Pasta, Gluten and Experiments confirmed!

As most people that know my family know, or if you’ve read the blog for a while, 2 of the 3 of us are gluten and dairy free, not by choice, the third person eats that way simply because it’s easier that way than explaining to a toddler why Daddy gets to eat different stuff all the time.  You can find the background, how we found out, how long it took and all of that on the “Gluten Free” tab.  Being gluten free is not really that difficult to do, especially if eating it gives you pain, it’s pretty easy to stick to.  The thing that makes it the most difficult is dealing with outsiders, people that don’t believe in it (which is just plain annoying) or when we go out and really don’t want to be “those” customers asking for so many substitutions.

Let me explain the worst part… I am half ITALIAN!  That means that when we make our traditional homemade ravioli complete with spinach and ricotta filling, I don’t get to participate and G, for the first time that she would be able to actually appreciate it, wouldn’t get to have any!  But we found a way around it….so transpired THE GREAT GLUTEN EXPERIMENT OF 2013…and it was perfect!  Enter Italian flour.  That’s it. Italian flour.  You’re probably wondering why? How? And could it work for you too?  Well, I don’t know because it was a total experiment and every individual is different.  But you gotta be curious how we came upon this awesome discovery:

My sister and Brother-in-law spent 5 weeks over the last summer in Europe.  The whole trip was about living it up, with trips, fun…and food.  She ate everything and anything she wanted.  Pasta, pasta, pasta. Baguettes and formagio (cheese), croissants, crepes…you name it.  All the while she didn’t have any pain while noshing on all of that goodness, she noticed the lack of stomach issues but didn’t think a whole lot about it. 

Then they came back to the US, stayed with us for a couple of weeks, where she was gluten free so she didn’t really notice anything.  Then it was off to Oregon, home of her husband.  Well, there were sandwiches, toast, cereal and beer…and there was pain.  So much so her husband freaked out and tried dragging her to the ER.  That didn’t happen but she gave up gluten at that moment and never looked back (well, until the blood test that made her eat it for a few weeks). 
            They did research upon research and one of the findings was that 90% of Latin Americans are gluten intolerant.  I said I was half Italian…well my other half is Nicaraguan.  That would explain why 2 aunts and my own daughter were diagnosed within 6 months of each other.

That brings us to another connection.  A family friend who is a doctor, had been gluten free for 15 years, went to Europe for a month and said “forget it, I’m going to eat it all and just live with the pain”. (Apparently we all just need to let it all go in Europe?)  But there was no pain either.  My sister was so glad to hear that, it kind of confirmed that she wasn’t making it up!

So on to our experiment.  I was pretty bummed that I couldn’t eat the ravioli that I would spend hours upon hours pressing and filling and cutting.  My dad, wanting his first and only granddaughter to be able to eat the ravioli, had a genius idea: we can try getting the same flour they used in Europe that others had so successfully been able to eat.  So he special ordered a few pounds of flour and on Ravioli Day we got to mixing…and I got to eating, and sampling, and making, and sampling (I love dough) and finally I got to eat some cooked ones for lunch.  My reactions are usually within 45 minutes to 2 hours so we waited.  We kept cranking the pasta press, filling and pressing and cutting and every so often my dad would say “how do you feel?”  I kinda felt like a lab rat to be honest   Anyway, after a few hours and even the next day….NOTHING.  I ate a TON of pasta and didn’t hurt J   (to see pics of us making it keep scolling down)

Just to confirm it all, 2 days later I went out for Mexican food with 10 of my cousins and I decided to just go for it…and I paid for it.  So yes, I am still able to get sick off merely sauce and chips.  That was phase 2 of the Great Gluten Experiment of 2013, and it failed.  CONCLUSION: Italian flour did not hurt me!

There is a lot of research out there on gluten intolerance and why or how it occurs or why some people get it.  Some doctors are saying that even intolerance can be called Celiac because so many have it these days that they just should call it all Celiac..but that’s not the case yet.  I’m not here to go into all of that, find a great allergist or gastroenterologist to help you with that.  The research that I’m intrigued by is the research about GMO wheat and how that is what is really affecting those that are intolerant or Celiac.  Why would some people get diagnosed in their 60s or older when for the first 50 years of their lives they were eating everything and were, seemingly, without symptoms?  Or why so many young people can’t tolerate substances that once were so common? Or why the flour in Europe doesn't affect people like the flour we get here in the US?  From what I’ve read, a lot of the chemicals and GMO processes we use here are illegal in many other countries.  That may tell us something.  I don’t know.  Like I said, I’m not a scientist, doctor or researcher but I can tell you that from my, and others in my life’s, experiences, the flour here hurts and the flour from Italy doesn’t.  That’s all this is experiment was about but it sure got the questions flowing.

I like to say that if your Grandmother didn't eat it, couldn't get it or can’t pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t eat it.

The moral is, do your own research, do your own experiments if you have to and figure out what’s right for you.  Everybody is different and has different levels of tolerance to various foods or allergens.  Find doctors that support you, help you.

Just live the way that makes you happy and healthy. 

how we made it:
after rolling it in the press: filling it:

pressing ("forking"):Cutting:

The finished product...mmmmm:

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