I have some news.
I hope you won’t be disappointed about the delayed schedule, but I won’t be baking bread as often as I promised this fall.
And there’s a good reason for it.
I hope you’re not disappointed about THAT not being the case. I’ll be sure to let you know if number three blessing is on the way so you can all bring me meals when the baby is born. (I always think moms-to-be really need the meals during the first trimester, when looking at raw eggs and meat can make one run to the bathroom in horror…among other things. Don’t you think?)
Now I hope you’ll forgive my little tangent. I thought it would be fun to play a bit.
Are you having fun yet?
Okay, I know.
We’re going grain free at the Kimball house for a while.
So as much as I love the KS community and was really, really looking forward to finding the perfect whole grain bread recipe, we’re just going to have to wait. (UPDATE: The perfect whole wheat bread recipe series did begin!)
People get sick.
People who blog about food tend to help their sick husbands get well via food.
My husband, who will absolutely hate every second of this post, has Crohn’s Disease, an autoimmune condition of the small intestine that causes inflammation, poor absorption, pain, and bad digestion.
He was diagnosed in college, did the medication thing for a while and eventually was on steroids (not the big-muscle kind, the make-your-inflammation-stop-but-lots-of-side-effects kind). He managed to avoid most of the side effects, but just before graduating college landed in the hospital with a possible hole in his intestine.
They almost didn’t let him graduate. After donning cap and gown and receiving his diploma, the poor man had to eat jello and broth instead of celebrating with a steak and a beer. He was on a liquid diet for the surgery two days later, at which time he had 10 inches of small intestine removed.
That was eight years ago, and he’s experienced nary a symptom since.
It’s been wonderful.
When we pray at night, we often go weeks without remembering to thank God for its absence and beg for it never to return. Sometimes I am surprised that it’s still there, lurking in the darkness. When I do remember the disease, I worry and pray for my children.
You see, Crohn’s is chronic. It will always be there, even if masked. It’s also hereditary, one of those mystical diseases that no one understands completely, but there are both genetic and environmental factors.
I wonder about my children. Will the city water with fluoride and chlorine set off whatever gene they may or may not have inherited from their father? Is it chemicals in processed food? (His mother’s best dinner guests are Mr. Stouffer and Mrs. Sara Lee.) Could the way I serve them grains throw the switch one way or the other? Does my son’s tendency toward loose-goosey BMs, so different from my daughter’s occasional constipation, mean he’s got a tendency toward Crohn’s, too? Or will she be the one?
It makes my heart expand and tickle my face, crushing my lungs with the weight of the “What if?”
The Beast from the Deep
After eight years of freedom, the monster has surfaced again.
About four weeks ago, my husband starting experiencing symptoms of chronic diarrhea. Nothing fun or glamorous about that, and when you have Crohn’s, even though it didn’t feel “Crohnsy” (yes, we often make up words in our house), you worry. You wonder. You push on your stomach to see if it hurts. When it doesn’t, and the symptoms still won’t go away, you have to try to figure out what’s going on.
We still don’t know if he’s experiencing a Crohn’s flare-up, an anxiety issue, or just the result of a month of compromise eating more than usual, a fluke.
Regardless of the origin of the problem, with 80% of our immune system and as many nerve cells as the spinal cord, the gut is where we’re going to focus our efforts.
I got to hear Jordan Rubin, author of The Maker’s Diet and survivor of near-fatal Crohn’s Disease, speak last week right here in Grand Rapids. I don’t believe in coincidences.
I don’t believe it was a coincidence that Donielle and Kelly were there to support me in my questions. I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that Donielle has been grain-free for two months and could lend me The Maker’s Diet and the GAPS book. (Check out her gluten/celiac series from earlier this month that started with Gluten: The Silent Cause of Infertility and went all week.) I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that I’m well acquainted through Twitter with Kat Garson who follows the SCD (specific carbohydrate) diet, often recommended for Crohn’s, as well as Stephanie Langford, who has a bunch of GAPS diet recipes on her site along with the story of her family’s experience.
The fact that I challenged you just days before hearing Jordan Rubin speak to “Test Your Grains,” including perhaps going grain-free? That I tried gluten-free during Holy Week and had some coconut flour hanging around? Coincidences, none of them.
I know that God is going to take care of us, and I really can’t wait to see what He’s going to do.
The last six days have been rough on my husband.
He misses his ice cream.
We’re not only cutting out all grains, including legumes (and that one is KILLING me, as a lover of beans), but my husband is cutting dairy as well.
We need to figure out what, if any, sensitivities he has, and these are the usual culprits. We also need to heal his gut, so I made a big pot of chicken stock last night, and I’m learning about the SCD Diet, the Maker’s Diet, and the GAPS diet to try to figure out which one is the right one to embark upon.
There won’t be much bread baking in the house this fall, but we’re still going to Test Our Grains. It’s a challenge, to be sure.
Tomorrow, I will give you the information you need to embark on the Test Your Grains Challenge with us. You can sign up at that post and let us know what you’ll be trying, if you’ve decided. I’ll give you the observations you should take for a baseline (what’s “normal” for you) and then will continue to observe as you change your grains.
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