Alright, so a fb friend asked me to keep track of my “GF” journey and I thought, why not? I already have a blog, might as well blog about something so near (and not quite dear yet) to my heart.
Here is the back story of why I am going gluten free.
Since I was 15 I have had “stomach issues”. This would involve every time I ate dairy, whether it was milk, ice cream, cheese, cheesecake, sour cream…whatever, any time I would eat it, severe cramping of my abdomen. Enough that I felt like the clip they show of the movie “Alien” where a creature slices through some ladies stomach and pops out…yeah. I felt that I had someone slicing me open from the inside out…combine that with hours of not being able to leave the vicinity of the nearest bathroom and vomiting and you pretty much get a picture of what I was going through. Come to think of it, a friend of mine who has endometriosis seems to describe the same type of pain at times. (I was scared I had THAT too). Now stay with me, why dairy when I am talking about gluten? I’ll get there. Its all back story. Sorry…no pun intended.
Anyway, since that time I tried cutting out all dairy products. That worked for awhile, but I would STILL have symptoms described above and I never understood it.
Fast forward about 9 years to when I had been married for a few years and was on my husbands insurance. After quite a few episodes of this happening he suggested I go in for some testing to rule out different possibilities since a few people we knew had crohns disease and such. Did said tests, got results back, biopsy’s and everything..what I was TOLD at the time was that I have IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Was told to “lay off the coffee, caffeine, nicotene, and continue on the no dairy diet”. Since I don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t chew and only drank pop occasionally, and had been doing dairy free for years…I thought that IBS was just doctor code for “We don’t know what you have so this is an answer we are giving you to make you happy”. I was not happy but did not think there was anything I could do.
Fast Forward about 6 years to present time (Marty and his Delorian have NOTHING on this time travel) and I am fed up.
I have been married 10 years dealing with this, that is tough of me when I get a flare up, tough on friends, tough on my husband who can’t do anything for me at the time except keep the kids away from my while I have my tummy “Issues”. Which is code for diarrhea. Yes, I said it. I HATE discussing this stuff in front of people but thankfully you can’t see my face turning red as I type, but I am hoping that this will help someone else figure out what is going on with them…so please excuse my embarrassment. Honestly I have gotten so tired of having to tell people answers for what is going on when the answers I have for them don’t seem like any sort of answers to ME, how can they seem like answers to other people.
I started seeing a new doctor and had the brilliant idea, Thank you Lord!, of having my old medical records sent from the doctors up in Seattle to my doctor down here. I have only seen this dr 3 times but I like her already. I told her about the past, yadda yadda, tests, IBS, Yadda yadda…while we are looking at the test results she says “Oh…well the results were pretty conclusive that they thought you had it, it just wasn’t 100% conclusive that you did, so that mixed with the results you are already getting from going gluten free is enough to diagnose you with it”…HALLELUJAH! I have answers! I KNEW I wasn’t crazy and that there was a reason I still felt like garbage after getting rid of dairy. Now mind you, our diet has not been the most unhealthiest of diets. We ate only wheat bread (12-15 grain if we had it), drank coconut milk, or almond milk, I make a TON of meals from scratch, LOADS of fruits and veggies, running, rowing, walking, tons of Water (which is what we drink mainly with occasional bits of juice thrown in) and I STILL had flare ups. After doing EVERYTHING the doctors had told me to.
This marks a week that I have been all Gluten Free and the difference is amazing.
I had had friends years ago tell me about going Gluten Free but their symptoms did not line up EXACTLY with mine…so I dabbled in it, but never realized before what all has gluten in it. There is a LONG list of stuff that has gluten in it, from toothpaste to chili to cream of mushroom soup! Seriously, why is there WHEAT in my CHILI or in my Pork and Beans? Toothpaste?! Craziness.
What I did not realize at the time of talking with my friends is that the symptoms do not ALL Have to line up EXACTLY. Apparently IBS is a good indicator of Celiacs disease. So is Ezcema, severe abdominal cramping, depression and easily angered. Now wait a sec? Moods affected by what you eat you might ask? Yes. I know for some of you this might be old hat but to me alot of this is brand new. I KNEW I felt worse when I did not eat protein for breakfast, so I quit eating cereal and milk for breakfast and instead turned to oatmeal quite awhile ago or a smoothie or a handful of almonds…little did I know I was still sabotaging my body and my mood because the stuff I was going for STILL had gluten in it.
A few books that have helped me to kind of ease into this was Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease by Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., M.D., that Terri Forward told me about at a ladies tea up in Longview, Wa. This book while not dealing with celiac’s disease kind of helped ease me into a different way of thinking about food.
For any of you that know me personally know that this is a HUGE deal to me. I LOVE food. I enjoy going out to eat (even a salad!) with friends, or pastries (which were occasional treats), or just…food. I did not follow this diet to a “T” but it did help institute some different changes and gave me ideas for vegan recipes for foods that I already loved and couldn’t have due to IBS or my milk intolerance/allergy thingy I had.
The other two books that I have been reading and really seem to help is “Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight” by William Davis, MD The other books is “Wheat Belly Cookbook” by William Davis, MD.
I won’t re-write the books for you, but I finally feel like I have somewhere to go to for answers healthwise as far as celiac’s disease is concerned.
I will try to post in here often about recipes I have tried and loved and let you know how my journey is going.
I will say this for the first part of the week I was tired, (anyone know any mother that ISN’T tired??), more so than usual and have broken out in pimples on my forehead in what reminds me of my pre-teen years, after reading a bit, found out that is completely normal and is whats known as “wheat withdrawal” symptoms. Yes, you can laugh. My Name is Becky Jesse and I have been addicted to wheat…my whole life. No more though. I am breaking the cycle of wheat dependency and opening up a whole new world of interesting yummy food out that there is NOT going to mess with my intestines and NOT make prone to anger and NOT make me embarrassed to be somewhere and have to find out where EVERY SINGLE BATHROOM is because even though you make sure you didn’t eat any dairy, you still ate the bread and out of nowhere it hits…no more thank you very much! Gluten, you and I are through.
Thanks for reading, stay tuned for more “Adventures in GF Land with your host, Becky Jesse”….or you can make up another cool title. 🙂 ~Becky
*disclaimer: I am in no way stating that endometriosis and Celiac’s is the same, just that the pain seemed similar. Also, I am not a doctor, please seek medical advice before following any diet advice. Also, I am not stating that I have no say in my actions and blaming gluten, just simply stating without gluten in my system for the past week, I have been a LOT calmer and find myself not in a fog near as much. Think that covers it. Yep. *