20 September 2010

My Gluten Free Experiment

My daughter has been on a Gluten Free journey for the last three months. Her sore tummies and low energy seemed to indicate some kind of dietary problem, though nothing showed up in the blood tests apart from being low in iron and having a positive reaction to some kind of unspecified allergen.

Thankfully my sister and brother-in-law were on hand to help solve the mystery, and suggested gluten intolerance. My bro-in-law is a chiropractor who has specialised in neurology. My sister and nephew are both gluten-intolerant and have become masters of delicious gluten-free baked goodies.

After just a short time going gluten free my girl's sore tummies cleared up. And the fun really began trying to figure out how to cook gluten free dinners (I'm a lazy chef, I like quick'n'easy, and won't cook multiple meals), how to make a gluten free birthday party, how to find edible GF bread and snacks and treats.

In the middle of all this, my bro-in-law kept suggesting that I may be gluten intolerant too.
He says, a sore tummy is just one symptom. A lot of other problems can be cleared up by eliminating gluten, he says.

He told me that gluten is a neuro-toxin (and gave me scientific book to back it all up). The book says that manufacturers have been increasing the levels of gluten in our food for ages, adding it to random things like ham, flavourings and even sweets. Growers have been producing wheat with higher levels of gluten because it makes bread cheaper to produce. Gluten intolerance is growing. One in ten people in the population are gluten intolerant and don't know it because the symptoms are so varied.

The symptoms can include any combination of: Low energy (low iron is an indicator), fuzzy-headedness, headaches, bloating, spotty skin, difficulty losing weight, fluid retention, gradual weight gain, flatulence, depression and tiredness.

Hmmmm. That does all sound very familiar.

But can I really do without my scones? My muffins? My donuts? By chip'n'marmite sarnies???

Well, er, my waistline says, YES! In fact my waistline and ever-increasing butt scream: "Help!! Do something" and my lack of energy shouts: "I need to go to the gym but I just caaaaaan't!"

Then the lovely Cat started a health-kick blog and I quietly admired her resolution. And wished I had her determination. Because my tummy still resembles a five-month pregnancy and lets just say that clothes shopping is a trial not a delight.

And on Saturday I was chatting to a friend whose daughter has also gone gluten free. She was diagnosed on the autism spectrum and her Harvard-trained specialist recommend a gluten-free diet (along with other dietary changes). My friend cannot believe the change in her daughter's behaviour. She says, unbelievable.

Then my sister made the yummiest gluten free choc caramel slice for dessert on Saturday night. Man, gluten free can taste great. It needn't be a life of deprivation!

So this morning I woke up and decided: I am going to try to go gluten free for the next two weeks and see what happens.

I have a spotty face. I have a sore tummy, bloating and er, other embarrassing symptoms. My head is fuzzy at best, my memory is shocking. I have frequent headaches, am always low in energy. I need to get healthy. I need to lose some weight (not even for vanity reasons, just for feeling good in my own skin, and having more energy).

So. This morning I had GF toast for breakfast. It was quite yummy, tasted like Vogels (it's Venerdi).
Dinners will be easy as we are already Gluten Free at dinnertime. So that just leaves lunch. I might go back to my bowl of chopped fruit with yoghurt and LSA. Healthy and delicious.

In two weeks I will report back and tell you how my experiment went and whether it will become a permanent thing. Me. Gluten Free.

Could be interesting...?

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PaisleyJade said...

Wow - this is so interesting! I have a family member who has many of those symptoms and others that I have heard could me linked to being gluten intolerant! I might encourage her to try out a GF diet too. Will be interested to see how you get along!!

Dee said...

i'm so interested to hear how this goes for you. I'd love to cut a lot of gluten out of our diet too.
One question though - is it pricey?? have you noticed huge increase in grocery bill to fund all the fancy GF products?

Leonie said...

Hi Simone, I am so pleased your daughter has got relief for her tummy troubles from going gf. It is such a hard thing to get started on but worth it if it helps. As you know I have been gf for a year now (due to suspected coeliacs) and it is a long learning curve. THe testing for coeliacs is pretty poor and endoscopy with biopsy seems to be the most reliable (although I am resistant to this). Low iron levels are an indication that the body isn't absorbing nutrients due to gluten too. As for the expense, yes it is more expensive but because it forces you to use foods that are more wholesome and made from scratch it also means you spend less on processed foods/ takeaways because those options are too limited.
Good luck with your trial!!! My hubby made a gf caramel square yesterday and it was DIVINE!!!!! Its begging me to eat it!

Anonymous said...

Hey there! My daughter and I have been gluten free for three years now. We both experienced the typical symptoms of gluten intolerance and Katie tested pos in her blood labs as well.

I cannot express how life changing living GF has been. We feel GOOD! We have discovered tho, that apart from the obvious like flours, bread and pasta, our food budget does need to be overly more. We stick to what is naturally GF for the most part.

Good luck with going gluten free!

Sammy said...

