Saturday, May 14, 2011

Counting My Blessings

I was looking around online tonight, hoping that by some miracle all the credible sources would tell me that Fruit Loops are gluten free.  You see, they've come up in conversation several times over the past week, and my walk through the cereal aisle tonight seems to have triggered a craving for the brightly-colored, entirely unnatural, sugary rings.  

Unfortunately for me, I will never eat a real Fruit Loop again.  There may be some knock-off gluten-free, lactose-free, casein-free, egg-free, lame excuse for a Fruit Loop that tastes like cardboard, but I'm not into allergy-free counterfeits.  I lived too long as a glutenarian (a word I made up for people who eat gluten) and the memory of the "real thing" is still too fresh. If I can't have the original, I'd rather not eat it at all.  

What I did turn up during my internet search was a forum I've consulted online before at  Under each comment a user makes, the site automatically posts a little signature of sorts -- a summary of the individual's medical history.  I like this because it helps give credibility to the person commenting, and I tend to judge each individual's comments by how similar their diagnoses are to my own.  If I find someone who seems to have exactly the same problem I do (a fluctuating moderate-severe gluten intolerance), I pay extra-close attention to their advice.  

It was after reading one woman's story about her daughter getting sick on Fruit Loops that I came across this "signature": 
SusanLYME diagnosed 11/2010, allergic to wheat, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, allergic to all grasses, most trees, dustMom to 9 year old dd, lyme, diagnosed 11/2011, highly gluten intolerant, epilepsy w/ generalized seizures, mitocondrial markers, malabsorption, recurring candida - Gluten-free Casein-free since 9/16/08. Diagnosed with P.A.N.D.A.S. 6/20/09, seizure free since going gluten-free!and 10 yr old dd, Lyme diagnosed 11/2011, severe dust allergy, allergic to most trees/grasses/weeds. Positive gluten intolerance testing. Gluten Free since 12/09/08. Diagnosed with P.A.N.D.A.S. 6/20/09

And it hit me, like a 4x4 to the back of the head....  No matter how bad I think I have it, there's always someone who has it much worse.  This woman is the perfect example.  Not only does she have to manage her own everything-free diet and probably take tons of medications; she has to do the same for her two kids who can't even yet distinguish for themselves all of the foods that pose potential hazards.  Even the school administrators can't distinguish hazardous foods from safe ones nor watch her daughter 24-7 to make sure she's not consuming anything glutenous (another word I made up - for foods containing gluten).  Hence the 9-year-old's reaction to the Fruit Loops she acquired from the school cafeteria. 

So really, who cares if I'll never again eat a Fruit Loop?  I walked around a city in bloom today for  eight hours -- in the dust, dirt, grass, leaves, and pollen -- and had a great time.  No allergies to any of that.  How wonderful!  I'm thinking now of all the potential allergens in the world and to how many of them I'm not allergic.  Woohoo!!  

I think the only thing that would really, truly, make me disappointed (allergy-wise), is if I was told that I was allergic to cheese.  My absolute favorite place in any store is the cheese-counter, and after oohing, ahhing, and sampling extensively, I buy at least $7 worth of cheese per week.  I honestly think that my quality of life would go down if could not enjoy a cheesy snack.  In fact, I'd give up pretty much anything over cheese.  I'm even dragging my entire family to the Tillamook Cheese Factory for my birthday, where we will tour the world's largest cheese factory (again) and I will eat cheese til my heart's content. 

So here I am, mourning the eternal loss of Fruit Loops, but comforted in knowing that I have an entire lifetime of cheese-sampling ahead of me.  I am thoroughly counting my many blessings.

Does anyone else like cheese?  I'd be happy to share some great ways to enjoy cheese, if you're interested. 


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