Saturday, December 18, 2010

But is G-free for Me?

It begins, my reading of Hasselbeck's 'The G-free Diet' and my consideration of if this couldcure my own health battles with the illusive 'ibs' (read: irritable bowel syndrome). After this entry where I told you all about my battle with ibs this year and my long road to trying to figure it all out, I got several messages from readers and friends asking if I'd considered that I may have celiac disease.

The answer is, I wasn't the one to think of it but it was thought of. They didn't test me for Celiac because my symptoms are textbook ibs but I'm missing about 50 of Celiac's symptoms. Come to find out as I've dug deeper and done my research, many people who suffer from Celiac have no symptoms but that doesn't mean the disease isn't eating away at their body.

Here's a little health related confession for you. After a few disappointing visits to doctors early on in my health struggle, I quit going. Now before you jump down my throat about this, let me explain. Ibs is very manageable in most cases my diet and exercise but it is frequently a process of finding the groove that works for you. After my displeasure with my options for treatment via medical help I determined that I thought I was strong enough mentally and physically to run a gamut of self-tests to see if I could get in a good place where I wasn't getting sick all the time.

Over the 9ish months since this all began I have seen a vast improvement. When my flare up first started I was sick 4-5 days a week. Once I began eating healthier, limiting my dairy intake, working out 6-7 days a week, and taking probiotics daily I've been able to (slowly) move from 4-5 days a week to 1-2 times per month. From here, I hope that it will only decrease until someday it will be non-existent or close-to.

So now that I've shared my successes and yes I see them as that, you may be wondering why if I'm on the up-and-up I'm considering such a drastic choice as to go gluten free. Great question. Truth is, after so many people brought it up to me, I got curious. As I researched I started to read all the benefits of a g-free lifestyle and it got me thinking that perhaps it's still worth a shot. If it can drastically improve autism, osteoporosis, type 1 diabetes, thyroid problems, etc. then why not give it a go? Oh, bonuses - it helps you lose weight and/or maintain a healthy weight and has been shown to reduce headaches! Cha-ching.

I'm a firm believer that you can try things and not have to stick with them forever. What's the harm in seeing if I think the health benefits are worth what I'd be giving up. So currently, I'm in the research stages. I'm halfway through Elisabeth Hasselbeck (who does have Celiac)'s book The G Free Diet...

And today I ate gluten free during a friend's graduation lunch at BJ's Brewhouse. I ordered gluten free pizza thinking, why not give it a go. After reading the phrase 'cross contamination' about 1500 times in Hasselbeck's book I was pleased when he asked me if I was severely allergic so that they could be sure to avoid cross contamination or if I just eat g-free. In the future I may have to tell this fib a few times to really get the g-free feel but for now I told him they could cook normal, I just wanted a g-free pizza.

The pizza wasn't half bad I'm pleased to report, though the sauce had a bit of a strange after taste. Best of all - I ate pizza and I didn't feel like I needed a nap after! No sluggish, post gluten binge ecky feeling. I ate and I was good to go. I loved that! There really may be something to this.

I will continue to experiment with some g-free foods as I finish my research but I don't plan to go g-free officially until after the holidays. I feel like the week before/of Christmas is not the time for such a huge leap.

I'll keep you posted as I go.



ChrisAyres said...


So uh, really though, since I'm lazy, what's the downside to gluten? My mother in law is g-free for her thyroid problems.... but in general?

Christy said...

I've thought about it too but haven't researched enough. Wish there were more stores like Trader Joes around here to find good foods at that didn't have gluten.

Becca Christensen said...

Chris - if you don't have an current health issues, there probably isn't much to sway you to the g-free lifestyle. If you were overweight, low in energy, suffered migraines, etc then it might be worth a shot. As is, I'd say stick with everything in moderation as a general rule of thumb. But my gluten related research does inspire me to say this - the more fresh and the less processed foods you consume, the better.

Christy - I know what you mean. Thankfully, South Tampa is full of health nuts so I can find just about anything here. You may just have to venture to my side of the bridge. IF not, there are now lots of websites that offer gluten free food that can be ordered and shipped to you. A little pricier but worthwhile perhaps?

ChrisAyres said...

I see. I don't have any known health issues, but I wonder if going gluten free would just enhance my overall feeling in general? Sorta like when you stop eating fast foods and eat healthier in general that you just feel better.. But who am I kidding? I'm too lazy to keep track of what I'm eating :)

Thanks for the info!