Why Gluten Free?

 

WHAT IS GLUTEN?

gluten-freeGluten is the protein found in wheat and certain grains like barley and rye. It acts as the glue and gives those grains the elasticity that makes those New York bagels so irresistible.  Gluten is composed of gliadin and glutenin.

It is also hidden in many other items like soy sauce, salad dressings, ketchup, broth, licorice, candies, gravy, beer.

Some studies show that the wheat of today is not the same wheat our ancestors ate. It is a super wheat that contains a concentrated amount of gluten. It is making a lot of people sick causing inflammation, skin rashes, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, headaches, belly fat.

It seems like Gluten Free is all the rage these days, but it’s not a fad. For some people with celiac disease, an auto immune disease (studies show 1 in 133 people have Celiac and most don’t know it), there are serious health consequences when they eat gluten.  For people with celiac disease, gluten damages the lining of their intestines and prevents important nutrients from being absorbed.  People with celiac disease have to be 100% gluten free.

For others, they have a a sensitivity to gluten and it causes a myriad of problems and discomforts such as IBS, rashes, migraines, canker sores.   And for most of us, it could have long term health issues for us but we don’t attribute our issues to gluten.

MY STORY

I do not have celiac disease but I do have Hashimotos, an auto immune thyroid disease that some studies show, can become worse with gluten intake.  When my first child, Max was six months old, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroidosis.  It sounds so ominous. It is an auto-immune thyroid disease (AITD) that will not go away. For the first 6 months of Max’s life the tired I felt was extremely painful and almost debilitating.   My legs ached when I walked up the stairs, I couldn’t lose the baby weight, clumps of my hair were turning white and I was very easily irritated. I was also getting very little sleep because I had an infant so I chalked all these symptoms up to being a new mom.  Luckily I had some blood work done at our annual local health fair and when my Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) numbers came back sky high, I was so relieved to have a reason for all my crazy.  *If you are getting tested for thyroid, it’s important to test your T3 and T4.

My doctor put me on synthroid and I very happily took that pill every morning before breakfast. My crazy started to go away and I felt such relief.  But I was a little reluctant to pop a pill every day for the rest of my life. I started reading more about thyroid and diet and learned that gluten has a big impact on AITD.

As I became a little more savvy about my own health, I switched to armour thyroid which is not completely synthetic and I tried eliminating gluten from my diet. I started feeling a little better and my TSH numbers went down.  I try hard to eat a gluten free diet but I have mistakenly, and sometime on purpose, eating gluten.  I try not to beat myself up about it but my body tells me it doesn’t feel that great when I eat gluten.

Being gluten free takes thought and time and preparedness.  You have to think ahead.  Bring you own dish to parties.   Pack your lunches.  Carry snacks in your bag.   These things are hard at fist, but then they become habits.   If you notice you feel better on a gluten free lifestyle, you are more likely to stick with it.  If you eat gluten by mistake, or on purpose because that slice of pizza looked heavenly, don’t beat yourself up about it.  That is probably worse for your health.    Just pick up where you left off and move on.

I am committed to make this blog gluten free, because I can control what I make in my own kitchen and I want to help others who need or want to be gluten free. I prefer to eat mostly naturally gluten free foods, but I do use some gluten free products as well.

There are many gluten free grain on the market including quinoa, teff, amarinth, cornmeal,millet, buckwheat, flax sweet potato flour, rice flours and arrowroot starch, and nut flours.   I bake mostly with almond flour.

 

Article About Gluten

Dr. Hyman- What you don’t know might kill you

http://thyroid.about.com/cs/latestresearch/a/celiac.htm

Chris Kessler- 50 shades of gluten (intolerance)

Chris Kessler- gluten-throid connection

Gluten Free Goddess- how to go gluten free

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