Blueberry July

new mexico sky

The view from our casita last night was a painting in progress- rapidly changing washes of color from east to west. The softest pink pushing into indigo. Cerulean dropping into sea green when you least expected it.

The day had been hot and dry and discouraging- I had realized abruptly, driving home in late afternoon glare to the beat of an REM song (I've got my spine, I've got my Orange Crush) that I had used a chicken bouillon paste in the previous night's green chile. I reached for it automatically. Without thinking. Just as I had the cup of herbal tea with lemon the night before that.

I felt like an idiot. 

Armed with new information that will ease my ills I poison myself, in spite of my best efforts, in spite of my notes and lists and label reading, and spending twenty minutes stalking the cereal aisle at Whole Foods to search every package of oatmeal for evidence of gluten-free certification (the odd and unexpected good news is I tested totally negative for an oat allergy). I screwed up. Again.

And it frustrates the hell out of me.

Gluten and soy free for years, you'd think I'd know the drill. But as it turns out, I don't. I woke up last Tuesday and discovered the rules had changed. My list of verboten ingredients is too long to memorize. Lemon and mustard wreak serious havoc, we know. But now orange and grapefruit are starting to misbehave. I wasn't tested for lime, but now I'm leery. The whole sweet 'n sour citrus family doesn't seem very hospitable these days.

I am becoming kumquat-phobic.

Pecans are tempting. But with reactions to peanuts, almonds and walnuts, how smart would it be to start noshing on a walnut cousin? And then there’s eggs. They are in everything. Did you know egg whites are used to clarify many domestic and Australian and South American wines? I didn't. I blamed my sinus congestion and headache on the weather, not the wine I drank three times last week. In order to find wine that is absolutely egg-free you must find a vegan winery. Who knew?

Oh, and then there was the toasty-sweet goodness of that jar of sunflower butter I bought last week to replace my childhood comfort food, now off limits. Scanning the Food Allergy Testing results, there it was. I am mildly allergic to sunflower seeds. And almost every gluten-free corn chip is cooked in sunflower oil these days. 

Okay. Just breathe. I knew this wouldn't be easy. Or fair. I never believed life was fair but. Geesh. Give a gluten-free goddess a break. A girl does not live by bunny food alone. There are needs. There are food dreams. There are favorite recipes - the whole shebang now in exile.

I'm trying to be upbeat. Really I am.

But in all honesty? This is tough, Babycakes. Even tougher than going gluten-free. I said to Steve last night, I'm losing the will to live. Cue violins. 

Don't worry. He made me laugh with a Big Lebowski quote. I'll be fine. Really. I just need to channel The Dude. Go with the flow. Chill. And to paraphrase Walter...

F*ck it, Dude. Let's eat blueberries.


Kleja said...

looks like that link didn't come across right, it's
They have GF oats that you can order from Montana.

patty said...

I can feel your pain. I'm sticking to vegetables and meat at this point until I get better info. The wine thing woulod clearly put me over the edge. However, my doctor sayd that some of these random food allergies will subside as the gut heals and it stops seeing everything as a threat to itself. That retesting every 6 mos is a good idea to see if there are any changes. Maybe some hope to hold onto for now. And I don't think you are unusual. I think many people suffer without knowing-at least you know!
Lots of love,

Lynn Barry said...

It really CAN be done. List all the crap you think you can't eat and forge ahead and eat what you can and you will be JUST fine...I have no regrets. I was at a yummy looking continental breakfast this morning and all I could find to munch on was an apple and a banana and hot tea...while others were busy making waffles and bagels and all that gluten, I was fruitin'...HUGS

Jess said...

Try to positive, even when it is hugely frustrating to have a new (and huge!) list of no-no foods.
My mother had similar problems and had a lengthy list of foods she could not tolerate. However, as she eliminated foods, her allergies changed and she has been able to reintroduce many of them (though certainly not gluten, obviously)
Hang in there! If anyone can come up with great recipes in the face of new allergies it will certainly be you.

Ginger said...

You will get there! I too was thrown by the gluten free status I achieved but adapted. You adapted before, you will again. Your happy medium is out there along with some undiscovered delicious food that you haven't met before.
I will try to check on some Michigan wines for you as I know several wineries really well. I am willing to bet they don't all have to be vegan. Sulfites and yeast in wine can have similar affects as a sinus cold in some people - esp when you have reached your threshold for other allergies, the yeast can put you over the edge where as normally it might not.
I feel for you and have hope for you.
This will just make you more creative and stronger - although you are probably saying at this point "I don't want to be stronger, I want simple".
Enjoy potatoes, they are always delish!

Stretch Mark Mama said...

I too have felt the long-list-of-allergies pain - mine for a year now - all due to candida messing up the works. It is quite discouraging, isolating (esp since food is such a social thing)...and I have cried many a tear over something so "dumb" (yet essential) as food. And yes it's true what patty said about allergies hang in there and get your body healed.

Alanna said...

I hope you will find this the comfort I mean it to, but you are creating, for me, a whole new appreciation for food. I look at a lemon and think, what would I do without you? I pull out the flour to bake and think, what would I make if I couldn't use flour? And on and on and on. You are so on my mind these days, Karina, I hope you find peace with this new stage, too, as you did with gluten -- loving the discovery and the challenge and the submission of getting it. And honestly, it seems from afar, that you'll deal with all these new things too, in your own time, your own way, with your own style and grace. Even if it means shouting at the cactus and kicking at the sand ... as long and as often as needed.

Wanna_B_slim said...

