And that’s why I put away all the laundry

By Mir
January 7, 2013

Monkey’s birthday was delightful. I didn’t even mind getting up early to make cinnamon rolls for him to bring in to school to share with his buddies, because he’s just so darn delighted by it, and it doesn’t hurt that our intrepid Hippie School head teacher always tells me what a great baker I am. Yes, it’s all totally selfless, when I do this. Pay no attention to my preening in the corner. (Hey, I take affirmations where I can get ’em, people.)

I’d actually made the dough the night before, and done everything short of baking them and making the icing—the rolls were in the fridge proofing overnight in baking pans. This is the best way to do it, because 1) they end up really light and fluffy and 2) you get warm, ooey-gooey rolls first thing in the morning. AH-MAY-ZING.

Monkey awoke on Friday to a happy birthday phone call from his sister, then he padded downstairs and sniffed the air in the kitchen just as I was pulling the pans from the oven. “Nothing smells better than that,” he said, with a happy sigh. I slapped a big glob of icing on the largest roll and set it at his place at the table. Nothing but the best sugar coma for my birthday boy, you know.

Monkey fairly hummed his way through his breakfast, and even Otto—stoically sticking to healthy raisin bran, himself—commented on the delicious aroma. I finished glazing the rolls and then set about packing up a couple of containers for the boys to take to school. (Friday was a “we’re not officially back in session, anyone who wants to come can come” day, which was nice, because despite my multiple offers to do a party for him this year, Monkey maintained that really all he wanted was to do something at school and then maybe go out to dinner. I like that kid.) Once both portable containers were filled, I still had a few rolls left over. And the house continued to smell like Cinnamon Decadence even after most of the rolls had exited the building.

You know where I’m going with this, right?

They just smelled SO GOOD. And I, I have been SO GOOD for SO LONG. How long have I been gluten-free, now? Years. Over three years, actually. And to recap (what, you don’t remember ever little detail of my personal history? HMPH), once upon a time I did a brief stint on a pretty strict Paleo diet because I was just feeling crummy all the time, and I suspected something I was eating was messing with me, and I figured I’d eliminate all likely culprits and then slowly add them back in to see if I could pinpoint the problem. While eating Paleo, my skin—always problematic, from eczema to full-blown adult acne, I FEEL PRETTY—settled down and became LUMINOUS. But I don’t think Paleo is a sustainable life choice (at least for me), so I added wheat back into my diet, thinking that was probably the LAST thing that might be causing a problem.

Hahahahaha. HAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. My skin told a different story. Major, immediate outbreak of All Kindsa Ugly. I cut the wheat back out, and things were better.

Now. Is my skin perfect? No. It’s better than it was, sure, but I still struggle with it, some. Do I have Celiac? I doubt it, because I don’t experience intestinal issues with wheat. But do I have… a sensitivity? An allergy? It certainly seems plausible. So I don’t eat wheat anymore, and my skin is happier. (Note that the “not perfect” part is probably because I am kind of lazy about cross-contamination and “may contain” items. My own fault.)

But Friday. The whole house smelled good. The boys were gone, and it was just me and the dog. And the cinnamon rolls were sitting right there on the counter. MOCKING ME. Who would know?

Readers, I’m not made of stone. I ate a cinnamon roll. It was INCREDIBLE. I felt no remorse.

Why, by mid-afternoon I was thinking that maybe my years of gluten-abstention had been silly, even. Maybe I was confused! Maybe I’d recovered from whatever issue I’d had before! WHY DEPRIVE MYSELF OF CINNAMONY GOODNESS FOR NO REASON??

Monkey came home from school and then Otto came home from work and Monkey opened presents and we talked to my folks on the phone and then we went out to dinner and out for frozen yogurt, after. We ate ourselves silly and a good time was had by all. After Monkey went to bed that night, Otto and I sat down to watch a movie.

During the movie, I noticed that my face was kind of itchy. Huh. I may have rubbed at my eyes a little, but no biggie. I mean, until the credits started to roll and it was time for bed and I realized that hey, my eyes are REALLY ITCHY. (Mind you, we’d been watching this movie in the dark.)

You know how in a horror movie when the heroine goes into the bathroom and flips on the light and suddenly sees that she’s covered in blood or there’s a loved one dangling from a rope in there or whatever? That’s pretty much what happened when I got up and went into the bathroom to brush my teeth. Hey, it’d been an awesome day! And a fun evening! And a great movie! And *click* OH DEAR GOD MY FACE!!!!

