For a wheat free dessert how about strawberries?
NO! STOP RIGHT THERE! Strawberries are not wheat free.
Now you probably think I'm nuts, but if you have a wheat allergy then you will want to be very careful if you are going to choose strawberries as a wheat free dessert option.
Last week I racked up another birthday. Not bothered about going to a restaurant for a meal, we decided to eat at home and to finish the meal off with beautiful, ripe strawberries.
I love strawberries, I love their look, I love their taste and I love their smell, and if you cover them in chocolate I love them to obsession. But not any more.
Not long after eating my generous bowl of strawberries I got a telltale nausea feeling, time to exit for the washroom.
I won't go into the sordid details, but suffice it to say that after vomiting 30 times in the space of an hour I wasn't in the best shape. And never before during a wheat attack have I ever broken out into such a sweat that I, and my clothes, looked like I'd been stood in the shower on full blast.
My other half was anxiously hovering and for the first time ever he was on the verge of ringing the emergency services. I think he was worried that I might drop dead I was in such a bad way, and believe me I felt like it.
Ok, so what do strawberries and wheat have in common you're wondering.
Well some of the time strawberries are grown on a wheat straw bed, especially if the climate is inclined to be a bit wet, and some growers simply use it to keep the strawberries off the ground and hence cleaner.
It's not the first time that strawberries have caused a bit of an upset stomach, but it's always been a tiny reaction, and sometimes no reaction at all when eating them. But on this occasion the reaction hit the big time.
Despite being well washed is it possible that they may somehow absorb the wheat protein while growing on it? I don't know, and I haven't found anyone yet who can answer that question.
The last time I blogged about getting caught out with gluten free chocolate I said that it was the worst reaction ever. Well over the last six months I've only been caught out three times (twice with chocolate and once with these strawberries), but each time has been exponentially worse.
Things have progressed to the point where the respirologist treating my asthma (caused by the wheat allergy), has referred me to an official allergy testing clinic because the next attack could metamorphose into something life threatening.
It's been over seven years since initial diagnosis and one of the problems with food allergies is that sometimes they can extend beyond the initial food allergen, to encompass other foods that are directly or indirectly related, especially if they share a similar protein.
Now I've been very vocal over the years against the quack allergy testing that goes on in just about every health food store, online and in magazines. Send us a piece of your hair and we'll tell you what you can't eat anymore, let me pass a metal rod over your body and remove vital nutrients from your diet, etc etc.
Okay so I can hear people foaming at the mouth over the paragraph above because they've found these methods worked for them. Psychological? Quackery? Cashing in on fad diets? I don't know, but what I do know is that you can't be diagnosed with a food allergy by an unqualified person. You need to see your physician and they need to refer you to a registered allergy specialist.
So in two months time I won't be plucking out my hair, I won't be having magnets attached to my earlobes, or metal rods waved about over my head. I won't be hopping around with a slice of bread in one hand and my right trouser leg rolled up, I won't be holding glass vials of allergen while my body's electricity impedances are taken and I certainly won't be standing under a full moon throwing little pieces of paper with foods written on them up in the air to see which land the writing side up, I'll be attending a registered allergy specialists clinic.
... oh, and I won't be eating strawberries again.