Why Did I Start a Gluten Free Diet? – Part 1 of an Ongoing Series
It’s not a news flash to anyone here that I have Crohn’s Disease. I talk about that periodically. Some days are brutally painful and some are not. I have been doing this dance since I was 14 so I have some strategies to manage my illness. My one daughter has had strange joint pain and a limp for six months now – that might be juvenile arthritis, or a bone problem or anything at this point. It’s clearly not anything broken though. We are still going through testing and appointments to determine what is going on with her. That same daughter also always had a lot of constipation and bloating. I have been talking about switching to a gluten free diet for both of us for months now. So what better time to start a gluten free diet than the summer, right?
This is a work in progress and I am documenting my journey here. Why? Because you folks keep me honest. And because this is hard. There was a time for several years when I was gluten free in my twenties. I had acute Crohn’s Disease and was extremely ill prior to making that choice. Did it help? Yes, I think. I had surgical and medical interventions and I was gluten free. That’s right, it was a super challenging decade of hospitalizations. Back then I found being gluten free to be really limiting, so I stopped after about five or six years. Plus I couldn’t afford all the gluten free diet products any more. They were twice the price of typical grocery items. I was a broke freelance journalist back then finishing university and trying to get a full-time job with benefits.
Gluten free has changed a lot in the last decade. It’s pretty much mainstream. It’s a little less expensive than it used to be (but it has a way to go yet) It is easier to bake and cook with gluten free ingredients than it was when I was in my 20s. It is estimated that over 25 % of the population will be gluten free in the coming decade. That’s massive. So why am I jumping on the bandwagon now? There are a few reasons. Most of them are health related. And please note this is a test. This is me checking to see if this diet works for either, or both of us.
Six Reasons We Are Trying a Gluten Free Diet:
1. My daughter has a lot of pain in her one ankle. Might that be arthritis? Yes. Could it be something else? Yes. We are still trying to figure that out with medical help. Might her immune system respond to diet? I don’t know, but I think it’s worth trying. Diet is one of the easier things to change.
2. High Blood Pressure: I am still struggling with that on and off. I have had a couple of lower and almost normal readings. If I am forced to cook gluten free I am also forced to cook less processed meals and think harder about what we eat. I am willing to do that for a time to see if we have better energy, health, less pain etc.
3. High Blood Pressure – Weight – There’s no doubt in my mind that a small part of my high blood pressure problem is weight related. Believe it or not, I have gained at least 10 to 15 pounds over the last five years. Blood pressure can be tied to weight and I need to shake a few pounds. I think a change of diet can help me with that.
4. Heartburn and Indigestion. I have a violent amount of heartburn. All the time. I take a lot of antacid and Zantac etc. It’s bad and I hope to fix that with dietary changes.
5. Crohn’s Disease. It is still there and let’s me know it many days and I manage. Could I build better longterm health without gluten in my diet? I don’t know. But I am trying. There is some conflicting evidence that gluten free diet helps with auto immune disorders. Believe me, I can measure and weight it and analyze all of the research. And I can also try it. If it doesn’t work I will add gluten back to my diet.
6. Bloating and energy: I need less of one and more of the other.
I’m on my third week now.
My first week on a gluten free diet.
My heartburn is a bit better already.
Less bloating happened extremely fast for me and for my daughter too.
I lost two pounds in the first week. That was a fast and happy result. This is not my primary motivation but icing on the cake.
This is a super hard diet to adjust to for me. I’ve been warned by some that it’s not all it’s built up to be, nor is it the answer for everyone. I understand that completely. But I had some success with a gluten free diet before. So nothing ventured, nothing gained. This first week I told nobody and I waited to see what happened. Then because I told nobody I screwed up when the kids wanted pizza and I was short on time I ordered pizza and ate a slice before I realized I’d completely dropped the ball. So I started telling people. My daughter didn’t join me on this gluten free diet until the second week. I’m starting my third week now…. I will keep you posted if you keep me honest.
My one daughter and I are on this diet right now. My husband and other daughter are NOT. So if I post a different recipe here that is not gluten free it may be for them. I will clarify. Also I am human and I will occasionally make mistakes. Plus I’m not going all hard core on this. I don’t think either of us is allergic to gluten. I just want both of us to feel better.
Are you gluten free? If so, why and do you have any tips for me?
Related articles across the web
One of my best friends in high school had Crohn’s. Oh, I feel for you so much. It was so rough on her. I recently had a doctor tell me that they think that everyone is probably gluten intolerant and that we’d all be so much healthier if we cut it out. I cut it out completely for awhile and have slowly re-introduced it, but try to make GF choices as often as possible. Looking forward to this series.
Thank you for saying that. What a nice thing to read. I can hand the change but my daughter is finding it hard.
A Gluten free diet is very difficult! Are you avoid all gluten or just main gluten free foods(i.e pastas etc)? It is amazing how many different foods have hidden sources of gluten. You have to read EVERYTHING!! I’m glad it helps! Be aware that gluten free foods tend to have more calories to improve the flavour and replace gluten. BEST of luck!
I’m avoiding the major gluten free foods. I am not yet hunting for hidden sources of Gluten. I can’t begin to do that yet!! I appreciate your support. This is a hard diet. No idea how people do it all the time. So challenging.
I hope this new diet brings some relief for you and your daughter!
Randa @ TBK
Whenever I have wheat I erupt in hives. It’s so bad, but I love wheat haha so sometimes it’s worth it. After a summer of overindulging and vacation I have started a healthier lifestyle today and I’m keeping my wheat intake a minimum.
I have never tried the compliments brand of pasta yet, I’ll check it out next time I’m at Safeway.
I’m not gluten-free but my sister-in-law is. I know how hard it can be to find these choices and how expensive they can be (thanks to family dinners) but I also know that since she’s changed her diet the health issues that she had have gotten a lot better. In my opinion, if it’s a positive health change that costs me more BUT going to improve my life than it’s well worth the money. Good luck on your journey and I look forward to your updates.