The home of Sweaty Spice, the 'other' Spice Girl

I have had some interesting gastro intestinal issues lately. I will not get too gross, but let’s just say that things go through different layers of regularity. Nothing horrible, like needing to go to a specialist, but some discomfort.

I really couldn’t figure out what was the cause, but I now have some solid clues.

Background

Even before the Covid lockdowns and quarantines, I had picked up the habit of baking bread. I started with robust no-knead recipes, and then graduated to making sourdough, and artisanal breads. I bought a bunch of tools, books, and other items to help this.

I do not bake every week (although there was a time when I did) but when I do bake, I tend to hoover the bread I make.
Face it, I LOVE bread. Chewy, crusty, with open airy crumb, and the mystique of just 4 ingredients being all it takes to make some kick-ass bread.

Connecting the Dots

These periodic bread feasts were the spoils of meh labor. Fresh out of the oven,. Slice through the crust, spread unsalted butter on it, and devour it.

Yummy.

But then I began to have these gastrointestinal issues. Some “clogging” and discomfort. It was fairly constant when I was baking every week, so I chalked it up to the cannabis I was taking for my osteoarthritis.

However, that theory was cast into doubt when I took a few months hiatus of baking. Life, work, and other hobbies interfered, and my gastrointestinal issues faded.

Last week, my wife visited with some friends in Half Moon Bay, and as they passed through Pescadero, there is a great small bakery. A boule of garlic sourdough was brought home, and I greedily ate almost half the loaf.

(I told you I was a bread fiend)

And then it happened. The gastrointestinal distress came back with a vengeance. I am bloaty and uncomfortable, and generally miserable. I asm unsure whether it is the yeast, the wild yeasts, or the gluten, but something gives me major gut pack.

Oof.

I am 99% sure that in the middle of my 6th decade I didn’t just develop Celiac disease, so it is likely not a formal intolerance, but more likely an allergy or inflammation response.

The good news

As long as I don’t pig out, I am OK. I can still eat bread. Just less of it.

Also, whole wheat, and other whole grain breads seem to not affect me as much.

What about baking?

Good question. I enjoy the motions. The mixing of the dough, the kneading, the forming. Baking it. The aroma that comes out of the oven when I am baking. It is all intoxicating. But this is one hobby. I will begin to curtail. I will continue to make pizza, as I have gotten quite good, and the bread to toppings is a ratio that doesn’t (yet) fuck with my gut. But I suspect that someday that will be a problem to deal with.

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