HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I am excited to kick off the New Year with a whole new blog category: Gluten Free
Here is my story of how and why this whole Gluten free thing got started for me. Some of you might relate and even find some answers for yourselves. My wish is to simply tell you what I have discovered and help you decide.
I have lived with a hypothyroid for many years (I believe I was 17 when first diagnosed). I take a little synthroid pill every day to keep my thyroid working at a normal pace. As you may already know, your thyroid also affects the speed of your metabolism and when your metabolism is sluggish, well all sorts of other things go down the drain. One of the more visible ones is your weight. People who are overweight OFTEN also have a hypothyroid, ESPECIALLY, if you have TRIED to lose weight and haven’t been able to, feel tired all the time, you feel cold and cover up in normal temperatures (like inside your home), have hair loss, etc… but those are the most common symptoms.
But actually, this is not even a story about weight loss. I have for whatever reason never really noticed an impact to that, other than during pregnancy, which is pretty normal.
What happened to me was that I also developed ANOTHER autoimmune disorder: Rheumatoid Arthritis. Well, I am a pretty active person, so anything that wants to impact that lifestyle is gonna have to hurt pretty bad to stop me. And sadly, SOME DAYS, it really does. I knew about 5-6 years ago this may be a problem as it had surfaced on a blood test, however, it has been about that long since i had felt any pain (usually my hands). It can go into remission for many years! But recently, in the last 2 months or so, it has been a constant achy feeling that affects different joints every day. Sometimes it is my left hand, then my right, then my leg, then my shoulder. I am thankful it is never ALL at the same time though. That would really suck! LOL
Another nice little side effect of this one is that it appears to also have take its toll on my weight all of the sudden. I think that because of the inflammation or something.
So I started my research:
There are no “medications” that technically cure RA, nor do I want to go down that route as I rather deal with the joint pain over the side effects, so I started reading up on natural cures and such and see if i could “buy into any”. I also need to get my weight back into range. I am not particular about being “skinny”, but I do try to stay within 5-6 lbs of my goal. What can I say? Sometimes I wanna eat what I wanna eat. And I’ve never really struggled losing weight, until now. I can’t even drop ONE POUND to save my life. UGH
I’ve come across SEVERAL solutions that all have one thing in common. Not just in common for the cause of weight problems, but also for ALL autoimmune diseases. For the record, there is no medically known proof that RA can be cured, but as far as I am concerned if I have no pain and my joint deterioration progression STOPS, call it what you want to call it, but to me THAT WORKS (aka CURED!).
The common factor I found in all the studies was GLUTEN. I don’t want to get into the details here but I am convinced now more than ever that we need to make some changes in the way we THINK about food (and therefore eat). Now, you may or may not have a gluten intolerance, I don’t know. Most people assume gluten only manifests itself with intestinal issues, but that’s not necessarily the case.
Here is the kicker: Being Gluten Free is a tough road to follow. Not necessarily because it can’t be done, but because there is gluten HIDDEN in the most unusual foods (like pickles?), so I think it will be hard to just know. Plus I LOVE BREAD. Curiously enough, and I am not surprised, many manufacturers are stamping the Gluten Free on their products now. I bet you see complete aisles in your grocery store (at least Sprouts now has them). IT IS A KNOWN CULPRIT for the many health problems we all face.
I don’t have any magical results to talk about yet, but I will post as I feel them. ME personally, because of all this stuff I am dealing with, I am actually starting an elimination diet (gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, sugar, peanuts, corn). Yeah, I know what you are thinking… what the heck am I gonna eat? My feelings exactly! But I am mostly vegetarian so I already have a few meals in mind. One of them is below which I prepared today for lunch and snapped a picture, which then inspired this blog post. :-)
For those of you who would like to take a look at this, I am following The Virgin Diet suggestions. I am not affiliated with it, here is the link to JJ’s website. Note that this one requires you to also eliminate soy (sigh, that means the shakes even though its non-gmo soy), but it’s only temporarily so I am ok with that. I primarily use my shakes before and after workouts (rather than as meal replacements), so I have replaced them for now with another shake option.
Another source that I also looked into and provides similar suggestions is Wheat Belly. You can find the book (actually both books) on Amazon and they also have a fantastic fanpage on Facebook. Whether you are struggling with weight loss or have an autoimmune disorder or not, these might shed some light into the culprit for you.
My challenge this year is clear, but a tough road ahead. What is YOURS? Feel free to comment below. I am happy to help anyway I can.
Here is what I concocted for lunch today and it was DELICIOUS! Also, gluten free, high protein (30g) with Omega 3’s and very tasty!
Citrus Salmon with Whole Wheat Brown Rice
The salsa topping: chop up 1/3 bunch of cilantro, 1/3 medium onion, 3 med tomatoes or 4 romas, squeeze 1 med lime plus salt to taste. This one is sort of a taste as you go thing, so feel free to experiment. I like mine super citrus!
Salmon: I bought Salmon Wild Caught at Costco (frozen section)! Just follow directions on package (375 in oven for 25 minutes plus I broil mine for 5)
Brown rice**: also at Costco. Make sure if reads gluten free. You just pop these in the microwave for 3 minutes.
**Although this rice is gluten free, if you are going to follow the Wheat Belly suggestion (instead of JJ’s) then no rice of any kind for you! JJ allows this one, although I prefer quinoa which is probably a healthier option. Make sure you stick to ONE of the authors. A common mistake people make is following a little bit of each according to tolerance but that’s a formula for disaster in many cases. So, pick one and stick with it.