Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Day I Found Out I Can Only Eat Cardboard...

Okay, Okay, I'm being a little dramatic but stick with me here.

If you know me or have read my blog in the last year you've known that I've struggled with some undiagnosed health issues. After countless procedures, endoscopy's, colonoscopys, cat scans, surgery's, an abundance of blood taken and anything else you can imagine I've become a little fed up with the average doctor.  Dare I say, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. 

About a month ago a friend suggested I see a nutritionist that she had just gone to. Heck, it was worth a try. I met with the nutritionist last week and confessed to her that she was my last hope. I sent her some blood work and a 5 page health assessment explaining my symptoms and their severity.

Yesterday Tim and I met with her to get my results and I found out several things:

-I'm digesting food but not taking in the nutrients from it.
-It's quite possible that I have a fungus or parasite living in my stomach or intestines
(we have to wait a couple weeks for those test results)

but the biggest one is that I'm GLUTEN INTOLERANT!

NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Have you ever taken the time to see what has gluten in it? 
Let me tell's pretty much everything!

Whew! Okay, I can do this. Oh, did I forget to mention I have to get rid of dairy too? ::tear::

I just keep telling myself that although the diet will be difficult, feeling better will be SOOOO worth it. My amazingly supportive husband is also going to embrace the gluten free life with me!

So it's research time....Here are some Gluten Free Facts I found from the Gluten Free Goddess:

When the flavor memory of wheat begins to fade (this takes time by the way, and is why I didn’t recommend rushing out to purchase gluten-free substitutes for pasta, brownies, bread, and cookies; they’ll taste funny- even odd to your wheat saturated taste buds) there are plenty of tasty pastas to twirl, breads to toast, and decadent Dark Chocolate Brownies to melt in your mouth.

But try to give yourself two weeks first. Gluten affects brain chemistry. Experts liken it to opiod addiction. One mother told me her agitated , gluten craving son actually licked the kitchen table during the his first gluten-free week, trying to get a taste of gluten.

Adjustment to living gluten-free usually takes a minimum of two weeks; and it can, in some individuals, take up to a month or two- especially if hidden gluten is consumed, and the craving for it lingers. 

Think of it as a psychic adjustment period, where your focus is not on what you can no longer have, but on choosing fresh, healthful, whole foods that will jump-start your healing process

Say yes to fresh produce. If you’re a vegetarian, you're in luck. You already love veggies of all kinds, so go for it. Do your bunny food thing. And don't forget fresh seasonal fruit.

Omnivore? You're in luck, too. Plain fresh meat, chickeneggs and fish are all naturally gluten-free (watch out for added broths, seasonings and marinades). Choose organic and free-range grass fed bison and beef for those nifty Omega 3's.

Give your taste buds time to adjust to the newness of gluten-free flours. They are, indeed, different. They smell different and taste different.  The texture is different. It takes about two weeks or so to adjust your wheat craving taste buds to the alternative charms of gluten-free grains. Be patient. The craving for wheat will pass. I promise.
Aside from the obvious forbidden foods (bread, breadcrumbs, rolls, muffins, bagels, donuts, croissants, cereal, pizza, fried food, pasta, beer, crackers, pretzels, cookies, cake, brownies, pie crust) I advise saying no to processed foods and mixes, fast food, junk food, snack food dusted with added flavors, packaged seasonings, soups and dressings- in other words, anything with ingredients you can barely pronounce.
Cross Contamination!

And now for the thorny part. The tricky bump on the learning curve- invisible gluten. It is dead sneaky! Where does it come from?

First- consider the contents of your refrigerator. All shared condiments must be avoided; it's best to purchase your own peanut butter, jam, butter & margarine, mayo- and separate it. You can label itMy GF Stash. Or use a colored sticker system. It does seem extreme, I know. But, Dear Reader, crumbs and residue from gluten containing food can wreak havoc. Trust me.

You may not think so, at first (I admit, didn't believe it), but even the tiniest gluten crumble contains enough of the offending gluten molecule to cause serious trouble and trigger our sensitive immune systems. And we know how tiny molecules are. And how invisible.

So picture those sticky fingers of family- and co-workers- blissfully eating orange oil pizza, or dripping sub sandwiches, and  sugary glazed donuts. Fingers that can easily leave gluten residue on fridge handles, computer key boards, get the idea.

Let the adventure begin!

Anyone else out there Gluten Free? I'd love to chat with you!


  1. Oh girl! I'm also gluten intolerant, have been for nearly four years. I PROMISE it's not AT ALL as difficult or as un-tasty as it sounds. I don't miss it at all now! Email me if you need some pointers! xoxo

  2. Hi there I am going through this at this exact moment! I found out I was gluten intolerant 3 weeks ago. I already had an egg and lactose allergy so I am already used to reading labels but not to this extent. I will say that I have found a lot of great food that I wouldn't have already tried. Trying to adopt a whole food type of diet I think is best at first too, trying to cook without processed things makes it easier to be certain that your not getting any gluten. Its only been about 3 weeks and I feel so much better than i have in like maybe forever. However I think I may have gotten some cross contamination and it has been awful since I have not had any gluten at all in awhile so it really is worth it to stick with this :) Feel free to email me if you need any advice or product reviews or someone to relate to. Good luck!

  3. Thanks ladies! It's nice to know I'm not alone...I'm sure I'll be emailing you soon for info :)

  4. I've done gluten free on and off! I'd love to talk to you about it. :)
    I have a giveaway going on on my blog right now! Check it out!

  5. Wow! See that is where my next step was going to be too! I watched Dr.Oz the other day and thought crap this must be it. Because I don't know why else I feel so miserable (even with being a fibro girl). I talked to my rheumy and before we go down the gluten path she referred me to a book called Eat right for your blood type. However, I'm still going to look into a nutritionist because I've heard that people with Fibro feel a lot better after taking gluten out. I just never know.
    Hopefully this will make you feel better.
    Honestly, when i have dairy or breads I feel so sick.
    Good Luck. elisabeth hasselbeck just released a book on this!