Emptying My Cup

Me and my husband after our blue belt test

This last week has reminded me of a lesson I learned in Aikido.  I need to empty my cup.  No matter how much I learn or think I know, I don’t know and I have to empty my cup to learn more, new, and different.  I keep dumping out my cup and each day it is filling.  I think I have it, but I have to go through the same process the next day.

Those of you who know me personally and those of you who have been following my blog a while know that I went into my gluten-free trial well-prepared after doing 6 weeks of research.  I thought I had it.  Well at least most of it.  I’m still learning little things along the way.

Last Friday, Shirley at gfe-gluten free easily posted a link to a book review of Living Gluten-Free for Dummies by Danna Korn.  We happened to pass by a bookstore while walking around the mall later after lunch so I dragged my husband in so I could look for the book.  I was surprised that I saw so many books on being gluten-free.  When I was doing my research earlier this year, I never noticed them.  Then again, I wasn’t really thinking solely gluten-free, I was focused on hypothyroidism.  I don’t even know why I never thought to look after my focused changed other than my cup was full and I wasn’t emptying it.

I pulled off Danna Korn’s book then started looking at the other books.  I opened up Elizabeth Hasselbeck’s The G Free Diet.  Okay, I admit to seeing her book before but not paying attention to it.  Why?  Diet.  I don’t look for diet books and didn’t give the book a second thought.  I skimmed the table of contents and saw a section on make-up and other personal care products.  No way! I never gave a thought to gluten in personal care products.   Why would I?  Everything I’ve read has been about gluten in what you eat.  I should have given it thought when my best friend sent me a message asking about the ingredients in my soap to make sure they could use it for the Feingold Diet that they are trying out for her son’s and husband’s sensory issues.  However, my cup wasn’t empty.  I was thinking from the perspective that the ingredients of personal care products for them can be absorbed through the skin.

I turned to the section and skimmed a little on what she had to say.   Basically, the gluten in the personal care products can get into your digestive system.  I put the book down and picked Danna’s back up and looked for what she had to say.  Danna was more individualistic about it.  Some people will be sensitive to it and some people won’t, but it wouldn’t hurt to look at the things like lipstick, lip balms, and lotion since they are the items most likely to get into your mouth.  I put the book down and picked up Elizabeth’s again and looked at the list of gluten items that are in personal care products.  Vitamin E.  What? Yes, Vitamin E is primarily made from wheat.

At this point, I realize that my slightly sickly feeling the last few weeks may have been from the lotion I was using.  It was lotion I put aside several months back so I could use up some other lotions that were open and recently started using again.   I picked up the books, as well as Gluten-free Cooking by Lyndel Costain & Joanna Farrow.  The latter contains some information on living gluten-free, but mostly contains recipes.

I went straight for the lotion when we got home and sure enough, Vitamin E.  I set it aside and started using some homemade stuff and I’ve felt better since.  This is a good push to make me make my own lotion and body butters again.   I emailed the company that I order my oils and butters from to ask about the origins of their Vitamin E oil.  I use it in m lip balm and sometimes in my hand cream.  I let them know that I am gluten intolerant and need to know whether or not I can continue to use it.  I’m still waiting to hear back from them.  The one thing I will have a hard time giving up is my Wen Cleansing Conditioner which contains wheat protein.  It’s the only thing I can use on my hair without my scalp getting crazy itchy, keeps it from getting tangled, and prevents static in the Winter.  Do I go back to another form of suffering to prevent a potential contamination?  For now, I’ve decided to see how it goes.  I’m being extra careful when I put it in my hair and when I rinse it out.

An exciting week for sure.  I’m learning new things, different things, and more things about being gluten-free than I realized I could know.  Including more on the connection between gluten and thyroid problems.  I’m emptying my cup, reading a few pages every day, then emptying it again to really understand it all.