Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Eating Gluten Free

Hello again.  It's been so long that I may need to introduce myself.

Well, as you can imagine, A LOT has been going on.  With a two year old and a 3 month old in the house, things have been jam packed and never slow down.  To catch you up on everything just seems too overwhelming right now, so I want to just share with you one of my latest pieces of good news...something that might even help you.

If you follow my blog, you know that I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in Jan. 2011.  Since then, my life has turned upside down, fighting pain daily, even to the point where I needed help 24/7 just for regular daily activities and for taking care of the children.  I have never been able to get on a treatment plan for my RA because I was always either nursing a child, pregnant, or planning to become pregnant.  So, I've always wanted to find other options to deal with the pain.  I've tried all natural supplements (that were guaranteed to work-HA!), cutting certain food groups out of the diet, etc.  But not until 3 weeks ago did I try to go gluten free.  I always thought it would be so hard to do because the only people that I really knew that did it were also doing the Paleo diet (much harder and more restrictive than just doing gluten free).  So, I did some research and made a trip to trusty old Barnes & Noble and low and behold I figured out that it wasn't going to be so tough after all.  It was actually going to be quite easy considering my food supply at home was almost compatible with a gluten free diet already.

So, I bought a couple of books and ate gluten free one day.  After only one day, I was doing things I had not done in a year and a half since having RA.  I was chasing Little around the house (I thought Frank's jaw would never come off the ground as he was watching us).  I felt like a new person.  I continued into the second day and ended up going 24 hours before I needed to take any Motrin.  Before this, I had to take it every 6 hours and sometimes couldn't even wait that long.  I could walk down the stairs normally and even stand on my tip toes.  It was amazing!  If it could make someone like me feel better, I could only imagine how good it would make a "normal" person feel.  And another thing...with RA, there is a chemical released into your blood that causes extreme fatigue.  Well, my fatigue was gone.  I felt like I'd had a miracle.

So you're probably wondering how easy is it really.  Well, everything on the outside of the grocery store is pretty much already gluten free.  Fresh produce, meat, dairy.  And a lot of other things are too if you  just know what to look for.  For example, Classico Spaghetti Sauce (the kind I already used) is gf.  One of the books I bought showed me which 7 ingredients to stay away from.  So, basically you can look at the ingredients on anything and decide whether or not to eat it.  This came in very handy when I went to Baskin Robbins the other night.  Thankfully, the mint chocolate chip was gf!  The 7 ingredients to stay away from are wheat, barley, malt, rye, oats (unless they are labeled gf), modified food starch and dextrin. And that's it!  You may be thinking, how in the world do I stay away from wheat?  Easy!  There are so many other types of flour, so you don't have to give up anything!  I have been baking more now than I ever did, and they are the simplest recipes.  Last night I made a chocolate molten cake and it only took 5 minutes to whip up and get into the oven.  And the food made without wheat tastes great...just ask Frank!  Or mine or Frank's parents.  They've all eaten gf meals at our house.  You can get pasta that is made with brown rice flour rather than wheat.  You can get gf bread or better yet make it.  I literally only had to add a handful of things to my pantry to be able to do the gf baking.

Just so you know how easy I'll give you a run down of what I've eaten today.
Breakfast: yogurt with bananas and gf granola
Lunch: Chicken salad sandwich with cheese and gf bread and a sliced tomato
Snack: Chocolate molten cake left from last night
Dinner tonight will be a gf pizza from a place about 10 minutes from our house.  It's girl's night out!  Yay! (First one since before Lincoln was born)

Going out to eat is doable, too.   A lot of restaurants have gf menus, like Jason's Deli, PF Changs, Bonefish Grill, Carrabba's.  But you can eat gf anywhere if you know what to look for and stay away from (those 7 ingredients listed above).  

I felt like I needed to share this with all of you because of how wonderfully different I feel just in the past 3 weeks of doing this.  Also, a friend on Facebook said she tried this after seeing my post and after 10 years of back pain, she is now pain free!

Because you aren't eating refined flour with the gf diet, you will probably lose weight.  Be warned.  :)  I have been eating chocolate cakes and cookies and losing weight at the same time.  It's great.  I asked my new rheumatologist (whom I am so excited about) yesterday about this change in how I feel since doing this, and he said that even though there is no medical research about this, by all means if it is working, keep doing it!  He said it's definitely a healthier way to eat anyway.  I can't imagine ever going back to a non-gf diet because of how good I feel.  If you have any type of pain or are tired a lot, I would encourage you to try it.  It's just too easy to not give it a chance.

If you are interested, I'd love to talk to you more about it.  I'd highly recommend the books I bought though there are lots of good ones out there.  And if you try gf, I'd love to hear how it goes for you.