Let me clarify a couple of things: 1) losing weight is a wonderful side effect of dealing with food allergies and 2) I used to think going gluten-free was a fad. I’ve read bits and pieces of Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD. His “quick lesson in this thing called gluten” is super-complicated, but what I got from those paragraphs is that when you engage in “genetic shenanigans” with a plant (wheat) that has numerous strains, each of those strains having numerous chromosomal sets within their genomes (I think that’s where they are), well don’t be surprised when you find “odd health phenomena experienced by consuming humans”.
Later in the book is a paragraph discussing the diets of five different tribes of hunter-gatherers. None ate wheat and none experienced acne. Very interesting.
Now, I love bread as much as the next person, but when you start to see results – no more bloating, another notch in on the belt, no more stomach complaints on flights – it gets easier to say no. Once again, I take my hairdresser Lina’s advice. Lina was gluten-free before gluten-free was cool, but sit in her waiting area and there is always a tempting array of locally baked goods on display. Lina is Italian, after all.
“Rita,” she says, “I’m not going to deny myself the pleasures of life. I will have half a slice of a really good bread or half a cookie and I refuse to feel guilty about that.”
Okay, got it. Everything in moderation. Also, because I love baked goods, I do make muffins or cookies sometimes, with spelt, or gluten-free flour, from the Arva Flour Mill.
So why do I go on and on and on about eczema when I cleaned up my diet and got rid of the patch on my palm? Because my dry, dry fingers blew up at a golf tournament (maybe I shouldn’t golf?) in July and I can’t get them back under control. Perhaps it was the pollen in the air? Perhaps it was the extra large piece of chocolate cake for dessert, no doubt laden with gluten? (It was my birthday!)
Doc prescribes a super-intense cortisone.
“Don’t touch your face when you have it on!” he says.
Will the skin disintegrate? I wonder. I put it on my hands at night, then put on wet white cotton gloves, then put on . . . omg, it’s hard to admit this and it’s a good thing me and B have been together for a long time, because it’s certainly not my sexiest look. Grocery bags. Yes. You know things are really bad when you purposely go grocery shopping (remember I hate grocery shopping?), you purposely don’t bring your own bags and you purposely go to Loblaws because they happen to have the best plastic bags. You know, the soft, smooth kind that don’t make that sharp crinkly noise?
“Do you want bags?” says the clerk.
And I say, eagerly, “Yes, oh yes.”
And surely the clerk thinks, What is wrong with her?
And the person behind me says, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
Four ghost-hand mornings later and the fingers look not too bad. But it’s a fine line I’m walking, with my fingers, when everything they come into contact with is a potential enemy.
My daughter Tan, dealing with her own raw fingers, made worse by constant cleaning with her two wee ones, is more creative than me. She’s perfecting a salve: jojoba, shea butter, coconut oil and beeswax with the doTerra essential oils of geranium, cedarwood and lavender. And she suggests oil-pulling with coconut oil and doTerra Onguard or peppermint.
My doc says, “Keep those hands moisturized.” I’m trying to find a way.
Maybe I’ll start a new trend: fingerless fitted Loblaws plastic bag gloves lined with Vaseline.