Remember how a few years ago I started developing eyelid eczema as a super-special allergic reaction bonus? No? Good for you for blocking it out. On Friday night when I beheld my face in the mirror, I looked like some sort of demented eczema raccoon. Both of my eyes were perfectly ringed with fiery red lesions and flaking skin. I had been FINE just a few hours earlier.

“OTTO!” I called, because why keep that sort of sexy all to myself. “OTTO, LOOK AT MY FACE!”

Otto meandered into the bedroom and looked at me and tried really, really hard to pretend he wasn’t shocked and disgusted. “Whaaa… oh, my.” He is a man of few words.

“I ate a cinnamon roll,” I told him. “ONE LOUSY CINNAMON ROLL. It was gooey and delicious and NOW I HAVE LEPROSY.”

Needless to say, I started a course of steroids the next day. Which meant that all weekend long I Cleaned All the Things and laundered and put laundry away and organized and peeled wallpaper and did all manner of things and OH HEY PREDNISONE I LOVE YOU AND YOUR COMPLETE DISREGARD FOR SLEEP OR EVEN HOLDING STILL EVER. I’m on track for a major crash very soon, but in the meantime, my face is clearing up, and it smells a lot like Clorox ’round here.

So. Yeah. I guess if I needed any confirmation that I really was not imagining that whole wheat connection, I’ve got it. GLUTEN-FREE 4EVAH, etc. Yeesh.


  1. Jean

    I think you need a gluten free recipe for cinnamon rolls. Problem solved!

  2. Angela S

    Oh my word!!!! I’m so sorry. I’m 4 years GF b/c of celiac and the last two weeks have dreamed over and over that I eat something I shouldn’t and don’t realize it til half way through. Last night it was an amazing éclair. Mercy. You have to admit with the awesome picture you painted with words it was totally disappointing to not see a cool picture too. Good luck and feel better soon!

  3. Little Bird

    That sucks about the eczema, have you tried Neosporins special body wash kit? If nothing else it might make it feel a little bit better.
    But, yay, you have possibly the sweetest boy on the planet! And your house is clean!!

  4. Leslie

    I have an autoimmune digestive disease, and I spent most of last year on Prednisone. I have a bit of the moonface, and a little extra weight in other places, and my bones are probably powdery, but OH MY GOD did I feel great while I was on it, and I got SO MUCH DONE. Now? Not so much, but I’m ok with that. :)

    Glad you’re feeling better. My hat’s off to anyone who maintains a gluten-free diet, especially pretty folks like you, Mir!

  5. Lucinda

    Oh Mir. Poor you. The bad thing about eliminating gluten efficiently, then slipping, is your reaction comes back worse than ever before. As you, well, uh, I guess you figured that one out all on your lonesome. Hope you are leprosy free very soon.

  6. Brenda

    I have a friend who is gluten-free because she doesn’t tolerate it. Sometimes, though, she’ll eat a few bites of a donut because she just really wants it. I don’t really get it, eating something that you know is going to make you sick. Except I do, because it’s so good and even though I don’t get sick I get fat so I should probably change the way I eat anyway. I really wish that the only things that tasted good were the healthy things. Life would be so much easier that way.

  7. Beth B.

    Awww man. Sad for you. Hope you feel better soon.

  8. Rayne of Terror

    OMG, I get eczema on my hands and it’s terrible and I CAN’T EVEN IMAGINE on my eyelids. You poor thing.

  9. Lindsey P

    How mean for the good gluten-ness to be so BAD! Ugh. I truly feel for you!

  10. Lindsey

    Oh, I feel for you, Mir! That exact same thing happens to me when I eat dairy- or egg-laiden foods. The itchy skin and eyes, nasty scaly crap… UGH!! SO freaking uncomfortable and awful. But I do relate to wanting what you can’t have: I really miss cheese and eggs and being able to walk into a store and pick up anything and eat it, but it’s gotten to the point where I am so miserable afterwards it’s just not worth it anymore.

    Sensitivities/allergies suck. But you’re not alone! :)

  11. RuthWells

    Oh, that sucks so hard. I am easing into a wheat-free phase myself, as my tummy has decided to revolt. So… feeling your pain.

