In February, my doctor asked that I keep eating gluten before my biopsy in order to confirm the celiac diagnosis 100%. But they faffed around for most of March faxing appointment requests so I had no idea how long I would have to keep eating gluten before a test would take place. I was annoyed when they called me the day before the appointment to tell me that the biopsy would be the very next day.
During March it seemed like all my symptoms had gotten worse. I was more bloated than ever, extremely anxious and depressed. I felt like I looked legitimately pregnant and my skin was incredibly itchy, waking me up in the night and driving me insane during the day.
Kay happened to be across the world for work during these weeks which made my anxiety and depression worse. Instead of reaching out for friends, I isolated myself in my house and wandered from room to room each night reading ingredients and crying. I cried more than I had in a long, long time.
I kept hoping that this was all a bad dream and that I would wake up soon. Like many celiacs before me, I was focusing on the foods I could no longer eat. It felt like food was the enemy and that my kitchen was a source of grief instead of joy. I resolved that as soon as my biopsy was over, I would switch to gluten free and completely rid gluten from our kitchen.
Kay was totally on board for making our home a gluten-free home and honestly, it was easier to plan and clean while he was gone. Knowing that cleaning would be a very cathartic process for me, I decided to document it with a stop motion video. I started cleaning on the Friday after my biopsy and Kay came home that Sunday evening while I was finishing up.
Cleaning the kitchen was a very emotional process where I tried to let go and accept my reality. I had researched what I needed to purge and went about removing any food containing gluten as well as all of our plastic and wooden utensils, cutting boards, plastic bowls, almost all of our tupperware, our blenders, bread machine, toaster, waffle iron, mixers, plastic measuring cups, cake pans, silicon baking forms, non-stick pans with scratches and some items too difficult to clean gluten off properly.
In between removing things, I gave literally everything in the kitchen a good scrub, including the new build cabinets which had accumulated a lot of dust and dirt in and behind them from construction settling.
Getting rid of perfectly good, albeit older kitchen items was not so difficult, but reading the ingredient labels on the food and accepting that I will no longer eat all of these things was hard. Cleaning the flour off the recipes in my recipe box was even harder.
I neatly stacked all the food and old kitchen items on the dining room table so that we could dispose, recycle or give them away later. When Kay came home, he looked through the food items with curiosity and was surprised by all the things he found. Foods we never though about gluten being in… random things from spices to soy sauce to bouillon and sprinkles. Gluten shows up seemingly everywhere.
I don’t think I have ever been more happy for him to come home from a trip. I needed him so much.
After the de-glutening I stopped crying every day. I bought fresh, safe food from the grocery to start filling the kitchen again, I explained to everyone at work that I would have some immediate diet changes and I started preparing to replace the glutened kitchenware.
It’s only been seven weeks now since I changed my diet and I’m still adjusting and still working through the mourning, denial and now intermittently the “anger stage”, but I’m happy that I have stopped crying and am trying to focus on the adventure of cooking and trying lots of new foods.