Copyright © June Cleaver in yoga pants
Design by Dzignine
Monday, October 18, 2010

going gluten free

Here is the thing, I have been quietly changing my eating habits lately and as such, my foodie posts are going to change. And, I wanted to explain why (in case you wondered).

See, food and I have a complicated relationship. Only lately, in my late twenties/early thirties, have I truly enjoyed food. Mainly because, well, I have this super fun disease - Crohn’s disease. It sucks. When it is bad. Food equals pain, or it did. I was very very VERY sick from age 18-20, on and off. Then I had surgery at age 20. I felt better for awhile. Then a few years later (amidst grad school stress and not being so nice to my body – lets just say my daily norm was pizza bagels and coffee and cigarettes) I went on some hard core medicine that changed my life. I felt better. I could eat whatever I wanted, for a spell.

Then I started growing up. Hmmm. Maybe I should eat a little better. I started taking supplements. Probiotics. Cod liver oil. Both HUGELY important in feeling better.

And then, for some reason having babies cured me…for awhile. My body LOVES being pregnant. I can eat anything I want and feel no consequences of it. I also realize it has to do with how great I treat my body when pregnant. I avoid all crap food. I don’t drink. I take tons of supplements. I eat nourishing, nutrient rich food.

But now, little miss is growing up and the rose of babyhood is nearing its end, as are her nursing days. As such my body is starting to act up again. Tension headaches. Gut pain. Bad days. Not able to eat whatever whenever. I DON’T want to go back to those nasty medications.

And then, there is the Hashimoto’s (underactive thyroid) that debilitated me shortly after giving birth (now on synthetic thyroid supplement, which I hate to take but it has helped. One thing at a time. Although I am reading that gluten can trigger thyroid issues?? ACK! Its like my body is caving in on itself!)

So. Time for radical measures.

Gluten free.

Apparently gluten can really be toxic for a lot of people. It’s not just that some people are allergic. It’s that some peoples’ bodies can’t handle digesting it well. It’s literally toxifying their body. The list of symptoms of gluten sensitivities or gluten triggered problems include: Bloating and Gas troubles, Diarrhea or Constipation, Gastric reflux or heartburn, Tired, Exhausted, Lethargic, Weight gain, Weakness, Chronic Iron Deficiency, Dermatitis, Eczema or Bad Skin, Infertility, Runny Nose and Sinus Problems, Osteoporosis, Bones and Joint Pains, Feel Depressed And Moody, Find it Hard To Think Clearly, Headaches or Migraines, Poor Sleep, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism, Hyperactivity or Cranky, or Mental Health Problems.

Read more here.
So why is this? Here are some reasons from this article

- Humans don’t fully digest wheat. The undigested portions of wheat begin to ferment and causes bloat etc.
- Wheat is a pro-inflammatory agent. A pro-inflammatory agent is rapidly converted to sugar, causing a rise in the body’s insulin levels, causing a burst of inflammation at the cellular level, among other problems. [for me this is the issue I think. Hashimoto’s and Crohns are auto-immune disorders. Crohns is overactive inflammation in the intestines. Why add more inflammation for my body to fight off??]
- Wheat can cause leaky gut syndrome. Leaky gut syndrome is a condition whereby stuff is leaking from your gut into your bloodstream — stuff that shouldn’t be there, such as toxins.
- Refined wheat has little nutritional value. Did you know that manufacturers actually have to enrich refined wheat because they’ve taken out all the nutrients? And even then, the wheat’s not that valuable, nutritionally speaking.
- Wheat is one of the top-eight allergens. Millions of people are allergic to wheat.
- Many people have gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, and don’t know it. So, how many people fall into this category? It has been estimated that 1 in 100 people has celiac disease — but most don’t know it. No one knows how many people have gluten sensitivity, but estimates are that it may be as high as 50 percent, or even 70 percent, of the population.

Read more here: [a really good but really long article]

Gluten free is essentially this – eliminating wheat, oat, rye, and barley. These ingredients hide in foods in a lot of ways though so you have to be careful. (from an above article - “Reading labels carefully is crucial. It's important to watch for "hidden" sources of gluten, such as hydrolyzed vegetable protein, textured vegetable protein, and hydrolyzed plant protein. Also look for all derivatives of wheat, rye, oats, and barley, including malt, modified food starch, grain vinegars, some soy sauces, plus binders and fillers found in many foods and even medications and seasonings.”)

For a time I was pretty much gluten free. Any bread I ate was what I made, and I always soaked it overnight in whey to break down the gluten. (I can post on this later if there is interest. I need to start making this again for the kids.)

So I experimented with gluten free last week. I bought some TERRIBLE crackers that tasted like cardboard. Then I found some better tasting ones. I created gluten free meals. I ate brown rice and veggies. I felt better.

Then I went away for the weekend and was tempted by yummy things like lobster rolls. YUM. Then I came home to sick kids and caved and ate frozen pizza.

Yes. Definitely felt better on the gluten free days.

Gluten free it is then.

And what CAN you eat? Well really eating more fruits, veggies, meat and dairy (from good grass-fed/free range organic sources) is the prime nutrition your body needs anyway. Other things that are ok include: corn, beans, rice, potatoes, seeds, quinoa, buckwheat, amaranth, teff, Montina, sorghum, and millet.

There are a lot of options really. It’s just a new way of thinking about food. And there are easy replacements.

The occasional cracker for soups is REALLY important to me. So I bought this flour mix that is part arrowroot, rice, tapioca and sorghum flours. And I made crackers. Really good crackers.

Here is what I ate the other night for dinner:

(especially proud of myself considering dada wasn’t home so I was cooking for me and the kids – usually this means they eat hot dogs and I eat yogurt and potato chips – and my kids are terribly sick with colds. Little miss slept and nursed in the sling while I cooked! Not terribly easy with a 25 lb toddler…but I digress.)

Crockpot stewed chicken with tomatoes, lentils, and fresh herbs. (Anti-recipe coming soon)
Gluten free crackers, homemade. (Anti-recipe coming soon)
Spinach salad with olive oil and blue cheese.

Seriously, I impressed myself.

If I can eat like this I can do gluten free.

Luckily there are a ton of amazing resources on the web. The best so far that I have read are  and  and

Really, the only problem is pizza. I mean, I LOVE pizza. Some days I want it too much to say no. But I think the cracker recipe I did yesterday could be adapted to be a great crispy pizza crust.

Hmm. Let the experimenting begin!

(And anyone with good tip, please share!)


  1. What a month to go gluten free! Check out the coupons at mambo this month:

    My family has Celiac and my Mom has been cooking GF for forever, it can be done! In Canada they actually have GF Take-Out pizza, but here you should check out Amy's brand of GF (for when you don't want to make from scratch). :) Good luck!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...