  12. Jenn

    Today is the start of a serious elimination diet at our house. We’re vigilant about my daughter not getting gluten, and we keep a gluten-free house but my husband and I cheat, often. But we both realize that we feel so much better when we don’t cheat so hopefully this diet will build back the good habits.

    And dairy is my true downfall. I’m very dairy intolerant but there just is no substitute for real whipped cream. Or buttery sugar cookies, or ice cream or…

    Hope you feel better soon!

  13. Tracy B

    But it was worth it, right? Just kidding…..

  14. Karen R

    You deserve GF cinnamon rolls. Be sure to add a couple of tablespoons of chia seeds for an amazing rise. I hope you feel better soon.

  15. Deb

    You should totally go check out Dr William Davis’ s wheat belly blog. He advocates that it’s the protein in wheat that causes the skin problem along with a host of other problems. I just know that I have a lot less joint pain when I am wheat free. Get well soon and if you run out of things to clean I’ ll let you have my house . :)

  16. D

    When I eat CINNAMON I get the itchy red raccoon eyes from hell. It may not be the wheat! Read up on elimination diets and see where it gets you?

  17. Midj

    MSG and migraines had me on an elimination diet 30 years ago. To this day I have not had a single Dorito… Sad but true. Not worth the pain. There are several other things that I’m sure my gut does not process well, but the migraines made the choice for me. I ate one little Halloween sized bag of M&M’s about 15 years ago and the resulting headache (chocolate is also a migraine trigger for me) has had me off chocolate since. It’s just not meant to be. Dear Mir, I feel your pain, literally.

  18. Gaylin

    17 years GF and I fantasize about being able to eat one darn piece of toast. I have actual dreams at night where I am in a restaurant where no one knows me so that means I can eat a sandwich and won’t have a reaction because no one knows me . . . I think that comes from so many people telling me I didn’t really have an allergy to grains – that it was all in my head! Having an episode of head to toe huge hives and a trip to the ER in an ambulance, I am pretty sure my allergies are real.

    Once I found a couple of good recipe books for GF treats I was much happier. Being allergic to rice as well means I always always always have to read the labels on everything.

    Just remember, you are not alone in this battle. Take care of yourself.

  19. CuriousCat

    Methinks you’d better find a delicious gluten free cinnamon roll recipe, asap! Then you can eat as many as want and be all “hey wheat! i’m spittin’ in your face! ha ha ha!”.

    My brother does the wheat belly diet and has proclaimed it a miracle. He has no wheat allergies, it just made sense to him. He tried it and now he won’t shut up about it. Whatever, I will eat all the wheat the rest of you can’t (or won’t) consume. Wheat and/or it’s protein has nothing to do with my eczema! Nothing, I tell you! Although, i probably could go GF a lot easier now they’ve taken away my beloved Hostess HO-HO’s. Sniff.

    My sister is the same way on Prednisone. The very first treatment she went on, she made her husband paint pretty much the entire interior of their house. He was very, very happy when she was done with them. I took a treatment several years ago for my eczema and waited happily for the energizer bunny effect. Nope, I got out of it was a very graphic dream involving the Grateful Dead, an Amtrak train and a class action lawsuit. It was quite a dream.

  20. Jim

    MIr, you are sooooo funny and write so well !!!! As soon as you wrote “You know how in a horror movie ” I totally cracked up. Thanks for the laugh!

  21. Katie in Cali

    I too am wheat free for skin. I have psoriasis and adult acne, and when I went wheat free it helped a ton too. I was craving pizza, and since Domino’s has a GF crust that doesn’t suck, I ate it. But since I had stopped cheating in November, my chin said no thank you. Cross contamination bites.

  22. karen

    I’m not wheat allergic either, but I feel a whole heck of a lot better when I go gluten free. I went off the wagon just a little over the holidays, and all the aches, the bloat, the yucky no energy feeling and wicked dry skin came back. I’m once again gluten free. It ain’t easy, but it’s worth it.

  23. Kana

    Hahahaha, awwwwwwww…you make tragedy into comedy, I don’t know which mask to wear! I would be a mate of few wrods too, if my partner was prone to saying things like “I ate a cinnamon roll, ONE LOUSY CINNAMON ROLL. It was gooey and delicious and NOW I HAVE LEPROSY.”

