To all those who believe that gluten sensitivity is some made up thing, mentally pairing it with anti-vaxxers and the Food Babe, to you I say blblblblbblbllb!
A week ago, we made our way down to the Time Out Market, a market that traces its history back to the 13th century, but has recently been partially converted to house a collection of the stalls run by the finest restaurants in Lisbon. We were giddy: we shopped for some basic staples at the old vegetable market there, then made our way over to dig into Lisbon’s gastronomic heights.
And it was delicious: we devoured melting pork cheeks on sweet potatoes from Cozihna de Felicidade and risotto from Alexandre Silva. We washed it down with a delicious port and topped it off with lemon gelato from Santini. And all of it gluten-free.
Well, almost all of it.
When we got home, Michelle started to seem out-of-it and spacey, then tired, even drugged. She slept the rest of the day and couldn’t focus, and even had trouble carrying on simple conversations. When she woke up, she said she felt like she had the worst hangover of her life (made worse by the absence of a fun night of partying to justify it).
The next seven days was a roller-coaster of dizzy spells, exhaustion, grumpiness (forgiven!), and feeling “not like myself”, all symptoms that match others experience of being “glutened”. She stayed home while I took Zev to the beach in Cascais for the day, but managed to rally later in the week for a trip to Sintra, as long as we walked slowly and took breaks.
It took us some time to figure out what happened, but an off-hand comment by the server at Cozihna de Felicidade ended up being the clue. When asked about gluten, he said of the salad dressing, “if she can eat mayonnaise, it should be no problem.”
After a bit of googling, we learned that Spanish mayonnaise almost always has gluten.
She’s on the mend, laughing and joking for the first time in a week, but still taking it slow. I’m sad for her that she lost a week in Lisbon, and that I lost my cheerful, optimistic wife for a week. And all from a little bit of salad dressing!
So, no, it’s not psychosomatic: she had the symptoms days before we found a source. Michelle has Celiac Disease (which we knew), not just “gluten sensitivity”, but I feel for anyone who has it (and to their brave, loving, supportive, handsome partners who help them through it). It sucks having to be so careful about avoiding not just the obvious things (bread, pasta, cakes, etc.) but the “hidden gluten”, too. But it sucks even more not being careful.