The Wheat-less Fool's Blog

August 20, 2009

On Radio Silence…

Filed under: celiac — Jenna @ 2:48 pm

Sorry for radio silence this last week… it seems I have a ways to go to get back into the groove of writing every day. I’ll be working on that – both here, and in other aspects of my life. There ARE a few reasons behind the silence, and I suppose I should pony those reasons up in case all falls quiet again.

First off – my husband and I are entering into the wood-phase of our year. We mostly heat our home with a soapstone woodburner. The gas furnace gets set at a balmy 40-45 degrees to keep the pipes from freezing should we let the fires die out at night or spend a wee bit longer running our errands outside of the house on cold winter days. A kerosene heater upstairs helps to keep the offices, bathroom, and our bedroom toasty – but mostly, our heat comes from the large chunk of stone and iron sitting in our livingroom. This means from the beginning of August until late into October we have to move our butts at a pretty furious pace to get our wood stores adequately filled. In addition to his full time job outside of the home, and my going to school, writing, maintaining the house, and a dozen other odd jobs – we spend most of the remainder of our waking days making like the industrious ant,  getting our home ready for the cold that inevitably comes to northern Ohio. Its been a relatively slow start… I only shifted about 3,000 pounds of wood this week. Twice.

Allow me a moment to tell you all just WHY wood heat is the best heat.

It heats you:

1st when you find and drag it out

2nd when you cut it

3rd when you split it

4th when you carry it to the trailer

5th when you unload it

6th when you stack it

7th when you carry it in

8th when you burn it

and 9th when you lug out the ashes….

Try and see how far you get with gas or electric! At the best you’ll get three times with those – 1st when you use it, 2nd when you get the bill and go hot with anger, and 3rd when you get that second job to pay for it!

Oh… I forgot the 10th way wood heats you – the long hot bath you have to take to soak out the aches caused by 8 of the previous heats!

This frantic pace will one day lead me to fame and fortune when I write my bestselling diet plan “The Woodburner Diet : How to Eat Everything You Want… for Only Three Months of Backbreaking Labor!”

Which… oddly enough is leading me to a new celiac-based quandary that is consuming the last few remaining moments of consciousness I have each day. This is our third year performing the woodcutter’s ballet. Each year, as much as I may moan and groan about the aches and pains that come along with the wood… they have a special perk. I ALWAYS lose weight. Even consuming 2-3x my normal daily caloric intake,  I need a belt to keep my trousers up by the middle of the push. Tomorrow (Friday) marks 8 weeks since I was diagnosed with celiac. (Blood work done, and complete lack of any shreds of dignity colonoscopy, endoscopy, and biopsies.) And I DO feel better. Worlds. But…

Well – it’s so much dratted WORK! I know, I know. I’m learning. My biggest shock honestly, was I really DID think I cooked mainly from scratch. Apparently, not so much. And while I am learning, well, re-learning how to cook bit by bit… there are two big holes thus far in my progress.

Lunch and snacks – both issues that are proving not only harder than I expected to get a handle on…. but becoming more and more urgent to figure out. Its one thing to lose some weight while working like a stevedore. It’s another thing entirely to realize (rather sheepishly… and there may well have been a bit of yelling from a frustrated and worried sick spouse) that I’ve been attempting to do all this very physical work….

With maybe some homemade yogurt for breakfast, possibly a piece of fruit and a bowl of Rice Chex for lunch, and whatever I pick at for dinner. For the last month or so I’ve been tired ALL the time. The bleeding and other stomach issues I’ve dealt with for years have completely abated since going gluten free… so why was I so tired all the time?

Ummmm… it possibly has something to do with the fact I seem to have forgotten I’ve only been eating maybe 1,000-1,200 calories a day.

Maybe. Most of those calories coming from skim milk. Should I add that I’m 6’2 and built like Valkyrie straight out of Norse mythology? So, really not enough calories being consumed to maintain a life of leisure spent lolling around on a bed being fanned while watching my “stories”…. much LESS enough to power a gal who has a hard time grasping the concept of Sitting Still.


Is this normal? For the first month, I was just so relieved to finally KNOW. To have an answer, that while it was certainly going to be a challenge… it wasn’t the scary other options. No cancer. Not dying. Just celiac. Those first four weeks I plugged along cheerily making polenta, checking out gluten free websites, and chucking out all the gluten from my cupboards and freezer. I had an answer, a solution at last, and I was thrilled.

These last four weeks…. not so easy. I don’t know if it’s finally sinking in that “yup, this is it.”or what… but I’ve been spinning my wheels a bit trying to get a better grasp on all of this. What seemed like not such a big deal finally feels HUGE – and I also feel pretty crappy about that. It isn’t cancer. It isn’t anything all that serious. I only have to chance my diet. No pills. No surgery. Easy… and I feel like I’m whining… but. There is that but in the back of my mind that I’m having a tough time getting through.

And right now? I don’t have the luxury OF that whine. I HAVE to get the wood in. I HAVE to keep moving. Winter comes, no stalling it for an existential pity-party. So, I have to eat.

I’m just not sure what, yet.


1 Comment »

  1. Jenna–First, one word, protein … you need protein, lots of protein to give you energy. And then easy carbs to go with the protein. You are making this too hard. It’s a common thing to do, so don’t feel bad about that. Eggs for breakfast … scrambled, boiled, omelets … with bacon or sausage. Make simple dinners and leftovers can be used for lunch … grilled fish, chicken, pork chops; pork chops; ham steaks; seafood; tacos (most taco shells are safe and most seasoning packets are gf … just read label) and load them up with cheese, lettuce, onions, etc. Add potatoes to your dinners. So easy to microwave … white or sweet. Add veggies, easy. Perdue Perfect Portions are gf. Pricey, but you can get them on sale. Go to my site, Jenna, and look at the sidebar at 50+ Things You Can Eat Today and 50+ Meals That are GFE. They should help a lot. Does this all sound reasonable? It’s just getting in the groove of cooking this way. It’s really not hard, it’s just different at first.

    Oh, re: the wood, we burn wood, too. Never use our heat pump, but we are in VA. We do wood most of the fall/winter for the next year. But again, we live in VA so we don’t have all the snow you do. Because we have milder winters, we don’t burn as much wood either. I love the wood heat, but it is some work. Hubby does most of the work, bringing it home and I help him unload and sometimes move to the porch. Your part about the wood warming you so many times was cute. We’ve talked about that many times, but I don’t think we covered being warmed by a hot bath or shower. Once the wood gets unloaded, it’s all my responsibilty. Hubby calls me our thermostat; i.e., when I get cold, I add wood to the woodstove. 😉

    Hang in there, dear. You’re going to get better. We can talk more via email.


    Comment by gluten free easily (gfe) — August 29, 2009 @ 11:36 pm | Reply

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