Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Why I went gluten free {also known as how a bunch of people think I'm insane}

OK, so I've been hinting around a time or two billion about going gluten free. So, I'm going to tell you why I'm doing it. 

I have lupus. Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (SCLE), which is the type of lupus that causes photosensitivy and itchy rashes all over when exposed to UVA or UVB light. I was diagnosed when I was 20 years old after repeated itchy rashes on my face and chest after sun exposure. 

Anyway, I've been managing it for years, and once pregnant with Emma, it seemed to go into remission, if you will. It was dormant. I could lay out! I could be outside without protective jackets! It was glorious. Then, I got really bad rheumatoid arthritis. My joints hurt. All.the.time. I got on some meds to help. Then I got pregnant with Harrison. I quit the meds. Again, the lupus symptoms of arthritis disappeared. Once having him, my joints started hurting again. I went to see my rheumatologist to get re-evaluated and start meds again. Except? He said the pains I was having were not from arthritis. He said my joints were not swollen. He wasn't sure what was going on.

So, I thought and thought. I did some research. I read a lot of gluten free blogs. I stalked some gluten free girls and trainers and got their professional opinions. I decided to try going gluten free for at least six weeks. If I felt better, great. I would become gluten free. If not, then I would find another doctor to find out WHY I was feeling like this. Like I'm 60 in an {almost} 33 year old body.

I started gluten free full force last week. It's too soon to tell if it's working yet, but I do have more energy. Likely because I'm eating more protein. This is a really good way to find out what's truly going into your body. I've been amazed at what is really in food from reading labels. 

I mean, grocery shopping yesterday? Blew my  mind. Looking at my fat free half and half for coffee-why is there corn syrup and carrageenan {what is that?} in there. Hormel natural turkey. Same thing. Why is there starch, turbinado sugar and carrageenan in there? On and on. It was gross. I have to email my GF Girls to ask them if stuff is okay all the time. Shredded cheese? Has gluten {starch} in it to keep it from sticking together. So, I have to buy a block and shred it. Sauces, dressings, etc. Gluten. {Just googled carrageenan-it's a seaweed extract used in processed foods-still not real sure what it does, but whatever.}

The things I've read about wheat production bother me. I have never paid attention to stuff like this before. But when I read that ROUNDUP is being used on wheat, that bothers me. Because when that wheat is harvested, the ROUNDUP is still there. The things I've read about wheat affecting joints is the primary reason I decided to go gluten free. I know there are other chemicals/sprays used in food production, even fruits and vegetables. Not just processed foods. But, it just bothers me that I'm putting all this into my body and then having some health problems. I do think some health problems and aches/pains are directly related to what we eat.

Now, I'm on organic fruits, vegetables, and some  organic dairy. I'm working on grass fed, organic meats. My children? Harrison is entirely organic. He eats to "grain" things right now. Organic puffs and mum mums. He was on Earth's Best rice cereal, but is done with rice cereal. However, rice cereal is not wheat. He will be gluten free when he starts eating real food. Emma? Mostly organic, not gluten free. I'd like to gradually move her to gluten free though after reading my friend Laura's post about how gluten was affecting her 2 year old daughter.

Let me say, I've heard A LOT of crap from people about doing this. I'm not sure why it bothers them, but apparently it does. I do not think I am better than anyone for eating gluten free. I do not think I'm better than anyone because I'm feeding my kids organic food and getting them to be gluten free. I just did some research, I'm willing to try it, and worst case? I'll get healthier by not eating grains. Will I stay GF forever? I don't know. It depends on how I feel after my trial period. I'll definitely keep reading labels and limiting my grains if I do go back.  Also, I'm moving towards majorly limiting my sugars. I know sugar is a beast, and I need to keep track of my intake and start lowering it.

I will tell you this. When I first started, one night I wasn't thinking about it and we got Chinese takeout. I got General Tsao's chicken and fried rice. And crab rangoon. And holy lord, the next day I felt like death on a stick. Jason kept laughing at me saying I'd been 'glutened' but seriously, I felt yucky. And had some other issues, if you get my drift.

So, what do I eat? Well, here's my typical day, with our menu for dinner this week thrown in.

Breakfast: {one of the following} Udi's GF bread with PB or cheese, toasted. Van's GF waffle plain, with fruit, Stonyfield vanilla yogurt with fresh fruit, Think Thin bar, Kind bar. I cannot handle eggs at all. They upset my stomach. I know there are tons of other options out there, but this is all I've done so far.

Snack: fruit or Crunchmaster GF crackers/Nut Thins {these are amazing!}

Lunch: protein/fruit/veggie/small fat. Thin chicken breast or turkey rollup, fresh fruit {we are eating a LOT of apples, bananas, strawberries, and blueberries}, some bell pepper, some nuts. Today I had leftover GF pizza and a banana. I have some extra salad laying around this week, so that will make an appearance, most likely with a chicken breast. They also have some really good GF chicken nuggets {Applegate Farms} and GF macaroni and cheese {DeBoles}. Emma and I have been known to eat that together for lunch too. I haven't been "out to lunch" yet, but when I do, it'll be a salad, and I'll have to investigate where I'm going before hand. So, no more drive thru.

