Where should I begin?

For the last year, Little Bear has had an ongoing battle with waking up.  More often than not, she would go to bed fine but wake up feeling terrible pains in her tummy.

I have to tell you, as a high school English teacher, I've heard about every excuse in the book as to why a student might be feeling ill, but I really disliked the dreaded "tummy" issues.  You can document a fever, there are usually very obvious signs of the flue, but tummy aches are a mystery to me, and one that I tend to be most sceptical about.

To get to the root of Bear's problems, we took her off of acidic foods, milk, bread, greasy foods, and any other food one might believe causes an allergic reaction (Not all at one time mind you).  There have also been several x rays to look for blockages, and one scope down her throat into her tummy to look for adhesions, ulcers, and anything else amiss.  We have visited her pediatrician, doctors at Riley, and doctors at Peyton Manning.  We have heard everything from "nervous stomach," to dyspepsia, regurg, and a few other ideas.  We even had her talk with a counselor to see if stress was the culprit.  NOTHING!

In the midst of all these tests, I asked for her to be checked for Celiac Disease, and that test came back negative.

Meanwhile mornings at our house were getting very stressful, as you might imagine.  Several of the doctors told us that if she didn't have a fever and she did not exhibit one or more of the basic flu signs, we should make her go to school.  I get this, and I have done this, but we were to the point that she would get extremely upset which, of course, did nothing to make her feel better.  Last year she missed over 25 days of school!  ACK!

The last doctor we saw practices at Peyton Manning, and she thought she had it nailed ; Bear was dyspeptic, and she gave us a medicine to try.  It didn't work, and school was approaching fast.  Right during our county fair, the office called to check on Bear, and I told them the medicine was not helping at all.  After consulting with the doctor, we got a call back asking us to take gluten away from Bear's diet.  Ok, We were in the middle of our fair, and we did the best we could.  She was eating meat without the bun, but then I would see her running around with her friends eating an ice cream cone!  ARG!

After the fair finished, we finally started to take all gluten from her diet, and IT WORKED!  We have had a few set backs, Who knew Quick had gluten in it?, but we are avid label readers now, "May have wheat" means don't eat!, and have started to restock our shelves with GF baking mixes, flours, pastas, and snacks.

I have started to share her situation with the outside world, and I cannot begin to tell you how touched I was when a mother of one of her classmates texted me to see what Bear could eat because she was bringing in a birthday treat the first Friday of school.  Bear said when she found out that her friend's mom had gone to the trouble of making gluten-free cupcakes, she gave her a big hug because she was so happy that she could eat with the rest of her class.  sniff sniff....

As you can imagine, I am now on a huge search for GF recipes and replacement foods.  I also have three Gooseberry Patch Cookbooks sitting here waiting for me to cook and share ..Hmmm.... I think I am going to try and start substituting rice and other flours for all purpose wheat flour to see how they hold up in taste and quality.  I also know that Bisquick Pancake and Baking Mix, Gluten-Free, 16-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 3)  makes a GF version, and the pancakes are a huge hit here.

Also on the shelf is a package compliments of Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix, 16 Oz .  You can make a pizza crust out of this AND/OR cinnamon rolls!  Thanks Bob!

Dear readers, I know some of you out there are also gluten-free eaters.  I've passed a lot of recipes along to my friends who are gluten intolerant, but if you have any recipes or sites that are your "go to" for ideas, I would love to check them out.  I think this whole family will gradually go GF or as close as we can, just to make life a bit easier for Bear.

Thanks a bunch!


  1. you must be so relieved to have the answer finally. thank goodness!

  2. Yay!!! Glad you have an answer.

    I've never been tested but for the last year or so I've been avoiding grains, not cut out entirely mind you. I don't eat white breads, biscuits, pasta, etc. I'll make it for my kids but I rarely indulge and when I do I can definitely feel a difference in my body. Not a tummy ache on Bear's scale but mostly tired. Where i used to have two pieces of toast in the morning now I have fried mush. Mush is my favorite bread substitute. I like to make it in a bread pan and then slice it once it's cooled. I'll even freeze it individually and use it in place of pizza crust. We go through a lot of corn tortillas instead of wheat. Out here in the middle of nowhere it's just too hard to find all those substitutes so it's easier to just go without.

    We eat a lot of meat (not hard in our house with two preteen boys and hubby) and lots of vegetabes and not much else. I do find some good stuff occasionally on Paleo websites but i don't have one that i go to a lot.

  3. I understand the trials associated with figuring out what is going on inside your daughter. I went through a similar journey. My sister, who has celiac, finally asked her doctor his opinion about my health issues. The doctor told her that by the time antibodies form and show up on an allergy test, there is usually major intestinal damage. I substitute when I am really missing or wanting something. Most of the time, I load up on meats, veggies, and fruits. Many grocery stores are getting broader selections of gluten-free items. Even some restaurants are picking up gluten-free menu items. Some are very good, others aren't so good. Aldi has gotten some very good gluten-free rice pastas, snack foods, and baking mixes. It can be much cheaper there than the higher prices at some of the specialty stores. Your daughter isn't alone. Those that don't tolerate gluten or have developed celiac is growing. That's sad, but she isn't alone by any means.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story Cathy. I will check out Aldi when I am in town. Luckily our very own small town IGA also carries several gluten-free options.

  4. It's so nice to hear you found a doctor that got to the bottom of her daughter's issues. There is a book called "Cooking for Isaiah" that has some great recipes. I think you can google it and find her gluten free all purpose flour mix as well as pancake/waffle mix (you make them yourself and I think cheaper than the premixed stuff).

  5. Oh and I forgot to mention one of my favorite blogs: detoxinista.com. My favorite is her chocolate chip cookies made from almond flour. I make them often and freeze the leftovers. They taste great right out of the freezer :)



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