Gluten Free: The Way To Be?
|July 12, 2011||Posted by Katy under Health Tips|
“You are what you eat…. You only get out of your body what you put into it.”
Both of these sayings are true. Our bodies are fueled on food and proper nutrients. If you eat poorly, you will feel bad, cranky, and lethargic. If you eat well, you will feel energetic, happy, and full of life.
Or at least you should…
I have had different chapters in my “food journey”. When I was very young, I had a milk allergy which only lasted a year or two. Milk allergies are pretty common in children and most outgrow it by the age of three (Source).
Then when I was seven my father became a vegetarian, so naturally I decided to become one too. He stayed a vegetarian for a few years, but I continued to be one until my junior year of high school. Even when I did return to eating meat, I did so reluctantly (because I thought I wasn’t getting enough protein) and only ate poultry. Around this same time, I developed a mild case of lactose intolerance and avoided dairy products.
My lactose intolerance eventually subsided (although I sometimes have problems with milk), and have not had any major problems since. I did decide to become a vegetarian again last July both for personal and health reasons.
After eventually getting a hold on my disordered eating, I committed myself to eating a diet focused on plant based sources of nutrients and proteins, and also eating complex carbs through whole wheat and grains. Once I made a change to a better diet, I never felt better! My energy levels were boosted, I was more focused on my school work, and I felt better overall.
However, I started to notice that I was having stomach upset back in February. My symptoms included an overall lack of appetite, feeling sick after eating, not being able to eat a lot (feeling full after a few bites), only being able to tolerate liquids (Green Monsters) or soft foods (Greek yogurt), and fatigue. I also would get headaches once or twice a week, which I rarely suffered from previously.
I went to the doctor back in May and had blood work done a week later to test if I had gastritis, an inflammation of the stomach lining. The blood work from those tests came back negative and no more tests have been done.
Since those tests, I have been suffering from the symptoms off and on. A new symptom did pop up- stomach cramping while running. I know that these stomach cramps can be completely unrelated to my other stomach issues, but I have a feeling that they may be connected.
Over the past few weeks, I have really been monitoring what I have been eating and seeing what upsets my stomach and what does not. Last week I re-read the original post about my stomach issues and one sentence stuck out to me:
The ONLY time I did not have a problem was when I was in Costa Rica for Spring Break!
I had an “ah-ha” moment. In Costa Rica, I was not eating the foods I normally eat in the United States. I ate a LOT of fresh fruits and vegetables (even more than I do now!), beans, and rice.
I did not have one issue with my stomach, but as soon as I returned, I suffered from the issues again. I started thinking and it hit me:
I may have a gluten sensitivity.
Now I do not know this for certain, but everything adds up. The stomach upset. The headaches. The fatigue. All of these signs can point to a sensitivity.
Since I am unable to go home for awhile to see my doctor, I have decided to take matters into my own hands. I am going to experiment with a gluten free diet for a duration of time. If the symptoms improve or go away completely, then I may have my answer. If they don’t improve, then I’ll try another avenue.
Going gluten free will not be easy, but I find comfort that there are other bloggers out there who live a gluten free life (and are even vegetarians). I have already bookmarked Chelsey’s recipes page for easy access and inspiration for meals!
I know that going gluten free is going to mean making swaps or eliminating some of my favorite foods. I have to find an alternative gluten free bread and swap out my multi-grain oats (which contain wheat and barley) for regular oats (yes there is controversy as to whether or not oats can be cross-contaminated with wheat). I am also going to have to read food labels closely and be a more educated consumer.
I’ll keep you updated on whether or not my “self-diagnosis” is correct. While this can be seen as a big change in my lifestyle, I am not going to allow myself to become frustrated. I’m hoping that I can finally get some answers and relief for this problem that had been annoying me for months!
Do you follow or have you ever experimented with a gluten free diet? Have you ever had to change your diet completely due to a food allergy, sensitivity, or intolerance?
P.S- I added pictures from #SCTweetup on my Facebook page! Check them out!