Oh I feel your pain....
I felt like this when I first found out I couldnt have wheat and gluten... but to have all these other things as well... ouch... lifes cruel hey!!!

Kalyn said...

I think you're doing a great job of being upbeat. I don't know what I'd be saying, but it would not be gracious, ladylike, or even printable on a blog. Hang in there.

SusanV said...

Karina, I want to echo what Alanna said. You have made me realize what a gift it is to have a choice about what I eat. I know you will find a way to get through this. You're a clever and resourceful cook, and I expect that soon you'll be working your magic on vegan, gluten-free, non-nut, non-citrus foods. But for now, I suggest eating very simply, looking at food as fuel for your body, and taking your joy from the world around you--like that beautiful sunset and your wonderful husband.

Mappy B said...

I don't blame you, I can't imagine how challenging this must be. Eating GF is enough of a challenge for me I can't imagine eliminating everything else. And it seems like the problem too then becomes emotional - I mourn the loss of my favorite foods.

Things will come along and it will get easier. I'm sorry you're dealing with all of this!


vidalia said...

Hang in there, Karina. Having only dealt with uncultured dairy, eggs, gluten, peanuts and fish as no-nos, I can only imagine what you're going through. However, I echo the hope in the messages prior to mine- your body may be able to tolerate these things down the road. So, I hope you have a good allergist and get re-tested at least annually if not bi-annually. I wish for you the joy of being able to reintroduce something you love (like eggs and peanuts for my little guy). ((hugs))

Allergic Girl said...

i can only echo what everyone has already said, and said very eloquently: you will adapt. you will find yummy things to eat and cook and even bake. the first few weeks and months are the hardest but it will get better. promise.

Ronster said...

I know I would be inconsolable if I was in your situation. (I have no food restrictions - I've long been a follower just because you inspire me and you cook great.)

It's difficult for anyone who's not in your position to grasp, day to day, that you, Karina, can't just grab lunch at Tia Sophia's or let someone else cook for you for a change. Or throw it to the wind and binge on whatever strikes your fancy. No one should be surprised that it gets you down.

You'll find a way to make it work, make it tasty, and make it yours. And I will keep adding great things to my Karina binder.



the chocolate lady מרת שאקאלאד said...

There's eggs in wine? In wine?!? Oh fer cryin' out loud! And the lemon thing--can you just get them out of the house?
But what I was going to say is there is so much abounding deliciousness within your reach, and you are doing great and writing beautifully.

Cayenne said...

I have no food allergies, but am a vegan who has quite a history of veganizing your recipes. I appreciate you so much! You inspire me to power through my own problems, surely I'm not the first to tell you that. Please don't give up now. I don't know you but for your blog. However, the Karina I know won't let the new list be a set-back, only a stepping stone.

I'm looking forward to more great things to come from you!

By the way: Are you sure you're allergic to all nuts? I usually use a nut-flour in your recipes. Sometimes, I use a soy flour, but you might be allergic to that too. I've had lots of success with almond flour in your recipes, and if you've a good food processor you can make it yourself. It works well with cashews too which are moist and sweet.

Slacker Mom (aka Mrs. GF) said...

It sucks. It truly does.

What do friends of a gluten free goddess do???

I can say that I would HATE it. I would wander around my kitchen opening up my fridge and cupboards wondering if something new showed up that I could eat. And there would be nothing new..nothing changed.

I would be so sad, and I would mourn.

Eat enough to get you through. Feed your spirit any way you can find. Throw yourself the biggest pity party ever, you deserve to.

When you get all that out, you will find your way out and are a fighter sweetie. It will come out when you are ready and get past this.

It sucks. Completely. Totally.

(No hugs here, let's throw rocks at something...what do you have out there..cactus?? Bottles on a rock? :)

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Hey Karina, Hice Cellars in Paso Robles, CA doesn't use egg white in their wines, and their vineyards are organic. We just did some wine tasting there the other day and their wines are excellent. Check 'em out:

Karina Allrich said...

Mucho thanks to all of you - you are all TOO SWEET! :)

One point I'd like to reiterate -

If you are a newly diagnosed celiac, talk to your health practitioner about food allergy testing. I wish I had.

Who knew that in spite of eating strictly gluten-free I was still damaging my body [and prolonging my malabsorption] with other - additional - proteins?

I have healed a great deal - but I still have a l-o-n-g way to go, thanks to celiac's leaky gut syndrome that allows proteins to pass into the blood stream.

Ask for food allergy blood tests - see where you stand. It can't hurt! ;)

Be well - and live well!



Kimberley Spezowka said...

Hello Karina!

Long time no see. :)

The baby is a year and a half now and I'm finding a little more time for myself these days. :D

Yes, we also cannot do sunflower seeds or oil here... our gf eggs have made a difference but we now have 30 chickens to provide our high omega gf eggs for us. :) Not an option for everyone I'm sure. For some, it wouldn't work anyway... but for us it does. I'm not really sure why... maybe because our chickens are not fed corn, gluten, or antibiotics?

No one knows for sure.

I'm wondering if your Lyme issue from long ago wasn't really a big sensitivity issue.

As usual, I'm loving reading your stuff!

Warmest regards,
KimS :)

Kimberley Spezowka said...

Oh, by the way... I went for food allergy testing years ago... all negative.

Well, I'm thinking it's no coincidence that my largest sensitivities are the same as my one child who was listed as "failure to thrive" until we did our total elimination diet (ted) and went on our special diet.

Five years now and I'd never go back to feeling the way I used to!

I agree, get the testing... but even if they come back all negative... try a ted!


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