Gluten… what is it, and why does it taste so good? Gluten is a general name for proteins found in wheat. I only know that because I’ve been forced into doing a ton of research about what it is, and the effects it has on the body. Lately I haven’t been feeling normal. I think its actually been years in the making but I got fed up with feeling like something is wrong but not knowing where to turn! I was diagnosed with Hashimotos in 2015 I believe. Basically its an autoimmune disorder where my immune system attacks my thyroid as something “foreign” and eventually destroys it enough that you are required to take thyroid medication. My Doctor mentioned that majority of his patients felt better after going on a gluten free diet, even though there isn’t any medical evidence to prove that it helps. I was skeptical, but glad that he didn’t say it was a must. It was an option. Years later I have been trying to get weight off forever. I literally spent the last 6 months at the gym and watching everything I ate. I don’t think I lost a single pound. Fed up with the fact that something was obviously wrong I turned to the thyroid, the one thing that seems to MANAGE everything. Super annoying. I read so many articles about gluten and the thyroid and how they affect each other. Some peoples opinions didn’t make a lot of sense to me, but there was a lot of research that really got me thinking. I read that a lot of people with hashimotos develop a sensitivity to gluten, and some even end up with celiac. I read so many articles and personal experiences people had and thought it over for weeks. I talked to my aunt who has both hashimotos AND celiac and she mentioned that it would be a good idea to just eliminate gluten for 2 weeks minimum to test how I feel, and then add it back in. At first my reaction was “I’ll consider it, and maybe try it in like 3 months.” But the more time that passed the more I found myself thinking about it constantly. Is there REALLY a convenient time to eliminate something as big as gluten? Probably not. .
On Sunday night, totally spur of the moment I decided to do it. I went through my cupboards and made a gluten free menu with what I had. At least enough to get me through a couple days until I could get to the store. To my surprise, most of what I eat and snack on is already gluten free! Monday was easy, Tuesday was easier, Wednesday I only struggled because someone dropped donuts off at the office, and Thursday I didn’t even think about it. For some reason it’s been way easier for me than even trying to eliminate sweets. Eliminating sweets was strictly to try and lose weight and get healthier. Eventually I could be talked into eating one cookie, or trying a donut from the latest and greatest bakery because it wasn’t “hurting me” it was just slowing my weight loss. My mindset has changed a little I guess because I didn’t even really struggle with the cookies and donuts. I’m not going to deny that they smelled good, and looked even better, but the temptation just wasn’t there. My mind had somehow changed and I didn’t even know how. I didn’t have to even pull the whole “okay Kaylee, you can have a donut and enjoy it for maybe 30 seconds and then feel guilty, or you can walk away and feel empowered and in control of your body” talk with myself. It just wasn’t even an option. At one point it was like I could almost FEEL the heaviness in my stomach and I hadn’t even eaten it. Maybe my mind subconsciously knows that it would make me sick. Who even knows, but I’m counting it as a win.
The one thing I did notice is headaches. I had a dull headache since Monday afternoon. Nothing big enough to take ibuprofen, but it got close. It was just a dull, constant ache around my temples. I knew I wasn’t dehydrated, and I had been wearing my glasses all day. The only thing I could figure out was that it was the diet change. I woke up Tuesday and could still feel it, but it wasn’t as bad. Wednesday it was almost gone, but I could still feel the pressure if I bent over or moved too quickly. Today, it’s totally gone and I have done nothing different then any of the other days. Its crazy to me that my body could be reacting this way strictly because of a diet change. Again, I went to the internet to see if anyone else struggled. Turns out my symptoms were tiny compared to others. Some people had flu like symptoms for weeks until their body detoxed! I’ll be happy with just the headaches.
On the plus side, I think I can really feel a difference. Instead of going to bed bloated and hoping to sleep it off, I feel totally normal. I have more energy and I don’t feel the urge to nap for hours after every meal. I have had a small, annoying rash under my armpits for over 4 years that I chalked up to razor burn. Sometimes it got worse and other times I barely noticed it but it never went away. I looked in the mirror yesterday before jumping in the shower and its not gone yet, but its dwindling fast! It sounds so weird to say, but I feel like my mind is clearer. Everyone with a gluten sensitivity complains of brain fog, and I thought this was something I didn’t struggle with, but now I am wondering if I did. Strictly because of how light and clear my head feels.
Its so crazy to think that one tiny little protein found in wheat could affect my body THIS much. I keep going back and forth trying to convince myself that what I’m feeling is in my head. Mostly because I really don’t want to be gluten free my entire life. Yet the more time that passes, the better I feel and its hard to ignore. The only thing that I haven’t tested yet is eating out. We go on date nights once a week and more often than not it involves food. There are a handful of places that have several gluten free options, and other places I can eliminate the bread or the tortilla, but I still don’t think its going to be easy. The last thing I want to do is make Justin feel bugged because we can’t eat somewhere specific. He’s always been very supportive, but if someone tried to tell me we couldn’t go to Costa Vida anymore, you bet I’d be ticked! Luckily my favorite place is gluten free friendly! Thank the heavens!
All in all, I’m feeling better than I ever anticipated and I’m anxious to see how the next week goes. I wake up feeling better every morning, so I’m interested to see how much better it can get! We shall see.