In April I began a downward health spiral that has lasted for months. Two months ago we finally got some answers with a simple, albeit expensive, blood test. It showed that I do NOT in fact have Crohn’s disease, which they have treated me with for 13 years, but I have Ulcerative Colitis.
It is not a great diagnosis, but at least it’s a diagnosis. There are many reasons I would prefer to have Crohn’s – or at level of Crohn’s I had experienced. (My experience of Crohn’s over the past 13 years was very minor and I rarely had flare-ups that lasted more than a few days until this year. I know many, many people suffer severely from this disease and I in know way want to lessen the severity of their sufferings.) Crohn’s can (most often) be treated with maintenance medication – UC cannot. You can only treat the symptoms of UC, which I have found to be fairly difficult to narrow down.
After my stints in the hospital, I slowly added foods back in that we normally ate. It took several weeks for me to feel able to tolerate these foods. And for a while I did okay. Then, I realized that I became nauseous nightly and felt bloated and gaseous almost daily. I just knew it was related to our “diet.”
So, I set out writing a food journal/diary to track what I ate and how I felt. Here are my observations:
1. I was rarely (if ever) nauseous until after dinner time. But, it was normally to soon after dinner for it to related just to dinner.
2. I rarely ate anything for breakfast (the house was/is usually already bustling by the time I get everyone else fed their breakfast). I felt this directly related to the fact that I was rarely “sick” during the day.
3. On nights I felt the worst, I had eaten some sort of bread product for lunch and/or dinner.
4. I don’t eat or drink a lot of dairy products. And when I do, I experienced bloating and gaseous pains.
And my observations led me to two VERY important conclusions: 1) Bread products are NOT my friend, and 2) dairy is not a good fit either.
So, in the last week I have gone almost completely gluten and dairy free. Since I’m still learning, a few things have snuck in and I paid dearly for it! But, on the days where no gluten or dairy was ingested I felt GREAT!!!
Now, to complicate things a bit, I have a few allergies and food intolerances even before the UC diagnosis. I am allergic to shellfish (not too hard to stay away from), coconut (not easy when so many gf recipes call for coconut flour or coconut oil, my body does not tolerate oats well (not good when other gf recipes call for brown rice flour) and for many years my body has not tolerated beef well at all, so I tend to stay away from it most of the time. To say finding recipes that work for both my UC and other food sensitivities has been challenging would be about the understatement of the century (in my opinion).
But, I have done a lot of research and found some great and YUMMY (bonus) recipes that my family will enjoy. Today I am going to share one that we made last week and absolutely LOVED!!! I am even making them again Friday night!
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Turkey-Sausage Italian Meatballs
Adapted from this recipe: http://marianutrition.blogspot.com/2010/08/italian-meatballs.html
1 lb ground turkey 1 lb turkey sausage
1/2 c onion, finely chopped (if time is critical, you can use dried onion flakes) 1/4 c potato flour (calls for almond, but we didn’t have any) 1 egg 1 tblsp italian seasoning 1 tblsp basil 1 tblsp garlic, minced 1/2 tsp onion salt (optional) 28 oz. organic tomatoes, crushed (no sugar added)
Mix all ingredients except tomatoes in a large bowl. Shape into golf ball sized meatballs. I browned them slightly in a
Place in crockpot that has been lightly brushed with olive oil to prevent sticking. Pour tomatoes over meatballs. Cook on low for 6 hours (or high for 4). Serve with a small salad and GF dressing!!
We took this to our Small Group meeting last week and they were gobbled up in minutes!! They were extremely filling and so incredibly YUMMY!!! I so wish I had a picture to share with you, but alas they were gone so quickly!! I promise to take pictures of the process and final result when we make them Friday and update the post with them!
In the coming weeks I will share with you new recipes we’ve tried along this new and uncharted journey of GF and DF cooking along with my other food intolerances.
If your family is Gluten-Free, what are some of your favorite recipes? Feel free to link up to them in the comments.