Sunday, November 15, 2015

Gluten free…what?!?!

So I've deiced to try going gluten free. I know it sounds like its just the latest in a sea of new food trends. But for me its not a trend. Its a way to better my quality of life, a desperate attempt to feel better, to feel normal.

You see, I have several health issues that cause me daily aggravation and discomfort, sometimes even pain, among a myriad of other symptoms. One disorder I deal with is Hashimoto's Thyroid Disease. It is auto-immune disorder where my body attacks and seeks to destroy my thyroid gland.  The thyroid affects a lot of stuff in your body…temperature, weight, metabolism, hormone balance, causes dry skin, hair loss, lethargy/fatigue, infertility, anxiety/depression and other mood disorders…the list goes on and on. And these are just a few of the things I contend with every day. Not to mention that when you have one autoimmune disorder you are much more likely to develop other autoimmune disorders. One of which is celiac disease, the most commonly associated with gluten allergies.

I, thankfully have tested negative for celiac disease. However, the Hashimoto's also makes you susceptible to having a gluten intolerance, even without actually having celiac disease. Below is a list of just some of the symptoms you might have if you're gluten-intolerant. Out of the 10 on this list, I have 7, and the other 3 I've experienced on occasion, which may or may not be related to gluten.

At first I considered just trying to cut back on gluten instead of cutting it out all together. But that notion was quickly dispelled when I found out that gluten can stay in your system for a very long time…like 3-6 months. So theres no point in just cutting back if its still in your system that long. Every time you add another bite of gluten, it just takes that much longer for it to go away. So gluten free 100%.

A little more clarification about this disorder…

It seems daunting at first. Wow, I can't have pizza, I can't have burgers, I can't have pasta or cake or cookies, or this or that or the other favorite thing I love to eat! Its even hidden in some sauces (I love sour cream!) and soups as a binder! Aaaahhhhh! What in the world am I going to eat?? And gluten free food, does it even taste good? Will I ever be able to enjoy food again??

Whew…deep breath. Its really not that bad. Yes there will need to be changes. And yes it will be for a lifetime. But there are a lot of tasty options that are still available. There are many gluten free flours, pastas, and breads available. Some grocery stores that have gluten free sections and even many restaurants are starting to offer gluten free items on their menus as well.

Here's a great article on making the process a little less scary...

So here we go, entering into this new culinary adventure with an open mind and an open stomach, with a glint of hope that in a few months, my body will start to feel normal and more healthy. Maybe I'll even lose a few extra pounds in the process! If you have any gluten free recipes you'd like to share, I'd love to hear them!! So wish me luck!!

my first gluten free meal…a sweet potato with butter and cinnamon, and a chicken salad with fresh veggies, a little blue cheese, and Italian dressing. Make sure you check the labels even on the dressings…all the other dressings I looked at were not gluten free,  beware of soy as well!