Snack: protein like some peanut butter on apple or GF crackers, or a protein bar like Think Thin.

Dinner: Well, here's our menu for the week. Everything is gluten free.
           Monday-gluten free veggie pizza made with Bob's Red Mill dough
           Wednesday-cabbage casserole {blogged this last week}
           Thursday-beef and broccoli via Pioneer Woman
           Friday-taco bowls via Laura
           Saturday-turkey meatloaf and mashed cauliflower via Laura, probably served with the other   1/2    head of cabbage leftover from Wednesday.
           Sunday-chicken with mushroom cream sauce via Laura, steamed broccoli with goat cheese

OK, so that's my explanation. Questions, comments? Share below please.




  1. Wow! Lots of great info here! My grandmother had Celiac Disease and my mom and aunt just switched over to GF because of their symptoms, but there are a LOT of people making the change for other reasons and I love that so many of you are blogging about it. Makes it a lot easier. My grandma would love all of this, when she went GF it was unheard of. Have a great day!!

  2. I think it is awesome that you are sharing this! I hope those who inexplicably have issues with it will stop trying to make their issues yours :)

    Just a note, too, I don't know if you read Preppy Pink Crocodile, but she sometimes posts GF recipes, including GF breads.

  3. I think this is a great exploration and applaud you to listening to your body. It's tough with the way food is manufactured now to know what you are really getting. It's crazy that it has to be this much work to feed your family healthy meals, but it's a fight worth fighting. Kudos!!

  4. I am really sorry to hear about all the stuff that lead you to go gluten free! Joe's mom has lupos... no fun at all. I would love to get her on a healthier diet, but that just isn't gonna happen. I am excited to hear about your progress and I have a feeling you are going to be pretty amazed at the results. I know I was! We went out to eat one day last week at a restaurant. We didn't order anything that you would think had gluten in it, but man did it mess us up big time for like 3 days. I later found out that they were using gluten somehow in the marinade for the steaks. It's hard to get away it from when you are eating out. There's always cross contamination too. Just be aware, that once you cut it out completely, any symptoms you had before (if they were gluten related) will be even worse when you do have some. It sucks! Having said that, it is so totally worth the effort. It has made such a wonderful difference with us and I am so grateful we chose to do it! Good luck girl, it will definitely get easier, I promise. And ofcourse if there is anything I can do to help.... you know all you have to do is ask :)

  5. I am a firm believer in "let food be thy medicine"; i'd put money on you feeling so much better after going not only gluten free but "clean eating" as well. Reading labels is SCARY and so many people don't even realize the crap they are putting into their body. If you don't know how to pronounce it, don't eat it! :-) I will only buy peanut butter made with peanuts and no a bunch of added chemicals and junk.

    If you have time i would recommend watching Forks Over Knives and Food Matters both documentaries are on Netflix, they are awesome and a huge eye opener!!! You are doing your kids such a wonderful thing but "building them up" (literally) with good quality foods and habits!!

  6. GOod for you mama. While we're not GF here (yet), we are vegetarian and I tell ya, buying organic fruits & veggies has made a huge difference in how we feel and how our bodies respond to everything! Even J is not a meat eater- we've even offered him several times and he's not into it. If you lead the way, your kiddos will follow. They won't know any different!

    My sis was having issues with her health, and couldn't figure out what was going on, she went GF and it was a miracle how it cleared up her issues.

    The reason people have "issues" with you going GF is because you're getting healthy and they probably feel guilty for eating so poorly:)

  7. I'm also doing a restricted diet for weird pain that I'm too young to have already. I've cute out almost all sugar (only eating what is in fruits) and it helps with the pain and weight so much!

  8. Congrats! Good for you. I'm sure it's a hard change, but I hope you feel better and reap the benefits.

  9. Good luck! I hope this helps you feel better. It sucks that it's so expensive to eat these "Specialty" foods.

  10. I am *So* proud of you for doing all of this. I will jump on my soap box for one small minute and then off again, but I feel like we all need to take charge of our own health, and think more about whats good and whats safe. Our government is too corrupt to really make good decisions for us, its all about money and politics so... bad news bears. I also think that if you are doing this kind of living 80% of the time, the other 20% won't effect you so badly because your body is healthy enough to process the crap. I FIRMLY believe that what we eat will effect everything about our health, and solve existing health issues too! Can't wait to follow your journey! yOu need to read that hallelujah diet book now that you are more open minded about this stuff. Its scripture based and makes ALOT of sense.

  11. Hi !!!

    Very interesting... I found your blog when I search info of SCLE. I have had Celiac disease since 1969 (all my life). So gluten-free is very familiar.. I wish you good luck and health !!!! You have made a good choice !!



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