    Have fun with your beautiful clean house, recovered eyes and memory of that amazing cinnamon roll. It’s a rough ride, no doubt, but I’m excited for you reaching that happy destination!

  24. Michelle E

    Oh no. When I started reading I thought “Wow how can she resist the smell of cinnamon rolls?” Really, I don’t think I know anyone who could. But the face?!? So sad. If you can find it, there is an arnica salve that works beautifully on that sort of thing. Speaking as someone who know the sadness of the eyelid eczema.

  25. Stimey

    1. Yay for Monkey!
    2. Steroids, huh? I wonder if I could be the first person to abuse steroids for the clean-house side effect.
    3. Dude, that sucks. I am so sorry. I hope you’re feeling better and that you can find some gluten-free cinnamon roll substitute.
    4. I have psoriasis flareups now and again, so I totally get the skin thing. There is nothing that will make you feel unattractive faster than troublesome skin. Because it’s ALL OVER.
    5. I like your family.

  26. The Other Dawn

    Wait. Prednisone gives you enough energy to CLEAN ALL THE THINGS???

    I gotta get me some of that bad boy.

  27. addy

    Leprosy sucks, ooey gooey goodness should not be so mean…… Prednisone makes for a very clean living environment though. Sad face …

  28. elz

    Your cinnamon rolls are so tasty they’ll give you leprosy…maybe keep that fact to yourself next time you bake for the school?! Stupid, delicious cinnamon rolls.

  29. Annette

    Forgive my ignorance, but would allergy shots help with this? Because, dude, I love me some gluten:)

  30. Angie McCullagh

    Damn, I’m sorry! I’m off gluten, too (for almost a year now) because it makes me intestinally challenged in all sorts of embarrassing ways. It’s hard when there are cinnamon rolls around.

    Dairy is what makes my skin go haywire.

    One of the worst things about getting older is realizing how food affects us. Kind of wish I was twenty and oblivious again.

  31. Valerie

    I second the wish for “twenty and oblivious again” state of bliss.

    Mir, you are clearly the prettiest of all of the eyelid-peeling, skin-inflammed, raccoon-eyed, delicious-goody-deprived ladies that ever baked a homemade cinnamon roll for a thirt. Clearly.

  32. brigitte

    On the other hand, if the house ever NEEDS a giant, whirlwind, Chlorox-infused cleaning, you might want to purposely have some delicious gluten, followed by Prednisone for dessert.

  33. JaneB

    Ewww, I really feel for you on the facial eczema – I’m somewhat dairy-intolerant in the same sort of way you seem to be gluten intolerant, with overindulgence leading to eczema, mostly in joints (behind knees, in elbows, that sort of place) but I also get eyelid and corners of mouth eczema…. no fun! I find a good-quality Calendula ointment (e.g. Weleda) helps a lot (burns when applied but helps overall), without the nasty steroid effects (I have permanent skin damage from using cortisone cream on outbreaks when I was younger, so I try to find other options). Hope it clears up soon!

  34. Kim

    Huh, Prednisone did not make CLEAN ALL THE THINGS. It made me want to ….hurt things. HULK SMASH things. It was not pretty, not pretty at all.

    Seriously, that sucks, Mir.

  35. Jamie

    I am sad for you. No more cinnamon rolly goodness. :( But, I guess the benefits outweigh here. Still sad.

  36. Jen

    I’m on a course of prednisone for an asthma flare-up. I usually have trouble sleeping but never have had the manic need to do all things right now. Before now. Hot damn my house is clean, we’ve had gorgeous, nutritious meals every night, soo many things have gotten done that I’ve been putting off. I think I need a course of steroids every three months or so, just to keep my life in line. You know, if it weren’t for the “I’m a zombie because I’ve only gotten 12 hours of sleep over the past 3 days” thing.

  37. Jessica

    Would you be willing to share the dreaded cinnamon roll recipe? I’ve experimented with a few but can’t find one that proofs well for next morning consumption. Plus, I’ve read a few times where you’ve expounded upon their goodness!

  38. Thomas

    My wife can sympathize. She has also been on a diet that avoids such deliciousness, or it ends terribly for her as well. I wish I could say that she has found many healthy alternatives to replace treats like cinnamon rolls, but sadly that is not true. She does survive without them though. Good luck.

  39. Cele

    Oh bummer girl. I remember trying gluten free when yoiu first went.

    I’m sorry.

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