12 April, 2017

Au revoir, gluten!

I just shared this on Instagram, but when I got a question from someone, my response was so long that Instagram wouldn't let me post it. Haha! Typical. So I decided to write a blog post instead. :)

I've shared bits and pieces about my health issues over the last few years, but I don't think I've really shared how bad things got. I have definitely withdrawn A LOT from everything and everyone. Partly because I don't like feeling misunderstood and partly because I just haven't felt well. It started with my thyroid disease, and then I figured out that I had pretty bad PMDD. I had surgery on my thyroid after a (HORRIBLE) year on medication, and I tried a few treatments for the PMDD. My surgery was very successful, but nothing has helped the PMDD. Overall, I just felt like crap. Super low energy. Tons of paralyzing anxiety. Heart Palpitations. Panic attacks that woke me up in the middle of the night. Muscles so tense and tight that they'd send shooting pains all over my body. Headaches that would last for weeks or even months. Brain fog. And just generally feeling lousy. It has been an all-consuming battle and very discouraging.

After having a really bad headache for six weeks and extremely bad muscle tension, I decided to try giving up gluten. And I didn't just give up the obvious sources of gluten; I did it for real. I read labels carefully, looked stuff up online, called manufacturers, and asked lots of questions at restaurants.

After less than a week, my headache finally went away. And then I started noticing my muscle pain decreasing. Now after only two months, the headaches and muscle pain are still gone, my anxiety is getting so much better, I have more energy than I've had in years, I don't walk around feeling like my head is in a fog anymore, my heart palpitations have decreased, my fingers don't get stiff and cramped anymore, and my general malaise has decreased a TON. The longer I go without gluten, the more changes I see. And I'm sure there is still SO much more change yet to come. It is so insane to me that this has helped me so much, and I pray that it continues to help!

So I shared most of the above on Instagram and mentioned that it has been difficult to give up gluten. Someone asked how hard it was because they were having similar symptoms, and this is what I'd like to say in response to that question....

I loooooove bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, and pastries. I really don't think can express how much. Lol! My diet before I quit was totally based on gluten, and I am 100% addicted to gluten and to food. The gluten free versions of stuff don't hold a candle to the real deal so I definitely can't say I don't notice a huge difference. BUT I feel so much better that I just can't go back. The way I have approached it has been as a trial to see if I felt better. Then once I started feeling better, it made it easier to stick with. I still haven't declared or thought, "I'm never going to have gluten again." But I also don't let myself think that I will have it again someday. I've just taken it day by day as something I am doing right now for my health, and I tell myself that I will find new foods to love over time. 

The one thing that has been incredibly hard for me is thinking about chocolate croissants and that I might never have one again. I have honestly cried over this a few times!! All of this to say that it is definitely hard! But only when you let your mind go there. There are plenty of gluten free foods to eat and you will find things that you really do enjoy. 

Eating out is the hardest part. You have to be pretty careful and ask a lot of questions. Even stuff marinated in soy sauce contains gluten, and many restaurants mix pancake batter into their scrambled eggs. You can't even count on corn tortillas at restaurants being gluten free so just do your research and ask, ask, ask. 

I've stuck to eating a lot of the same foods over and over, and as I add new stuff/places in, I observe how I feel. If I accidentally eat something with gluten in it, the next day my muscles hurt and I have a bad headache and anxiety. That's only happened with three things though. 

I would encourage you to approach it as a trial and see if you notice a difference! If you do, you really won't want to go back. My headaches went away within a week, and everything else has gradually gotten better. It can take ages for your body to fully recover though if you have an intolerance so if it is a problem for you, you will continue to see improvements over time. I'm still seeing new improvements, and I suspect that I will continue to over the next year or so.

So yeah, that's what has been going on with me lately! Between going gluten free and a few other things I'm doing/working on, my life is getting better each day. The last few years have been a huge struggle for me, but seeing actual improvement has been incredibly encouraging! For the record, I don't think everyone needs to give up gluten by any means. While I do believe that gluten is inflammatory to all our bodies, I definitely don't believe that we are all gluten intolerant. But if you've been thinking that gluten might be an issue for you, don't be afraid to try out going gluten free. If I can do it, you can too!!

1 comment:

  1. I recently found out I have Celiac disease.
    Only reason I got tested was it runs in families and my sister found out she had after having constant severe flare ups of RA.
    TBH I never noticed much the symptoms but now that I know, so much makes sense.
    Constant weight gain and belly bloat.
    Always running to the bathroom, especially after eating out and just thinking food out was too rich for me.
    Bad skin.
    Low or no energy.
    I could go on.
    I've been GF since November and it has become my new normal.
    I actually don't miss bread and cake and such now that the gluten has been out of my system for so long.
    I've even been inspired to join Weight Watchers this year which has been very eye-opening in how much we consume into our bodies unnecessarily.

    Like you I have been taking it all day by day, but I focus on all I CAN eat vs. what I cannot.

    If you can, I highly recommend getting the testing done to confirm your allergy.

    I also explain to people I have an allergy now because most people don't think it's real otherwise and consider GF a fad diet.

    It's also awkward having to explain symptoms.


Thanks for commenting! Comment moderation is on so if you don't see your comment... that's why! :)

P.S. If you have a question, check back for a response in the comment field. Or you can click "subscribe by email" in the comments section for notification of new comments on this thread.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...