Good for you love! The minute I cut down on bread I feel so much better with tons more energy....says something doesn't it???

Anonymous said...

AHHHHHHHH you are SO going to notice a difference Simoney!!! This may sound funny but I found my mood was what really changed...gluten made me feel agitated. There are times when I might have something with gluten once and a while, but it is certainly not everyday, because i can't. I even tried a little experiment eating reg. bread for a few days, and the headaches came back and the agitation came right along with it!!! CRAZY but TRUE. Can't wait to see what you experience...note that your body may go through some withdrawals the the first day or two may be tough. It may not happen for you but just in case I wanted you to know that that is normal. Withdrawals can bring headaches, fatigue, irritability. Just hold on and they WILL pass.

love and light!!

Catching the Magic said...

Some of those symptoms ring true here. I will be fascinated to read how it goes. It's really frightening what's going into our food these days. I might seek out more gluten free goods for our family.

Diane said...

Hoping it goes well for you. I would be more happy to go gluten free if it wasn't for the price of a lot of the food. Very expensive where I live. :O)

Kimberly said...

I work with a woman who is gluten intolerant and everything she brings in for us to try is absolutely yucky. It's nice to know that there are terrific recipes out there just in case I need to add an item for a dinner party.

What you said about candy is interesting. I've cut colorful candy out of my diet. I only allow myself chocolate once a week. The difference is amazing.

Gail said...

Good on you babe! It will be interesting to see if it makes a difference! I too have been inspired by Cat to get my A into G again and try and kick off these extra kgs. For both vanity reasons and the other :) For me though and our family it won't be GF but a definite change in how much wheat etc we take in - and then making sure it's not the highly processed stuff!!
I've been reading a few running magazines too which are interesting re: carbs etc. Good carbs and bad ones. I think in general our culture has been taking the convenience road too liberally and forgetting that food is as much about fueling our body needs as it is about taste! Time for more effort! Let's go for a good power walk soon (minus the coffee!)!!!

Gail said...

P.S. In the entertainment book there is a voucher for 25% off at the gluten free grocer. Do you want ours? It's at the end of Mt Eden Road by Symonds street. Looks awfully expensive but might have a few goodies to make life more interesting!

Sarah Gauntlett said...

good luck! I'm doing similar (just not all off gluten - just one meal of gluten a day and maybe some snacks) that sounds useless, anyway what i mean is I'm trying slowly. It costs me so much more and that bread is ok but smells weird and is so bloody tiny! My dad is GF free, has cleared up his sinus trouble and more.

Here's a recipe for hummingbird cupcakes - gluten free and yummy! http://www.nzgirl.co.nz/eat/our-favourite-hummingbird-cakes/

oh yeah and the problem with my diet is that i'm not supposed to eat dairy (even though I'm naughty and so totally do). so cutting out both dairy AND gluten is HELL!!!!!!!

good luck and yeah can't wait to read more. oh and have you heard of this place?: http://growingkiwis.blogspot.com/2010/07/bliss.html

Widge said...

Good on ya simoney!
Inspiring. I have a suspicion Gooseman has an intolerance to something....but I'm with Dee, is it alot more $$ ??

Unknown said...

I can't wait to hear what differences you feel! I have gotten lazy and have not been as good about GF lately... not good. I'm having several of those symptoms. I'm encouraged by you and your efforts!!

alicia said...

Good luck on your journey. You'll have to report back because I'm curious if that's what I have-- always have digestive stuff.

Losing Brownies said...

I can't wait to hear how it goes! I wonder if that is one of my problems too? I'm looking foward to hearing about your experiement!

Natasha in Oz said...

I too will be interested in the results of this experiment! I need to lose weight too and have made the big step of cutting out my weekly vino. I think that is going take some getting used to but it will be worth it. If I could only give up my daily Cadbury hit!

Thanks so much for the offer to make me a button for Sunday Song! I am so excited and am very grateful for your help. You are wonderful!

Hope your week is a good one Simoney.

Best wishes,

Anonymous said...

hey lovely simone!
so so interesting isn't it.
I am now gluten free veteran (5yrs) but if i'm honest it comes and goes.
seriously so helpful tho when i stick to it.
have also done sugar free and dairy free (yes, and all 3 at once for a length of time!) so if you're keen for ideas or subs for stuff give me a yell and i might have some ideas.
my sister in law gave me a great book, half story half cookbook called gluten free girl. her names shona and she has a blog i think :) you can borrow the book if you like.
Meg C

Anonymous said...

Those symptoms do sound familiar, but I don't know if I could do it. (Stopped by from the SITS page)

Your blog is so cute!

Meghan Maloney Photography said...

Good luck :-)
If anyone can do it you can. And it looks like a lot of people out here in blog land will be really interested to hear it goes. I know I will!

Wendy (The Local Cook) said...

I always feel better when I reduce gluten. Good luck with your experiment! Oh, and thanks for stopping by on my SITS Day!

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