Friday, July 26, 2013

My New (And Hopefully Temporary) Enemy

It's summer time, and one of my favorite things about this time of year is the plethora (wow, what a fun word!) of fresh fruits and vegetables available. We've been picking tons of greens (spinach, beet and swiss chard) from our garden, and have recently started enjoying zucchini. Farmers markets have fruits available, and we went blueberry picking and got almost 25 pounds of them!

I've also been dealing with almost paralyzing headaches and unbelievable amounts of indigestion and stomach aches. I get headaches frequently, and usually at bedtime I'd have shooting pains of heartburn whenever I'd lay down. I never thought of it as odd, just as me being normal.

Well, normal until I started eating mostly fruits, veggies, and whatever grilled meats we happened to be having for dinner that night.

I felt good, less stomach aches, no heart burn, virtually any headaches.

Then all my uncomfortable symptoms came back with a vengeance. We'd had a few cool days, so I baked.

And baked some more.

In a week's time, I had three days I was down with migraines.

For three Sundays in a row I'd come home from church with stomach aches and migraines, and would end up sleeping between 2 1/2 and 3 hours before feeling any relief.

I had a week where I barely ate anything, only my normal comfort foods. Little did I know that those foods were causing me to stay sick.

A week ago Saturday we had a small family reunion at my Aunt Sharon's house. We try to gather at her house every year for pizza and wings, games, and just connecting with family members from all over the country. I hadn't had pizza in a few weeks, so I ended up having three pieces. I chowed down on wings, as well as the fruits and veggies available.

A little bit later, I was talking to my mom and a headache started in. I didn't think much of it, maybe I was just tired.

We left a couple hours later, and the entire way hour ride home I was almost doubled over with a stomach ache, and didn't eat anything until after church the following day.

It was the first Sunday I hadn't had a migraine in a month. Every Sunday previous had only one thing in common: I'd eat toast or a bagel before leaving, and a headache would start approximately half an hour to an hour later.

I got online and began some research. Indicators of gluten intolerance are severe headaches, bloating, stomach aches, heart burn, and joint pain.

I suffer from all of those, and have been for a long time now. But I never noticed it until I stopped eating things with gluten so often.

I tried to stay away from gluten-rich foods for the remainder of that Sunday, and didn't touch anything until Monday night's dinner where I had half of a home made pita. 

By the end of dinner I was popping the tums and was on the couch with a mild headache for the rest of the night.

I have been eating very little gluten since Monday. I have had no headaches, no stomach aches, no heartburn at night, no bloating, and reduced joint pain. Other things I've noticed is that I've been less irritable, less tired, and I've lost 3 pounds.

It has been one of the best weeks for my physical in a long, long time. Looking back, I've seen signs for this for months, but just haven't really put it all together.

Has it been hard not eating my favorite foods, especially as I'm a carbaholic?

Honestly, the only times I've really noticed is when I made the kids macaroni and cheese and I couldn't lick the spoon, or when Pete and I went to the mall and I smelled Auntie Anne's pretzels and I couldn't get one. Granted, this time of year I don't eat much breads or pastas. During the winter it will probably be harder, but I'm finding a lot of great recipes online, and my awesome husband (who's actually more bothered than I am about this, but mostly it's because he's afraid I'll feel left out) went out and got me some mixes for pizza crust/cinnamon rolls, pancakes, and some brown rice flour. We still have some more things we're thinking about getting, but in this day and age, it's much easier to find foods I can eat, even at restaurants!

I'm not going completely gluten free, just cutting out the major foods at the moment to see how I do. In a few weeks, I may try a slice of real bread again or some pasta to see how I do, but for now, I'm staying away from them.

Do you have any food allergies or intolerances? Do you have any gluten free recipes you're willing to share?


  1. Dad asked me last week--or maybe before the get-together--if I wanted to try going gluten-free. He had just seen something about it and forwarded it to me because it listed symptoms of gluten intolerance. He said he ran down the list and saw lots of things that were "Melanie".

    The gluten-free stuff (baking-related) is expensive. :( We've been pricing some stuff and don't know what to do. A small loaf of bread we had picked up for J&J was almost $6.00!

    Can you download the free e-books on your tablet? I have Kindle for PC so I do it when I can. I haven't seen any gluten-free ones yet for the Nook.

    Guess we'll have to start sharing some new recipes, huh? :/

    1. If you're just trying gluten-free, why not try a week's worth of meals without the breads, pastas, pancakes, etc? If dad's concerned that you may have problems, let him have the breads still, and you can do things like take a head of lettuce and use lettuce leaves as tortillas for wraps or to wrap around a burger. For breakfast, check your buckwheat pancake mix; buckwheat is naturally gluten free :) Smoothies are great for breakfast, or yogurt with homemade granola and fruit is also awesome. I hope this helps; the prices we've seen on things is higher than we're used to as well. Oh, and if recipes call for xanthan gum, it looks like it's expensive, but you use so little it'd last forever. Or you can get flaxseed, grind it up to a powder, and use it as a 1:1 ratio substitute for the xanthan gum :)